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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2017 3:10 am 
Visanom
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The only way I’d go back to university would be to a program that doesn’t try to outlaw the taking of extra credit, a high course load, or auditing classes, or to discourage the taking of uncredited evening classes for reasons of “it’s too hard”. Maybe if I had a Time-Turner…


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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2017 3:45 am 
Avisaru
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gach wrote:
Looks to me like a case of going to university and falling in love with your own flavour of academic life. It's a lovely feeling. Just don't taint it too much by comparing with others since nowhere else will things be exactly the same.


I get that, yeah, just the difference between the US and the UK is so jarring for me that I just felt lke it was worth me talking about it. And like as a British person it's super difficulat to remain ignorant about how the American university system works because of all the American films that arrive ver here, from Monsters University to Bad Neighbours (what's called "Neighbors" in the US) and pretty much everything in between, because US pop culture is so dominant worldwide.

vampireshark wrote:
Conversely, I wasn't a huge fan of the UK system, especially the huge emphasis placed on exams (100% final exam classes!) and just how student life in general ran there. (Too much emphasis on drinking and partying for my liking.)


What exactly o you mean by "100% final exam classes"? In Cambridge at least the exams are spread throughout the years of your course (I know that's not the case at Oxford however), and I myself on the Linguistics tripos have the option of submitting a dissertation in year 3. The latter is definitely a problem though I will agree, though at my college at least there have been a number of events during fresher's week which specifically did not involve alcohol, such as the Chapel supper and a mocktails party, and we have had talks from the deans about not discriminating against those who don't drink.

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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2017 2:10 pm 
Visanom
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Imralu wrote:
Pole, the wrote:
Hm, so I thought me being unable to understand sung English is just my problem, but apparently it's quite a universal one:

Redding claimed that he did not know the lyrics of the song. "I use a lot of words different than the Stones' version," he noted. "That's because I made them up."[45] Of that session, Steve Cropper said, "...if you ever listened to the record you can hardly understand the lyrics, right? I set down to a record player and copied down what I thought the lyrics were and I handed Otis a piece of paper and before we got through with the cut, he threw the paper on the floor and that was it."[46]

I have this problem. My brain doesn't even try to listen for words most of the time. When people play me music and say listen to the words, my first reaction is "Um, how do you expect me to do that!?" ... it takes oodles of conscious concentration to do that.

My ex worked in opera and he was usually responsible for the surtitles among other things. I saw quite a few opera shows for free ... but if they were in English, there were no surtitles and I never understood anything. In opera, all I hear is indistinct vowels and the occasional consonant.

Listening to modern music in other languages, the words always seem somehow more salient to me ... I've always assumed this is not because English has anything in particular about it that makes it unclear when sung, but just more that I'm a language freak and my brain probably automatically tries to listen to the words when it's in another language and when it's in English, my brain just finds that boring and switches off the language part and just goes with the music part if it's enjoyable.

Huh. To me, the hardest lyrics to understand are Japanese, after that English, then Swedish, and Finnish is the easiest. This is the reverse of the order in which I learned these languages, so I just thought that's why. English lyrics are pretty hard to understand, considering how well I understand spoken English otherwise. But it varies a lot depending on the artist. I think non-native speakers' sung English is generally easier to understand than native speakers'.

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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2017 2:18 pm 
Smeric
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Huh. To me, the hardest lyrics to understand are Japanese, after that English, then Swedish, and Finnish is the easiest. This is the reverse of the order in which I learned these languages, so I just thought that's why. English lyrics are pretty hard to understand, considering how well I understand spoken English otherwise. But it varies a lot depending on the artist. I think non-native speakers' sung English is generally easier to understand than native speakers'.

Well, for me Finnish lyrics are much more intelligible, even though I only know the basics of Finnish and I'm able to watch English shows without major issues. So, maybe there's issue in how English singers are taught diction, or something.

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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2017 2:34 pm 
Visanom
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I think it has to do with enunciation. Some artists really reduce their words to an unrecognizable level.

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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2017 2:55 pm 
Smeric
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I'm pretty bad at making out song lyrics in any language.


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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2017 3:21 pm 
Sumerul
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Frislander wrote:
What exactly [do] you mean by "100% final exam classes"? In Cambridge at least the exams are spread throughout the years of your course (I know that's not the case at Oxford however), and I myself on the Linguistics tripos have the option of submitting a dissertation in year 3.

What I mean is that the entirety of your mark for the class rests on a final exam, taken at the end of the course/term/year. The standard in the US, at least, is coursework more evenly spread throughout the semester and some smaller exams to complement the final: I think the highest weight I've seen on a final exam in the US was 50%.

Frislander wrote:
The latter is definitely a problem though I will agree, though at my college at least there have been a number of events during fresher's week which specifically did not involve alcohol, such as the Chapel supper and a mocktails party, and we have had talks from the deans about not discriminating against those who don't drink.

That's a plus. I do remember, though, it might've been just more pronounced for me because I did a semester exchange in the Spring, so it wasn't the first semester (by any stretch) and it seemed like people already had had practice.

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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2017 3:26 pm 
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In the news in the UK today: the former deputy director of GCHQ (our version of the NSA, essentially) has been disgraced, convicted, but has avoided jail in a shocking sex scandal.

In November 2016, Brian Lord (OBE*) attended a dinner party with his girlfriend. He and the other guests got somewhat drunk, and had a rather risque after-dinner conversation - among other things, they played Truth or Dare, including questions about sexual history. Well, to cut a long and horrifying story short, the spook** evidently let alcohol and raunchy conversation get to his head and he... well, I don't know if I dare say this in a public forum, so I'll put it in a spoiler tag...

More: show
...he touched the knee of the woman sitting next to him, who happened to be his hostess, while he was talking. She made no objection at the time to her guest's familiarity, but later in the evening she told his partner (her work colleague) that she had felt, as she later told the court, a bit "awkward" - on being informed of which, he apologised profusely and he and his partner left the party.


Needless to say, an arrest followed swiftly, and the disgraced spy was charged with sexual assault, before being allowed a plea deal under which he confessed to the lesser charge of mere assault. More damaging, however, is the obvious destruction of his reputation and his honour. "You have lost your good name," condemned the judge, "and your good character."

However, because his elite lawyers were able to negotiate the controversial plea deal, he will not, unlike lesser perverts, be required to be placed on the Sex Offenders Register.

I know it's not a particularly exciting news story, but it's been a long time since we've had a really juicy political sex scandal, which may be why this one's hovering just outside the top 5 news stories on the BBC right now. Actually, it's #4 in real terms, since a bunch of the others are different articles about the same news story (May's speech).



*Officer of the Order of the British Empire - "highly respected person who has performed really important public service".
**spook - a spy, member of the security services

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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2017 4:57 pm 
Avisaru
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vampireshark wrote:
Frislander wrote:
What exactly [do] you mean by "100% final exam classes"? In Cambridge at least the exams are spread throughout the years of your course (I know that's not the case at Oxford however), and I myself on the Linguistics tripos have the option of submitting a dissertation in year 3.

What I mean is that the entirety of your mark for the class rests on a final exam, taken at the end of the course/term/year. The standard in the US, at least, is coursework more evenly spread throughout the semester and some smaller exams to complement the final: I think the highest weight I've seen on a final exam in the US was 50%.


Oh gosh yeah, there is some of that but it really depends on the course and the university like I think natural sciences at Cambridge has a bit more coursework when it comes to practical things like experiments and stuff but for linguistics I dont think there's really any to speak of. At Cambridge at least there is something like that going on through the supervisions system (basically a supervision is a bit like a seminar/university class only you can count the number of students on one hand) but yeah the final grade is determined essentially by how well you do in the exams for each module and I can definitely see how that would be a problem for most people, but you really shouldn't take my experience as representative of all UK universities by any means at all because Cambridge is like top flight.

Quote:
Frislander wrote:
The latter is definitely a problem though I will agree, though at my college at least there have been a number of events during fresher's week which specifically did not involve alcohol, such as the Chapel supper and a mocktails party, and we have had talks from the deans about not discriminating against those who don't drink.

That's a plus. I do remember, though, it might've been just more pronounced for me because I did a semester exchange in the Spring, so it wasn't the first semester (by any stretch) and it seemed like people already had had practice.


There's also the additional weird thing with the UK where like many students taking A-Levels (the two years immediately before university) will actually start getting drunk regularly (part of what's called "the sesh") while they're still in school (which since they're doing it at friends' houses is technically legal even if they're underage for drinking in public), and I know for sure not everyone does (I was definitely not part of that culture while doing A-Levels) but it was pretty prevalent at my school, especially among those with better-off parents who could afford this kind of lifestyle. So even before they've gone to university many if not most students have already had much experience with and have found their limits regarding alcohol.

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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2017 5:01 pm 
Smeric
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Here, I think it's pretty typical for exams to count for most of the grade, just not the final exam by itself.


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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Sun Oct 08, 2017 4:40 am 
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YwWI1aHpzy0

This is a palindromic sketch, where we hear one character talking backwards. What caught my attention is that, at one point, he's said to "sound like a drunk German". And it's true: reversed English does sound somewhat like German. But why?

I think there are two factors here.
- Reverse-English sounds incomprehensible, but the rhythm and intonation are still recognizably Germanic. So it sounds like "unknown Germanic language", which may round up to "somewhat like German".
- The other reason is syllable-final [h]. English has [h] word-initially, and aspirated consonants such as [pʰ]. Take the words tin and hi, normally pronounced [tʰɪn] and [haɪ]: in reverse-English, we get [nɪht] and [jah] with syllable-final [h], which is completely foreign to English. But German does have word-final [ç] and [x] which are very close to [h]: indeed [nɪçt] is a valid German word, and [jax] would be perfectly possible with German phonotactics (although it doesn't actually exist). So, in this respect, reverse-English is more similar to German than to normal English.

A tangent: if not for a few pesky words such as China, [ç] and [x] rarely appear word-initially in German; so they're basically in complementary distribution with [h]. I think it would be plausible to analyze [ç], [x] and [h] as allophones of the same phoneme /h/.


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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Sun Oct 08, 2017 5:22 pm 
Smeric
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https://youtu.be/a-o9pwWUzz0

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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Sun Oct 08, 2017 6:32 pm 
Avisaru
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Pole, the wrote:
https://youtu.be/a-o9pwWUzz0


Yep that pretty much sums up feelings about the situation in the US across the pond, i.e. what the flying fuck is going on America?

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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Sun Oct 08, 2017 8:50 pm 
Smeric
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Frislander wrote:
Pole, the wrote:
https://youtu.be/a-o9pwWUzz0


Yep that pretty much sums up feelings about the situation in the US across the pond, i.e. what the flying fuck is going on America?

Honestly, I do think Bowling for Columbine explains this pretty well. Of course, it's still a shitty situation, though.


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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2017 7:04 am 
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TIL some people don't like the taste of carrot juice.

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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2017 9:32 am 
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Today I learnt that one person does like the taste of carrot juice? I don't know, that seems improbable enough that perhaps I just misread that.

Today I also learnt that when Americans talk about dragonflies, they don't mean real dragonflies, just those libellula things. This makes me sad - dragonflies are pretty. I also learnt today that male dragonflies have "secondary genitals" at the top of their abdomens, which is why they have sex by 69ing (well... 6ing, really), and that dragonfly nymphs both breathe and propel themselves through their rectum.

Today is verily a day of wonders.

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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2017 10:26 am 
Smeric
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Salmoneus wrote:
Today I learnt that one person does like the taste of carrot juice? I don't know, that seems improbable enough that perhaps I just misread that.

Okay, I get it, you also don't like it. No need to be a dick about it.

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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2017 10:35 am 
Sanno
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Salmoneus wrote:
Today I also learnt that when Americans talk about dragonflies, they don't mean real dragonflies, just those libellula things.

Libellulidae is considered the largest family of dragonflies there is, so I'm confused what you mean by "real dragonflies". Aeshnidae? Because we have those here, too, and I don't know any common alternative designation for them.


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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2017 10:42 am 
Avisaru
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Salmoneus wrote:
Today I also learnt that when Americans talk about dragonflies, they don't mean real dragonflies, just those libellula things.

I'm also confused by the use of "real dragonflies" here. From the context, it seems it must just mean "dragonflies that I am familar with, and find more impressive than American dragonflies"; but at first I wasn't sure if this was referring to some situation like "elk" where it's actually conventional for the word to refer to different species on different sides of the Atlantic.

The OED does mention some variance in what "dragonfly" is used to refer to, saying

Quote:
1937 C. Longfield Dragonflies Brit. Isles 6 A somewhat unfortunate situation has arisen by the double use of the word ‘dragonfly’. For the past sixty years or so it has been used as the popular name for the whole Order of the Odonata. However, the first use of the word..only designated the large species then known to naturalists of the Sub-order Anisoptera, in contradistinction to the ‘damsel-flies’ or Zygoptera.

But as far as I can tell, insects from the genus Libellula would count as dragonflies by either of the mentioned definitions, as they apparently belong to Anisoptera. Actually, an earlier citation says

Quote:
1917 R. J. Tillyard Biol. Dragonflies i. 1 In his subdivision of the Class of Insecta, Linnaeus placed all the Dragonflies known to him in the single genus Libellula, forming the family Libellulidae of the..Order Neuroptera. His pupil Fabricius, in re-arranging the Orders of Insects..constituted the Dragonflies as a separate Order under the name of Odonata, because of the form of their mandibles... The name Odonata persisted, and has been adopted by all subsequent writers.


So the name "libellula" seems to have been associated with dragonflies from its origin onward.


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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2017 12:29 pm 
Sanno
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linguoboy wrote:
Salmoneus wrote:
Today I also learnt that when Americans talk about dragonflies, they don't mean real dragonflies, just those libellula things.

Libellulidae is considered the largest family of dragonflies there is, so I'm confused what you mean by "real dragonflies". Aeshnidae? Because we have those here, too, and I don't know any common alternative designation for them.


For me, "dragonfly" is prototypically Anax imperator, (like this) - we have other dragonflies but they're sort of just smaller versions of this, and hard to tell apart if you're not an expert. These creatures, as you can see, are notable for their ridiculously long abdomens, held out behind them. Most traditional names for the dragonfly are specifically based on this morphology: adderbolt or Devil's darning needle, for instance.

I only recently first consciously encountered a species of libellula (like this) this summer. Everyone who saw it thought it was remarkably weird and we didn't know what it was, using expressions like "a bit like a dragonfly" - until I managed to find it in a book and found out that it was technically considered a species of dragonfly, despite not having the characteristic dragonfly shape.

And THEN I was reading something that said that in the US, the word "dragonfly" is most often used to refer to species of libellula, which was... kind of mindblowing.

It's like being a cat owner, with something likes this, say, and spending your life knowing that they had cats in America too, until one day someone casually mentioned out of the blue that, oh, didn't you know, when Americans talk about "cats" they usually mean sphynxes (like this). It would be quite weird to find that out one day!

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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2017 12:46 pm 
Sanno
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Salmoneus wrote:
I only recently first consciously encountered a species of libellula (like this) this summer. Everyone who saw it thought it was remarkably weird and we didn't know what it was, using expressions like "a bit like a dragonfly" - until I managed to find it in a book and found out that it was technically considered a species of dragonfly, despite not having the characteristic dragonfly shape.

I don't ever recall seeing an insect around here that looked like that and I might hesitate to call it a "dragonfly" as well. If that's typical of Libellulidae, then I imagine most of them fly under the radar here.

One of the most common dragonflies around here (probably prototypical for many people) is the green darner, which can grow almost as long as emperor dragonfly and is similarly brightly coloured. A couple years ago we had a bumper crop of them which cemented them in people's minds.


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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2017 2:07 pm 
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I could see either of the examples as dragonflies, but my prototypical dragonfly is much like yours Sal, and I've lived my entire life in the US except for a short trip to Canada to visit distant relatives. I don't think I've ever thought of or seen a libellula-type dragonfly myself.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2017 2:56 pm 
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I would call any odonate a dragonfly because I'm not familiar enough with them to distinguish between all the different types.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 15, 2017 8:07 am 
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In today's news: the NHS will now demand that patients disclose their sexuality before any treatment. It won't be legally compulsory - there will be a "won't say" option permitted - but if you decline to answer, all health professionals will be required to pressure you to answer again before each and every interaction with you. This will enable them to construct a national database of homosexuals. [this data is then sold to private companies and randomly left lying around on trains. When they sell it, it's "anonymised" (they take the name off), but can be very quickly de-anonymised by comparison with other data sources.]

Surprisingly, this isn't yielding to demands from Nazis, but instead yielding to demands from LGBT pressure groups. The theory is that it's possible that gay people receive worse healthcare due to discrimination - so it's important to make sure that doctors, nurses, etc, know who is gay and who isn't. Such discrimination could only be detected by maintaining some sort of national register of homosexuals, to make sure people on it aren't singled out in any way. In particular, activists are concerned that young LGBT people have worse mental health outcomes - so it's important to make sure that in any encounter with a therapist, they're first challenged to define their sexuality in writing, for government files, and then challenged and challenged again until they give in and answer, before any other treatment, because that's the only way to make sure that they don't face any degrading or distressing behaviour from their therapist.

Now, some opponants of this measure (i.e. bigots, Nazis, other people unaccountably against registers and confrontational intimate inquiries) have suggested that, given that GP appointments are only 10 minutes long, maybe it would be better to have better treatment for everyone, even at the risk of inequality, by having the GP spend the 10 minutes discussing the symptoms and treatment, rather than the patient's sexual orientation. Supporters, however, point out that 30-40% of each appointment is already spent filling in the ten pages of forms necessary for egalitarian and progressive evidence-based treatment, so adding one more question doesn't really make much difference...

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 15, 2017 8:15 am 
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what the Fuck

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