Languages are passed down through generations because people remember them. But languages also change as they’re passed down, and often this is exactly because people don’t remember parts of them. They forget things it might not seem possible to forget, like the meanings of common words and the conjugation of normal verbs. This is possible because the forgetting is usually generational rather than individual; the speaker community as a whole forgets, in the sense that it loses information it once had, but only because the speakers learn a language slightly different from the language their elders attempted to teach them. What follows are a few types of generational forgetting that can cause languages to change, with examples drawn mostly from English for maximum alienation. Continue reading
Archive for November, 2009
In the second edition of Imagined Communities, his pioneering book on nationalism, Benedict Anderson writes about the introduction of modern overhead to-scale maps and their effects on the way people thought (and think) about political units. The chapter on this, “Census, Map, Museum,” includes an illuminating discussion of what maps replaced, and how revolutionary the modern map really was in contexts like nineteenth-century Thailand. Anderson then goes on to explain a further development in mapmaking that affects our thinking: Continue reading
undulating sensory aptitude, extremely sensitive hollow needles pointing outwards, detailing the movements of the air like a skinned knee.
Nightmares, waking to waving shadows on the ceiling, egg shell hands on flickering, egg shell arms, coercing paranoia to slip out of its tightly packed nostalgic boxes, the shadows dance with my paranoia on the ceiling, paranoia keeps its foot in the door of my eyelids.
“Stalin is the Lenin of today” was Stalin’s party slogan in the mid-1930s.
I thought that sort of lacking creativity was designated to the replacement of one color for another in modern fashion. Come now, Stalin boy – with all of your accomplishments in mass murder and social rearrangement, you’d think you could come up with a snazzier slogan than that!