31 August 2006

Corpus Linguistics and Your Mom

It was only a matter of time before I got back to writing about words again. Maybe you are familiar with corpus studies. A corpus is a collection of words. Given the stunning technology of today (powered by faeries and moonbeams, I'm told), in seconds you can search a 100 million word collection of naturally occurring English texts to see just how this little language of ours is getting along these days. This is helpful for everyone I think, but especially homeless men and language teachers who are always being peppered by dumb questions from people who read textbooks. Throw your textbook away, Ms. Tanaka. It's only confusing you.

Oh and by the way, I saw a great sign this morning that read (in Japanese): "皆が見てる、あなたの運転あなたのマナーEveryone is watching: Your Driving, Your Manners." That right there, in seven words, is the best description of Japanese culture I've ever seen. If I had to write the same sign, I would write "Pay some fucking attention".