Monday, April 20, 2009

English Is Ridiculous, Very Manyth Edition

At the thought of learning a language like Finnish, or even Latin or German, many English speakers fret at the number of noun cases they would have to learn, fearing that this absurd facet will be impossible to wrap their heads around. But maybe this is a lot simpler than our convoluted way of doing things. In fact, the Finnish declension system, which basically does away with the need for prepositions, provides for much more streamlined phrasing, and cuts down greatly on the amount of vocabulary one needs to learn.

In English (Englantiksi), to express the concept of moving in the direction of a thing, there are numerous possibilities. Let's say I am talking about my home. I could say I am going: "to my home," "at my home," or "toward my home." Not too many things, right? But home is a special case. This provides two more options. I have an inflected/adverbial form, wherein I could go "homeward;" or I have a form where all inflection is assumed and the noun is used as an adverb, and I could just go "home."

In Finnish, among its several locative cases is the allative, which takes care of all of these options. Instead of going to my home, toward my home, or homeward, I go "kotille" (koti + lle)


I'm going to my home
I'm going toward my home
I'm going at my home
I'm going homeward
I'm going home
Minä menen minun kotille

The English language's lexical richness is a certainly virtue in many ways, but for my money it's hard to beat that Finnish efficiency. Of course, the alliteration helps too.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Republic of Texas

The Governor of Texas, while making assorted comments about how much he doesn't like taxes and loves tea or something, hinted that maybe it's time for Texas to secede again. Over at FP Passport they have some observations for what sort of policy implications this might have. Over here at the Wizard Belt, we have some thoughts on cultural implications:

  1. In the name of a more distinct national identity, Texas embraces Hispanic elements of its culture; Spanish will be endorsed as co-national language

  2. Every year, even more hip American kids go to SXSW, basking in the fact that they have attended a music festival in a developing nation

  3. Alternately, there might be an exodus of much of the population of Austin to border states. Possible new locations for SXSW and hipsters in the southern Midwest in general: Roswell, NM; Oklahoma City, OK; Shreveport, LA

  4. By the 2014 World Cup, Texas has a stronger national soccer team than the US (see #1)

  5. George W. Bush becomes first* former US President with dual citizenship with a foreign nation

  6. Joe Mathlete reconsiders a lot of things about his life

  7. Lee Harvey Oswald becomes national folk hero

  8. National seat of government moved to the Alamo

Some of these are admittedly unlikely. I won't say which ones.

*That I know of?