Dialect forced into Exile

Dear Loyal Dialect Readers,

This note was smuggled into the country and is reprinted here at great potential risk.  From information that we have gathered, the note was written clandestinely and while in custody of the authorities.  It is clear that the writer did not have access to Spellcheck or a thesaurus and from this we infer that the writer was in grave danger.  By a turn of fortune, we do have confirmation that the writer has been spirited to relative safety and is now being habored by local Dialect online blog followers near the beach on an undisclosed, inexpensive, semi-tropical island.  

Be well and stay informed,

Dialect Support Committee

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New York’s Language Ark

Below is an article from the New York Times found and suggested by Brad B., a pre-eminent language expert and a Dialect regular.



Listening to (and Saving) the World’s Languages

by Sam Roberts – published April 28, 2010

Valnea Smilovic, 59, left, with her mother, 92, in Queens.
They still speak Vlashki, a language spoken by the Istrians.
photo by James Estrin

The chances of overhearing a conversation in Vlashki, a variant of Istro-Romanian, are greater in Queens than in the remote mountain villages in Croatia that immigrants now living in New York left years ago.

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Word of the Week: MAKIBAKA!

Kumusta, mga kaibigan!

[Laban hand gesture]

I’ve been interested in Tagalog/Filipino for a while and I wanted to find a rousing political slogan in the language.  A guy came into my line at work and he mentioned that he was a professor in the Philipines.  Frank was his name.  I asked him, “So does that mean you speak Tagalog (or Filipino)?” to which he answered in the affirmative.  I then asked him for some good political phrases for “Let’s go!” or “Let’s do it!” using raised-fist gestures to convey the sentiment.

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Ble mae’r Gymraeg?

Just a little follow up on the previous post regarding Welsh language activist Osian Jones.  The campaign to achieve a New Welsh Language Act and make Wales officially bi-lingual is on-going and remains strong.

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Dialect Empire Announces New Acquisitions

After months of behind-the-scenes arm twisting and agonizing negotiation, a series of decisive moves made on the part of The Dialect has brought nearly a dozen new acquisitions under their sole proprietorship.  Nervous insiders describe the transferred materials as “a frightening  arsenal of linguistic technology.”  While official statements from the now-infamous online language website blog dismiss these moves as ‘utilitarian’ and ‘inconsequential’, there is reason to believe that unilateral domination of the language world remains the covert objective.

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4.5.10 Dialect Crimethink Doubleplus Dangerful




I just got finished re-reading one of my most formative books, George Orwell’s 1984.  I wanted to go back and re-read it after having started The Dialect in order to discuss ‘Newspeak.’  In this classic dystopian novel, Orwell invents ‘Newspeak’, a regressive language introduced by the Party to prevent resistance by restricting thought. 

1984’s social vision and historical prediction resonates with those who distrust government and fear a future of repression.  Sadly, though, its easy to find 1984 fans upon whom Orwell’s powerful message is utterly lost.  

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The Benevolent & Protective Brotherhood of Them What Has Been Shot At


“Ya don’t git combat pay ’cause ya don’t fight.”

My dad and I went to a military vehicle and gear ‘swapmeet’ one weekend and I came across a book that I just fell in love with.  I really like politically-oriented cartoons and art and this book struck many beautiful chords with me.  It’s called Up Front and its written and illustrated by WWII’s famous rank ‘n’ file cartoon genius, Bill Mauldin.  It was written in 1944 while Mauldin was in Italy and France.  It’s essentially a long political and social diatribe to accompany 161 of his cartoon drawings, all of which give voice to the sardonic vignettes of ‘dogface’ infantry soldiers.   

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Word of the Week: Umoja


Swahili (or Kiswahili) functioned in the 1960s & 1970s as a symbol of  ‘Pan-Africanism’ and was employed by Ron Karenga*  in the creation of the Kwanzaa holiday rituals.

In addition, Swahili now functions in US pop culture as a catch-all African language.  The words below reflect both of these tendencies. 

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Say “Ouistiti!” for the camera!

Charles Timoney gives the would-be traveller in France some sage advice in his,  Pardon my French: Unleash your Inner Gaul published in 2008.  Excerpted below is one of his finds:

Should you ever be asked by a French person to take their photo in front of some famous monument somewhere, there is no point in pointing their camera at them and saying brightly, “Say cheese!”  For a start, if you stand in front of a mirror and say cheese with a silly French accent, it will not produce the photogenic rictus that you were hoping for.  The main problem, however, is that a French tourist will not be expecting to be asked to say “cheese” because in France,when being photographed, people say “ouistiti!”  Like “cheese,” the success of the photograph depends on the accent used when saying the word.  If you sayouitsiti – it means “marmoset,” by the way [a very small monkey from Central & S. America – The D.] – in a flat English accent reminiscent of the cartoon dog Droopy [?], you will look thoroughly miserable in the photo.  If, on the other hand, you say it enthusiastically in a strong French accent, the two last syllables force your mouth sideways into a broad grin.  Just in case you are planning on asking a French person to take your photo one day, there is a slight chance that in place of ouistiti he may let his fondness for things culinary win through and ask you to say “omelette!”

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Saluton de Esperantio!

Kar-a amik-o!

Mi present-as al mi kia-n vizag-o-n vi far-os post la ricev-o de mi-a leter-o.  Vi rigard-os la sub-skrib-o-n kaj ek-kri-os: “Cu li perd-is la sag-o-n?  Je kia lingv-o li skrib-is?  Kio-n signif-as la foli-et-o, kiu-n li aldon-is al sia-a leter-o?”  Trankuil-ig-v, mi-a kar-a!  Mi-a sag-o, kiel mi almenau kred-as, est-as tut-e en ordo.

al – to;  kia – what kind;  vizag- – face;  far- – to make;  kaj – and;  ek- – out;  li – he;  perd- – lose;  sag- – wise;  je – in;  kio – what;  kiv – which;  don- – give;  si – self;  ig – cause;  -u – imperative;  kiel – as;  almenau – at least

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