OK, so it has been a while. I'm trying to gear up for more writing here. Meanwhile I posted this on Facebook this morning, edited a bit:
The Cranky Linguist
Observations, thoughts, reminiscences, and occasional rants on anthropology, linguistics, old-time banjo, and anything else that crosses my path...
Wednesday, May 10, 2023
Wednesday, May 11, 2022
Last night (May10) on The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, law professor Lawrence Tribe described republican efforts to drag women back to pre-Roe days as "Neandertal." I just want to go on record as saying that the Neandertals were very likely nowhere near as misogynistic as these thugs.
Saturday, February 5, 2022
Guest blog: On Whoopi Goldberg and the "race" thing
My Anthropology colleague Daniel Cring posted this on Facebook a couple days ago and I thought it best go up here as well.
Friday, January 28, 2022
Some things that are pissing me off
"America." The people who have these red MAGA hats and other paraphernalia have no idea that "America" refers to not just the United States, but to the whole hemisphere. And for the most part they don't care. What they want to "make great again" is just the little part of America that's in the US.
And actually, they can't even do that, because the US has never been "great," and therefore cannot be made "great" again. The US has, for its entire existence, been a nation built on exploitation, oppression, genocide, and internal colonialism; a nation built on two kinds of slavery: chattel slavery (people owning people), and wage slavery (people owning other people's labor).
Republicans. The people who yell "Make America Great Again" the loudest have no intention of actually doing so. They continue to block: efforts to raise the minimum wage, and thus make wage slavery a little less onerous; efforts to put in place a truly sane national health care system by eliminating the "health insurance" industry; attempts to reform laws regarding the possession of firearms; elimination of student debt and extension of free public education to college/university; elimination of medieval restrictions on women's reproductive health care (and why are males even a part of this conversation?); etc.
Critics of Critical Race Theory. As far as I can tell, these critics don't understand the terms "critical," or "race," or "theory."
China. Yeah, China, for its obviously genocidal treatment of the Uyghurs, but also for its stupidity in mistaking communism for fascism.
Владимир Путин. He's on my list for wanting to reconstitute the old CCCP by armed force instead of making Russia a place these other countries, like Ukraine, want to hang with.
The Vaccine Refuseniks. These people who equate remaining unvaccinated with "freedom" and "liberty" are killing us. And they're pissing me off. If nearly all of them had gotten vaccinated when the rest of us did, we'd probably be pretty much over this thing. You know, like how we're over smallpox, and polio, and etc.
Educational administrators at every level. Mark Twain wrote: "In the first place, God made idiots. That was for practice. Then he made school boards." See the recent spate of Boards removing books like Maus (about the Holocaust) from their curricula, or banning use of the word "gay" in classes. People on these boards seem to work under the illusion that children are snowflakes. Well, they aren't. They're tough. They can take it, often better than their parents.
This is only a partial list; I'll be back.
Tuesday, November 2, 2021
Opening for Linguistic Anthropologist at University of North Florida
The Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work at the University of North Florida invites applications for a full-time, nine-month, tenure-track faculty member in linguistic anthropology at the level of Assistant Professor to begin in August 2022.
Wednesday, September 15, 2021
- [They] ...survived being chained to other human bodies for several months in the bottom of a disease-infested ship during the Middle Passage, lost their language, customs and traditions, picked up the English language as best they could while working free of charge from sun up to sun down...
I'm sorry, but this is very misleading. The slaves off the boats still knew their languages and where they were from (although the countries they were did not exist in their present form). They passed this knowledge down as best they could. The descendants of slaves that I worked with in the Caribbean use words from African languages in their daily speech, as do many African Americans*. Where I worked, many people had a tradition of knowing what African ethnic group their ancestors came from (Kongo, Igbo, Mandingo, Yoruba, etc.). The Gullah people near where I am now (Northeast Florida) have hundreds of African words in their everyday speech. The idea that all this rich culture and language was erased by slavery is a convenient myth promulgated by whites; and it's been totally disproven by anthropologists (I am one) and others.
There was pushback:
- [They] ... were taken to central slave-exporting ports, from where they were forced aboard TransAtlantic transport ships under brutally inhumane conditions. The "passengers" typically were a mixture of tribes and languages. Of course they lost their language, customs, and traditions.
- You are purporting that the enslavement of Africans did not deprive them of their language, culture or traditions because they have managed to retain a small remnant of each. That's preposterous.
Do you eat okra? The plant and the name for it come from West Africa (Igbo language). Have you ever called peanuts goobers? The plant is American, of course, but its African name (nguba) comes from Kikongo. Watch the Living Dead? Zombie is from Kikongo zumbi or nzambi. And on and on....
The more interesting (to me) influences of West African are in the grammars developed by the slaves and their descendants. That would be a whole 'nother thread I think, but one example: The West African languages I've studied don't have the English th sounds. So in the encounter, English words get reworked and th sounds become t or d: the > de; this > dis; and so on. Exactly this sort of thing was used by the racists to label Blacks "lazy"- because they didn't always pronounce our th's. Some said they couldn't make these sounds because they had "lazy tongues" or "thick lips." Of course, they can learn to make them because they are Homo sapiens. But it was (and sometimes still is) grist for the racist mill.
Saturday, August 21, 2021
So the SASW Department gave me a retirement send off yesterday. Very relaxed and informal, and with kind words. They know I like primates, so they gave me what appears to be a Spider Monkey and donated a brick in my name to the Jax Zoo. Little do they know I’ll be around a lot, cleaning 32 years of experience out of my office. Thanks, Everybody!
OK, so it has been a while. I'm trying to gear up for more writing here. Meanwhile I posted this on Facebook this morning, edited a bi...
I only have time for a short note, but I need to get this unbottled. I am becoming ever more disappointed, frustrated, even angered by the...
Last night (May10) on The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, law professor Lawrence Tribe described republican efforts to drag women ...
I may write more about this later, but for now just examine the differences. Later... (added on Oct 9, 2010): Essentially, in apes the l...