January 7, 2016 § Leave a comment
I stumbled upon these two commercials from AT&T. I’m not sure what demographic they’re going for, but they got my attention.
The first one shows us a fun (but possibly expensive) custom from Greece. The second lets us hear that girl-next-door Lily Adams speak Russian. Turns out that the actress who plays Lily, Milana Vayntrub, was born in Uzbekistan, moving to California at age three.
November 4, 2015 § Leave a comment
Paddington is one of my favorite movies that I saw last year. Much more than just a kids’ movie, it was nominated for best film at the UK’s 2015 Empire Awards, and won for best comedy. It also carries a 98% rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
The story in a nutshell is this: When Paddington comes to London, it’s not quite what he’s heard it would be. And as if it weren’t enough of a culture clash for an orphan bear to arrive in the big city, this cub comes from “Darkest Peru.”
If you haven’t seen the movie yet, you should. It’s a great family film for Christmas time. And if you have seen it, here are some clips to refresh your memory.
First Contact: Meeting the Brown Family
BSL: Bear as a Second Language
Bathroom Etiquette: Those Aren’t Ear Brushes.
Sign Language: Why Do I Need a Dog for the Escalator?
[photo: “Paddington Bear Trail, Special Delivery By Ben Whishaw,” by Martin Pettitt, used under a Creative Commons license]
July 3, 2015 § Leave a comment
Here are 4 new advertisements in honor of the 4th of July. The first one actually commemorates the 4th. The others actually don’t. But it’s not July 1, so I needed 4 of them.
4 de Julio
Who knew that Honey Maid makes documentaries? This one’s about American immigrants. “When you first come here to America, you’re kind of like invisible. You don’t seem to be noticed, but at the same time you see that they’re looking at you.”
Last year, Brazil’s CNA language centers put English learners in contact with senior citizens in the US. Now they’re having them answer phoned-in pizza orders from the States. By staying on the line, customers can get their pizzas free. It’s a win-win with double cheese.
Are We There Yet?
You can use this to each your kids how to be annoying in five languages. This one came out late last year, but it’s new to me, which leaves me wondering: Have you seen it yet? Have you seen it yet? Have you seen it yet?
Great Chinese Names for Great Britain
“This was the first time in history that a country had invited the citizens of another to come up with names for its major landmarks.” What say we pop over to the Street for the Tall, Rich, and Handsome?
By the way, just in case you’ve never heard it asked before: Do the British have the 4th of July?
Of course they do. What else would come after the 3rd?
June 13, 2015 § 2 Comments
My son pointed me to The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, where John Koenig creates words to name before-unnamed emotions and ideas. Many of them are melancholy, such as amenuerosis, “the half-forlorn, half-escapist ache of a train whistle calling in the distance at night”; and chrysalism “ the amniotic tranquility of being indoors during a thunderstorm. . . .”
Others are more on the humorous side. For instance, a reverse shibboleth, is “the practice of answering a cellphone with a generic ‘Hello?’ as if you didn’t already know exactly who was calling . . .”; and lalalalia is “the realization while talking to yourself that someone else is within earshot, which leads you to crossfade into mumbled singing. . . .”
Expats have their own feelings and experiences that are yet to be named, and I think this needs to be remedied. So while I don’t have Koenig’s talent, here are a few of my offerings:
the condition by which your over preparation for answering an expected question in another language overwhelms your auditory senses and you answer the query you’ve anticipated, no matter what is actually said, as in responding to “How many would you like?” with “Yes, but no ice, please.”
the glorious sound of the immigration agent thumbing through your passport looking for an empty page—and then adding the stamp that says you’re free to enter.
gazing out of an airplane window, seeing the new landscape below, and feeling joyfully overcome with the real and imagined possibilities.
the act of trying to predict which agent in the office will be the most likely to give you your visa or other important document and then conducting complex calculations concerning the number of people in line in front of you to see if you will get the agent you hope for. A domestic version of this is sometimes encountered in the DMV.
the physical and mental reaction that occurs when you realize that the chocolate-covered, cream-filled donut that you just took a bite of is in fact not a donut and that’s not chocolate and the filling might very well have gristle in it.
Finally, here’s one more from Koenig: onism
May 9, 2015 § Leave a comment
While some given names in English have recognizable meanings (e.g., Hope, Pearl, Colt), for most, the definitions come from non-English origins and are long forgotten.
So when we look at the list of top-ten baby names for 2014, announced yesterday by the Social Security Administration, we don’t think much about the meanings behind them. We’re more inclined to think about their sounds or the feelings they evoke or maybe people we know of with the same names.
But the meanings are meaningful, so here’s the list from the SSA . . . with a twist. Instead of showing the names themselves, I’ve lined up those meanings.
The Boys’ names are first, then the girls’.
It’s rather poetic.
(If this reverese-look-up-style list leaves you in the dark, I’ve got the actual names and their languages of origin, too. Just use your cursor to highlight the list, and they’ll magically appear.)
Rest Hebrew: Noah
Will and protection Irish, Germanic: Liam
Stoneworker French: Mason
Deceiver Hebrew: Jacob
Desire and helmet Germanic: William
Enduring Hebrew: Ethan
Who is like God? Hebrew: Michael
Defender of man Greek: Alexander
Supplanter Hebrew: James
God’s judgment Hebrew: Daniel
Universal Germanic: Emma
Olive Latin: Olivia
Wisdom Greek: Sophia
God is her oath Hebrew: Isabella
Giver of life Hebrew: Ava
Rebellious Hebrew: Mia
Rival Latin: Emily
Father’s joy Hebrew:Abigail
Child of God’s gift English: Madison
Man Germanic: Charlotte
(Doug Walker, “Two New Arrivals: Our New Blog and Top Ten Baby Names for 2014,” Social Security Matters, May 8, 2015)
[photo: “Baby N – 5 Days New,” by RebeccaVC1, used under a Creative Commons license]
Three Ads: Pretentious Pronunciations, a Never-Before-Seen Oz, and a Lying Dad (get a Kleenex for the last one)
March 14, 2015 § 2 Comments
I don’t have much of an intro for this—just that I saw these three commercials on Adweek, and I like them.
The first one gives us the “correct” pronunciations of some brand names—many are foreign, and expensive. I sometimes pronounce Adidas as “Ah-dee-dahs” just as a joke, because it rhymes with la dee das and sounds so highfalutin. Didn’t know how cultured I am. After hearing several of the “right” pronunciations, my eight year old said, “Yeah, I think people are going to stick with the old ones.”
The next one is an extended commercial that gives the back story for Comcast’s XFINITY, a system that lets blind people select their own movies. Watching this is a step beyond seeing the world through other’s eyes—especially since that world is Oz.
And this last one is from MetLife Hong Kong. Made me cry . . . each of the four times I’ve watched it so far.