I’m Published!

My hometown paper, the Daily Times Herald in Carroll, Iowa, did me the honor of asking me to write an Op-Ed piece on why I think we should learn other languages. It’s a bit long, but they decided to run the full version with very few, minor cuts.

I hope you enjoy it! As always, I welcome any feedback you might have.

Why You Should Know More than One Language

Michael

BTW

Obiter dictum /{smm}o{shtu}b{shti}d{schwa}r {sm}d{shti}kt({schwa})m/ – [< classical Latin obiter dictum something said by the way < obiter OBITER adv. + dictum DICTUM n.]

An incidental statement or remark; something said by the way. Freq. (Law): an opinion expressed by a judge in discussing a point of law or in giving a judgment, which is not essential to the decision, and which therefore lacks binding authority.

Alpha-whaaa?

Ever wondered how the ABC’s became the ABC’s?  Was English always written like it is today?  The answer is a resounding “Nope!”  The Alphabet of today has gone through a lot of changes over the centuries.  To catalog all of those changes would take a lot more time than I have available at the moment, so in this installation, I’ll just show you a couple of interesting things about Runes and their relationship to our current writing system.

The Runic alphabet is sometimes called “fuþorc” [futhorc] after the first 6 letters, much like our “ABC’s” comes from the first 3 letters and “Alphabet” comes from “Alpha Beta” from the Greek writing system.  Futhorc was used by the Anglo-Saxons to write Old English and other languages.  Can you see any similarities between the Runes and modern English letters?

Here’s a brief glimpse into the history of a couple of letters that are no longer used in modern English.

Paraprosdokian

Emo Philips - master of paraprosdokian

Paraprosdokian – (from Greek: “para” meaning “beyond” and “prosdokian” meaning “expectation”) a figure of speech, often utilized in humor, in which a sentence or phrase ends in an unexpected in a way, causing one to reinterpret the first part.  I’m quite fond of using these, myself.

Here are some well-known examples:

  • “Take my wife, please.” — Henny Youngman
  • “Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.” — Groucho Marx
  • “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the precipitate.” — Henry J. Tillman
  • “I like going to the park and watching the children run and jump around, because you see, they don’t know I’m using blanks.” — Emo Philips
  • “I went to a restaurant that serves ‘breakfast at any time.’  So I ordered French Toast during the Renaissance. — Steven Wright
  • “I used to do drugs. I still do, but I used to, too.” — Mitch Hedberg
  • “I belong to no organized party. I am a Democrat.” — Will Rogers
  • “If I am reading this graph correctly, I would be very surprised.” — Stephen Colbert
  • “If I could say a few words, I would be a better public speaker.” — Homer Simpson
  • “It’s too bad that whole families have to be torn apart by something as simple as wild dogs.” — Jack Handey