[Ads-l] Media request (Business Insider) about language and nature

Dan Goncharoff thegonch at GMAIL.COM
Tue Jul 24 22:20:35 EDT 2018


This question keeps making me think about the 100 words the Inuit don't
have for snow...

On Tue, Jul 24, 2018, 4:52 PM ADSGarson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com>
wrote:

> The reporter's example concerns regional differences. He presents the
> interesting thesis that the name "firefly" is favored in regions with
> wildfires and "lightning bug" is favored in regions with
> lightning-strikes.
>
> The reporters asks:
> > Do any other examples come to mind of the environment seeming
> > to dictate what we call something?
>
> Terms created via onomatopoeia are closely connected to the physical
> (auditory) environment. The terms vary based on language and region.
> Is it possible that some of the variation occurs because the sounds
> are different in different regions?
>
> The sounds made by a rooster are represented in many ways. Here is a
> non-academic webpage on the topic. ( I do not know if it is accurate):
>
> Cock-A-Doodle-Doo: Dialects of the Rooster
>
> http://www.bootstrappin.com/2008/10/cock-a-doodle-doo-dialects-of-the-rooster/
>
> There are different types of roosters. Do they make different sounds
> and are the sounds correlated with the words constructed via
> onomatopoeia in matching regions?
>
> Consider the sounds made while laughing. If these sounds vary between
> cultures and regions then one may ask whether these different sounds
> correlate with the words constructed via onomatopoeia in matching
> regions.
>
> I am not a linguist, and I do not know if research of this type has
> been conducted. If this topic has been explored then it may provide
> examples of interest to the journalist.
>
> Garson
>
>
> On Tue, Jul 24, 2018 at 3:49 PM, Baker, John <JBAKER at stradley.com> wrote:
> > Note that the example given by the reporter is a striking correlation:
> In parts of the country where there is relatively more risk from wildfires,
> bioluminescent winged beetles are known as “fireflies,” while in parts of
> the country where there is relatively more risk from lightning, they are
> known as “lightning bugs.”  This could, of course, be coincidence, but it
> also seems reasonable that people are subconsciously reminded of the
> locally more prominent risk when referring to these insects, though neither
> fire nor lightning is involved in any way.
> >
> > I don’t think the reporter is asking about the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis,
> though no doubt he would be interested in it if it is relevant in some way.
> >
> >
> > John Baker
> >
> >
> > From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On
> Behalf Of Galen Buttitta
> > Sent: Tuesday 24 July 2018 3:08 PM
> > To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
> > Subject: Re: Media request (Business Insider) about language and nature
> >
> > External Email - Think Before You Click
> >
> >
> > Does he mean Sapir-Whorf or is he asking about social/societal aspects
> (E.G. “slim Jim”, “lazy Susan”, “Watergate”)?
> >
> >> On Jul 24, 2018, at 11:16, Cohen, Gerald Leonard <gcohen at MST.EDU>
> wrote:
> >>
> >> This morning I received the request below from Mark Abadi of
> >>
> >> Business Insider, and with his permission I now forward it to
> >>
> >> ads-l. Can anyone on our listserv provide him any information?
> >>
> >>
> >> In a follow-up message he clarified:
> >>
> >> Essentially, my questions are:
> >> - In what ways does the natural world influence our language, on a
> >> dialectal level to specific words and phrases?
> >> - Do any other examples come to mind of the environment seeming to
> >> dictate what we call something?
> >> - Why is it important to know about the interplay between language
> >> and nature?
> >>
> >> I'm sure any assistance would be very gratefully received.
> >>
> >> Gerald Cohen
> >>
> >>
> >> ________________________________
> >> From: Mark Abadi <mabadi at businessinsider.com>
> >> Sent: Tuesday, July 24, 2018 9:29 AM
> >> To: Cohen, Gerald Leonard
> >> Subject: Request for comment on a dialect map — Business Insider
> >>
> >> Hi there Gerald, I'm a reporter with Business Insider, and one of my
> areas of coverage is language and linguistics.
> >>
> >> A recent tweet<
> https://twitter.com/Chasin_Jason/status/1018209864416362497<
> https://twitter.com/Chasin_Jason/status/1018209864416362497>> from
> meteorology researcher Jason Keeler caught my attention — he compared a map
> of where Americans use the terms "firefly" vs. "lightning bug" to a map
> showing wildfire and lightning-strike activity in the USA. Interestingly,
> there is strong overlap between wildfire country and 'firefly' country, as
> well as lightning country and 'lightning bug' country.
> >>
> >> I wanted to use Keeler's tweet to explore the interplay between
> language and nature, and wanted to know if you could offer a comment on the
> map. Basically, I'd like to ask about the ways the natural world has
> influenced our language, perhaps with some other specific examples, and
> what we can learn from them.
> >>
> >> Would you be available for a brief phone chat, no more than five or six
> minutes, sometime today? Let me know and we can figure out a time that
> works. Alternatively, if you know have someone in mind who you think is
> well-suited for a topic like this, feel free to send them my way. Hope to
> hear from you!
> >>
> >> Best,
> >>
> >>
> >> Mark Abadi
> >>
> >> Strategy reporter
> >>
> >>
> >> [
> https://docs.google.com/uc?export=download&id=1Sn9T_3XgKeR6F-qeusXInzzUfdaFEk_m&revid=0B_22AlI77aExWVVkMzFWczF3L0c4T0hKcFoxdU52amg2bUdRPQ
> <
> https://docs.google.com/uc?export=download&id=1Sn9T_3XgKeR6F-qeusXInzzUfdaFEk_m&revid=0B_22AlI77aExWVVkMzFWczF3L0c4T0hKcFoxdU52amg2bUdRPQ
> >]
> >>
> >> An Insider Inc. Publication
> >>
> >>
> >> C: 980-253-2849
> >>
> >> One Liberty Plaza, 8th FL, New York, NY 10006
> >>
> >> ------------------------------------------------------------
> >> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org<
> http://www.americandialect.org>
> >
> > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org<
> http://www.americandialect.org>
> >
> > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>
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> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
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