11 July 2009

On My Mind

Not to get all hot and bothered over politics, but it's ridiculous. The press is getting this whole "Honduran struggle for democracy" all wrong. In a recent editorial by a Venezuelan journalist, the situation was clarified: we are witnessing the enormous courage of the Honduran people in the face of a den of miscreants that are putting all sorts of pressure on this country to collapse under the weight of Chavez' machinations. Well, Chavez and his OEA stooges weren't expecting the response they got--one that is uncharacteristically forthright and upstanding for a central American military (from my limited and stereotypical knowledge of history), which has sought to preserve the operations of democracy rather than rout them.

Those who are interested in following the situation more closely (believe me, socialism / communism is alive and well in this neck of the woods), you can follow it at "Honduras Abandoned," a blog run by an amateur journalist on the ground in Tegucigalpa whose reports have been more in accordance with the news reports here than on CNN and the NYT.


Also of interest is a recent article by a gal who is studying the effects of language on the processes of thought. This question delves deeply into how we understand ourselves and our relationship to truth, and being in the midst of rewiring my brain for another language myself, it does cast an interesting light on the process.

Believers in cross-linguistic differences counter that everyone does not pay attention to the same things: if everyone did, one might think it would be easy to learn to speak other languages. Unfortunately, learning a new language (especially one not closely related to those you know) is never easy; it seems to require paying attention to a new set of distinctions. Whether it's distinguishing modes of being in Spanish, evidentiality in Turkish, or aspect in Russian, learning to speak these languages requires something more than just learning vocabulary: it requires paying attention to the right things in the world so that you have the correct information to include in what you say.

Read the article in full here (it's pretty short):

"How Does our Language Shape the Way We Think?" by Lera Boroditsky

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