Category Archives: Language

The Supposed Deterioration of English

“The common language is disappearing. It is slowly being crushed to death under the weight of verbal conglomerate, a pseudospeech at once both pretentious and feeble, that is created daily by millions of blunders and inaccuracies in grammar, syntax, idiom, metaphor, logic, and common sense …. In the history of modern English there is no period in which such victory over thought-in-speech has been so widespread. Nor in the past has the general idiom, on which we depend for our very understanding of vital matters, been so seriously distorted.”
—A. Tibbets and C. Tibbets, What’s Happening to American English?, 1978

“Recent graduates, including those with university degrees, seem to have no mastery of the language at all. They cannot construct a simple declarative sentence, either orally or in writing. They cannot spell common, everyday words. Punctuation is apparently no longer taught. Grammar is a complete mystery to almost all recent graduates.”
—J. Mersand, Attitudes toward English Teaching, 1961

“From every college in the country goes up the cry, ‘Our freshmen can’t spell, can’t punctuate.’ Every high school is in disrepair because its pupils are so ignorant of the merest rudiments.”
—C. H. Ward, 1917

“The vocabularies of the majority of high-school pupils are amazingly small. I always try to use simple English, and yet I have talked to classes when quite a minority of the pupils did not comprehend more than half of what I said.”
—M. W. Smith, “Methods of Study in English,” 1889

Unless the present progress of change [is] arrested … there can be no doubt that, in another century, the dialect of the Americans will become utterly unintelligible to an Englishman ….
—Captain Thomas Hamilton, 1833

Our language is degenerating very fast.
—James Beattie, 1785

Lyrical Abstraction Scale

1 – Chant the ingredients of a box of pasta

2 – Marin Marais – “Tableau of a Bladder Operation” (straightforward catalogue of events)

3 – Bob Dylan – “The Hurricane” (straightforward editorial)

4 – 50 Cent (featuring Olivia) – “Candy Shop” (thin metaphor)

5 – Beatles – “Blackbird” (riddle-like text, but more straightforward than “Who by Fire”)

6 – Leonard Cohen – “Who by Fire” (riddle-like text)

7 – Don McLean – “American Pie” (difficult metaphors throughout)

8 – Counting Crows – “Omaha” [highly abstract, but with recognizable patterns and possible theme(s)]

9 – Beatles – “I am the Walrus” (intentionally abstract)

10 – Ella Fitzerald – “One-Note Samba” (scat vocal)

Yael Naïm’s “Paris” with Hebrew, Romanized Hebrew, and English


ברחתי למקום אחר כל כך מהר הכי רחוק שרק הצלחתי ואני בפריז
Barachti lemakom acher kol kach maher hachi rachok sherak hitslachti veani bepariz
I ran to a different place so far / As far as I could / And I’m in Paris

האורות דולקים אפור ועננים אני שמחה וטוב לי אבל כל כך קר לי בפריז
Haorot dolkim afor veananim ani smecha vetov li aval kol kach kar li bepariz
The lights burn grey and clouds / I’m happy and feel good but I’m so cold / In Paris

מסתובבת סחור וסחור בסמטאות קסומות מכושפות בולעות אותי אני בפריז
Mistovevet schor uschor besimtaot ksumot mechushafot bol’ot oti ani bepariz
Turning round and round in enchanted spell bounded alleys swallow me / I’m in Paris

בניינים יפים אתם זקנים ואצילים כל כך אבל האם תחממו אותי בפריז
Binyanim yafim atem zkenim veatsilim kol kach aval haim techamemu oti bepariz
Beautiful buildings you’re old and so noble / But will you keep me warm / In Paris?

Loin de ma maison à Paris
Far from my home, in Paris

באתי עד לכאן להסתנוור קצת אשליה יפה שלי נסי לתפוס אותי אני בפריז
Bati ad lekan lehistanver ktsat ashlaya yafa sheli nasi litfos oti ani bepariz
I came here to get a bit blinded / Beautiful illusion of mine, try to catch me / I’m in Paris

שוב הולכת לאיבוד חלום עצוב אני כבר מפורסמת ושומעים עלי כאן בפריז
Shuv holechet leibud chalom atsuv ani kvar mefursemet veshom’im alay kan bepariz
Getting lost again / Sad dream. I’m famous already / And they know of me / Here in Paris

עכשיו הקול שלך לוחש לי מרחוק אני מתגעגע בואי תחזרי אלי כבר מפריז
Achshav hakol shelcha lochesh li merachok ani mitgaagea boi tachzeri elay kvar mipariz
Now your voice is whispering to me from afar / "I miss you, come back to me already from Paris.

אני אוהב אותך אני אוהב אותך אני אוהב אותך אני אוהב אותך ופריז
Ani ohev otach ani ohev otach ani ohev otach ani ohev otach vepariz
I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you and … And Paris"

Loin de mon amour à Paris
Far from my love, in Paris

אם כל כך טוב לי פה אז למה שוב אני בוכה ומשתגעת
Im kol kach tov li po az lama shuv ani bocha vemishtagaat
If it’s so good for me here then why am I crying again?

Oui je suis si heureuse alors pourquoi la nuit je pleure?
Yes, I am so happy, so why am I crying at night?

מתגעגעת בפריז
Mitgaagaat bepariz
Longing in Paris

שמש מאירה אותי מהחלון ועוד מעט ארגיש כבר את החום
Shemesh meira oti mehachalon veod meat argish kvar et hachom
Sun awakes me from the window and soon I’ll feel the warmth

המטוס נוחת ואין כבר עננים האושר מחלחל שוב לתוכי שלום פריז
Hamatos nochet veeyn kvar ananim haosher mechalchel shuv letochi shalom pariz
The plane is landing and there are no clouds / Happiness percolates into me again / Goodbye Paris

Learn Spanish with M. Pasteur

Pasteur — El Libro

Sometimes pronouns in the quizzes do not match those used in the book; this is intentional and was done for variation. Sometimes phrases are used in the quizzes rather than individual terms; this is to contextualize words/phrases that might be difficult alone.


  1. quiz
    Buscando aire puro
    ¡Tenía que ser cierto!

  2. quiz
  3. El gran debate
    La clave para entender las enfermedades

  4. quiz
  5. Enemigos
    El microscopio

  6. quiz
  7. Los trabajos de Spallanzani sobre los microbios
    ¿Existe la generación espontánea?

  8. quiz
  9. Los microbios se dividen
    La teoría de los gérmenes

  10. quiz
  11. El joven Pasteur
    A París

  12. quiz
  13. De nuevo en París
    Primeras investigaciones

  14. quiz
  15. Cristales y luz
    La primera aventura Continue reading Learn Spanish with M. Pasteur

The Shema

Deuteronomy 6: 4–9
דברים פרק ו פסוקים ד-ט

Masoretic Hebrew to
word-by-word English translation,
with audio, romanization,
and English translation

Hashem Israel listen
is one
our God

audio listen
שמע ישראל יהוה אלהינו יהוה אחד׃
romanization Sh’ma Yis’ra’eil Adonai Eloheinu Adonai echad.
English Listen, Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.

Continue reading The Shema
"Hashem" means "the name." Many Hebrew speakers use "Hashem" or "Adonai" instead of "יהוה" to show their respect to God by not taking his name lightly and only using the proper name in prayers.

El Cápac Ñan


El Cápac Ñan es el nombre que se les da al extenso sistema de caminos, eje principal de la red viaria del Imperio inca. Todos los caminos del imperio se vinculaban con el Cusco, la capital imperial, de donde se desprenden una serie de caminos que unen los distintos pueblos del Imperio Inca. Durante el Tahuantinsuyo constituyó un medio de integración para el desarrollo de la cultura andina en los aspectos político–administrativo, socioeconómicos, sociales, culturales y ambientales. Fue usado por los conquistadores españoles para dirigirse a Bolivia, Chile y las pampas cordilleranas argentinas.


From where does “Jamba” “come.”

Hi, Jamba Juice! Holy smokes what delicious juice!

Hey, what does “jamba” mean?

Somebody on the Internet says that “Jamba,” in West African, means “celebration.” Yeah right! “West African” isn’t even a language, random Internet person!


Mmm-mmm! Love that juicy goodness!

Did you know that there’s a place in Angola named Jamba? According to some other Internet person, to Angolans, “jamba” means “elephant.”

Sluuuuuuuuuuuuuurp! That’s me with some delicious Elephant Juice. (If that’s what it is. Is it?)


Did you know you can use Google Translator to see what “jamba” means in Swahili? Neither did I. You should try it, though, if you haven’t already. (Hint: it means “fart.”)

Hello Clifton,

Thank you for taking the time to contact us and for the compliments. Over the years, Jamba has worked very hard to formulate a balance between taste and health and we are very excited about all of the new products we have brought into our stores.

Jamba is derived from the African word jama, which means “to celebrate.” We added a “b” to make Jamba.

We’re delighted to have you as a Jamba customer and we’re looking forward to the next time we serve you.

Jamba Juice
Guest Services

“Inspiring and Simplifying Healthy Living for over 20 years.”

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