Thanks Much! On the Geography of Language

Thanks Much! On the Geography of LanguagePopcans
by Deborah Fallows
As we travel around America, I like taking stock of the linguistic landscape of the places we visit. By that I mean listening for the words and phrases, and the accents and idioms of the region. I also mean seeing the written language on the signs of shops, restaurants, and street names or in public places like museums, zoos, beaches, trash cans, and toilets. You never know what you’ll run into, but many nuggets offer clues about the local culture: who is living there, where they come from, and even how long they have been around and what they value or worry about.  (Read it here.)

Holland, ‘Snowmelt,’ ‘Patient Capital,’ and the Revival of Downtown

Holland, ‘Snowmelt,’ ‘Patient Capital,’ and the Revival of DowntownHolland3
by James Fallows
I’ve already mentioned several of the factors most striking about Holland on first exposure — its very strong local manufacturing base; the goods and bads of its highly religious, still Dutch-themed self-image and culture; the effects of a large migrant-worker and immigrant presence; the goods and bads of influential and very rich local industrial families; etc. For now I’ll talk about one other: the seeming health of its small-town downtown. (Read it here.)

Welcome to Holland

Welcome to Holland HollandStatue
by James Fallows
I realized recently that the professional activity I have done more frequently than anything else is exactly what we are undertaking now: Going some place unfamiliar and asking, What is going on here? I want to say something more about how that process works.  . . . The interaction of the planned and the unpredictable, serendipity and design, is the difference between the experience of seeing almost anything — a city, a country, a factory, a meeting — and just thinking about it and understanding it at arm’s length. (Read it here.)