ITAWT ITAWA PUDYE TTATT: The Secret Language of the Skies

ITAWT ITAWA PUDYE TTATT: The Secret Language of the SkiesWooly
by Deborah Fallows
Aviation has a lot of special language, like sailing or gymnastics.  Its brief, even curt efficiency and orderly templates keep planes on course and out of each other’s way.  Short. To the point. Unambiguous. No small talk to clog up the frequency. But there is one special set of aviation jargon, more alien than the concocted vocabulary of Esperanto and more bizarre than patterned wordplay of Pig Latin or Id.  This is the lexicon of waypoints, which are the road markers in the sky for directing planes on a course. (Read it here.)

Magical Roundabouts and the Language of Signs

Magical Roundabouts and the Language of SignsBookstore1
by Deborah Fallows
I noticed signs that target two subsets of the upscale population of Burlington: the literati and the affluent Canadian tourists (which may overlap). Just have a look at themed Eat-Pray-Love knock-offs: the savvy bookstore, whose patrons would recognize the allusion; the wine store with their connoisseurs; and finally, the ice cream shop of Burlington’s own favorite sons, Ben & Jerry.  (Read it here.)

How to Make Nice with the Call Center

How to Make Nice with the Call CenterWelcomeSF   When we arrived in Sioux Falls, I was very excited about hearing the Dakota accent. Think Frances McDormand in the movie Fargo. Or try listening to the language in this mash-up video (not embeddable) between McDormand and Sarah Palin.  Those “O’s” ; the friendly “you betcha’s”!  Having spent 7 formative childhood linguistic years in nearby Minnesota, I find the Dakota way of speaking familiar and comforting. (Read it here.)

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.)