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Entries by tag: language

Two things make two-thirds of a post

Detective Comics #1000 was unexpectedly not bad. The general tone of the stories was hopeful (or at least as hopeful as Batman stories can get), and a couple were Very Batman ones, for personal values of Batman.

Also, courtesy of Wikipedia's daily email, the Names of Istanbul page. It turns out that the official renaming from "Constantinople" to "Istambul " only happened officially in 1930, much later than I had thought. On the other hand, "Istanbul" is a variant of the Turkish for, literally, "The City", and had been the informal name in Turkish for the city since even before 1453 (and, in Greek, even before that).

Istanbul means "The City." And it has been called "the city" for a long time regardless of the language.

I'm oversimplifying and focusing on a very narrow slice of a complex and certainly ambiguous history, but, gods, isn't that something?

Um.

Phatic expressions are common, but I found myself the other day thinking that we have phatic interactions — long conversations that are the linguistic equivalent of Hello, and even, whispered the least social parts of my brain, phatic social relationships.

The concept isn't necessarily a disparaging one; like any protocolar (even in the Computer Science meaning of it) activity, it's absolutely necessary, and like any non-representational activity, it can also be profoundly creative. The minor, meaningless courtesies of strangers interacting briefly for the first and last time in their lives can be very meaningful indeed, both for good and for ill.

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