Language thoughts

Most of you know by now that I have a slight language obsession, particularly with French and English.

I’ve always wanted an online resource that would tell me how to pronounce the more difficult French words I encounter. Finally, I found this Text-to-Speech utility that features both Metropolitan and Canadian French pronunciations, as well as American, British and Indian English, German, and Latin American Spanish.

And as long as we’re talking about Indian English, I usually find many of its particularities to be rather annoying (mostly because the cause confusion), but I love the word eggatarian. For French variations, I love the Swiss and Belgian septante and nonante and the Swiss huitante, as well as the Canadian clavarder.

Cooking Oil and Indian Education

Recently, the New York Times ran two articles about Indian education. The first presents it as the envy of even Japan, while the second highlights its weaknesses. It’s an interesting study in contrasts.

Also in the New York Times is this article about the rising price of cooking oil. Apparently it’s oil (of one sort or another) that makes the world go round.

This post refers to:

Fackler, Martin. Losing an Edge, Japanese Envy India’s Schools. New York Times. January 2, 2008.

Sengupta, Somini. Education Push Yields Little for India’s Poor. New York Times. January 17, 2008.

Bradsher, Keith. A New, Global Oil Quandary: Costly Fuel Means Costly Calories. New York Times. January 19, 2008.

Hinduism goes Disney

I just read this article in this mornings New York Times. I find it vaguely disturbing. I’m not sure if I think god and disney shouldn’t be mixed, or if it’s just the idea of things that once seemed unchangeable and immovable are now changing—and being disneyfied no less.

This post refers to:

Allen, Jonathon. The Disney Touch at a Hindu Temple. New York Times. June 8, 2006.