How To Irritate Europeans.

Most of this map (from Brilliant Maps) has nothing to do with language, but the few bits that do are funny enough I thought I’d post them here:

Bulgaria: Still use the Russian alphabet?
Portugal: Do you speak Brazilian right?
Turkey: Can you translate this Arabic sentence?

And yes, it’s odd they include Turkey but not Russia in “Europe.” Via Des Small at Facebook; he says “There’s nothing for Danmark, sadly, but perhaps that’s part of the joke. (There’s no need to make fun of Belgium, obviously.)”

Comments

  1. AJP Crown says:

    it’s odd they include Turkey but not Russia

    What about Finland innit.

  2. I guess they couldn’t think of anything funny to say about Finns.

  3. Trond Engen says:

    That’s not how to irritate a Norwegian.

  4. OK, how do you irritate a Norwegian?

  5. SFReader says:

    Technically speaking, Bulgarians ARE using the modern Russian Cyrillic, the so called “civil script” reformed by Peter the Great in early 18th century.

    In 1945, Bulgarians even removed several letters following the Bolshevik spelling reform of 1918.

  6. Trond Engen says:

    “Whaling is really not something a civilized nation would do.”

    “What’s the Nobel Peace Prize?”
    (“Oh, that thing in Stockholm!”)

    “This country is really ugly.”

    “… since Christopher Columbus discovered America.”

    “Bokmål/Nynorsk [depending on audience] is the most beautiful language in the world. You people don’t appreciate it enough.”

    “Flagvawing kids on the 17th of May gives me the creeps.”

  7. The mapmaker seem to have a very broad definition for “irritate”, ranging from teasing (“las Malvinas son argentinas”) to actual fighting words liable to provoke real anger in the wrong crowd (“Polish death camps”).

  8. Bbbut, “las Malvinas son argentinas” had provoked an actual war, while the other thing had not as of yet.

  9. What D.O. said.

  10. Trond Engen says:

    Flagvawing

    That’s a new one. I even corrected an error, in that word before posting, but apparently not well enough.

  11. AJP Crown says:

    Trond, “You people don’t appreciate Bokmål enough. It’s the most beautiful language in the world,” said no one. Ever. That would be like a Liverpudlian saying London is the most beautiful city in Europe or a Welsh person saying Londoners don’t appreciate Cockney enough.

  12. Trond Engen says:

    I know. But said by a foreigner it would irritate the right people.

  13. I once irriteed a marseillaise by speaking well of Paris.

    You can try to irritate Israelis by asking them about bagels and Yiddish, I suppose. Particularly non-ashkenazis.

  14. I just ran across this quote from the Montreal Gazette, which would certainly have irritated Tolstoy:

    How much can our attention spans shrink? Many warn we are already incapable of reading weighty novels like War and Peace. In fact, Dostoevsky probably couldn’t have written it either if he’d lived today and had to deal with e-mail.

  15. January First-of-May says:

    That’s a new one.

    I regularly try to spell “wave” as “vawe” (usually in compounds). It’s not immediately obvious in terms of mental pronunciation, but it looks weird enough that I can at least see that something is wrong.

  16. SFReader says:

    The guys who worry that new generation can’t read long novels probably never heard of Worm (Page count: 7,000 -1,680,000 words) – popular web novel three and a half times longer than War and Peace.

    Millions of teenagers born this century manage to read such oversized books without slightest trouble.

  17. David Eddyshaw says:

    My favourite from Yanko Tsvetkov’s Atlas of Prejudice, if only for its elegant simplicity, is The World According to Ancient China.

    Can’t find a good direct link, but it’s easily googleable.

  18. January First-of-May says:

    The guys who worry that new generation can’t read long novels probably never heard of Worm – popular web novel three and a half times longer than War and Peace.

    I have yet to read Worm (too depressing for my liking), but I have read several lengthy Worm fanfics, one of which, Taylor Varga, is in fact longer than Worm itself.

  19. “I regularly try to spell “wave” as “vawe” (usually in compounds). It’s not immediately obvious in terms of mental pronunciation, but it looks weird enough that I can at least see that something is wrong.”

    /ˈwaʊvɛlz/ WOW-vels for ‘vowels’ is the example I remember from a Persian teacher who had no particular reason to have good English pronunciation. I’m surprised not to see more of the confusion, there are not that many major world languages out there with both phonemic /v/ and phonemic /w/.

  20. nemanja says:

    Cyrillic was invented in Bulgaria, so at best you can say the Russians are using Bulgarian Cyrillic.

  21. January First-of-May says:

    Cyrillic was invented in Bulgaria, so at best you can say the Russians are using Bulgarian Cyrillic.

    …So it was. I always thought that it was invented in Solun (i.e. Thessaloniki, now in South Macedonia), but apparently that was actually Glagolitic.

    That said, as far as I understand it, the chain of transmission went like this:
    – ~9th century: Cyrillic invented in Preslav, Bulgaria
    – ~10th century: Cyrillic borrowed by the Russians
    – late 14th century: Bulgaria occupied by the Ottomans, Cyrillic starts to go out of use
    – 1708: Cyrillic reformed in Russia, many obsolete letters eliminated
    – 1877: Bulgaria liberated from Ottoman rule by Russians, adopts Russian-style Cyrillic [with one exception – Ѫ, eliminated in Russia in 1708]
    – 1918: several more obsolete letters eliminated in Russia
    – 1944-45: Bulgaria “liberated” from “Nazi occupation” by (Soviet) Russians, adopts the 1918 Russian spelling reforms [and gets rid of Ѫ]

    So it is true both that Russia is using Bulgarian Cyrillic, and that Bulgaria is (kind of) using Russian Cyrillic (technically still not “the Russian alphabet”, as three of the Russian letters are not used in Bulgarian).

  22. SFREader: it was mostly about what kind of printing presses were available in the early 19th century at first, with the civil script.

    And after the occupation in 1944 it was about subordination, so that you could type the same text in both Bulgarian and Bolshevik Russian on the same typewriter. Ѫ was replaced by Ы, which had become redundant in Middle Bulgarian, merged with И, and Ѣ was replaced with Э (no relation, Э was made up for Russian and its specific take on palatalization). Both letters were still needed because of variant pronunciations in different Bulgarian dialects. They had to make up rules as to what letter you replace them with in different phonetic environments that do not correspond with any Bulgarian dialect and still have not been appropriated in everyday speech.

    I, personally, ignore the 1945 reform when I want to make a statement against Soviet colonialism.

  23. David Marjanović says:

    the Bolshevik spelling reform of 1918

    Actually a bourgeois spelling reform of 1917, but not implemented until the general chaos was over.

    I’m surprised not to see more of the confusion, there are not that many major world languages out there with both phonemic /v/ and phonemic /w/.

    Those with only a native /v/ either go for /v/ consistently, or consistently hypercorrect to /w/. Those with only a native /w/ tend to keep the distinction by replacing /v/ with /b/… or at least the Japanese do.

    Cyrillic was invented in Bulgaria

    That just might be how to irritate a North Macedonian. 🙂

    (Cyrillic is sometimes claimed to have been invented by Clement of Ohrid… where everyone probably speaks Albanian now, which also just might be how to irritate a North Macedonian. Oh well.)

  24. David Marjanović says:

    Product of irritated Austrians. Amusingly, I found one not available in Austria, only in Germany and Switzerland…

  25. Actually a bourgeois spelling reform of 1917

    Cf. bezyatie.

  26. I don’t know how to irritate Americans in general. However, it’s shockingly common for American citizens from New Mexico to be asked about their citizenship, passports, etc.

  27. I’m not sure if Des is praising Danes for unflappability or being condescending. But that is fine.

  28. How to irritate Hawaiians: “have you ever visited he United States?”

  29. How to irritate Canadians: you can’t. They are too polite.

  30. John Cowan says:

    Ivan Derzhanski’s “History of Bulgarian Orthography”. It’s a bit hard to read because it’s all in ASCII; I keep meaning to recode the whole thing in Unicode plain text, but I never manage to get a round tuit.

  31. Stu Clayton says:

    The Spanish word for the electronic tweet.

  32. Bbbut, “las Malvinas son argentinas” had provoked an actual war

    Yes, a war the British won decisively several decades ago, D.O. Which is why bringing up that issue in 2019 tends not to make British very upset, if they care at all. The Falklands are hardly a flashpoint in British political life at this point.

    The phrase “Polish Death Camps” helped elect one of the most right wing illiberal political parties in Europe to power in Poland just a few years ago. It is more than an irritant.

  33. nemanja says:

    Albanian in Ohrid? I think you might be confusing it with another part of Macedonia.

    Yes, Macedonia. Modern Greeks called themselves Romans until not very long ago but they have the chutzpah to tell other nations what they should call themselves

  34. Mostly OT – How to irritate a Romance linguist (content warning: Voynich)

  35. David Marjanović says:

    You’re right, only 5.4% of the people in the region were counted as Albanians in the census of 2002.

    Come on, that was a bilateral agreement. Personally I think “North Macedonia” actually sounds a lot more irredentist than “Macedonia”, but if two countries agree on that as a compromise, I’m happy for them…

  36. John Cowan says:

    Well, there’s precedent. The old Duchy of Brabant was divided along religious and linguistic/cultural lines in the post-Napoleonic settlement, giving the United Kingdom of the Netherlands three provinces: North, Central, and South Brabant. When the union split for good in 1839, Protestant and batavophone North Brabant went with the Netherlands, where it remains today. Central Brabant, also batavophone but Catholic, was renamed Antwerp after its primate city, and South Brabant, Catholic but linguistically mixed, inherited the unqualified name Brabant. Nobody thought that was revanchist, but it was a little ironic that North Brabant and Brabant weren’t even adjacent.

    Luxembourg was split at the same time, the francophone east becoming a province of Belgium (which it still is) and the germanophone west becoming a Grand Duchy in personal union with the Netherlands. However, the Grand Duchy was Salic or Semi-Salic, so the personal union broke up in 1890 when the Dutch began their very successful run of queens. (My fave moment in Victoria was when Bertie, at age ten or so and told that he will be king one day, replies scornfully: “England doesn’t have kings. It has queens.” He was nearly right: in the 200 years since Victoria’s accession, the UK has had a queen 65% of the time, despite Bertie’s personal nine years as Edward VII.)

    Finally, in 1995 Brabant was divided into Flemish Brabant, part of the Flemish Region and Community; Brussels, physically an enclave of Flemish Brabant and officially bilingual but heavily francophone in fact, and Walloon Brabant, part of the French Region and Community. (The people of Brussels are part of the Flemish or French Community according to their language, but belong neither to the French nor the Flemish Region.) Ironically, much of Flemish Brabant is a bedroom community for Brussels, so it too is mostly francophone except around Leuven. So once again there is no Brabant any more.

  37. How much can our attention spans shrink? Many warn we are already incapable of reading weighty novels like War and Peace.

    As I look around at the popular media landscape of 2019, the most obvious conclusion is that it is an absolute non-starter to try to get people interested in huge multi-volume novels with hundreds of characters, all with unfamiliar, difficult-to-spell names, engaged in enormous and seemingly unending continental warfare.

  38. Yes, how would you have time to participate in discussions about language if you spent time on that sort of thing?

  39. Rodger C says:

    Surely you mean “francophone west” and “germanophone east.”

  40. I never manage to get a round tuit.

    Aha!

  41. John Cowan says:

    I have enough square tuits to write long LH comments, especially in the morning when it helps me to wake up (and undoubtedly seduces me into errors from time to time). But cyrillizing text is a much bigger deal, since I can’t touch-type Cyrillic even if I install a phonetic keyboard, and a virtual keyboard is way too hard for me to use.

    East and west for me are subtypes of left and right, which I can distinguish as bodily directions now (as a child I had to look at my thumbs, because only the left one bore a thumb-sucking callus), but the wrong word still comes out of my mouth/fingers more often than not.

  42. J.W. Brewer says:

    Presumably “North Macedonia” was somewhat less troublesome, irredentismwise, than hypothetical alternatives like “East Albania” or “Southwest Bulgaria.” Maybe “Central Rumelia”? That could have nicely suggested that each and every polity adjoining the Former FYROM (and maybe even a few farther afield?) was at risk of losing territory to a restored Greater Rumelia.

  43. Romania and Rumelia would be a nicely confusing pair to match Slovakia and Slovenia.

  44. AJP Crown says:

    North Macedonia:
    Is it a fruit salad?

    East and west for me are subtypes of left and right,

    I’ve always thought it really peculiar that aeroplanes are directed to turn left or right rather than being instructed by compass directions. As long as they’re horizontal it makes total sense spatially, but it’s still weird.

    which I can distinguish as bodily directions now (as a child I had to look at my thumbs, because only the left one bore a thumb-sucking callus)

    Me too! In my case it was a scar on my right thigh. Sixty years later I still sometimes consult my leg for left & right.

    but the wrong word still comes out of my mouth/fingers more often than not.

    Me too!

  45. vawe
    wovels

    The case I most typically trip on this on is “wery vell”.

    Annoying Finns, some popular approaches: “So how do you deal with all the polar bears?”; “Moomins / Nokia / Marimekko is such a great product of Japanese culture”; “Ei saa peittaa!”

  46. “Ei saa peittaa!”

    What’s the story with that?

  47. the wrong word still comes out of my mouth/fingers more often than not

    Happens all the time.

    Google:
    “Hakushu Higashi (east)”
    About 18 results
    “Hakushu Higashi (west)”
    About 86 results

    And higashi means ‘east’ (nishi is ‘west’).

  48. AJP Crown says:

    «Je dépense donc je suis » – Descartes de Crédit

    I felt we should all be aware of this well-used French pun, along the lines of ‘When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping.’

  49. Annoying Finns, some popular approaches

    And furoshiki, a great Finnish invention:

    The lineup consists of five patterns: Taimi (red), Satama (black), Nuppu (blue), Aika (green) and Kesa (pink). Patterns are based on the Finlandia Series of patterns designed by Juho Viitasalo. The patterns have been used in smart phone cases and other lifestyle products. The blue Nuppu pattern was used as the logo of Essence of Finnish Design and Culture exhibition in Japan in 2012. A limited-edition version of Nuppu furoshiki were sold at the event.

    https://viitasalo.com/juho/furoshiki.php

  50. AJP Crown says:

    The Norway? Is that in Denmark? prize goes to Marina Hyde in the Guardian for:

    Finally, Lost in Showbiz is very pleased to introduce the first new celebrity of its summer collection: the LA-based shaman Durek. His real name is Derek – but so what, because he’s in a multidimensional relationship with Princess Martha Louise of Denmark, and the “twin flames” want the world to know it.

    Not only have they announced it in a pair of highly idiosyncratic Instagram posts, but they will this weekend embark on a whirlwind tour of Norway entitled The Princess and the Shaman. In five cities, they will take paying ticket-holders “on a journey into the mysteries of life”.

    …Truly, it would be the greatest royal wedding ever!

    She’s Norwegian. And No, it wouldn’t. She retired from being a princess several years ago.

  51. Stu Clayton says:

    She has princeased ?

  52. Trond Engen says:

    Princess or not, there’s an emerging consensus that he’s now shaman Durex.

  53. What’s the story with that?

    Some decades back (60s–70s ish), there apparently used to be a Finnish heater brand popular in Central Europe, which included printed on the item itself the instructions ei saa peittää ‘do not cover’. This then ended up as the only Finnish phrase a lot of people knew. Fast forward a bit and this has been already since the 90s at least something a lot of Europeans will immediately blurt out as soon as they learn that their interlocutor is a Finn, as if it were a greeting or some other phrasebook entry … which seems to be as much of a meme by now as much as anything serving any communicative purpose. The phrase has no renown whatsoever in Finland itself, and for people who’ve not travelled much, it will be exactly as strange as running into a stranger in (rolls RNG) New Caledonia happily telling you “do not cover!” upon learning that you speak English.

  54. John Cowan says:

    Luxembourg was split at the same time

    I discover that this event was in fact the Third Partition of Luxembourg, which peeled away half the population at the time. The First Partition delivered 10% of the land area to France, the Second Partition in 1814 gave Prussia 24% of what was left (though some was reconveyed in 1919), and 65% of what was left passed to Belgium, leaving the Grand Duchy less than a quarter of its original size. For a place first mentioned by Julius Caesar, that’s quite a comedown.

    Romania and Rumelia would be a nicely confusing pair to match Slovakia and Slovenia.

    Or Syldavia and Slobbovia. The historian of the former is at pains to tell us (albeit only in a footnote) that King Ottokar, whose scepter was a requirement for his descendants to keep their thrones, had no connection whatever with the Přemyslid Ottokars, dukes and kings of Bohemia.

    “So how do you deal with all the polar bears?”

    I note that there are polar bears in Finland … three of them … in Ranua Wildlife Park, which sounds to me like it should be in Polynesia, but is in fact in Lappi province, otherwise known as “the northern third of the whole country”, though less than 4% of the population lives there.

    She retired from being a princess several years ago.

    Well, sort of. She no longer has the title Royal Highness and she does pay income tax, but she is still fourth in line for the Norwegian throne.

    a stranger in (rolls RNG) New Caledonia happily telling you “do not cover!” upon learning that you speak English.

    More likely he would earnestly warn you to keep away from direct fire or flame.

  55. David L says:

    “do not cover!”

    There’s an old SF novel — must be old because I haven’t read any remotely new SF — where people shout “quant. suff!” as an expression of approbation (unless it’s an expression of disapprobation).

    I want to say it’s by Alfred Bester but I could be completely wrong.

  56. ktschwarz says:

    You are right! The Stars My Destination.

  57. Yvy tyvy says:

    As I look around at the popular media landscape of 2019, the most obvious conclusion is that it is an absolute non-starter to try to get people interested in huge multi-volume novels with hundreds of characters, all with unfamiliar, difficult-to-spell names, engaged in enormous and seemingly unending continental warfare.

    True. However, perhaps such a tale could be adapted for modern sensibilities through the addition of copious sex and magic. Maybe add in a zombie or two for good measure.

  58. Christian Weisgerber says:

    Those with only a native /v/ either go for /v/ consistently, or consistently hypercorrect to /w/.

    Having progressed through both stages I can confidently state that I now interchange them freely… “Works very well”, oh boy, there’s a 1/2³=1/8 chance that will come out correctly.

  59. John Cowan says:

    The meaning is more like “Amen!”

    They were savages, the only savages of the twenty-fifth century; descendants of a research team of scientists that had been lost and marooned in the asteroid belt two centuries before when their ship had failed. By the time their descendants were rediscovered they had built up a world and a culture of their own, and preferred to remain in space, salvaging and spoiling, and practicing a barbaric travesty of the scientific method they remembered from their forebears. They called themselves The Scientific People. The world promptly forgot them.

    [They rescue Foyle from his disabled lifeboat and carry him on a litter.] A crowd around the litter was howling triumphantly. “Quant Suff!” they shouted. A woman’s chorus began an excited bleating:

    Ammonium bromide…………gr. 1½
    Potassium bromide………….gr. 3
    Sodium bromide……………..gr. 2
    Citric acid…………………….quant. suff.

    “Quant Suff!” The Scientific People roared. “Quant Suff!”

    Foyle fainted.

    He awoke again. […] A devil face peered at him. Cheeks, chin, nose, and eyelids were hideously tattooed like an ancient Maori mask. Across the brow was tattooed J♂SEPH. […]

    “We are The Scientific People,” J♂seph said. “I am J♂seph; these are my brethren.”

    He gestured. Foyle gazed at the grinning crowd surrounding his litter. All faces were tattooed into devil masks; all brows had names blazoned across them.

    “How long did you drift?” J♂seph asked.

    Vorga,” Foyle mumbled [the name of a ship with which he is obsessed].

    “You are the first to arrive alive in fifty years. You are a puissant man. Very. Arrival of the fittest is the doctrine of Holy Darwin. Most scientific.”

    “Quant Suff!” the crowd bellowed.

    J♂seph seized Foyle’s elbow in the manner of a physician taking a pulse. His devil mouth counted solemnly up to ninety-eight.

    “Your pulse. Ninety-eight-point six.” J♂seph said, producing a thermometer and shaking it reverently. “Most scientific.”

    “Quant Suff!” came the chorus.

    J♂seph proffered an Erlenmeyer flask. It was labeled: Lung, Cat, c.s., hematoxylin & eosin. “Vitamin?” Joseph inquired.

    When Foyle did not respond, J♂seph removed a large pill from the flask, placed it in the bowl of a pipe, and lit it. He puffed once and then gestured. Three girls appeared before Foyle. Their faces were hideously tattooed. Across each brow was a name: J♀AN and M♀IRA and P♀LLY. The “O” of each name had a tiny cross at the base.

    “Choose,” J♂seph said. “The Scientific People practice Natural Selection. Be scientific in your choice. Be genetic.”

    As Foyle fainted again, his arm slid off the litter and glanced against M♀ira.

    “Quant Suff!”

  60. John Cowan: I seem to remember I talked to Ivan Derzhanski about fifteen years ago about Lojban.

  61. Owlmirror says:

    How much can our attention spans shrink? Many warn we are already incapable of reading weighty novels like War and Peace.

    As I look around at the popular media landscape of 2019, the most obvious conclusion is that it is an absolute non-starter to try to get people interested in huge multi-volume novels with hundreds of characters, all with unfamiliar, difficult-to-spell names, engaged in enormous and seemingly unending continental warfare.

    As the noted conlang reviewer Dothraky Porer might have put it (but almost certainly didn’t):

    These are not books to be tossed aside lightly. They should be throne with great force.

    (One might make some sort of ludic competition of it)

  62. Bathrobe says:

    How many people actually read War and Peace anyway? I would suggest it is a relatively small segment of the population (not vanishingly small, but relatively small), generally skewed towards those who are into that sort of stuff. I wager that far more people read pulp fiction (including detective novels, etc.) than read War and Peace. Has the Internet shrunk the readership of War and Peace amongst those who earlier might have read it? That is the question.

  63. Michael Eochaidh says:

    @Y: Canadian politeness just means that we don’t *show* you how irritated we are.

    There are too many immigrants here for that to be true anyway (I’m one of them).

  64. John Cowan: I just randomly visited Mark R.’s site and saw your name. Your take on the culture test for NY. I’ve never been to North America, and the people I know from there (from/have lived in) are from/have/are living in either New England, California, Arizona, Vancouver, Chicago, or Detroit, or Memphis, or Toronto. But I don’t know anyone who has lived in New York.

    EDIT: you should tell Mark to fix the encoding: “In particular, you don’t look at people when you pass them in the street — being ignored is the only kind of privacy many New Yorkers have.”

  65. John Cowan says:

    That’s an em dash (—), and it looks fine to me. How does this one look to you?

  66. JC: —

    LH’s em dashes come through just fine.

  67. Lars (not the original one) says:

    @John Cowan: Your em-dash looks fine here, but messed up when Gary quotes it.

  68. Owlmirror says:

    If I view the page [ https://zompist.com/nyccult.html ] in Firefox, I see “Latin Small Letter A with Circumflex,Euro Sign,Right Double Quotation Mark” sequences in various places.

    If I view the page in Chromium, I see perfectly cromulent mdash characters in those same locations.

    In Firefox, if I use the right mouse button menu and choose “View Page Info”, I see that the “Text Encoding:” says “windows-1252”.

    In Firefox, I have the top menu enabled. I can do View->Text Encoding, and see that it says “Western”, with “Unicode” as an option. If I change to Unicode, the “Latin Small Letter A with Circumflex,Euro Sign,Right Double Quotation Mark” sequences all mysteriously change to mdash characters.

    If you view the page source, many errors can be seen (bold red markup). If you hover over a bold red tag, a title-tag tooltip comes up explaining why the browser thinks that there’s a problem. For example:
    The first line has a tooltip saying: “Saw “<?”. Probable cause: Attempt to use an XML processing instruction in HTML. (XML processing instructions are not supported in HTML
    The second line (the opening HTML tag) has a tooltip saying: “Start tag seen without seeing a doctype first. Expected “<!DOCTYPE html>“.

    And so on and so forth.

    If I load the page with the Console, the first error states:

    The character encoding of the HTML document was not declared. The document will render with garbled text in some browser configurations if the document contains characters from outside the US-ASCII range. The character encoding of the page must be declared in the document or in the transfer protocol.

  69. Owlmirror says:

    Headers for languagehat.com. Note explicit Content-Type declaration that characters are UTF-8


    HTTP/1.1 200 OK
    Server: nginx
    Date: Sun, 19 May 2019 06:08:17 GMT
    Content-Type: text/html; charset=UTF-8
    Transfer-Encoding: chunked
    Connection: keep-alive
    Vary: Accept-Encoding
    Vary: Accept-Encoding,Cookie
    Cache-Control: max-age=3, must-revalidate

    Headers for zompist.com. Note absence of Content-Type.


    HTTP/1.1 200 OK
    Date: Sun, 19 May 2019 04:28:56 GMT
    Server: Apache/2.4.39
    Last-Modified: Sat, 22 Sep 2018 06:49:03 GMT
    ETag: "40a6-5767026db2fd4"
    Accept-Ranges: bytes
    Content-Length: 16550
    Content-Type: text/html

    Yet why does Firefox default to windows-1252? Aha. There’s a parameter, visible in about:config:

    intl.fallbackCharsetList.ISO-8859-1, set to windows-1252

    It looks like changing Firefox’s default behavior is kind of hairy. Changing the Apache server looks much easier:


    AddDefaultCharset utf-8

    Of course, that won’t fix the broken HTML on the pages.

  70. Actually the page uses an XML declaration to specify UTF-8 encoding, but it’s served as text/html so Firefox rightfully ignores that and gives you the warning about “<?”. Which is new. Life is hard. And then the <HEAD> tag is not the first thing in the document, which it would have been if the XML tag had been interpreted as such, so you get the next warning.

    Adding <meta charset="utf-8"/> to the top of the page (after the <head> tag, but within the first 1024 bytes) is probably what can be implemented with the least access to server internals.

  71. The <HTML> tag, I mean. And putting in the <!DOCTYPE html> that it asks for will give you more consistent results across browsers, though it may not be the same results as now…

  72. Athel Cornish-Bowden says:

    How to irritate Hawaiians: “have you ever visited he United States?”

    I don’t know often that question is asked in practice in Hawaii, but in Tenerife (and doubtless in the other Canaries) visitors do often get ask how far from Spain they are.

  73. Athel Cornish-Bowden says:

    I once irriteed a marseillaise by speaking well of Paris.

    I’m a Marseillais by adoption. I don’t think most people mind if you say nice things about Paris, but it’s best not to say nice things about Parisians. If you’re a supporter of Paris St Germain you should keep quite about it, so don’t say “PSG is the greatest football team in the universe.”

  74. Last week, I was talking to a colleague who is a L1 Spanish speaker from Puerto Rico. He was telling us about the animosity between the bilingual native Puerto Rican kids and the military brats on the island when he was growing up. However, he referred to the L1 English speakers as “American kids.” He is, of course, an American citizen himself, a fact of which he can hardly be unaware, since he has lived on the mainland for eight years and travels internationally with an American passport.

    As I was thinking about how long this colleague had lived outside Puerto Rico, I realized that I now know professional faculty colleagues who were born after the end of the Cold War. When I started as a professor, it was jarring to have students that age, although it looks like this summer, I will probably have my first students born after 9/11.

  75. SFReader says:

    How many people actually read War and Peace anyway?

    I managed to get my cousin to read it. She was fourteen at that time, so when she asked what it was about, I explained that it was a love story.

    and told her about Pierre and Natasha.

    She apparently liked my explanation and finished it in a week.

    Really loved it.

  76. SFReader says:

    I suggest publishers should market War and Peace as just another Regency era romance paperback and put it on the shelves between Jane Eyre and Mansfield Park…

  77. Hey, there are battle parts too. They say that schoolboys read the battle parts and schoolgirls the romantic parts. So it’s basically Harry Potter of 19c.

  78. John Cowan says:

    However, he referred to the L1 English speakers as “American kids.” He is, of course, an American citizen himself,

    Sometimes American just means ‘mainstream’ or ‘other’. My father was born in South Philadelphia in 1904, then heavily Irish. He told me that he rarely saw an American until he went to college.

Speak Your Mind

*