Is e-mail becoming obsolete? Some believe that, but there are e-mail newsletters that continue to do the hard work of curation for us. Here are a few I have been enjoying recently:
Everything Changes from the Awl— the theme changes, the frequency changes. You never know what to expect. This week there is a list of “tiny kindnesses” that people noticed. Here are a couple:
Make Your Point — to improve your vocabulary. I posted about this in January.
The Daily Pnut — a daily update of important news, curated for you, from sites like BBC, NYT, the Atlantic,
Elevator Grooves — the name here is still “Sweet Chili” but it’s now called “Elevator Grooves” and is from the Daily Pnut people, a weekly collection of songs you may not have heard. A couple of weeks ago I found some great Cuban music I didn’t know about thanks to them, and was reminded about how perfect for this time of year the Buena Vista Social Club is. The same day I was playing their music again, after forgetting about them for years, this documentary happened to be on TV. Kismet.
This video has five parts.
First: people who create languages for movies and TV.My favorite part of this interview is that the first step in creating a language is not the alphabet or vocabulary, or the grammar, or the sound system; it’s the people. Because if you have a language but no community in which it is used, then what’s the point, right?
I also like how the 5th step they describe is history. It’s a reminder that languages change over time, and we must change with it.
The second part is about Pokemon and 和製英語 (which many people call “Japanglish”).
Part 3 is about a young woman in Peru who is trying to preserve a dying Incan language through pop music.
Part 4 is about a man who speaks 32 languages. He’s a “hyperpolyglot” and his answer to the question, “Can you learn a language just by sitting around studying?” was:
The more languages you can speak and understand, the wider your perspective will become.
It may feel a little unnatural to speak in English or another language you’re learning with your Japanese classmates, but it’s a good chance to practice; for some, it’s practically your only chance.
He also is asked “What’s the most complicated langauge to learn?” What do you think his answer was? Watch to find out.
The last part is about a Deaf poet who performs slam poetry. This section talks about how the rhyming in these performances is more about poetry in movement than in sound. (Why I capitalized the word “deaf” here.)
This cover of Dave Brubeck’s famous “Take Five” by the Sachal Studios Orchestra from Pakistan feels even more like early summer to me than the original.
Compare to the original:
More about both:
We’re talking about music, and how to use music to learn languages, in some classes this week and next. One thing you can do is find different versions of the same song and compare them. So of course I have to use this song as an example: Prince’s “Nothing Compares 2 U”. How would you compare these 4 versions?
Chris Cornell’s cover, from 2015. Prince died last year. Now Cornell is gone, too. 😔
Sinead O’Connor’s version, from 1990. This really brings me back.
Coldplay’s tribute to Prince, with James Corden (of Carpool Karaoke fame):
Here are the lyrics for Sinead O’Connor’s version. The others are slightly different.