Saturday, October 6, 2007

Chavs and Dolls

When I ride my bicycle to school, I must pass through an area of working class inhabitants of Norwich known as CHAVS. Clearly, this is a rough (by Norwich standards, certainly not by West Philly standards) part of town, but it comforts me to know that these people don't own guns. Yes, I've been hollared a a few times, typically by kids in their early teens, and one went so far as to kick a rock at my bicycle, but there haven't been any major incidents. It saddens me to know that these kids will all probably drop out of school by age 16, when their compulsory education period is complete. What really baffles me though is their language. As I ride my bike, I cannot understand for the life of me the conversations that I overhear from these people. They have their own tongue, filled with slang words that are more foreign to me than Spanish, Italian, or French!

Never a fan of Noam Chomsky's political ideologies, I rebelled against studying linguistics in any form at Penn - also because I fulfilled my mathematics requirement with Math 170 - the best/easiest course ever, titled Explorations in Mathematics - that prevented me from having to fulfill the rigorous requirements of an Intro. to Linguistics course. I was searching through the library the other day, and came across Bill Bryson's book, Made in America. This work is nothing short of amazing, and I am only halfway through it. The purpose of Made in America is to discuss the linguistic differences between British English and American English as described through the historical origins of thousands of words. As a humorist, Bryson is second to none, and as a historian, he has debunked many myths that Americans take as fact (everything from Columbus discovering America to Goodyear inventing the tire). In short - I don't care if you are British or American or Chinese, add this book to your personal reading list!

Thursday was the birthday of my illustrious housemate and future pop star, Christopher Snape. Please listen to his catchy tunes here:

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