Categories
language

Words Men and Women Recognize

It turns out gender matters in our ability to recognize certain types of words. I found it rang true for me; what the heck is “taffeta”? Before today, I probably wouldn’t even have identified as a real word.

The Center for Reading Research (a research group connected to the Department of Experimental Psychology of Ghent University) believes that to figure out how our brains are wired when it comes to reading, one must first look at our ability to identify real words. One result of their experiment is a list of words with the strongest identification disparity between men and women:

We listed the words with the biggest recognition gap between gender below, along with numbers in parenthesis showing the percentage of men who knew the word followed by the percentage of women.

Here are the words that men were most likely to recognize over women:

codec (88, 48)
solenoid (87, 54)
golem (89, 56)
mach (93, 63)
humvee (88, 58)
claymore (87, 58)
scimitar (86, 58)
kevlar (93, 65)
paladin (93, 66)
bolshevism (85, 60)
biped (86, 61)
dreadnought (90, 66)

Here are the words women are most likely to recognize over men:
taffeta (48, 87)
tresses (61, 93)
bottlebrush (58, 89)
flouncy (55, 86)
mascarpone (60, 90)
decoupage (56, 86)
progesterone (63, 92)
wisteria (61, 89)
taupe (66, 93)
flouncing (67, 94)
peony (70, 96)
bodice (71, 96)

The male words tend to center on transportation, weapons, and science, while the female words mostly relate to fashion, art, and flowers.

Read more at Business Insider.

Taffeta, by the way, is a crisp, smooth, plain woven fabric made from silk or cuprammonium rayons. The word is Persian in origin and means “twisted woven.”

Which list holds the majority of the words you recognize?

(Via)

Categories
culture language

Saint Jean Baptiste Day 2011 in Lethbridge

Once again this year, the ACFA Regionale de Lethbridge is hosting a Saint Jean Baptiste Day celebration. It’s going to be held this Friday, June 24, 2011 at Cite des prairies — Mayor Magrath & 6th (it’s the French school / community centre) from 3:00pm to 10:00pm.

Please come out to the free celebration and enjoy:

“Bbq, inflatable games, drinks, face paint, free shows including the multilingual world beat musical band from Edmonton : Le fuzz. There will be more…!”

St Jean 2011 Lethbridge

St. Jean Baptiste Day, it turns out, started out over 2000 years ago in the pre-Christian Europe as a pagan solstice celebration originally held on the 21st of June. With the arrival of Christianity the holiday was moved a few days later and has been celebrated on the 24th ever since.

Here is some other interesting info I picked up on the web:

In the beginning, Saint-Joseph had been designated as the patron saint of New France (just like Saint-Patrick is to Ireland). The problem was that his Holy day is in March and the Quebec climate during that time of the year is not very favourable for celebrating. It is for this very practical reason that Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day became more popular, the end of June being a great time to have fun outside. Today, the holiday has lost its religious meaning but has kept its traditional name.

You know that whole, “Kiss me, I’m Irish” meme? I wonder if a t-shirt reading, “Kiss me, I’m French” would work and do you think it would be rude to expect a “French” kiss? It seems reasonable.

Lastly, if you are not in a place that celebrates St. Jean Baptiste, then you can at least appreciate some Quebecois culture with this recipe for poutine, a traditional French Canadian delicacy.

Poutine (Canadian fried potatoes with gravy and cheese curds)
Poutine (poo-TEEN, or puh-TSIN) is a popular fast food in the French-speaking Canadian province of Quebec. The name means “mess” in French, and that it is. Poutine’s popularity has spread throughout Canada since the dish first appeared in the 1950s. This recipe makes 2-3 servings.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 pounds French fries, cooked and hot
2 cups Cheddar cheese curds, broken into chunks
2 cups hot, Beef gravy

Place the hot French fries in a large bowl or individual serving bowls. Sprinkle over the cheese curds, then pour over a liberal amount of the hot beef gravy. Serve with a fork.

Poutine
Photo by Jeff Milner 2010

Pictured above is some poutine I had the last time I was in Quebec. Yum.

(Previously)

Categories
language

It Turns Out

When I read Douglas Adams’ The Salmon of Doubt, I really liked his take on the phrase “it turns out” and have attempted to incorporate it into my lexicon.

“Incidentally, am I alone in finding the expression “it turns out” to be incredibly useful? It allows you to make swift, succinct, and authoritative connections between otherwise randomly unconnected statements without the trouble of explaining what your source or authority actually is. It’s great. It’s hugely better than its predecessors “I read somewhere that…” or the craven “they say that…” because it suggests not only that whatever flimsy bit of urban mythology you are passing on is actually based on brand new, ground breaking research, but that it’s research in which you yourself were intimately involved. But again, with no actual authority anywhere in sight.”

Here’s a great little blog post from jsomers.net on the usefulness of the sneaky phrase, “it turns out“.

Categories
biology language

X-Ray Animated Gifs

Check out this tremendously interesting x-ray image made for speech research by Christine Ericsdotter:

x-ray animated speech

Christine Ericsdotter says “bÃ¥de” (“both”). The sequence is an excerpt from a 20 second X-Ray film registred at the Danderyd Hospital in Stockholm in March 1997.

And a couple more:

Categories
games language

100 Common Words

How many of the top 100 most common English words can you guess?

I got more than I expected with 72.

(via the now defunct j-walkblog.com [http://j-walkblog.com/index.php?/weblog/posts/guess_100_words/])

Categories
language

Idea: AJAX Definition in a Toolbar

Most of the tech savy folks of the world are aware of the convenience of AJAX responses in a Google Suggest search. As you type, Google offers suggestions.

This feature is built into the Google Toolbar search that I have installed in Firefox. I love it, but what we really need in addition to the suggestions is a definition of the word as you type.

Categories
language life travel

Exploring the Explore Program

I’ve had a letter from the Alberta government sitting on my table for the last couple days. Seeing it sitting there made me realize I should be more diligent in my letter opening consistency but I’ve developed a Pavlovian response that most of the time snail mail = bills, credit card applications, and a minefield of potential paper cuts. I decided today that I needed to turn over a new leaf and stay on top of the old-fashioned post.

I am pleased to say that this particular letter was, in fact, very good news. I’ve been accepted to the 5 week Explore program at Université Laval in Quebec City, Quebec (I wrote about it here). I am so excited!

The government funded French immersion program runs from July 3rd to August 4th, which is great, but as far as timing goes might make getting a job right out of University a little more difficult. At least this is a rather positive dilemma—you can’t really complain when everything seems to be going your way.

A friend of mine was giving me a bit of a hard time saying that if I move to Quebec I’ll become an official frog.

If I’ve learned anything from a lifetime of watching TV it’s that Princesses love to kiss toads (which are basically frogs, just less good looking) so if all goes according to plan, this could be the best five weeks of my life!

More updates as I get them.

Categories
language

Jeff Milner’s Free Gmail Account Giveaway – The Results!

It’s the moment I know you’ve all been waiting for … All 6 of you. The results are in and without further ado here they are:

Matt Oneiros:
25 / 25 for explaining why you think I should give you a Gmail invite
200 / 200 for first and last name and email address
15 / 15 for being a blogger account holder and not posting anonymously
5 / 5 for having a blog
70 / 70 for posting both a regular link and a permanent link to my site
35 / 50 for the limerick. You didn’t get a full score because shock and cough don’t really rhyme. :)

Matt’s total: 350.

Melinda Anderson
25 / 25 for explaining why you think I should give you a Gmail invite
200 / 200 for first and last name and email address
15 / 15 for being a blogger account holder and not posting anonymously
5 / 5 for having a blog
70 / 70 for posting both a regular link and a permanent link to my site though the permanent link should have been to http://www2.memlane.com/jmilner and not to the specific post but that’s ok you still got full points.
45 / 50 for the limerick, missed out on a perfect score because of one extra sylabel in the last line.

Melinda’s total: 360.

Richard Biggs
25 / 25 for explaining why you think I should give you a Gmail invite
200 / 200 for first and last name and email address
15 / 15 for being a blogger account holder and not posting anonymously
5 / 5 for having a blog
20 / 70 for posting a link to my site
50 / 50 Nice poem Biggs.

Richard’s total: 315.

Chris Newhouse
25 / 25 for explaining why you think I should give you a Gmail invite
200 / 200 for first and last name and email address
15 / 15 for being a blogger account holder and not posting anonymously
5 / 5 for having a blog
70 / 70 for the links. I would have given you more for this one but I clearly stated my max was 70 – and I’m sad that I can’t because you really went the extra mile, thanks Chris!
35 / 50 The syllables are a little off and I’m sorry but skull and soul don’t rhyme — and I’m just curious but what does a foot killing a skull have to do with anything? :)

Chris’s total: 350.

Alex Ware
15 / 25 for explaining why you think I should give you a Gmail invite
200 / 200 for first and last name and email address
0 / 15 Weak Alex… setting up an account takes seconds and you don’t have to have a blog to have an account.
0 / 5 for not having a blog. Remember it’s never too late to start a blog.
0 / 70 no links
15 / 50 Interesting structure and an ok poem but not really a limerick.

Alex’s total score: 230.

CJ Castillo
25 / 25 for explaining why you think I should give you a Gmail invite
200 / 200 for first and last name and email address
15 / 15 for being a blogger account holder and not posting anonymously
5 / 5 for having a blog
70 / 70 for posting both a regular link and a permanent link to my site
45 / 50 I can’t justify a perfect score, because even though you went the extra mile to include the fact that I am a lifeguard there are too many syllables on the second last line.

CJ’s total score: 360.

And the final results:

1st place: Melinda Anderson & CJ Castillo

2nd place: Matt Oneiros & Chris Newhouse

3rd place: Richard Biggs

4th place: Alex Ware

Since you guys were all good sports, and since I know someone else with extra invites, you all get an invite! Some of you said you would “do the right thing” and give your future invites to strangers on the web also begging for accounts, but I say they are your (future) invites so do with them as you please. :)

I hope every time you check your Gmail you’ll think to yourself — Jeff Milner is such a great guy. Actually no, make that every time you check your new Gmail account you can think to yourself how much better you are than all the other people who had a chance to be a part of Jeff Milner’s Gmail giveaway but were too lazy to come up with a limerick. Thanks again guys for being in my contest. Look for another contest when I have more invitations.