The Daily Show has announced Jon Stewart’s replacement, and Trevor Noah has accepted the honor of manning the desk on The Daily Show when Stewart retires later this year. This news makes me ambivalent. I had hoped that Tina Fey would get the slot, as I believe she’d be great at it. On the other hand, Noah has shown himself to be very adroit at handling exactly the sort of situations that The Daily Show offers.
Although no one remembers it (well, almost no one), there was a host before Jon Stewart. And now we know there’ll be one afterwards. Life goes on, etc. But I will miss Jon mugging behind the desk, taking the edge off what often turns out to be horrifying news.
The King is dead. Long live the King…
Source: New York Times
For a definition of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, see “bigotry”…
Not all people who speak a language speak it the same way. A language can be subdivided into any number of dialects which each vary in some way from the parent language. The term, accent, is often incorrectly used in its place, but an accent refers only to the way words are pronounced, while a dialect has its own grammar, vocabulary, syntax, and common expressions as well as pronunciation rules that make it unique from other dialects of the same language. Another term, idiolect, refers to the manner of speaking of an individual person. No two people’s idiolects are exactly the same, but people who are part of the same group will have enough verbal elements in common to be said to be using the same dialect.
Three things are needed for a new dialect to develop: a group of people living in close proximity to each other; this group living in isolation (either geographically or socially) from other groups; and the passage of time. Given enough time, a dialect may evolve to the point that it becomes a different language from the one it started as. English began existence as a Germanic dialect called Anglo Saxon that was brought to England by invaders from Germany. The Anglo Saxon peoples in England were now geographically isolated from their cousins in Germany which allowed the dialects to evolve in different directions. Other invaders would also influence the development of English with their languages until the modern English we speak today has become so different from the modern German spoken in Germany that a speaker of one cannot understand a speaker of the other. Thus English and German are considered to be two distinct, though related, languages. The other modern languages in this family are Dutch, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, and Icelandic.
This issue of mutual understandability is what in theory is used to determine what is a dialect and what is a language, but in reality there are social and political issues involved too. The government of a country might declare that all the languages spoken in that country are actually dialects of one language in order to create the illusion of polital unity, while the government of another country might declare that the dialect spoken by its people is actually a unique language from other countries that speak dialects of the same language in order to create a sense of national pride. History is full of governments that have tried to impose a single language on all of its people with varying results: sometimes the minority languages go entirely extinct, sometimes they are reduced to surviving only as dialects of the majority language, and sometimes new languages are unintentionally created by a blending of the two languages.
For no particular reason except that I thought this was interesting, and since I have lived and visited all over this country, I have heard many of these accents.
If you’re as tired of the original as I am, this might brighten up your weekend. Otherwise, just keep on moving your bass along. These are not the droids you’re looking for…