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July 02, 2013

A Rose Is A Rose - Or Is It?

William Shakespeare uses the line "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet" as a part of a dialog in Romeo and Juliet, in which Juliet argues that the names of things do not matter, only what things "are". But...

...is that really true?

I sometimes wonder how different my life would be if I had a 'normal' name like 'Bill' or 'John'. With a name like 'Morf' I just can't blend in - but then again, I'm not sure I really want to.

But what about names of things? Or places? Or even objects? Or how we label or categorize people? Or music? Or regions of the world?

How different would our lives be if we would have been born in another country? Or even if our country had a different name?

By some strange series of historical events, I, because I was born in, and have lived most of my life within the borders of the United States of America, get to call myself an 'American'.

The reality is that anyone from Mexico, Canada, Peru or Brazil is also certainly as 'American' as I am, but somehow the name is recognized as specific to those identified with the USA.

Here is an exploration of the concept of how much we are influenced by the name of any given thing. You might be surprised at how much a name really matters. You can see the article here - http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/elements/2013/06/psychology-language-power-of-names.html?
And, for something completely different, here's a link to a site of popular book titles; with one letter missing. Be sure to notice the book covers - http://www.pleated-jeans.com/2013/07/01/book-titles-with-one-letter-missing-20-pics/.

Be sure to send us any language usages or historical nuances that interest you, and be sure to let us know what it is about language learning that you find confounding, infuriating or endlessly intriguing.

Listen, read and speak. Make your new language your own.


Also: for the first time in several years, Morf is available this July and August (and possibly even for a new full-time position) to visit your school or program, or even host or be a guest on your radio program. You can contact him at mmorf@mail.com. As you can probably guess, Morf can talk or teach about just about anything related to language learning, linguistics and cultural changes.

Posted by mmorf at July 2, 2013 01:21 PM


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