Posts Tagged ‘language’

German dialects and migration: How linguistic variations affect where Germans choose to live (Economist)

Friday, August 13th, 2010

201012eum978[Editor’s note: Sprechen Sie Deutsch? I keep returning to this article from the Economist from earlier this year in March. You might also enjoy: What’s the point of counties? (UK) and The English apple season starts – though they’re hard to find.]

Republished from the Economist.

FEW Germans now say Appel rather thanApfel (apple) or maken instead of machen(to make). The north German dialects that use such variants are mostly dead or dying. But the cultural differences that they reflect still govern behaviour today, says a paper from the Institute for the Study of Labour, in Bonn*.

Acting on imperial orders in the 1880s, a linguist called Georg Wenker asked pupils from 45,000 schools across the new Reich to translate standard German sentences into local dialect. The results were used to compile an atlas of linguistic diversity. The new paper shows that Wenker’s dialect regions still define the comfort zones in which Germans prefer to live. When people migrate within Germany, they tend to go to places where dialects resemble those spoken in their home region 120 years ago.

German dialects, formed by geography and political and religious fragmentation, express deep-seated cultural differences. These persist even though borders between petty princedoms are invisible (and often no longer audible). Even small differences count. Swabians share Baden-Württemberg with Badeners. Both spoke Alemannic dialects. But Swabians, who say Haus (house), have a bias against living in the neighbouring old grand duchy, where they say Huus.

That trade is livelier among regions that share a language is well known. The paper’s authors think they are the first to find a similar effect within a single language in one country. They measure migration not trade, because the data are better and cultural factors matter more. The best predictors are still Wenker’s maps. “Even when we don’t speak dialect, the cultural territory is still there,” says Alfred Lameli, one of the authors.

Does this confuse cause and effect? Regions may have similar dialects because earlier generations migrated and their descendants follow suit. To rule this out, the authors looked at the way communist East Germany weakened social links that encourage migration. After unification, they found, the old migration patterns came back, suggesting that migrants respond to cultural factors more than to social ties. It seems that neither television, nor the autobahn, nor even the Kaiser, has created a single country in Germany.

*“Dialects, Cultural Identity, and Economic Exchange” by Oliver Falck, Stephan Heblich, Alfred Lameli and Jens Südekum, IZA, February 2010

How Do You Pronounce That Placename? (Forvo)

Friday, August 7th, 2009

forvologo is an amusing site allowing users to upload recordings of how they say names (try Appalachian) around the world and compare it with others (and see everyone on a map). We all have accents, yo!

Greek To Me: Mapping Mutual Incomprehension (StrangeMaps)

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

[Editor’s note: This cartogram shows which languages cultures point to when they “just don’t get it”. Thanks Michael!]

Republished from StrangeMaps.
Originally published February 26, 2009.


“When an English speaker doesn’t understand a word of what someone says, he or she states that it’s ‘Greek to me’. When a Hebrew speaker encounters this difficulty, it ’sounds like Chinese’. I’ve been told the Korean equivalent is ’sounds like Hebrew’,” says Yuval Pinter (here on the excellent Languagelog).

Which begs the question: “Has there been a study of this phrase phenomenon, relating different languages on some kind of Directed Graph?” Well apparently there has, even if only perfunctorily, and the result is this cartogram.

Continue reading at StrangeMaps . . .

ActionScript 2.0 to ActionScript 3.0 Migration (Flashcoder)

Monday, July 28th, 2008

[Editor's note: I'm just getting the hang of AS2 and now it's time to learn AS3 to take advantage of the speed optimizations and new features only available in AS3 like the Google Maps Flash Component. The languages are just enough different yet the same to be a pain. This tip sheet should ease the transition.]

Republished from

Full list there in a prettier graphic design table format. Example below, partial for the MovieClip class. Hyperlink goes to Adobe documentation for property.

AS2 MovieClip Class
AS3 flash.display.MovieClip

Note: Many of the MovieClip methods have been moved to other
classes in AS3. All event handlers have been replaced by event objects in
the new event model.

_alpha Property
Moved to DisplayObject class. Initial underscore in name

blendMode Property

cacheAsBitmap Property

_currentframe Property[read-only]
Initial underscore in name removed.

_droptarget Property[read-only]
Moved to Sprite class, initial underscore removed from
name, and changed to CamelCase.

enabled Property
Moved to Sprite class.

filters Property

Property Removed.

_focusrect Property
Moved to InteractiveObject class, removed initial
underscore from name, and changed to use camelCase.

_framesloaded Property[read-only]
Removed initial underscore from name, and changed to use

_height Property
Moved to DisplayObject class, removed initial underscore.

_highquality Property
Removed.hitArea Property
Moved to Sprite class.

_lockroot Property

menu Property

_name Property
Moved to DisplayObject class. Removed initial underscore
from name.

opaqueBackground Property

_parent Property
Moved to DisplayObject class. Removed initial underscore
from name.

_quality Property

_rotation Property
Moved to DisplayObject class. Removed initial underscore
from name.

scale9Grid Property

scrollRect Property
Changed to data type Rectangle.

_soundbuftime Property
Moved to Sound class, and renamed to full wording without
initial underscore.

tabChildren Property

tabEnabled Property

_target Property[read-only]

_totalframes Property[read-only]
Removed initial underscore and changed capitalization.

trackAsMenu Property

transform Property

_url Property[read-only]

useHandCursor Property

_visible Property
Moved to DisplayObject class and removed initial underscore
from name.

_width Property
Moved to DisplayObject class and removed initial underscore
from name.

_x Property
Moved to DisplayObject class and removed initial underscore
from name.

_xmouse Property[read-only]
Moved to DisplayObject class, changed name to mouseX and
removed initial underscore from name.

_xscale Property
Moved to DisplayObject class, changed name to scaleX and
removed initial underscore from name.