Thursday, September 29, 2011

On the Myth of Multitasking - Introduction

This entire post is, for the time being, an unproven assertion. Since our second son, Étienne, was born on August 29 (and even before, because my wife was in the hospital with complications for a time), my blogging has been intermittent at best. Why? Because multitasking is a myth.

There are several problems with that statement, none of which dissuades me from making it but all of which I would nonetheless like to probe, if for no other reason then to get myself back into the habit of blogging.

One problem is the widely held folk belief that certain people (women, in particular) can multitask.

Another problem is the fact that, well, in a sense we can all multitask. After all, I currently have three programs open on my laptop, some with multiple windows for a total of five windows.

The main problem, then, is the linguistic one. It is the problem that derails and renders ludicrous so many discussions between intelligent adults. The problem: what do I mean by "multitasking"? It does not have one static meaning, as much as I might try to argue for one. So to discuss the statement "multitasking is a myth," we need to agree upon the following process:

1) I explain what I mean by it.
2) You accept my definition as the topic of discussion.
3) We then use it to evaluate the statement.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

More on Proverbs 22:6

Proverbs 22:6 featured in a post a while back , and here are just a few more thoughts about the verse for today.

Proverbs 22:6 is one of those verses that seems very clearly to mean one thing and one thing only, but actually has a whole host of interpretations that different folks have come up with over the years (and decades, and centuries). Here are the primary options that I remember from a class I once took on the Poetic Books--which one do you tend to gravitate towards?
  • If children are trained as they should be, they will turn out right.
  • Children should be trained differently, each according to his or her own needs.
  • Children will follow whatever training they receive, good or bad.
  • The verse refers primarily to academic training.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Some Pedagogically Heretical Questions

Should we really be requiring students in university to take a language even if they might choose not to were they given the choice?

Should we really be requiring students to take several courses at the same time?

El Grito de Independencia 2011

Hoy sí es el día de Independencia en México. Aquí paso el grito de anoche del presidente de la República mexicana, Felipe Calderón.



Thursday, September 15, 2011

¿El Día de Independencia de México?

No es hoy. Según Wikipedia, fue el presidente mexicano Porfirio Díaz que cambió el grito a la noche del 15 para que coincidiera con su cumpleaños. Bueno, el mal está hecho y los mexicanos pueden disfrutar dos días festivos. Por lo menos no fue un gran cambio, como del 16 de septiembre a otro mes, nada más un cambio de unas horas, ¿verdad?

¡Viva México!

St. Isaac of Syria on Truth

I found the following attributed to St. Isaac of Syria:
Someone who is considered among men to be zealous for truth has not yet learnt what truth is really like: once he has truly learnt it, he will cease from zealousness on its behalf.
Does he mean that excessive zeal may indicate that one does not fully understand truth, that it shows perhaps what one wants to be true but is not sure of? When we know the truth, we can rest in it. When we know the truth, after all, it sets us free.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Accent aigu ou non ?

Mon fils Étienne est né le 29 août. Nous avons choisi le nom Étienne simplement parce qu'il nous plaît.

Une question qui me harcèle, c'est le problème de l'accent sur les lettres majuscules. Est-il nécessaire ou non ? D'une part, il faut mettre l'accent aigu pour signaler la prononciation correcte du nom (Étienne et non pas Etienne). Mais d'autre part, on ignore des règles gramaticales tout le temps. Et il y a plein d'exemples des noms qui ne portent pas d'accent sur e majuscule. Considérons la version Louis Segond de la Bible. Dans l'ancien testament, Dieu s'appelle souvent l'Eternel, indiquant le nom hébreux que le Tout-Puissant a choisi. Ce n'est pas l'Éternel même dans un contexte aussi élevé que la Bible.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Newest Linguist: Étienne Kenji Patterson

Blogging has been light here (nowhere close to my quixotic goal of at least a post a day), due largely to the entrance into this world of our second son: Étienne Kenji Patterson.

He was born three weeks early on August 29, 2011, weighing in at 15 lbs. 12 oz. or 2.6 kg.

My wife and I chose the name Étienne mainly because we liked it (French for Stephen). I suppose that is why parents of our generation usually choose names? The middle name is Japanese (as is our other son's middle name), mainly to remind them of their partial Japanese heritage through their father: though I am not at all Japanese, I spent the majority of my life there (growing up).

Étienne is a very good baby and will undoubtedly make a great polyglot in years to come.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

A Heritage and Reward

Children are a heritage from the LORD,
offspring a reward from him.


Voici, des fils sont un héritage de l'Éternel,
Le fruit des entrailles est une récompense.

He aquí, herencia de Jehová son los hijos;
Cosa de estima el fruto del vientre.

子供たちは神から賜わった嗣業であり、
胎の実は報いの賜物である。