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In love with language


Sun, Nov 12th, 2000
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Monday, November 6, 2000

One of the first things I notice when I travel is the sound of other languages being spoken - Asian, European, Middle Eastern...

I recently travelled internationally and realized how much I missed these sounds. I was standing in a bookstore in Amsterdams airport looking at book titles, and listening to Dutch being spoken on one side of me and Arabic on the other.

I get an excitement at airports just hearing the gift of tongues playing out in normal discourse. It reminds me of how diverse the world is and what a great role language plays in it. There is no question that English is already the language of international business, and is becoming the most prominent second language in the world, a universal lingua franca if you will.

English is a relatively atonal, linear sounding tongue, but in some hands has all the earmarks of a different language.

In the Hebrides - England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland - word usage plays a big part in how the language is delivered.

So your going to be driving to the south, are you then? Grand, grand. Thatll be a grand trip, an Irish taxi driver said in response to the news that my son and I would be leaving Dublin for the south the next day.

The Irish are in love with language. Youll find it in their music and literature. Their music is full of songs about lost love and the memory of the ancestral home. And the Irish take great pride in their literary giants - poet William Butler Yeats, playwrights George Bernard Shaw and Samuel Becket, and poet Seamus Heaney all received the Nobel Prize for Literature. Throw in, James Joyce, Sean OCasey, Frank OConnor - the list goes on and on - and you can see that the Irish have played a significant role in English literature.

The Irish are a warm people, who wouldnt think of giving a simple Yes or No answer when something longer will do.

An older Irish man gave me directions to Glendalough, a 12th century monastic site in the Wicklow Mountains, one day. I had just come off the four lane M-50 turnpike and was confused with all the road construction.

Could you show me how to get to highway N-18, I asked. I want to go to Glendalough.

N-18, he said puzzled. I dont know where that is, but I can get you to Glendalough.

Great, I responded.

Now, do you see that roundabout? the man asked as he pointed. A roundabout is a circular intersection, .....
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Monday, November 13, 2000

Sun, Nov 12th, 2000
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To the Editor,

I am writing this letter to draw attention to radon as a serious public health issue. It is estimated that one in three homes in Minnesota have radon levels above the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidelines. I wo ..... 
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Walter "Fish" Ward, Sr.

Sun, Nov 12th, 2000
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Walter "Fish" Ward, Sr., 98, formerly of the Mabel and Burr Oak areas, died Tuesday, September 19, 2000 at the Harmony Health Care Center where he had resided seven years.

He was born June 21, 1902, in Henrytown and attended school there. On ..... 
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Mildred S. Livingood

Sun, Nov 12th, 2000
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Mildred S. Livingood, 94, formerly of Canton, died Tuesday, September 19, 2000 at Samaritan Bethany Home in Rochester.

Mildred S. Johnson was born March 31, 1906 at Amherst, Fillmore County, grew up and attended school in Fillmore County. In ..... 
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Harvey C. Wilson

Sun, Nov 12th, 2000
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Harvey C. Wilson, 56, of rural Whalan, a self-employed mechanic, died of a heart attack on Monday, October 30, 2000 at Saint Marys Hospital in Rochester, where he had been a patient three days.

Born February 21, 1944 in Auburn, WA, he moved a ..... 
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