Le parole che caratterizzano un’epoca

“Le parole sono importanti!”, tuonava Michele Apicella alla giornalista di Palombella rossa, colpevole di usare espressioni come “kitsch”, “alle prime armi”, “cheap”. [Continua sul Post.]

If it looks like a word, it is a word one third of the time

With the last post, we looked at words of three letters in the Google corpora for six languages, to understand which language has the most three-letter words. But our original question was which one has the most ratio of words among trigrams that “look like” real words, and today we are going to answer that question.

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If it looks like a words, then it is a word (?)

Being born as a native English speaker is a great luck these days. For the simplicity of its grammar and a predominance in the cultural world from the twentieth century onwards, English, or more precisely one of its dialect is the de facto international language, and being able to speak it natively is a huge advantage. If you are like me, instead, no matter how expert you may become, your level of comprehension of the subtleties will always be lower than that of any native speaker, you will always retain at least a bit of your original accent; you’ll never be able to pronounce all the words in the correct way, and there always will be some word you won’t know.

Among these, the biggest issue with English is its inconsistent pronunciation. Since even native speakers in the same country cannot reach an agreement on how to pronounce a word [1], you may get away with mistakes by claiming that your weird pronounce is actually used by some native English dialect [2].

Something you cannot get away with, though, is the lexicon. English has a huge lexicon. Similar to ancient Romans, English conquered and assimilated, not only people and land but words [3]. I jokingly stated that in English almost any sequence of three letters that look like a word is actually a word. Is this just a joke or is there some truth behind?

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  1. I am not talking about accents here, these are different dialects. []
  2. Admittedly, you will sound weird anyway, as you will invariably make mistakes in different directions and your sentence will be a mix of different dialects. []
  3. This particular made easier for English to become the de facto international language, as it shares a big part of its vocabulary with most Western languages. Incidentally, it is also one of the reason behind the different ways of pronouncing words. []

Global time, emotional time, and the annoyance of DST

My post on the difference between local time and solar time obtained some mild popularity, and this gave me some time to think more about the subject of local vs. global time, and about emotional time. What is emotional time? Read on to know!
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Suboptimal LaTeX #5: miscellanea

This post concludes the short series on LaTeX; we will see some other suggestion that did not fit in the other posts on generic mistakes and suggestions, spacing, math environments and mathematics.
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Suboptimal LaTeX #4: mathematics

In the previous episodes: generic mistakes and suggestions, and how to fix the spacing and math environments in your papers. Continuing along these lines, in this post we will see some common mistakes done when writing mathematics.
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Suboptimal LaTeX #3: mathematical environments

We have seen some generic mistakes and suggestions, and how to correctly use spacing in your papers. Today we will try to shine some light on how to choose the proper mathematical environment, which is in itself a complicate issue.
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