In Japan, people often refer to traffic lights as being blue in color. And this is a bit odd, because the traffic signal indicating ‘go’ in Japan is just as green as it is anywhere else in the world. So why is the color getting lost in translation? This visual conundrum has its roots in the history of language.
Blue and green are similar in hue. They sit next to each other in a rainbow, which means that, to our eyes, light can blend smoothly from blue to green or vice-versa, without going past any other color in between. Before the modern period, Japanese had just one word, Ao, for both blue and green. The wall that divides these colors hadn’t been erected as yet. As the language evolved, in the Heian period around the year 1000, something interesting happened. A new word popped into being – midori – and it described a sort of greenish end of blue. Midori was a shade of ao, it wasn’t really a new color in its own right.
One of the first fences in this color continuum came from an unlikely place – crayons. In 1917, the first crayons were imported into Japan, and they brought with them a way of dividing a seamless visual spread into neat, discrete chunks. There were different crayons for green (midori) and blue (ao), and children started to adopt these names. But the real change came during the Allied occupation of Japan after World War II, when new educational material started to circulate.
"Each tercet (three lines of iambic pentameter with ABA rhyme scheme) in the poem below is formed from the set of 100 Scrabble® tiles, which consist of 98 letters (including all letters A-Z) plus two blank "wildcards" that can be assigned any letter. The poem is visually depicted using six sets of Scrabble® tiles, where the two blanks in each set are indicated by red tiles. In this challenge we deem it quite permissable to use different letters for the blanks in each separate set of tiles (each stanza)."
It may have been word of the year in some wheelhouses, but refudiate wasn't looked upon favorably by many who sent in nominations for Lake Superior State University's 36th annual List of Words Banished from the Queen's English for Mis-use, Over-use...
"Few great books like the Decameron have shaped our very notion of storytelling and its crucial role in the negotiation and production of shared social and cultural values. In its hundred stories, shared in ten days by ten young people escaping the Plague in mid-14th-century Florence, it combines sheer entertainment with a meaningful humanistic message. [...] The guiding question of our project is how contemporary informational technology can facilitate, enhance and innovate the complex cognitive and learning activities involved in reading a late medieval literary text like Boccaccio's Decameron."
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