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Old Ladies Let the Dogs Out

SAY WHAT?

Trump sat down for an interview with CBS News, and he was asked what he has to say to parents and teachers who aren’t on board with his reckless reopening plan. Trump’s answer: “I would tell parents and teachers that you should find yourself a new person whoever’s in charge of that decision because it’s a terrible decision because children and parents are dying from that trauma too. They’re dying because they can’t do what they’re doing … We’re starting to do very well in the polls because I’m for law and order.”

I actually generally understand what he’s saying – and his speech issues are just those of old age with mild “word” forgetfulness – like me, he loses the words but knows and continues the train of thought. So, in this one – he really said: I would tell parents to get a leader who changes their response (Trump is assuming these “not on board” teachers and parents have a representative who influenced them) – because it’s a terrible decision (to NOT want to reopen schools) – BECAUSE it is killing people too – killing their desire and ability to go to work and perform their jobs and raise their kids right (they can’t do what they normally do). His last sentence about being for law and order is about opposing and stopping the resistance movement – ie. those who commit crimes of violence and aggressively misbehave to keep the economy from moving and try to stop the next step to re-open the economy.

Actually – while I hate this guy for being a turd as a man …. albeit he is no different than many older, physically unappealing to me, gross men of power who manhandled me throughout my life – which means Trump is like a LOT of men in society – especially men of some power or status akin to too many of the military leaders and managers in corporations I have known… while I hate him for that and even more for his ability to go soooo low verbally and in mean retribution as well as without any regard for laws – I admire his unflagging move forward and tenacity – in order to never give up and always keep trying to accomplish HIS personal goals… he HAS TO have an incredible capacity to keep punching – and all his verbal bravado about physical prowess and machismo… is about his inner masculine, testosterone-filled determination to win. (and men in particular, but even many women, are drawn to those who show greater tenacity and chutzpah). I understand him and the fact that the majority of those with a right wing agenda (varied) – fall in line and follow…. means that Trump is right in assuming there are a lot of people who are willing to let him lead as long as their “issues” are talked about and they feel appeased.

Among these followers we have the angry sheeple who have little education and primarily base values on their emotional reactions – and of course, tons of educated people who understand the import of decisions about social issues… but these people either are emotionally twisted and religiously brainwashed AND/OR they have their own agenda for their life – which supersedes social welfare and long term social goals or problems… they want to keep or improve their power positions in life. We would label many of them as narcissistic.

BUT isn’t that precisely what our society and economic system promotes anyway? WHY are we surprised when we achieved exactly what we all like to hear from those endless ads: Do it YOUR way! You CAN HAVE IT ALL! Eat all you want and STILL lose weight! Keep smoking your favorite brands and let our product naturally take out the nicotine. Go ahead – You deserve it! Treat yourself to something – BUY some more of this product reduced now once only for a lifetime of pleasure and gain – JUST DO IT! – Live in the NOW – STOP planning and worrying – the future WILL TAKE CARE OF ITSELF… God will save us… Just pray – Keep smiling!

Isn’t capitalist American social order based precisely on these principles:

1) Being selfish is OK – it is all about you! Don’t worry – Be happy!
2) ALWAYS want more – consume more – buy more – live more – Be happy!
3) There is a product out there or coming soon – that will FIX the problems your actions caused… whether it’s bankruptcy or diabetes or lung cancer or drug-induced schizophrenia or depression after choosing the wrong guy 5 times and shitting out 6 babies on welfare… in the meantime, we’ll sell you some placebos and stabilize you a bit and feed you happy pills (whatever you choose as your happy pills)… and remember: There is a heaven – your heavenly father will make it all better – you’ll get to heaven – your enemies won’t… Jesus loves you when nobody else does.
4) FOR THOSE IN THE KNOW ABOUT THAT HEAVEN: Nobody has the answers – we all know everything from morals to ideals are culturally developed – you only live once and as long as you pretend you believe – you can climb up that social ladder of success and feel good about your success… mankind was always depraved and we are animals. Take charge and enjoy YOUR life! IF there’s a heaven you can probably BUY your way into it anyway!
5) You deserve only good things – OTHERS are to blame for problems.

Last night I listened to the news – and they talked at length about our NEED TO INCREASE CONSUMER SPENDING in order to make the economy better….
a) Increased spending means increased purchases – we buy more product
b) Buying more product means more product must be produced
c) Whatever we humans produce comes from raw earthen materials and is converted into harmful plastics or other inorganic items – we consume resources in order to produce anything – production requires energy
d) So capitalism and increased human consumption means we destroy mother earth’s supplies of materials faster and faster to make more and more plastic Black and White Barbie and Kens – or shotguns to hunt deer in shrinking, kudzu covered forests.
e) It also means we MUST reproduce more and cannot support birth control – after all, the existing humans can only consume so much – and then we need new humans to increase consumption.

THAT, FRIENDS, IS WHO AND WHERE WE ARE…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qWbonwwFG-c&list=RDEMNBGnbAghSsUTiW_R1HpL5A&index=3

Its Almost Christmas

It’s almost Christmas and what does that mean? Will my nearest and dear ones all come and be seen?

Will I recall memories best forgotten by now? And cry for the children to “feel me” somehow? 

It’s really a shambles, and what do I see? I’m alone in my feelings and always will be… 

That’s why it’s “almost” and a mumbled “Christ Mass” – We all live on the inside and peer through the glass… 

Nothing ever quite happens the way we then tell, but it’s all in the story that we sometimes feel swell. 

So let’s keep on giving and living with lust, since hope is an “almost” of perennial trust.

Video

What Happens When

What happens when the gears start turning way too fast? 
Or won’t start on time? Or just can’t keep up with the incoming rounds?

When you begin to know so much that every effort to secure a border immediately becomes the “purity of heart is to will one thing” of Kierkegaard – namely, impossible?

It’s not surprising, I suppose, that one can end up chafing against the limits of one’s own brainskin, and renting it asunder like so many chards of water splaying off a shaking dog:

SHAKE IT OFF

…and THEN what happens?
Armageddon?
Nirvana?

I would venture to sell “gnarled contusions” of the brain with varying types and levels of pesticides labeled as senile or alzheimerish twists of a common root poison

Common but deadly.

Like everything else…

… or is that just the attitude of a shaking dog? Like me

yeah… LIKE ME. (nothing like linguistic twists and Limericks)

Amen

AMEN AA-MEN AAA…MEN…

or a few.

Say it again!

WHY do we do this? and… Was that Sally Fields from The Flying Nun?

You think too much

and You don’t think at all

while you might think too little

and your dick is too hard and brittle…

all because “In the Beginning was the WORD”… without which, we would not be having this event at all…
And another thing we would not be having are the labels of separation that are required for ORDER – an imposition requiring “judgment” in order to provide homeostatic regulation for life.

Don’t look to me for dribble and I won’t ask you for validation.

EVERY non-judgmental judgment is still a judgment… so unless we remain silent and focus on detachment from the very world we seek to consume and be consumed by… it’s about dancing with the tunes allowed by social memetic forces… what a dance!

HAPPINESS IS…

…”and that’s what happiness is…”

…says a song from a while back now…. It’s a feeling of wholeness or “balance” and not disconnected from our deepest sexual sensations; the vibrations of these feelings are similar.

Happiness is a state of mind. Let’s call this the “spiritual” side of things. Happiness is also intertwined with our real world events or experiences. Let’s call this the physical or material side.

We have some capacity to influence the trajectory of our emotion-feelings by reverse engineering. This influence is derogatorily called “brainwashing” and otherwise dubbed conditioningself-talk, even prayer.

The world is awash in programs to help us feel better through “talk” therapy – the power of the word (repetition) and social bondings (relationships) to up or down regulate modules of cellular reactions that convey to us “feelings” of pleasure or peace. Pleasure is a more intense visceral expression of the lighter and more sustainable feeling of peace. A sense of optimism about our lives, the feeling that all is well and will go well for us… it is the feeling of fearlessness or safety and enthusiasm. It is the force of life itself – dancing.

Our external circumstances DO impact us –  only saints or sickos can disassociate their mental and physical or life (experience-based) sense of well-being (happiness). Simply put, the worse your life’s real conditions (think Maslow’s hierarchy of needs) the increasingly harder it becomes to mentally override real threats to your survival. Yes, it is hard to smile when you’re facing the big black bear. Fixing real issues whenever possible is a must both for having more life in terms of “stuff” and more life in terms of your sense of self. 

BALANCE then, becomes the watchword and thought without action is actually not an option – as we work on internal mechanisms (meditation, happy thought practices) of happiness, we must also begin a regimen for external representation (exercise, financial constraints, changes in what we DO or how we act). But balance requires notions about the meaning of both our feelings and the words we use to portray our feelings.

It is important to remember that WORDS are solid representations of fluid conditions – they are our effort to turn waves into particles and verbs into nouns, to better identify and experience them via intellectual means because we LABEL them. I bring that up because you tell me: where is the boundary for any word? Where and when exactly does I’m OK move towards contentment, then on to really satisfied, to I feel really good, to all is great, to intense passion, and orgasmic or heavenly bliss?  Words are our way of organizing the world so that we can deal mentally with it – culturally dominated lingo. Language is a primary human tool – but a complex tool that changes us even as we change it.

BOTTOM LINE: We are the authors of our own stories, both when we act them out in youth and when we rewrite them in our memories…

Practice writing your story and read what you have written – then go and edit what you must – you know what to change.

If you need a more simple and practical learning method – HERE IT IS!

LIVE CONSCIOUSLY

LOVE DEEPLY

TRY CEASELESSLY

and cover your teeth when you growl.

We are All Homeless

I lament my ethnic homelessness, having lost, as a refugee, my Hungarian cultural heritage and social space. But the truth is, we have all become adrift as the consequence of our evolutionary path. We have lost our moorings in the land, in blood and in history; ours is a movable identity based on…. On what? The rush to discover our ancestry is akin to the cry for help as we try to define ourselves in ‘meaningful’ ways. Our survival now seldom depends on physical power, on kinship (oh yes, it does) – our alliances are forged in the cauldrons of social groups, religious identities (?), the people we play games with online???

Yesterday’s football extravaganza seemed to me much like a worship ceremony, a sort of “if you’re American, you MUST LOVE THIS” – I felt emotionally threatened based on my expectation of rejection and ridicule… “You can’t play if you’re…. Not a boy”??? You’re not one of us (so we’ll be mean or snotty to you) if you don’t know about this – it’s OUR conversation… It’s not just the game being played, it’s the games we’re playing… socially and emotionally… For a moment at least, yesterday, it felt like a test of identity – and I had failed, again…

And so, we are all homeless emotionally and the choices we make to substitute for the natural adaptations and rules for relating are too many; a chaotic mess unless they are constrained by boundaries. We create those boundaries from what is offered. When we move too often to feel at home, when we lose touch with family, when we can’t figure out loyalties based on these ‘natural factors’, then we find cheap replacements: like seafood eaters anonymous, or former veterans of a war who have a skin condition, people who hate the electric company for those god-awful prices… Our replacements for what used to be throughout most of history THE way of bonding and relating – don’t have enough meaning, are often just crazy ideas, and may be dangerous to our common survival… WHAT WILL IT TAKE for most of us to wake up to the Christ within as they say… to compassionate wisdom…the one that will help us “take another look” at who we are and who we want to become…I think all those upticks in homelessness, and suicides, and economic slides reflect how the many new freedoms we acquired with technological, medical, and other improvements over the very recent past have left most of us with too many choices and not enough options – and mostly a loss of “belonging” except as expressed through among other items: football team loyalties, fanatical religious loyalties, and political excesses. We all resemble more the faces of recent immigrants from war-torn areas of the world: dazed yet vaguely angry, feeling loss and lost, compensating with self-abuse in addictive and other anti-social behaviors… but it’s always just the usual meaningless “Have a great day”…. And “How are you” we say, isn’t it.

The REAL question is how much of this can be attributed to valid understanding of what is versus a projection of my inner psyche and needs… as they now say LOL!

 

Challenges are but revisions to the stories we will tell…

Image result for intersecting paths
Change gives us new paths to walk upon.

Life is never easy, especially once we feel the breath of death chasing us while we struggle to avoid getting swallowed by time’s ever warping speed into the abyss of that unknown – THAT unknown.

Lately, my mind has been tasked to come up with ways to diminish the sweat, the racing heartbeat, and the gasp of breathlessness from “upon realizing that life might NOT continue in the pattern I’m now used to” or that my fancies and daydreams, those pseudo-expectations wrapped in the fluff of fantasy…. might not turn out as or into what I expected. You know, sort of like when you thought that stain would come out after laundering, but what you pick up from the dryer is now a heat-seared stain on a somewhat burnt white blouse. What seems to help me in these situations… beyond imagining the worst case scenario and intellectually attempting to determine that even that would NOT be unbearable, hence – anything less is just fine…. is to simply recognize that regardless of the good or bad spin, any change offers an opportunity to rework ourselves, to redirect my remaining time and to recreate the story of who I am (was) and what I did in life.

All change causes psycho-emotional (forgive me for glibly throwing around possible technical professional terminology – but it seems to me that these are being thrown about by everyone) challenge or strain – call it stress. But I can see the purpose of stress as being a means to make corrections or connections or to break away from harmful scenarios… any way I look at it; stress is what we talk about when we say, “whatever doesn’t kill me makes me stronger”. It is in stretching that we increase our flexibility, in making adjustments that we learn to adjust ourselves, and in recovering that we learn to recover all the more. The only real question is whether or not we give in to our weaker natures and allow ourselves to become victims of life’s ebb and flow, or currents and raging storms… Do I curl up and lay down to await fate or do I expend energy in battle and blame or do I begin to prepare for alternate outcomes by mentally and emotionally rehearsing them and envisioning HOW I might pave a different path (or a few) than the one I dreamt when I walked on the path I’m on right now.

No one can decide but me – and for now, until a more ill-feeling day comes along, I am recreating the dreams I had. Time is ever shorter… let me dream fast and true – as I take my next shot at the target before me – the worthy life… But on a day when I feel emotionally, physically, or mentally more grey or ill – I will not shame or blame myself for NOT putting on the armor of ardor. Then I will simply pray for enough time to step back on the path of life before the road runs out before me.

Image result for intersecting paths

Happiness is…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tFB2dk5tNqg

…”and that’s what happiness is…” says a song from a while back now…. It’s a feeling of wholeness or “balance” and not disconnected from our deepest sexual sensations; the vibrations of these feelings are similar.

Happiness is a state of mind. Let’s call this the “spiritual” side of things. Happiness is also intertwined with our real world events or experiences. Let’s call this the physical or material side.

We have some capacity to influence the trajectory of our emotion-feelings by reverse engineering. This influence is derogatorily called “brainwashing” and otherwise dubbed conditioningself-talk, even prayer.

The world is awash in programs to help us feel better through “talk” therapy – the power of the word (repetition) and social bondings (relationships) to up or down regulate modules of cellular reactions that convey to us “feelings” of pleasure or peace. Pleasure is a more intense visceral expression of the lighter and more sustainable feeling of peace. A sense of optimism about our lives, the feeling that all is well and will go well for us… it is the feeling of fearlessness or safety and enthusiasm. It is the force of life itself – dancing.

Our external circumstances DO impact us –  only saints or sickos can disassociate their mental and physical or life (experience-based) sense of well-being (happiness). Simply put, the worse your life’s real conditions (think Maslow’s hierarchy of needs) the increasingly harder it becomes to mentally override real threats to your survival. Yes, it is hard to smile when you’re facing the big black bear. Fixing real issues whenever possible is a must both for having more life in terms of “stuff” and more life in terms of your sense of self. 

BALANCE then, becomes the watchword and thought without action is actually not an option – as we work on internal mechanisms (meditation, happy thought practices) of happiness, one must also begin a regimen for external representation (exercise, financial constraints, changes in what we DO or how we act). But balance requires notions about the meaning of both our feelings and the words we use to portray our feelings.

It is important to remember that WORDS are solid representations of fluid conditions – they are our effort to turn waves into particles and verbs into nouns, to better identify and experience them via intellectual means because we LABEL them. I bring that up because you tell me: where is the boundary for any word? Where and when exactly does “I’m OK” move towards contentment, then on to really satisfied, to I feel really good, to all is great, to intense passion, and orgasmic or heavenly bliss?  Words are our way of organizing the world so that we can deal mentally with it – culturally dominated lingo. Language is a primary human tool – a complex tool that changes us even as we change it.

BOTTOM LINE: We are the authors of our own stories, both when we act them out in youth and when we rewrite them in our memories…
Practice writing your story and read what you have written – then go and edit what you must – you know what to change.

LIVE CONSCIOUSLY

LOVE DEEPLY

TRY CEASELESSLY

And cover your teeth when you growl.

SMILE

Smile though your heart is aching

Smile even though it’s breaking

When there are clouds in the sky, you’ll get by

If you smile through your fear and sorrow

Smile and maybe tomorrow

You’ll see the sun come shining through for you

Light up your face with gladness

Hide every trace of sadness

Although a tear may be ever so near

That’s the time you must keep on trying

Smile, what’s the use of crying?

You’ll find that life is still worthwhile

If you just smile

That’s the time you must keep on trying

Smile, what’s the use of crying?

You’ll find that life is still worthwhile

If you just smile

Songwriters: Charles Chaplin / John Turner / Geoffrey ParsonsSmile

lyrics © Songtrust Ave, Bourne Co.

I’m not really a “good” friend

There are times when we just realize (and yes, I speak in “we” multitudes ala God in Genesis) that we are not what we are and are what we are not, that is to say – we don’t fully realize what we do and how our ways impact others.

Maybe you can say otherwise (and all of us sometimes bullshit) but I practically always tout how good a friend I am (I am), as if to say that “being a good friend” somehow ameliorates much of the downsides of myself that I am aware of or believe of myself (my self story). But in fact (really? What do I know of facts? – I meant “But now I see myself and others differently”) I am neither smiley (which would be an automatic plus for everyone else’s feelings), nor pleasant (it’s a broad range, but I skew witty yet harsh more than mellow and sweet); perhaps even somewhat whiney – a lot of moaning in my world.

Like everyone else I can make excuses, and quite differently from many others as well. After all, if one is to solve problems (and in my circles there seems to be a consensus that “if you need help, see if Marlene can figure it out for you”), then one must have problems to solve which, of course, requires becoming aware of problems that others may not see or “overlook” as in they are too lazy, unfocused, untrained or skilled, and perhaps “don’t care” – albeit I want to promote for myself the story that people would care if they weren’t so dumb or stupid. If you were interested in definitions, dumb people tend to be assigned less responsibility for their condition. That is all to say more simply – If I understand myself somewhat then, I reflect these traits (non-smiley, seeing problems and focusing on them) because they are warp and woof of my primary action mode that we might call the problem solver-helper of others. So then I am a good friend after all, right?

Not really. My assets are a nice compliment to what I can do for others, but they aren’t packaged in a way that benefits me much beyond self-satisfaction in knowing I tried and battled and had the best of intentions (actual trying requires intentionality if it is conscious, that is to say if it is more than instinctive reactive behaviors or indoctrination). And while “friends” come to me for help and sometimes to hang out – what people don’t get much from me is what we all want friends for: soothing acceptance and heartfelt levity… the “healing” arts of many friendships you might say. I lament that a good bit because we get back often what we give and attract self-similar energies to ourselves. Like everyone else, I seek and need the very assets I don’t have to give.

The good news I take today from this rambling is that there are those who are built so that they react the way we need, and when there are too few of our type or of those that meet our needs…. there are groups created (alinon, church, bingo and bars) where we are more likely to get the “cup of water we need along the way of life.” The other good news is that we really are all unique and it is mostly our propensity and capacity to generalize and label that puts us in pigeonholes… On the other hand, without those boxes and generalizations for categories, we would be much less likely to have any conscious way of addressing our totality and the “ways of our own being”….

With that let this day begin again with an effort on my part to broaden my ‘persona’ horizons and lessen the narrowness of my own confines in behavior.

  • To see with the eyes of wonder without fear
  • as a child that knows it is safe
  • To dismiss the judgmental thoughts and feelings
  • the buffers of disappointment;
  • To limit the sway of expectations
  • that lead to judgment and chafing
  • To encourage and lovingly accept
  • rather than lecture and direct
  • Loving others as myself begins with self love

The Randomness of Language Evolution

English is shaped by more than natural selection

Joshua Plotkin’s dive into the evolution of language began with clarity—and also a lack of it.

Today, if you wanted to talk about something that’s clear, you’d say that it has clarity. But if you were around in 1890, you would almost certainly have talked about its clearness.

Plotkin first noticed this linguistic change while playing with Google’s Ngram Viewer, a search engine that charts the frequencies of words across millions of books. The viewer shows that a century ago, clearness dominated clarity. Now the opposite is true, which is strange because clarity isn’t even a regular form. If you wanted to create a noun from clearclearness would be a more obvious choice. “Why would there be this big upswing in clarity?,” Plotkin wondered. “Is there a force promoting clarity in writing?”

It wasn’t clear. But as an evolutionary biologist, Plotkin knew how to find out.

The histories of linguistics and evolutionary biology have been braided together for as long as the latter has existed. Many of the earliest defenders of Darwinism were linguists who saw similarities between the evolution of languages and of species. Darwin himself wrote about these “curious parallels” in The Descent of Man. New words and grammatical rules are continually cropping up, fighting for existence against established forms, and sometimes driving those old forms extinct. “The survival … of certain favored words in the struggle for existence is natural selection,” Darwin wrote.

Darwin, Plotkin says, used the way language changes “to popularize his heretical theory and explain for a broad audience what natural selection means. The process wasn’t easy to observe in organisms, but it was easier to see in words.”

But natural selection is just one force of evolutionary change. Under its influence, genes become more (or less) common because their owners are more (or less) likely to survive and reproduce. But genes can also change in frequency for completely random reasons that have nothing to do with their owner’s health or strength—and everything to do with pure, dumb luck. That process is known as drift, and it took decades for evolutionary biologists to recognize that it’s just as important for evolution as natural selection.

Linguists are still behind. It’s easy to see how languages can change through drift, as people randomly pick up the words and constructions they overhear. But when Darwin wrote about evolving tongues, he said, “The better, the shorter, the easier forms are constantly gaining the upper hand, and they owe their success to their own inherent virtue.” That’s a view based purely on natural selection, and it persists. “For the most part, linguists today have a strict Darwinian outlook,” Plotkin says. “When they see a change, they think there must be a directional force behind it. But I propose that language change, maybe lots of it, is driven by random chance—by drift.”

To see whether that was true, he and his colleagues developed statistical tests that could distinguish between the influence of drift and of natural selection. They then applied these tests to several online repositories, such the Corpus of Historical American English—a digital collection of 400 million words, pulled out of 100,000 texts published over the past 200 years.

The team focused first on the past-tense forms of verbs, and found at least six cases where natural selection is clearly in effect. In some cases, the verbs were regularized, losing weird past forms in favor of more-predictable ones that end in –edWove, for example, gave way to weaved, while smelt lost ground to smelled. That’s not surprising: Many linguists have suggested that verbs tend to become more regular over time, perhaps because, like Darwin theorized, these forms are just easier to learn.

But Plotkin found just as many instances where selection drove verbs toward irregularity: Dived gave way to dovelighted to lit, waked to woke, and sneaked to snuck. Why? Perhaps because we like it when words sound alike, and we change our language to accommodate such rhymes. For example, dove began to replace dived at the same time that cars became popular, and drive/drove became common parts of English. Similarly, the move from quitted to quit coincided with the rise of split, which became much more widely used when it acquired a new meaning—to leave or depart. In both cases, changes in one irregular verb—driveor split—may have irregularized others. “We can’t definitively say that’s the reason, but it’s coincident,” Plotkin says.

“It gets you to think harder about the motivation for change,” says Salikoko Mufwene, from the University of Chicago. “The general claim is that there has been an evolution toward regularization, and they’re showing that this hasn’t always been the case. Now we need to think harder about when irregular forms are favored over regular variants.”

That is, if anything is favored at all. The team found that the changes that have befallen the vast majority of our verbs are entirely consistent with drift. You don’t need to invoke natural selection to explain why we say spilled instead of spiltburned instead of burnt, and knit instead of knitted.

In other cases, drift and natural selection work together to shape languages. For example, Plotkin’s team also looked at the rapid rise of do in the 16th century, when phrases like “You say not” quickly changed into “You do not say.” They concluded that at first, the word randomly drifted its way into questions, so that “Say you?” gradually became “Do you say?” Once it became common, natural selection started pushing it into new contexts like declarative sentences, perhaps because it was easier for people to use it consistently.

The team also analyzed a third and more obscure grammatical change called Jespersen’s Cycle. In Old English, spoken before the Norman Conquest, speakers would negate a verb by putting a not in front of it. In Middle English, spoken between the 11th and 15th centuries, the negatives would surround the verb as they do in modern French (“Je ne dis pas”). And in Early Modern English, spoken between the 15th and 17th centuries, the negative followed the verb—the Shakespearean “I say not.” Now, we’ve come full circle, back to “I don’t say.”

Jespersen’s Cycle exists in many unrelated languages. In French, for example, the formal “Je ne dis pas” is giving way to the colloquial “Je dis pas.”

Natural selection still explains Jespersen’s Cycle far better than drift does, according to Plotkin’s analysis. Perhaps it’s due to emphasis, he says. If one form is common, speakers could emphasize their disagreement by adding or subtracting words (“I don’t say that at all,” versus I don’t say that”). As the emphatic forms become more common, they lose their sting, and are themselves replaced.

These results are part of a wider trend where linguists are starting to use these massive online corpora to address long-standing puzzles in language change. “This is an excellent trend,” says Jennifer Culbertson, from the University of Edinburgh. “Linguists have uncovered many really fascinating cases of language change, but the explanations on offer sometimes read like just-so stories. Random processes are simply underappreciated, because we want to come up with interesting explanations.” But by considering drift, too, linguists could “focus our energies on providing interesting explanations where they are really warranted.”

What about the change from clearness to clarity, which set Plotkin onto this quest in the first place? He says that he’s found signs of natural selection’s hand, but that will have to wait for another publication. “There’s lots to be done,” he says. “This is just the beginning of an investigation, which need not stop at written texts. Spoken records are just as ready and ripe for scrutiny.”

DO YOU KNOW YOUR NEIGHBORS?

Dohuk is the capital of Dohuk Governorate in Iraqi Kurdistan

Beautiful city with a mixed, Kurdish dominant population of perhaps 350,000…. The University of Dohuk has over 20,000 students….

Tell me you knew all this…. I didn’t….. I only know the many war images and bombed out cities we see here in the USA – We Americans have not been properly introduced to our neighbors.

Kurdish is completely unrelated to Turkish and Arabic, though it includes some loanwords from those languages. BUT if you’d like to learn some Kurdish – maybe this will help…..

and here…. is a fascinating story of the recent history of the Kurdish peoples….