A casual but decent post on Chinese[s] at Language Log
, if you've been curious as to my occasional allusion to the notion of "Chinese" being a single language (unified in its written form, with various spoken dialects) as essentially a myth. The comments are interesting, too--there's a really great point about status and mutual intelligibility. Relatively non-technical (well, it would help to know that "AAVE" stands for "African-American Vernacular English").
Also, this is terribly embarrassing: Clinton's gift to Russian Foreign Minister is all wrong
. I often complain about English websites and manuals from international companies--"couldn't they have found someone really fluent or a native speaker to spend 5 minutes looking at it?" But apparently the US Secretary of State
staff couldn't find a SINGLE RUSSIAN to look at ONE WORD and go "Oooh, no, that's not how we usually say 'Reset'--what you want is 'перезагрузка'--OK? Bye!" (Again, the comments are full of clarifying context.) See, apparently we thought we'd be clever and give them a big red button, like the ones they sell at that one office store, reading RESET in Russian, to say "Let's reset our relations!" Instead they gave them one that reads RESET in English and ... "overloading" in Russian. *headdesk*
*No, "dialect" is not a put-down in itself; everybody speaks a dialect. Or several dialects.