Monday, July 12, 2004

My latest Tribune language column:
How call centers in India train workers to use Western accents.
temp link/perm.preview

Here's the Discovery Channel's companion page to the documentary I mentioned. Here's an LL post about the clip from the accent class. Here's 60 Minutes' piece on outsourcing call center work to India, and here's 24/7 Customer's still sunnier take on how great outsourcing is for Indian workers.

More on Italian idioms from the article I mentioned in the briefs at the end:
As the Italians say, "la perfezione non è di questo mondo" - perfection is not of this world. There's that Italian majesty again.
Take the Italian version of our cryptic "looks count." Choosing personification and lending more majesty to the expression, the Italians say "vero è che l'occhio vuole la sua parte," translated literally, "it is true that the eye wants its share."
And here's the Kimball link.

- I've had this slogan stuck in my head, don't know whose: more than you thought for less than you'd think. Someone should make that into a sentence and diagram it.

- The NYT's Jodi Wilgoren used to be a vivid writer, but covering campaigns has ruined her writing. In May she wrote that a Kerry speech was "kicking off an 11-day focus on national security." (Careful, don't kick the focus!)

- David Brooks is much better. I think this term of his is an original coinage: "the whole range of ampersand magazines (Town & Country, Food & Wine) that display perfect parties, perfect homes, perfect vacations and perfect lives." (Does Books&Culture count? It's improved my life!)

- Here's the NYT's review of a recent documentary on whether African Americans should use the N-word.

- More on values as a political platform plank with which to whack opponents (as I wrote about earlier).
UPDATE: From Geoff Nunberg's piece in the NYT:
"Values" is a word that's made for political mischief, as it slithers from one meaning to another. Sometimes it simply refers to cultural preferences or mores, and sometimes it suggests religious principles or morals, the sorts of things that some people have more of than others do. Or often it blends mores and morals together. That point was nicely made in a line from the recent movie "Win a Date with Tad Hamilton." Nathan Lane's playing a Hollywood agent who's trying to persuade his dissolute movie star client to dump the small-town West Virginia girl he's smitten with. "Your values are different." Lane tells the actor. "For instance, she has them." ... It says something about what we've come to that a word that ought to be a bland political bromide has turned into a battle cry for both sides.

Last week's column and inflections

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