Saturday, February 16, 2013

Mathematics And Culture: "It's Beautiful"

     Russell Peters, on the kewlest thing his ancestors invented, and why:
      Yep.  What he said.  And that's why a diverse world is good -- or you'd've had to learn long division with Roman numerals.  Trust me, that you don't want.  Not even.

     (I may have posted this before.  It's timeless.)

     ETA: An interesting 40-minute interview, "India Questions Russell Peters," with a little more background on his comedy and some digressions into his take on accents -- "Everybody has an accent." -- with the surprising to me assertion that a "Indian" lilt is somehow unattractive. ...While there's as much regional variation in the Indian version of our patched-together common language as can be heard in the States, I find the entire subcontinental approach to it pleasantly musical.  Sometimes my Midwestern ears take extra effort to get in sync but oh well, it's not as if I don't have the same problem with the more-rapid subset of New England Yankee-speak and the occasional Southern word that comes out completely different than expected, too.*  --Sheesh, our various and assorted regional and individual accents are what lend flavor and impact to speech; it'd be a much poorer world without them.
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* Some years ago, on Tamara's first visit to the original location of Boogie Burgers, Tam and I looked across the street to the Shaved Ice stand along the Monon Trail and for unknown reasons, read their sign aloud in near unison, using a Hollywood "Southern" dialect and immediately broke into a helpless fit of the giggles.

9 comments:

Divemedic said...

I don't think the Indians can lay claim to inventing the concept of existence without value, the very essence of the number zero as more than a mere placeholder in a decimal system.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=history-of-zero

Roberta X said...

They make an excellent case for being the first people to put it to hard work, keeping track of measures and wealth in a decimal system.

...Double-entry bookkeeping had to wait several more centuries....

Able said...

Agree wholeheartedly, but would also like to thank whoever it was who decided base 10 was the way to go (relating as only someone raised on British pre-decimilisation coinage can. Still, it had it's benefits in being able to watch foreigners struggle was always a hoot).

Accents? I don't have one! Oh Ok, but a question. Do you have as much variety as we here do (consider the staggering difference between a Cumbrian and Geordie accent - caused by a distance of 75 miles) as an outsider I can tell only the broadest differences between American accents.

I can't say I find any accent particularly 'attractive' as such, but I do find some decidedly 'unattractive' (Belfast,Geordie and Liverpudlian being the equivalent to 'fingernails on blackboard' to my delicate sensibilities).

Roberta X said...

Nobody does regional accents as well as the UK. ...People take a 30-minute bike ride over there and can't understand half the words being used, as near as I can figure.

And yet it's all the same language and every last one of you claims to understand what they say on BBC. You are to be congratulated for that.

;)

Roberta X said...

Attractive accents: used to cross paths with a young woman from Brazil who spoke fluent but highly accented English and it was amusing to watch the young men just about melt to hear her speak.

armedlaughing said...

Shaved WHAT?

Now, I didn't listen to the video - is this the 'come to our casino' Indians or the dot Indians?
(With apologies to The Big Bang Theory)
:-P

gfa

Roberta X said...

That would be telling!

Anonymous said...

The Romans actually didn't use Roman Numerals to perform division. They used an abacus, which uses a variation of base 2 arithmetic to perform division.

Anonymous said...

Because of Danish influence in Northumbria, Scots a bit north of that, and Anglo-Saxon influence south of that, it is asserted that you can have a Northumbrian count to 10, and people 5 miles from his home will have no clue as to what he is doing.