[Chinese Class 101](http://www.chineseclass101.com) looks somewhat interesting. Has anyone tried one of these Language Class 101s?
[→ Some physicists analyzed 10,000,000 words from 200 years and now understand linguistic evolution.](http://arxiv.org/pdf/1107.3707v2.pdf) According to my linguist colleagues, this happens every few years. The answer is always the same: when you reduce things enough, you can make all kinds of claims. [The Language Log has more.](http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=3843)
I remember Andrei Codrescu pointing out in class one day that metaphors are treated as superfluous. His argument was that in repressive regimes, metaphors are communicate without appearing to say anything considered seditious. According to Wired, users of Twitter are re-discovering the power of metaphor.
Thanks to another network analysis of linguistic data — previous story [here](http://johnlaudun.org/20110414-some-possible-revisions-to-generative-linguistics/) — scholars seem to have traced the origin of language to … well, to the origin of human beings in eastern Africa. The Economist has a [write-up](http://www.economist.com/node/18557572).
So everyone remembers [*mickelebah*](http://johnlaudun.org/20080329-a-new-language/)? What about *derflar* and its plural form, *derflarmo*? (The latter gave Lily’s made-up language an official designation: *bwob*.) It turns out that there is more to say in bwob: *lelah asoz* means “I want to pick some flowers.” *Asoz* actually means anything that is pickable: so flowers as well as wheat and rice are all technically asoz.