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        Saturday, April 15, 2006
        Science shaping linguistics
        Science is making some well known and old proverbs outmoded. I imagine my grand and great grandchildren saying “What was that about?” when they hear these proverbs.

        Fish out of water

        Belgian scientists found an eel catfish in West Africa that preys on bugs on land. In 2004, American paleontologists found fossil in the Canadian Artic of an animal which shared characteristics with both fish and land animals. They believe that this was the ‘missing link’ in the evolution theory of fish.

        In light of these findings, proverbs like fish out of water and a place for everything and everything in its place (well, not anymore if fish come out of water to eat) are already meaningless. I am going to think of animals creeping out of water when I even hear the more the merrier (imagine killer whales and sharks roaming on land in search of food – creepy!). Birds of the same feather flock together sounds dubious now as well (next, may be some birds staying longer in water to fish and turn into fish in millions of years from now).

        Judas’ kiss

        The ultimate traitor and villain for 1,600 years, Judas Iscariot, is now a hero. After being kicked around the globe since it was discovered by farmers in some cave in Egypt in 1970s, the Gospel of Judas is redefining the meaning of Judas’ kiss. This kiss is not about betrayal anymore, but it is about doing the ultimate out of love and respect.

        Now this discovery is going to disturb a lot of things – is it going to be included as part of the Bible and instead of 66 books there are going to be 67? Are the books of Mark, Matthew and Luke which mention Judas’ betrayal going to be edited? Is the Gospel of Judas going to be accepted or rejected? If rejected, the saying the show must continue will have a new meaning (and I’m so going to church tomorrow!) More on Judas here.

        A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush

        This must be in the good old days when man-triggered animal extinctions were rare and not very well known. Habitat loss and alteration are the main threats to birds. Gallery of endangered birds here and endangered birds around the globe here

        Don’t cut off your nose to spite your face

        This is surely before plastic surgery. Jacko the man has single handedly made this proverb redundant.

        The earth doesn’t shake when a flea coughs (Austrian)

        Obviously this is before global warming and globalization. Now somebody in the US drives an SUV, and somebody else in Indonesia gets slammed by tsunami.

        Don’t count your chicken before they hatch

        Imagine a mother hen sitting on her eggs for hours on end to hatch them. I’m sure this saying came from that an o...ld era. Now chicken are genetically tweaked to grow faster and perhaps tweaked even further to lay a certain amount of eggs in their life time. To order eggs online (for next Easter), click here.

        April showers bring May flowers

        These days it floods the damn place, too. From drought to flood in April. I blame global warming, so that’s the connection to science here.

        Lightening never strikes twice in the same place

        Roy Sullivan must turn in his grave when he hears this expression.

        Former Park Ranger Roy "Dooms" Sullivan never did. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Sullivan bas the dubious distinction of being the most lightning-struck person ever recorded. Between 1942 and his death in 1983, Roy Sullivan was struck by lightning seven times. The first lightning strike shot through Sullivan's leg and knocked his big toenail off. In 1969, a second strike burned off his eyebrows and knocked him unconscious. Another strike just a year later, left his shoulder seared. In 1972 his hair was set on fire and Roy had to dump a bucket of water over his head to cool off. In 1973, another bolt ripped through his hat and hit him on the head, set his hair on fire again, threw him out of his truck and knocked his left shoe off. A sixth strike in 1976 left him with an injured ankle. The last lightning bolt to hit Roy Sullivan sent him to the hospital with chest and stomach burns in 1977. Sullivan could never offer any explanation for this strange and unwelcome electrical attraction.

        Updating a language

        Does a group of linguists update the English language regularly like they do in The Netherlands or are these sayings going to remain? I would say replace these proverbs already and build a hi-tech museum of old sayings with cool audio-visual presentations. For example, show a fish coming on land to prey on bugs and it stays longer and longer out of water. The longer it stays out of water, the more some parts of its body change and he eventually turns into human. Then you see him on the street in some city, and he overhears a woman saying “…fish out of water…’ He stops abruptly, (close up of his face), his brows knot, (close up of his hands) he makes a fist with white knuckles and he slowly turns around and says to the woman “Who are you calling freak?”

        I hope I won’t be haunted by this fantasy tomorrow at church.

        Proverbs from around the world
        posted by Fikirte @ 10:18 AM   Digg!
        • name<="c114536889783648835" id="c114536889783648835">

          At 10:01 AM, Blogger Ceridwen Devi said…

          All sounds a bit fishy to me. Like your daughter's alien.

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