Wednesday, July 24, 2002

Quote and Comment

Those who know nothing of foreign languages know nothing of their own.
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, dramatist, novelist, and philosopher (1749-1832)

I discovered recently during a trip to France that my interest in language has its roots in my high school French classes. Although I have maintained my ability to read French to some degree, by studying the French versions of appliance directions and clothing labels, I had not spent much time analyzing or even remembering much about the experience of learning French in the first place.

When I left for France on a trip sponsored by the Portland Audubon Society, I started a journal of my impressions for the purposes of writing an article for ETC, a journal of general semantics . That prompted me to summon the roots of my love for the French language, which lead to realize that I learned much more than French in those classes.

My teacher had grown up in Paris and spoke French as a native. When I realized that she "saw" the gender in objects, I began to sense that language can influence how you conceive and think about the world.

Thursday, July 18, 2002


We are getting into semantics again. If we use words, there is a very grave danger they will be misinterpreted.
--H. R. Haldeman, "plumber", testifying in his own defense.

Monday, July 08, 2002

Psychology and Investing

How you feel about yourself and how you think about the world has a significant effect on how well you manage money. This article by Laura Bruce at shows that we all operate with certain brain illusions and our investments suffer for it.
Investor psychology

Friday, July 05, 2002


Time changes all things: there is no reason why language should escape this universal law.
-Ferdinand de Saussure, linguist, (1857-1913)