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9/11 August 31, 2007

Posted by Sharath Rao in humor, science, weird.

Okay, some insensitive questions about a sensitive event that, according to Steve Pinker, highlight underlying mechanisms of how language works.

Which year did 9/11 happen ? How many do you think would get this right ? ( my wild guess would be say 30%)
If that is tough, how about which month did 9/11 happen ?

Now watch this video.

Quoting Pinker :

That hilarious-but-sad YouTube clip, in which people could not say which month “9/11” happened in, makes a linguistic point – that over time, transparent expressions, such as “9/11,” congeal into rote-memorized sounds, so people stop hearing the “9” in the “9/11.” Much of language is shaped by this process, as I note in SOT and in Words and Rules.

My wild idea : (A similarly sampled set of ??) Indians who know of the event might in fact do better, because for us 9/11 (MM/DD) is an unusual construction, and we might remember this for its oddity.



1. Randomizer - September 4, 2007

that video was awesome. forgetting the year, i can understand …but the month ? 🙂 Also, I’m so surprised that people think the attackers were Hindu ! … You’d expect everyone to at least get the religion right, what with all the islam-bashing that happened this whole decade

2. Sharath Rao - September 4, 2007

yeah…baring the possibility that some of those were just sarcastic replies, I was amused abt the hindu part certainly …. i think connection goes – brown skin shared by middle-east as well as indians …and india is synonymous with hindu …so, there !!

3. toni - September 5, 2007

Geez..No wonder we have such a foolish president and are in iraq…please dear lord tell me these people don’t vote…..

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