Mixing It Up

Researchers suggest that codeswitching, or mixing two languages, is often constrained by age or ethnicity or location, but people in Beirut reportedly codeswitch in everyday interactions even though the interlocutors are both Lebanese, which could have some intriguing implications for cultural identity.

Cultural identity has historically been defined by linguistic boundaries and textual traditions that, though arbitrary (see Wright 2004), have been indexed to nationalist norms as imagined communities (Anderson 2006), in which print and other media encourage the belief in shared identities and shared values. French people, especially those who are cultured and, thus, epitomize the identity, speak French, for example, and are familiar with French literature.  Continue reading “Mixing It Up”

Milking Markets

Marketplace from American Public Media and Kate Wells from Michigan Public Radio recently reported the efforts of Medolac Laboratories, a Delaware corporation with Oregon headquarters that sells breast milk to critically ill newborns and infants around the world. Some object that Medolac doesn’t disclose where it sends the milk while others suggest that it could encourage mothers to sell all their milk and, in so doing, neglect their own children. Continue reading “Milking Markets”

Local Global

I needed new running shoes for one of my kids, so we went to a nearly big box athletic store. On a whim, I decided to check Amazon with my phone, which offered the same shoes, once taxes were included, for half the price. However, I’ve been wondering, since ordering them online, whether I’m contributing to the demise of local retail.

I apparently am not the only one who is using these online options. Ten million people, according to Amazon, tried its Prime subscription service for the first time this holiday season, and Amazon customers placed ten times the orders with same day shipping this year over last year. At the same time, Amazon shipped to 185 countries this holiday season, and its total US holiday sales with its smartphone app doubled this year. Continue reading “Local Global”

Cruising

Cruising is an increasingly popular vacation option. The number of those who took a cruise, according to a Cruise Lines International Association study, increased from 13.44 million passengers on 167 ships in 2009 to 16.95 million on 185 ships in 2012. Of these, more than 10 million embarked from U.S. ports, and passengers and crews added $42 billion to the U.S. economy. Continue reading “Cruising”