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Dennis Baron's go-to site for language and technology in the news

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  • Arabic flashcards bump student from plane


Comments Feb 12, 2010 7:21 am

It is easy to understand the cultural ignorance of TSA personnel performing their dull,menial, but potentially important functions, but we should expect a higher degree of education training and sensible behavior from the FBI. Zero-tolerance is the refuge of small minds and those abound in the hyper-risk-averse world we now inhabit. Ben Franklin correctly advised (I paraphrase) that those who would trample liberty in the cause of security deserve neither.

Reply to at 7:21 am Feb 22, 2010 9:57 am

Still, it's nice to know that language and words are taken seriously. While that student was treated poorly--shamefully--I think the whole episode does quite a bit to reinforce what language scholars have been saying for centuries now: words are powerful and should not be taken lightly. Clearly, folks who study language have lots of work to do, and that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Reply to at 9:57 am