Posts filtered by tags: Linguistics[x]


 

Lyfe (Pronounced “loif”).

Philip Ball writes for the Observer about the ever-popular question of extraterrestrial life, which is not an LH concern (for what it’s worth, my take is that I would be astonished if there were none, but surprised if we find any in the foreseeable future, and by “find” I mean find actual living beings, not “signs pointing unmistakably”). What is LH material is this odd linguistic suggestion: [Stuart] Bartlett, working with astrobiologist Michael Wong of the University of Washington in Seattle,...
Tags: Uncategorized, Earth, Linguistics, Seattle, University of Washington, Wong, West Country, Bartlett, Lyfe, Philip Ball, Michael Wong, Stuart -RSB- Bartlett, Bartlett He


Let’s dig deeper into the Russian verbs for gardening

September is a busy month if you are a gardener in Russia. Many are spending their weekends busy на да́че, reaping the fruits (and vegetables) of their spring sowing and getting their gardens ready for the winter. We’re going to get our hands dirty by digging into verbs related to gardening (садово́дство и огоро́дничество) and their conjugations. As a booster for your memory (a fertilizer if you will) here is a great reference on the nature of transitive and intransitive Russian verbs and a list...
Tags: Russia, Language, Grammar, Linguistics, Vocabulary, Pexels, Russian life, Verbs, Russian Verbs, Verbs and their grammar, Other Blogs, learning Russian, Jill Wellington, Conjugation tables for verbs, Russian grammar, Pixabay Рыть


Dialect Atlas of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Going through my old unread e-mail file, I found the Dialect Atlas of Newfoundland and Labrador: The online Dialect Atlas of Newfoundland and Labrador was formally launched on October 23, 2013, to considerable media attention. More than a decade in the making, it documents regional differences in selected features of pronunciation, morphosyntax (grammar) and lexicon within the spoken English of the province. Its “structural” component – grounded in regional dialect data for traditional speakers ...
Tags: Uncategorized, Linguistics, Newfoundland, Labrador, Stan Carey, Harold Paddock


Table and Mirror.

I had occasion to consult the Russian Wikipedia page for Lake Imandra (the stress is on the first syllable), and I was confused by the first sentence, which said it was “14-е в России по площади водного зеркала” [14th in Russia by surface of the water mirror]. I figured водное зеркало, literally ‘water mirror,’ must mean something else, and sure enough Wikipedia says “Водное зеркало — водная поверхность поверхностных открытых водоёмов или подземных ненапорных вод” [Water mirror — the water surf...
Tags: Wikipedia, Russia, Uncategorized, Linguistics, Imandra


Punning Pronouns for Finance

I’ve been seeing these ads in Shanghai recently: The key line is this one: 财富在这「理」 Here you have a pun on the word 这里 (“here”), substituting 理 for 里 . They sound very similar. So the punned sentence sounds like it’s saying “wealth is here” (a basic 在 sentence), but if you read the characters, it’s saying, “wealth is managed here,” using 在 to specify location. This is because 理 can mean “manage,” as in the phrase “ 理财 ” (“to manage wealth,” or “wealth management”)...
Tags: Advertising, Language, Grammar, Shanghai, Linguistics, Puns


Nature’s Embrace.

Patrick Wang kindly offered to send me his new book, Nature’s Embrace: The Poetry of Ivan Bunin. I was thrilled by the very idea — I didn’t think anybody but me (and Russians, of course) appreciated Bunin’s poetry! — and said “sure,” and today the book arrived. It’s a very handsome blue paperback with over a hundred poems; I looked for one of my favorites, Спокойный взор, подобный взору лани, and there it was, pleasingly rendered as: That peaceful gaze, the way a doe will gaze, And all that I ...
Tags: Uncategorized, Linguistics, Lucifer, Bunin, Ivan Bunin, Patrick Wang


Russian Golden Autumn

Officially, autumn ( о́ сень) in Russia begins on September 1 and ends on October 31. In each climatic zone, fall ( о́ сень) has its own characteristics and duration. Nevertheless, it is the shortest, but for me the most picturesque and romantic season. Autumn in Russia The weather in early September (сентя́брь) is usually cool (прохла́дно). Then the Indian summer (“ба́бье ле́то“, which means “grandmother’s summer”) begins. This is a short period of mild (мя́гкий), sunny (с о́ лнечный), no pre...
Tags: Russia, Culture, Linguistics, Moscow, Literature, Siberia, Black Sea, Alexander Pushkin, Nature and the outdoors, Arts And Crafts, Isaac Levitan, Russian song lyrics, Avrahm Yarmolinsky


Refillable cosmetics stations in Poland

All of you who are waste conscious know that the beauty industry has a plastic problem. From shampoo and conditioner bottles to mascara tubes, the global cosmetics industry contributes significantly to plastic pollution and the statistics are a cause for concern. Given the alarming facts about garbage inside our oceans and micro-plastics found inside animals’ and people’s food chain, companies started thinking differently about the packaging of stuff they are selling. Refill strategy ( Strategia...
Tags: Environment, Linguistics, Poland, Countries, Cosmetics, Carrefour, Seksak Kerdkanno, Carrefour Polska, Carrefour BIO, Bemowo Warsaw, Yope


Nikolai Nikolaevich.

I just finished one of the two great samizdat hits of 1970, Yuz Aleshkovsky‘s Николай Николаевич [Nikolai Nikolaevich]. It was passed around and eagerly copied by people with typewriters, even memorized and endlessly quoted; finally, in 1980, after the author emigrated to the US, it was published by Ardis (which rescued so much Russian literature from official oblivion). I had previously revered Aleshkovsky for his immortal song about the Gulag “Товарищ Сталин, вы большой ученый” (“Comrade Sta...
Tags: Uncategorized, US, Linguistics, Moscow, Stalin, Nikolai, Joseph Brodsky, Dmitry Bykov, Boris Dralyuk, Vlada, Dralyuk, Beria, Lizok, Venedikt Erofeev, Moscow Petushki, Ardis


A Middle English Vocabulary.

Again going through my unread-mail file, I discovered that years ago longtime LH commenter Paul Treuthardt sent me a link to A Middle English Vocabulary, Designed for use with Sisam’s Fourteenth Century by J. R. R. Tolkien, adding “This is the opening of his introductury Note (admirable, I think)”: This glossary does not aim at completeness, and it is not primarily a glossary of rare or ‘hard’ words. A good working knowledge of Middle English depends less on the possession of an abstruse vocabul...
Tags: Uncategorized, Linguistics, PAUL, J R R Tolkien, LH, Sisam, Paul Treuthardt


We're ignoring one of the most obvious ways to avoid spreading the coronavirus: stop talking so much

Teachers wearing masks attend a meeting at Jean-Jaures elementary school in Cenon near Bordeaux, France on May 11, 2020 amid preparations to re-open primary schools. Mehdi Fedouach/AFP via Getty Images Talking loudly may spread the virus to others better than being quiet. It's possible that this is part of the reason why English speakers have had higher infection rates than the Japanese.  But that doesn't mean we should all go silent.  Talking to others is one of the most important things ...
Tags: Japan, Texas, Science, News, France, Berlin, US, Trends, Mental Health, Public Health, Atlantic, Arizona, Linguistics, National Institutes of Health, University of Pennsylvania, Anthony Fauci


Glozening.

A very kind LH reader sent me a copy of John Burnside’s The Music of Time: Poetry in the Twentieth Century (thanks, Michael!), and I’m slowly making my way through it — each chapter discusses one or two poets, and I enjoy taking a break after each to digest the poems and Burnside’s thoughts. At the moment I’m reading the chapter called “A Very Young Policeman Exploding,” about Hart Crane and Dylan Thomas (you can perhaps see it at Google Books; the title is from Thomas’s description of Crane’s ...
Tags: Uncategorized, Linguistics, Dylan Thomas, Google Books, Michael, Stalin, Thomas, Crane, Burnside, Hart Crane, Anna Akhmatova, Fionn, John Burnside, James Stephens, Lev Gumilev, Jacques Derrida Burnside


Popcorn

How bad is it out here? On Wednesday, smoke from wildfires throughout the American West turned Bay Area skies an otherworldly shade of dark orange. The COVID pandemic is still very much with us, and most businesses and schools are at least partially closed. Bob Woodward’s new book about the Trump presidency, Rage, is predictably enraging. (Read Jennifer Szalai’s sharply written review in the New York Times.) Things may be even worse in Florida. So let’s take a moment for distraction. Pass t...
Tags: Florida, Politics, UK, Stephen Colbert, US, Chile, Memes, Linguistics, Food And Drink, Words, West Coast, Cher, Nostalgia, Joe, Bay Area, Forbes


Why do the Chinese hate Disney’s Mulan so much?

Disney’s Mulan comes out in China today. All indications are that this movie is going to be a huge flop in China. Now, Mulan isn’t getting great reviews in the US either (it’s currently at a 5.5 out of 10 on IMDb), but it’s doing even worse in China (currently at a 5.1 out of 10 on MTime, China’s IMDb). Some of the US reviewers are saying that the film suffered from trying to appease Chinese censors and Chinese audiences. But Chinese audiences are not at all impressed with the result...
Tags: Movies, China, Disney, US, Personal, Culture, Shanghai, Linguistics, Mulan, Kung Fu Panda, Tenet, Henan, Fujian, Mulan Everyone


How to Read Aloud.

Bathrobe sent me a link to How to Read Aloud, Irina Dumitrescu’s review (LRB, 10 September 2020) of Voices and Books in the English Renaissance: A New History of Reading by Jennifer Richards and Learning Languages in Early Modern England by John Gallagher (both Oxford 2019), with the comment “Very interesting! Touches on several LH issues, including multilingualism, foreign language learning, and the virtues of reading out loud.” It sure is, and I hope you haven’t used up your free-article quot...
Tags: Europe, England, Milan, London, Uncategorized, Linguistics, Guardian, Saracens, Shakespeare, Continental, Mediterranean, James, Elizabeth, Viator, Isles, Richards


Score.

Baseball expert Richard Hershberger made a Wordorigins post about the term “box score,” which “is something of a mystery”: Baseball box scores date to the 1840s, modeled off cricket scores. The main difference is that a cricket match being at most two innings, it can have a full score for each innings, with the number of runs for each batsman and how he was put out. This was obviously impractical for baseball, so from the start the score was compressed, with the results of the innings combine...
Tags: Uncategorized, Linguistics, Reds, Mets, Dickson, Richard Hershberger


A Translator Takes Stock.

For years I’ve been looking forward to reading Yury Trifonov, and now that I’ve finally gotten to him, I find him even better than I expected. At the end of July I read his Обмен (The Exchange), the first of his famous “Moscow novels,” and now I’ve finished the second, Предварительные итоги (Preliminary results, tr. as Taking Stock, available in this collection); they’re both gripping stories of moral choices and fraying families, but the second has a language-related aspect, so it’s the one th...
Tags: Uncategorized, Linguistics, Moscow, Kafka, Tolstoy, Minsk, Kirill, Chekhov, Rita, Gennady, Valya, Ashkhabad, Mansur, Trifonov, Sashura, Yuri Olesha


Fake Lu Xun Quotes on a Truck

So I was strolling down the street in Shanghai, and passed this big crane truck parked on the sidewalk: Then also noticed that it had this “Lu Xun quote” on it (which is kinda unusual for a truck): In Chinese text, that would be: 原本是可以赚钱的后来做的人多了,也就不赚钱了慢慢的变成为人民服务了。 *鲁迅 (not really) In English, that would be: Originally it made money, but then too many people started doing it. It slowly changed from making money to serving the people. Pretty unusual quote for the sid...
Tags: Translation, Language, Grammar, Shanghai, Linguistics, Lu Xun


Two from Trevor.

That wonderful Irish poet and link-provider Trevor Joyce (see this post from a few years back) has been providing links, and here are a couple you may enjoy. 1) William Costa on languages in Paraguay in the Guardian: “The Paraguayan Guaraní language is a rare regional success story. But its own popularity is a problem for smaller languages.” 2) Eddie Moroney doing sports commentary in a South Tipperary accent so thick you could do somersaults on it. What is goin’ on? At all? Thanks, Trevor!
Tags: Uncategorized, Paraguay, Linguistics, Trevor, Trevor Joyce, William Costa, Eddie Moroney


Hebrew Infusion.

Renee Ghert-Zand writes for the Times of Israel about something I (a gentile who has been Judaism-adjacent all his life) had no idea of: Kids in the Diaspora missed many things by not being able to attend Jewish sleep away camps this summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s been a rough couple of months not eating in the chadar ochel (dining hall), doing rikud (dance) and swimming in the breicha (pool). And of course, they missed polishing up their Hebrew. However, a fascinating new book by a h...
Tags: Texas, Israel, Uncategorized, Linguistics, Moscow, Ussr, Soviet Union, Times of Israel, Krasner, Pocono Mountains, Young Judaea, Renee Ghert Zand, Jonathan Krasner Sarah Bunin Benor, Sharon Avni, Benji Lovitt, Lovitt


On Sermons and the Vernacular.

I do like an eloquently obscene rant, and that goes double for rants about language and history, so I am grateful to my pal Nicholas Jainschigg for passing along this post by medieval historian Eleanor Janega responding to an idiotic tweet about “priests who kept reading their sermons in Latin after the printing press had come along.” I’ll quote the core of it here: Somehow it seems that I have written very little about sermons here on the blog, and this is odd because I am absolutely obsessed ...
Tags: Europe, Uncategorized, Jerusalem, Prague, Linguistics, St George, Latin, Christendom, Antichrist, Milic, Eleanor Janega, Nicholas Jainschigg, Michaelmas, Jan Milíč, Gratias


Sokolov’s Monument.

I’m still dipping my toes into Sokolov’s Между собакой и волком, translated by Alexander Boguslawski as Between Dog and Wolf (see this post from July) — I find the “Hunter’s Notes” poems excellent bedtime reading. I’ve gotten to one called Архивная [Archival] that is uniquely (for this Finneganesque book) transparent, with nary a dialectal or invented word; more than that, it’s funny, touching, and a clever twist on a longstanding tradition in Russian poetry, updatings of Horace’s Exegi monumen...
Tags: Uncategorized, Linguistics, Wolf, Peter, Nabokov, Pushkin, Horace, Sokolov, Alexander Boguslawski, Boguslawski, Stephen Dodson, Alex Foreman, Derzhavin, Alexandrines, Volga Don Neva, Kapnist Batyushkov Fet Bryusov


How MoveOn got its name

Among the many, many political emails and texts filling my phone during this final pre-election sprint are daily communiqués from MoveOn, the progressive public advocacy group. Yesterday’s email, from the director of analytics, bore the subject line “This is a long email, but I hope you read it,” and sure enough: 1,143 words. I no longer remember when or why I signed up with MoveOn, but I do remember how the organization got started and how it got its name. In fact, I remember attending an e...
Tags: Politics, Microsoft, Congress, Washington, White House, History, Bill Clinton, Linguistics, Joan, Clinton, Monica Lewinsky, Berkeley California, Boyd, MoveOn, Naming, Nancy Friedman


We’re not in Kansas anymore

Somewhere between me reading Greek myths and then diving headfirst into The Chronicles of Narnia, I remember being perfectly lost in the lore of the “Волше́бная Страна́” (Magic Land) created by the great Soviet author Alexander Volkov (Александр Во́лков). You might be thinking, Volkov who? Fear not, my friend, for I’m here to tell you all about the genius man who drew inspiration from Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and created «Волше́бник Изумру́дного Го́рода» (The Wizard of the Emerald...
Tags: Culture, Linguistics, Literature, Kansas, Kazakhstan, Dorothy, Wizard Of Oz, Emerald City, Soviet Union, Baum, Ellie, Volkov, Marshak, Frank Baum, Russian Literature, Alexander Volkov Александр


Comrade Duch’s Chinese Name.

A reader wrote to say “I was curious about the name of a Khmer Rouge leader who died yesterday, so I ended up writing a post about it”; the post, What was Khmer Rouge executioner Comrade Duch’s original Chinese name?, is exactly the kind of philological/linguistic excavation I enjoy, so I’m passing it along for those who have similar interests. Here’s the conclusion: One character that came to mind was 耀 iău [iau˧˥] or iŏu [iou˧˥], meaning ‘radiance’, as can be found in the name of the Singapor...
Tags: Uncategorized, Linguistics, Khmer Rouge, Lee Kuan Yew, Teochew, Duch, Lí Kong, Kang Kek Ieu, Kaing Kek Iev, Kang Ge̍k iău, Jiāng Yùyào, Douch


The Ever-Present Phantom Menace

It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been in China. There is a phantom menace always lurking. Yes, I’m talking about food poisoning. It got me on Tuesday. Yikes. After a rough morning, I went into “recovery mode” and slept all day. There’s a lot I’d like to write about. First step: stop getting sick! The post The Ever-Present Phantom Menace appeared first on Sinosplice.
Tags: Health, Food, Funny, China, Personal, Linguistics


Living in Translation.

Aruni Kashyap (quoted here in 2017 on the difficulty of translation) has a wonderful essay in Catapult, “Living in Translation, or Why I Love Daffodils, an Unpopular Postcolonial Flower”; it’s one of those that can’t be summarized, so I’ll toss a few chunks out there and hope you rise to the bait: Unlike many of my other schoolmates, I didn’t speak English at home. My father grew up poor in a village where the only English words used were the ones that had percolated deep into the Indian languag...
Tags: India, Uncategorized, Linguistics, Shakespeare, Chinua Achebe, Ma, Colgate, Solomon, Charles Lamb, Junot Diaz, Amitav Ghosh, Debi, Delhi University, Goswami, Giribala, Chimamanda Adichie


Melius ex errore.

An interesting quote (via Michael Gilleland at Laudator Temporis Acti) from Robert A. Hall, Jr., A Life for Language: A Biographical Memoir of Leonard Bloomfield (John Benjamins, 1990): Part of the strong condemnation expressed in the last sentence quoted above was an outgrowth of Bloomfield’s disgust with the inexactitude and inaccuracy of the folklore taught in our schools as “grammar” (e.g., “a noun is the name of a person, place, or thing”). He used to say that it would be better for school ...
Tags: Uncategorized, Linguistics, Robert, Bloomfield, Melius, Michael Gilleland, Laudator Temporis Acti, Laudator, Leonard Bloomfield John Benjamins, Francis Bacon Novum Organum, Alexander Langlands Cræft


Rytkheu’s Fog Dream.

I just finished a book I never really expected to read, Yuri Rytkheu’s 1969 Сон в начале тумана [Dream at the beginning of fog]. I knew Rytkheu was “the father of Chukchi literature,” but frankly I had no interest in Chukchi literature, and I expected his novels to be a mashup of ethnographic detail and standard socialist-realist tropes. I do enjoy a good tale of Arctic adventure, so that was alluring, but I had also read that the hero tries to teach the Chukchi literacy and bring them into th...
Tags: Russia, Uncategorized, Linguistics, John, Arctic Ocean, Chukchi, Bolsheviks, Emma Copley Eisenberg, Chingiz Aitmatov, Yuri Rytkheu, Ilona Yazhbin Chavasse, Rytkheu, Flaubert Nabokov, Tolstoy Dostoevsky, John MacLennan, Pylmau


Schools In Russia

The First of September (пе́рвое сентября́) is Knowledge Day (День зна́ний) in Russia. It is the official school start date. Pupils on this day return to schools (шк о́ лы), colleges (к о́ лледжи), and universities (университе́ты). You can read more about how Russian children and their parents prepare for school and celebrate this day here. Image by Romoanna Pixabay Today we will talk about a typical Russian school. “Шк о́ ла” (noun, feminine) sounds a bit similar to the English “school”. Both ...
Tags: Russia, Linguistics, Traditions, Vocabulary, Vanya, when in Russia, Russian life, Russian school, 1 of September in Russia, back to school in Russia, Knowledge Day in Russia, schooling in Russia, schools in Russia, September first in Russia, Romoanna Pixabay, Alexander Lyubavin Flickr