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Maitani › Comments

Eurozine - Passing the buck - Fabrizio Gatti The Lampedusa shipwreck of 11 October 2013 -
Eurozine - Passing the buck - Fabrizio Gatti The Lampedusa shipwreck of 11 October 2013
"According to Fabrizio Gatti's estimate, at least 268 refugees drowned in the Lampedusa shipwreck on 11 October 2013. A month later, Gatti established that the tragedy could have been avoided, had the vessels in the vicinity with resources to support every victim been allowed to respond according to common sense. But they were not. Referring to laws and regulations, Italian authorities passed the buck of responsibility to Malta." - Maitani from Bookmarklet
What made you think of this now? I'm asking because I was just reading a Norwegian article yesterday about how this really needs to be handled by Europe as a whole; share the costs and make sure that we have decent facilities to take care of all these desperate human beings. The Mediterranean countries, especially Italy and Greece, really have been fucked over by the rest of us when it comes to refugees trying to enter Europe. - Morgan Fugel
fucked over +1 - svinho dos santos
Eivind, I often think of this because I find it outrageous how our governments (particularly the German government) refuse to take care of these people, and I try to keep up with what is going on. I am subscribed to Eurozine on feedly, that's how I saw this article. - Maitani
Aristotle on perceiving objects | OUPblog -
Aristotle on perceiving objects | OUPblog
"Imagine a possible world where you are having coffee with … Aristotle! You begin exchanging views on how you like the coffee; you examine its qualities – it is bitter, hot, aromatic, etc. It tastes to you this way or this other way. But how do you make these perceptual judgments? It might seem obvious to say that it is via the senses we are endowed with. Which senses though? How many senses are involved in coffee tasting? And how many senses do we have in all?" - Maitani from Bookmarklet
The Smart Set: Age of Loneliness - September 10, 2014 -
The Smart Set: Age of Loneliness - September 10, 2014
"It is a heart-wrenching love story. That alone would put it in the category of “good summer read.” It is a short book, clocking in at one hundred and fifty-one pages in my edition. It’s thus an easy book to stick into a beach bag or to carry on the train." - Maitani from Bookmarklet
"Yourcenar found a way. She was, like all great writers, extremely lucky. Someone told her an incredible story. A true story. That is what she claimed, anyway. In her preface to the book (first published in 1939), Yourcenar wrote, “The story itself is authentic, and the three characters who are called Erick, Sophie, and Conrad, respectively, remain much as they were described to me by one of the best friends of the principal person concerned.”" - Maitani
Norwegian Ethnological Research | Larsblog -
Norwegian Ethnological Research | Larsblog
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"The definitive book on Norwegian farmhouse ale is Odd Nordland's "Brewing and beer traditions in Norway," published in 1969. That book is now sadly totally unavailable, except from libraries. In the foreword Nordland writes that the book is based on a questionnaire issued by Norwegian Ethnological Research in 1952 and 1957. After digging a little I discovered that this material is actually still available at the institute. The questionnaire is number 35, running to 103 questions." - Maitani from Bookmarklet
"An interesting tidbit that pops up is that in the northernmost province of Finnmark there was a tradition for brewing kvass. Kvass is a style of beer brewed from rye bread that is generally associated with Russia. I assume people in this region imported the practice of brewing it from Russia, which is just across the border from Finnmark. The respondent (NEG 18905) says it was brewed... more... - Maitani
Found here: "Sixty-two year old survey results leave Lars wondering exactly what was meant in some cases. Keep that in mind the next time you search for word usage across centuries. Matching exact strings isn’t the same thing as matching the meanings attached to those strings. You can imagine what gaps and ambiguities might exist when the time period stretches to centuries, if not millennia, and our knowledge of the languages is learned in a modern context." - Maitani
How Tibetans Adapted to Such High Altitudes - Scientific American -
How Tibetans Adapted to Such High Altitudes - Scientific American
"In Scientific American's special issue on human evolution anthropologist John Hawks of the University of Wisconsin–Madison explains—despite some people's insistence humans are no longer subject to natural selection—that we have in fact evolved dramatically in the last 30,000 years and will continue to do so into the future. One of the most fascinating examples of such recent evolution, which we did not have room to include in the magazine feature, is how Tibetans have adapted to living at very high altitudes. You can learn more about such evolution at these links:" - Maitani from Bookmarklet
TYWKIWDBI ("Tai-Wiki-Widbee"): A walkway in Jerez -
TYWKIWDBI ("Tai-Wiki-Widbee"): A walkway in Jerez
"“Jerez” is the hispanicized version of “Sherish” which was its Moorish name when the town was under Islamic rule. The English speaking world modified the Arabic into “Sherry,” Jerez being the origin of Sherry wines." - Maitani from Bookmarklet
Mmmm. Sherry. - Mark H
Beautiful - Sepi ⌘ سپی
I did a little search on this town and found it beautiful and interesting, displaying a rich history and so many different faces! Reminded me that I need to see Andalusia. Now I am planning on (= dreaming of) visiting the Cádiz province. #wanderlust - Maitani
Maitani, when I visited Seville, I saw some places similar. You see a lot in Andalusia. - Sepi ⌘ سپی
Sepi, I always hoped one day I would visit Seville, Córdoba, and Granada. Now the idea is, what if I stay in a not-so-famous town which is fascinating, too, and take a few tours to other places. Sevilla, for example, is about 80 km from Jerez. Btw, Sepi, I am interested to learn which places you saw and which impressed you most. :-) - Maitani
Cadiz is just down the road. And Tarifa, the southern most point of the European continent, is just a bit further down the street :) - Morgan Fugel
Eivind, did you have any favourite place(s) in Andalusia? :-) - Maitani
Rhonda is spectacular. I loved the Pueblos Blancos and the mountains around them. Córdoba is packed full of history (pre-Arab history, as well). The ruins of Medina Azahara and, of course, Alhambra :) - Morgan Fugel
Yeast Study Suggests Genetics Are Random but Evolution Is Not | Simons Foundation -
Yeast Study Suggests Genetics Are Random but Evolution Is Not | Simons Foundation
"In his fourth-floor lab at Harvard University, Michael Desai has created hundreds of identical worlds in order to watch evolution at work. Each of his meticulously controlled environments is home to a separate strain of baker’s yeast. Every 12 hours, Desai’s robot assistants pluck out the fastest-growing yeast in each world — selecting the fittest to live on — and discard the rest. Desai then monitors the strains as they evolve over the course of 500 generations. His experiment, which other scientists say is unprecedented in scale, seeks to gain insight into a question that has long bedeviled biologists: If we could start the world over again, would life evolve the same way?" - Maitani from Bookmarklet
"Many biologists argue that it would not, that chance mutations early in the evolutionary journey of a species will profoundly influence its fate. “If you replay the tape of life, you might have one initial mutation that takes you in a totally different direction,” Desai said, paraphrasing an idea first put forth by the biologist Stephen Jay Gould in the 1980s." - Maitani
"Desai’s yeast cells call this belief into question. According to results published in Science in June, all of Desai’s yeast varieties arrived at roughly the same evolutionary endpoint (as measured by their ability to grow under specific lab conditions) regardless of which precise genetic path each strain took. It’s as if 100 New York City taxis agreed to take separate highways in a race to the Pacific Ocean, and 50 hours later they all converged at the Santa Monica pier." - Maitani
Melly - #TeamMarina
Michael W. May
Click here to support Extra Help for Marina Skye by Corinne Litchfield
Click here to support Extra Help for Marina Skye by Corinne Litchfield
Thanks for spreading the word, Michael! Much appreciated. - Corinne L
And done thanks so much people for organizing. :) - Steve C Team Marina
Thanks, MWM. - Stephen Mack
up - Maitani
From Bactria to Taxila | A database of ressources on Hellenistic and Imperial Central Asian studies - http://frombactriatotaxila.wor...
From Bactria to Taxila | A database of ressources on Hellenistic and Imperial Central Asian studies
"The web is a fantastic tool, whose applications and implications are progressing at an exponential rate. So are the studies on Hellenistic and Imperial Central Asia, that really have begun to develop in the 70s and are increasing since the last twenty years. Websites dealing with ancient Central Asia exist, as well as digitized version of books, articles and reviews on the subject. But, even at the dawn of the “semantic web”, they are dispatched and thinly spread, the consequences being a great difficulty for everyone to find them and, often, the frustration to find digitized sources in a later stage, way after it would be needed." - Maitani from Bookmarklet
"The work presented here is made of the will to resolve this problem. This blog will mostly function like a portal: internet ressources will be listed in a large bibliography, with incorporated links to their current location on the web. This site will not host books neither articles. In this way, if an author wants to remove its work from the net, he won’t have to pay attention of this... more... - Maitani
Edition Open Access | Melammu - The Ancient World in an Age of Globalization -
Edition Open Access | Melammu - The Ancient World in an Age of Globalization
"Melammu volumes have broadened the horizons of studies of antiquity by encouraging the crossing of geographical and cultural boundaries between ancient civilizations of the Mediterranean and Near East. The present Melammu volume extends from Greece to India, with articles on Phrygia and Armenia, also viewing texts from ancient Israel, Egypt, and Mesopotamia. The globalization described in this volume extends over language barriers and literatures, showing how texts as well as goods can travel between societies and regions. This collection of papers offer new insights and perspectives into connections between the Mediterranean World, Mesopotamia, Anatolia, Persia and India." - Maitani from Bookmarklet
Archaeobotanical Database | University of Tuebingen Archaeology Data Service -
Archaeobotanical Database | University of Tuebingen Archaeology Data Service
"The research project The archaeobotanical database is part of a research project ( for details follow this ) that investigates the development of prehistoric wild plant floras of the Near East and the Eastern Mediterranean. The geographic area (go to map ) represented in the data, includes Greece, Turkey, Western Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, and Northern Egypt. The chronological frame comprises the Chalcolithic period, Bronze and Iron Ages, up to Medieval periods. The project is established at the Institute of Pre- and Protohistory and Medieval Archaeology at the University of Tübingen (Institut für Ur- und Frühgeschichte und Archäologie des Mittelalters der Universität Tübingen) and conducted by Simone Riehl. Financial support has been provided by the Ministry of Arts and Science (Ministerium für Wissenschaft und Kunst, Baden-Württemberg) and the German Research Council (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft)." - Maitani from Bookmarklet
Iceland Eruption, Largest for a Century, Shows No Signs of Stopping -
Iceland Eruption, Largest for a Century, Shows No Signs of Stopping
"The largest lava eruption for over a century is currently underway in central Iceland." - Maitani from Bookmarklet
"Since August 31, liquid rock has been streaming from a mile-long fissure in the plains around Bardarbunga, the country’s second highest volcano. Ármann Höskuldsson, a volcanologist from the University of Iceland, says that the fissure has now spewed more lava, by area, than any eruption since the 19th century. The university’s most recent estimate puts the amount of lava at nearly eight square miles — enough to cover a quarter of the island of Manhattan." - Maitani
Coffee genome sheds light on the evolution of caffeine -- ScienceDaily -
Coffee genome sheds light on the evolution of caffeine -- ScienceDaily
"An international research team has sequenced the genome of the coffee plant Coffea canephora. By comparing genes in the coffee, tea and chocolate plants, the scientists show that enzymes involved in making caffeine likely evolved independently in these three organisms. More than 8.7 million tons of coffee was produced in 2013; it is the principal agricultural product of many tropical nations." - Maitani from Bookmarklet
Cool. :) - Jenny H. from Android
The Origins of Yiddish—A Response to Philologos, Part
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"The Jewish Daily Forward has recently published a four-part essay by “Philologos” on the origins of Yiddish (see here, here, here, and here). While the essay is well-researched and superbly written, I do feel that some clarifications, corrections, and a more in-depth look at some aspects of this problem are in order. Inspired by both Philologos’ original essay and the Jewish Passover tradition revolving around the number four, this response is quadripartite. I begin by summarizing the four (!) hypotheses relating to the origin of Yiddish reviewed by Philologus." - Maitani
could the khazarian hypothesis be more implausible you think? - Jarolim Gayri
I don't know enough about the genetic theory, but it seems clear that Khazarian as a Turkic language can't possibly be a major source of Yiddish, which is Germanic. - Maitani
Btw, the few times I listened to a person speaking Yiddish, I never had difficulties understanding what they were saying. There were a few words I hadn't heard before, or some whose usage seemed weird to me, but syntax, morphology and even most of the words sounded familiar. - Maitani
I was always taught that Yiddish could be considered a Middle High German offshoot. - kendrak
That's how it sounds. :-) The Rheinland hypothesis and the Bavarian scenario are both based on this assumption, they just elaborate on it historically and linguistically.I am interested in learning how the Sorbian scenario fits in the picture. I haven't learned enough yet, so far I have read only part 1 of the series. - Maitani
I need to read the study, obviously. :) Sorbisch is a weird element, because it's not Mittlehochdeutsch, but at the same time it's also not Niederdeutsch. Man am I out of practice. - kendrak
Sorbian is a Slavic language/a group of West Slavic dialects still spoken by a few people in parts of Eastern Germany. - Maitani
Kendra, if it interests you, I really recommend having a look at Asya's article. She is absolutely on top of things, and at the same time entertaining. - Maitani
A September Afternoon on the Grand River, 1825 | Symbiartic, Scientific American Blog Network -
A September Afternoon on the Grand River, 1825 | Symbiartic, Scientific American Blog Network
"One of the most powerful contributions of scientific illustration is to give us an informed visual where it is typically impossible to find one. While creating images for for a nature walk along the Grand River Walter Bean Trail near Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, illustrator Emily Damstra incorporated archaeological evidence as well as records about the First Nations people to recreate this late summer scene." - Maitani from Bookmarklet
"The story of language and its origins that has been emerging on this blog is fairly simple: Members of the human lineage began using words when a population became communal enough to trust one another with shared knowledge. Those first language users differed from their ancestors in the nature of their community, not in the acquisition of some new verbal skill. Once populations of language users became competitive, selection pressures to enrich language functions grew stronger and new verbal abilities did evolve. The competition à enrichment cycle persisted and continued to produce expanded verbal abilities." - Maitani from Bookmarklet
"How might such a story be tested? Points 1 and 2 imply that, intellectually, some parts of language should require no special human abilities, but point 3 implies that some parts of language do depend on special adaptations. So I have been keeping an eye open for any findings that would support or demolish these expectations." - Maitani
"A review article by Heather K.J. van der Lely and Steven Pinker titled "The biological basis of language," seems to be the paper I have been looking for. Basing their work on the study of children with Grammatical Specific Language Impairment (G-SLI), the authors sort syntax and phonology under two headings: basic and extended." - Maitani
The biological basis of language: insight from developmental grammatical impairments - Maitani
More on Basic and Extended Syntax - Maitani
Since Nazi Occupation, a Fist Raised in Resistance
"ATHENS — AS protests swirled in Athens during the Greek financial crisis, a silver-haired octogenarian could be seen on the front lines, raising a fist at the riot police as they shot tear gas into his face. Other times, even on the same day, the same man might be standing in front of Parliament, insisting that lawmakers repudiate an austerity package demanded by the country’s creditors, which he said would only throw Greece into greater hardship." - Maitani
"Today, he is an iconic figure in Greece, a leftist who transcends ideology and a national symbol of resistance — beginning in 1941, when he and a friend, Apostolos Santas, ripped down the Nazi flag from the Acropolis, risking death as Hitler’s forces conquered Athens." - Maitani
My hero :) - Morgan Fugel
It's the pits: Ancient peach stones offer clues to fruit's origins -- ScienceDaily -
It's the pits: Ancient peach stones offer clues to fruit's origins -- ScienceDaily
"Anyone who enjoys biting into a sweet, fleshy peach can now give thanks to the people who first began domesticating this fruit: Chinese farmers who lived 7,500 years ago. Archeologists have a good understanding of domestication -- conscious breeding for traits preferred by people -- of annual plants such as grains (rice, wheat, etc.), but the role of trees in early farming and how trees were domesticated has not been well documented to date." - Maitani from Bookmarklet
"Archeologists have a good understanding of domestication -- conscious breeding for traits preferred by people- of annual plants such as grains (rice, wheat, etc.), but the role of trees in early farming and how trees were domesticated is not well documented. Unlike most trees, the peach matures very quickly, producing fruit within two to three years, so selection for desirable traits... more... - Maitani
The “Steppe Belt” of stockbreeding cultures in Eurasia during the Early Metal Age
"The stock-breeding cultures of the Eurasian “steppe belt” covered approximately 7-8 million square km2 from the Lower Danube in the West to Manchuria in the East (a distance of more than 8000 km). The initial formation of the “steppe belt’cultures coincided with the flourishing of the Carpatho-Balkan-metallurgical province (V millennium BC). These cultures developed during the span of the Circumpontic metallurgical province (IV-III millennium BC). Their maturation coincided with the activity of the various centers of the giant Eurasian and East-Asian metallurgical provinces (II millennium BC). The influence of these stock-breeding nomadic cultures on the historical processes of Eurasian peoples was extremely strong. The collapse of the “steppe belt” occurred as late as the XVIIIth and XIXth centuries AD." - Maitani
Indo-Europeans preceded Finno-Ugrians in Finland and Estonia - Maitani
John Cage on the Necessity of Boredom - Study Hacks - Cal Newport -
John Cage on the Necessity of Boredom - Study Hacks - Cal Newport
"“If something is boring after two minutes, try it for four. If still boring, then eight. Then sixteen. Then thirty-two. Eventually one discovers that it is not boring at all.”" - Maitani from Bookmarklet
if only i could get my oldest to think this way about math. - Big Joe Silence
adam haklıymış hacımsılar v__v - Alfonker Tapir
the man has a point, quasi-pilgrims v__v - Alfonker Tapir
"You're not bored. You're boring." Wisdom from one of my ex-boyfriends. :) - Lisa L. Seifert from iPhone
CLICS Database of Cross-Linguistic Colexifications -
CLICS Database of Cross-Linguistic Colexifications
"CLICS is an online database of synchronic lexical associations ("colexifications", see here for more information) in currently 221 language varieties of the world. Large databases offering lexical information on the world's languages are already readily available for research in different online sources. However, the information on tendencies of meaning associations they enshrine is not easily extractable from these sources themselves. This is why CLICS was created. It is designed to serve as a data source for work in lexical typology, diachronic semantics, and research in cognitive science that focuses on natural language semantics from the viewpoint of cross-linguistic diversity. Furthermore, CLICS can be used as a helpful tool to assess the plausibility of semantic connections between possible cognates in the establishment of genetic relations between languages." - Maitani
Frequently asked questions - Maitani
Semantic map of "give" - Maitani
"In the context of CLICS, we use the term colexification (coined by François 2008[PDF]) to refer to the situation when two or more of the meanings in our lexical sources are covered in a language by the same lexical item. For instance, we would say that Russian рука colexifies ‘hand’ and ‘arm’, that is, concepts that are semantically related to each other. Roughly spoken, colexification... more... - Maitani
Thucydides’ moral chaos | TLS -
Thucydides’ moral chaos | TLS
"In the long hot summer of 427 BC, a quarrel broke out in the small Greek island city of Corcyra (modern Corfu). The city was then allied to Athens, the democratic superpower of the eastern Mediterranean. A group of Corcyrean aristocrats launched an abortive coup, in the hope of handing the city over to Athens’ rivals, the military oligarchy of Sparta. Corcyra fell into a savage civil war between pro-Athenian and pro-Spartan factions, ending (thanks to the arrival of an Athenian fleet) with complete victory for the democrats. For seven days, under the approving eye of an Athenian admiral, the pro-Athenian party systematically butchered their opponents. Fathers killed their own sons; men were dragged from the safety of the temples and slaughtered on the altars of the gods." - Maitani from Bookmarklet
maitani check out the following books of Sahlins if or when you have time regarding Thucydides' ethical dilemmas and his impact on western thought: ; - Alfonker Tapir
Thank you! I have added Apologies to Thucydides to my reading list. - Maitani
Should you leave your enemies to coup another day? - Todd Hoff
Well, as we're once again finding out in real time, purging an entire faction tends to create power vacuums that get filled by people who are even worse than the ones you purged. - Victor Ganata
The Mongols decapitated the ruling class when they conquered. The US style of purge leaves a vacuum. But it doesn't have to. - Todd Hoff
We pretty much decapitated the Baathists in Iraq and now we have ISIS. Should we just have nuked all of Mesopotamia instead? - Victor Ganata
You decapitate to get rid of potential rebellion leadership. To occupy you use other strategies. The problem is the US doesn't want to occupy so the decapitation is counter productive. If we don't want to occupy and we can't find a strongman proxy to do the dirty work, then we shouldn't bother. - Todd Hoff
All through the Cold War we purged regimes that could potentially be sympathetic to Communists and replaced them with strongman proxies backed by U.S. armed forces, and that hasn't seemed to have turned out all that well, either. Although I guess we did win the Cold War, so it does depend on PoV and what you pick as your end point. - Victor Ganata
Worked pretty well, we didn't have WWIII. - Todd Hoff
Well, not yet, at least. But I suppose all you can really hope for is to delay the inevitable. - Victor Ganata
inevitable? I think you need an ice cream. - Todd Hoff
So you think somehow the American Empire really is exceptional enough to avoid the fate of all empires? Well, I suppose one way or the other, I'm not ever going to find out. - Victor Ganata
Adolfo Farsari – The Man Who Shot Japan ~ Kuriositas -
Adolfo Farsari – The Man Who Shot Japan ~ Kuriositas
Adolfo Farsari – The Man Who Shot Japan ~ Kuriositas
"In the 1880s at a time when most Europeans were denied access to the Japanese interior an Italian photographer managed to capture many images of Old Japan. These were then beautifully and realistically hand painted and serve as a remarkable record of a world long since disappeared." - Maitani from Bookmarklet
"Farsari was very much a commercial photographer and his compositions were designed to be sold mostly to foreign visitors to Japan. His landscapes often picture what we might call a slightly enhanced version – even romanticized – of Japan but were very highly regarded at the time. Something of a libertarian, Farsari had joined the American Civil War as he was a fervent abolitionist and... more... - Maitani
Stephan #TeamMarina
It's our 16th anniversary. (My wife is a remarkable person.)
Happy Anniversary! - Lisa L. Seifert from iPhone
Happy anniversary! - Amir
Happy anniversary! - Tamara J. B. from FFHound(roid)!
Happy anniversary! - Maitani
Happy Anniversary, you two! - Micah from FFHound(roid)!
Happy anniversary :-) - Pete : Team Marina from FFHound(roid)!
Happy anniversary! - Sir Shuping is just sir
Happy anniversary! Dinner plans? - Corinne L
Happy happy! - Spidra Webster
Happy anniversary! - John (bird whisperer)
♡♡♡♡♡ - Alix May from FFHound(roid)!
And your wife is married to a wonderful person, too! Happy anniversary to you both <3 - Starmama from FFHound(roid)!
Cheers to you both! - t-ra supports #LOLSpidra from Android
Happy Anniversary! - Anne Bouey
Thank you for your kind words. We did really super romantic things like shopping for school supplies. :-) - Stephan #TeamMarina from iPhone
belated happy anniversary! - Big Joe Silence
Thanks Joe! It's still before midnight here. :) - Stephan #TeamMarina from iPhone
Happy anniversary, you crazy kids! :) - Jenny H. from Android
Happy anniversary, guys :) - Morgan Fugel from Android
Thanks! - Stephan #TeamMarina from iPhone
Congratulations Stephan! :-) - Sepi ⌘ سپی
Thanks, Sepi! - Stephan #TeamMarina from iPhone
Happy belated! - Halil
Thanks, Halil! - Stephan #TeamMarina from iPhone
"For most language learners and lovers, translation is a hot topic. Should I translate new vocabulary into my first language? How can I say x in Japanese? Is this translated novel as good as the original? I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been told that Pushkin isn’t Pushkin unless he’s read in Russian, and I have definitely chastised my own students for anxiously writing out lengthy bilingual wordlists: Paola, you’ll only remember trifle if you learn it in context!" - Maitani
"Many lovely people of the internet are in accordance: untranslatable words are out there, and they’re fascinating. A quick Google brings up articles, listicles, and even entire blogs on the matter. Goya, jayus, dépaysement — all wonderful words that neatly convey familiar concepts, but also “untranslatable” words that appear accompanied by an English definition. This English definition... more... - Maitani
I was watching a Korean variety show last night. The men were drinking makkeoli, which is a fermented rice drink. The subtitles used 'sake'. An odd choice since the Korean drink closest to sake is cheongju. I think I would've gone with 'rice wine', even though it's not really a wine. // On the other hand, Korean has some idioms that sometimes make no sense to my American ears (ex: 원숭이도... more... - Anika
For some reason, I can't think of any concrete examples right now, but I frequently get that feeling when trying to translate Tagalog into English. - Victor Ganata
But I'm sure part of it is that I don't have the whole cultural context to completely translate Tagalog phrases. Like "walang hiya" can be literally translated as "shameless" but I can't really convey (because I ultimately don't really grok) the vast difference between being "walang hiya" in the Philippines (while people use it facetiously all the time when f-ing around with friends, it can also be used as a grave insult and provocation) versus being "shameless" in the U.S. - Victor Ganata
So words or phrases are "untranslatable" because the cultural concepts they highlight are difficult to grasp for people who are not familiar with them. - Maitani
but that happens also in the same language. sometimes i cannot understand my neighbours, but we all speak italian - thomas morton ☢
Agreed. That indicates that the difference between translation and explanation (or definition, as she puts it) may be only gradual. - Maitani
if a language lacks a sharp-knife concept present in another language, often the best way to translate the word is just use the original one (and then explaining it, of course). I find more difficult to translate words whose meaning changes according to the context where they are used, even if Ifeel the difference - .mau.
"Untranslatable" words and phrases embody unique cultural perceptions and insights, which is one reason why a certain tongue may survive being absorbed by another language. +1 for diversity, and long footnotes :-) - Adriano
Adriano, do you have a particular example in mind? - Maitani
Maitani, got several... each blue dot can be seen as a juncture where something "untranslatable" begins to evolve. The distance between blue dots roughly increases the degree of incongruence, or uniqueness, among languages. Notice that over time, the number of branches tend to multiply, rather than merge into each... more... - Adriano
Adriano, I misunderstood you when you said "a certain tongue may survive being absorbed by another language". I supposed you were talking about languages that carry lexical or morphological traces of a different, ancient language, like Sumerian logograms in Akkadian texts, whereas you thought of the historical development/change of languages as depicted in language family trees. - Maitani
The ambiguities in language, do they generally disappear over time? Or is it the responsibility of the user to speak or write with the most precise of available syntax and vocabulary? Aristotle in Greek still reads with clarity, while Derrida in French is irresponsibly amusing. The symbols in between them have been transliterated, yet the author earlier in time seems much easier to translate to an orthogonal language. - Adriano
Maybe you have come across this article already. If not, I absolutely recommend reading it. It is about a man who set out to create a language that avoided the ambiguity, vagueness, redundancy we find in every natural language. - Maitani
Maitani, thank you very much -- I will read it as soon as I have *time* :-) - Adriano
PLOS Biology: How Could Language Have Evolved? -
PLOS Biology: How Could Language Have Evolved?
"The evolution of the faculty of language largely remains an enigma. In this essay, we ask why. Language's evolutionary analysis is complicated because it has no equivalent in any nonhuman species. There is also no consensus regarding the essential nature of the language “phenotype.” According to the “Strong Minimalist Thesis,” the key distinguishing feature of language (and what evolutionary theory must explain) is hierarchical syntactic structure. The faculty of language is likely to have emerged quite recently in evolutionary terms, some 70,000–100,000 years ago, and does not seem to have undergone modification since then, though individual languages do of course change over time, operating within this basic framework. The recent emergence of language and its stability are both consistent with the Strong Minimalist Thesis, which has at its core a single repeatable operation that takes exactly two syntactic elements a and b and assembles them to form the set {a, b}." - Maitani from Bookmarklet
Found via Another Word for It - Maitani
il linguaggio è nato dalla scrittura - Elia Spallanzani
Recursive concatenation of 0 and 1 will, under proper interpretation, yield Borges' infinite library of all books, from the past and into the future. Sound familiar? - Adriano
Your Brain on Metaphors - The Chronicle Review - The Chronicle of Higher Education -
Your Brain on Metaphors - The Chronicle Review - The Chronicle of Higher Education
"It sounds like a question that only a linguist could love. But neuroscientists have been trying to answer it using exotic brain-scanning technologies. Their findings have varied wildly, in some cases contradicting one another. If they make progress, the payoff will be big. Their findings will enrich a theory that aims to explain how wet masses of neurons can understand anything at all. And they may drive a stake into the widespread assumption that computers will inevitably become conscious in a humanlike way." - Maitani from Bookmarklet
"The hypothesis driving their work is that metaphor is central to language. Metaphor used to be thought of as merely poetic ornamentation, aesthetically pretty but otherwise irrelevant. "Love is a rose, but you better not pick it," sang Neil Young in 1977, riffing on the timeworn comparison between a sexual partner and a pollinating perennial. For centuries, metaphor was just the place where poets went to show off." - Maitani
If you are interested in the topic, you should read the two articles; they complement each other. - Maitani
Hofgarten in Veitshöchheim
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Does Hofgarten translate as court garden? - Halil
Yes, Halil, it is the garden around the summer palace of the prince bishops of Würzburg. :-) - Maitani
From marvellous to awesome: how spoken British English has changed | Science | The Guardian -
From marvellous to awesome: how spoken British English has changed | Science | The Guardian
"A study called the Spoken British National Corpus 2014 reveals how our use of language is evolving. Is British English succumbing to American influence?" - Maitani from Bookmarklet
"Early evidence from their project, the Spoken British National Corpus 2014 , shows that "awesome" now turns up in conversation 72 times per million words. "Marvellous", which 20 years ago appeared 155 times per million words, now appears just twice per million. "Fortnight" is also on the endangered list, as is "cheerio". (That's "cheerio" meaning goodbye, young people, as opposed to the singular form of the breakfast cereal, which you would only tend to use if you got one stuck up your nose.)" - Maitani
Spoken BNC2014 project announcement - Maitani
"The project is now calling on people to send in MP3s of their conversations – they'll even pay a small amount – in order to gain a wider sense of how the language as it is spoken has changed over the years." - Maitani
certainly most interested in accents other than the Queen's English -- when the audio samples are collected they should make a game like -- what's your high score? - Adriano
Adriano, I haven't played that game often, although it is fun and I should try it again! I don't think I can score very high, maybe because I am studying dead languages most of the time, "pronouncing" in my mind what I am reading. Anyway, I should listen to people speaking living languages a bit more! - Maitani
Maitani, you too! I like Pali spoken using Japanese phonetics :-) but would like to learn the differences in nuance between a singular language, English with spoken accents: Welsh, Irish, Scotish, Liverpoolish, etc. (For prank calls :-) - Adriano
I like to listen to these various dialects and accents, too. It is just a matter of finding the time for it all. - Maitani
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