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Sentence first | An Irishman's blog about the English language. -
"In his excellent natural history of language, The Power of Babel, linguist John McWhorter describes dialects – and it’s all dialects – as “developed far beyond the call of duty”. He’s referring to the way languages tend to become structurally and idiosyncratically baroque:" - Maitani from Bookmarklet
"Left to its own devices, a human language will tend to elaborate into overt expression of subdivisions of semantic space that would not even occur to many humans as requiring attention in speech and become riddled with exceptions and rules of thumb and things only learnable by rote. This process tends to achieve its most extreme expression among groups long isolated, but any language... more... - Maitani
Review on LINGUIST List - Maitani
A Calendar Page for June 2014 - Medieval manuscripts blog -
A Calendar Page for June 2014 - Medieval manuscripts blog
A Calendar Page for June 2014 - Medieval manuscripts blog
"In these calendar pages for the month of June, the agricultural labours for the summer are beginning in earnest.  In the first roundel of our calendar pages, we see a peasant at work scything in grass in a field surrounded by a wattled fence (beautifully highlighted with gold paint).  Behind him a man and a woman are similarly employed, while in the background there is a gorgeous landscape characteristic of Bruges illumination of the period, with a peasant’s hut, spired buildings, a manor house, and even a windmill.   On the facing folio, below a lobster-like crab for the zodiac sign Cancer, there is a charming summer scene.  Four young boys have cast their clothes aside and are swimming and playing in a local river." - Maitani from Bookmarklet
A Master List of 1,000 Free Courses From Top Universities: 30,000 Hours of Audio/Video Lectures
"Right now you’ll find 113 free philosophy courses, 78 free history courses, 100 free computer science courses, and 54 free physics courses in the collection, and that’s just beginning to scratch the surface. You can peruse sections covering Astronomy, Biology, Business, Chemistry, Economics, Engineering, Literature, Math, Political Science, Psychology and Religion." - Maitani
Awesome. Thanks for sharing! - Jenny H. from Android
"The early books of famed Urdu satirist Mustaq Ahmed Yousufi (b. 1922), Chiragh Talay (1961) and Khakam-e Badhan (1969), functioned in the college space for us in Lahore as cigarettes function in a prison camp – a currency, a momentary respite, a surge, and a day dream. We used to crack jokes from his oeuvre claiming them as they were uttered. He was not very well liked by my elders, however. They found him a poor replacement for the other satirists at play, Pitras Bukhari or Mustanssar Hussain Tarad or often Ibn-e Insha. Yet he was beloved by us near-adults as a rock star." - Maitani
Linguistic Diversity in Northern California
"In 1929, anthropologist and linguist Edward Sapir wrote: “Few people realize that within the confines of the United States there is spoken today a far greater variety of languages … than in the whole of Europe. We may go further. We may say, quite literally and safely, that in the state of California alone there are greater and more numerous linguistic extremes than can be illustrated in all the length and breadth of Europe”. Today, it is safe to narrow down Sapir’s observation even further to Northern California or even just San Francisco Bay area, one of the most linguistically diverse areas in the United States. And while Sapir was only thinking of indigenous Native American languages, we will examine linguistic diversity in terms of “heritage languages”, an umbrella term for both immigrant languages and those of Native Americans." - Maitani
Irresistible El Greco
"For many of the four hundred years since the death of Domenikos Theotokopoulos, the artist known to his Spanish neighbors as El Greco, his work was regarded with the same disdain as that of his younger contemporary Caravaggio. If Caravaggio’s detractors vowed that, as Poussin put it, he had “come into the world to ruin painting,” the Greek who made his career in the land of Don Quixote was “contemptible and ridiculous, as much for the disjointed drawing as for the insipid colors.” In the nineteenth century, El Greco’s monumental Burial of the Count of Orgaz lay rolled up and despised in a basement of the Toledan church of Santo Tomé, the venue for which he had painted it in 1586–1588 (and where it hangs again today in glory)." - Maitani
Figure out German animal names with this handy flow chart
"Thanks to German’s propensity for compounding words, the name of most any animal is easily deducible…" - Maitani
From now on I shall use the term "shield toad" to describe tortoises. - Mark H
Should I be afraid that some of this made sense? - Betsy
Absolutely. It's our way to name things. :-) - Maitani
Our names for body parts are even weirder: uterus: Gebärmutter (giving-birth-mother), pancreas: Bauchspeicheldrüse (belly-spittle-gland), duodenum: Zwölffingerdarm (12-finger-gut), colon: Dickdarm (thick- gut)appendix: Blinddarm (blind-gut)... - Maitani
That mostly goes for Norwegian, as well. We feel the dugong look more like a sea /cow/, though, and we don't see a pig in the porpoise. On the other branch, Turkey has a completely different name in Norwegian and we named the squid (and octopus. We separate them by saying how many armed they are) "ink squirter" :) (The Swedes also thinks it's an ink /fish/, btw.) - Eivind
For the body parts we are in agreement, except we feel "life mother" is a better term for the first one :) - Eivind
I think it's due to the fact that English and German use different lexical layers for naming these items. As to the words for animals and plants we have been familiar with from our ancient farming and pastoral living environment, we all use the old Germanic names, mostly simplicia. The same holds for the body parts that were familiar to us before "modern" medicine discovered more. The... more... - Maitani
In German (and in Norwegian as well, obviously), we tended to coin new names by combining native German words to form compounds, which is partly due to the ease with which we are able to do that. At least in German, it is also due to a tradition. I don't know when it began, I think with the monastic scribes translating religious scripts into Old High German and thereby creating German words for abstract notions. One more recent creator of German compounds for Latin words was Philip von Zesen..... - Maitani
The "tradition" isn't mainly about compounds, but about creating neologisms from native word stems, e.g. "Bücherei", which was coined after Graeco-Latin "bibliotheca" by Philip von Zesen. - Maitani
Compounds like those mentioned above sound perfectly normal to native speakers of German because we rather perceive them as a whole, less as a combination of the meanings of their elements. Children who hear them for the first time often find them funny and weird. - Maitani
Fragmentary Latin Grammarians (FLG)
"Fragmentary Latin Grammarians (FLG) is a project dedicated to gathering, for the first time, all Latin grammatical texts which are preserved exclusively in fragmentary form. Our primary purpose is to compile a complete list of the authors of such texts, be they grammarians, teachers, erudites or any other author who may have written works on grammar, regardless of their position in society or their literary activity. These authors have been frequently quoted by late Latin grammarians and their ideas contributed to the evolution of ancient linguistic thought. In recent years, there has been increasing interest in this field, but a complete corpus is not available and modern editors are confronted with the daunting task of locating the quotes within texts, delimitating them and only then analysing them." - Maitani
Deep Habits: My Office in the Woods
"Case in point: I recently found a new hidden work location here on the Georgetown campus that I think trumps any previous spot I’ve found in terms of its ability to eliminate distraction and foster depth:" - Maitani
Where have all the craters gone?
"Impact craters reveal one of the most spectacular geologic process known to human beings. During the past 3.5 billion years, it is estimated that more than 80 bodies, larger than the dinosaur-killing asteroid that struck the Yucatan Peninsula 66 million years ago, have bombarded Earth. However, tectonic processes, weathering, and burial quickly obscure or destroy craters. If Earth weren't so dynamic, its surface would be heavily cratered like the Moon or Mercury." - Maitani
Monthly etymology gleanings for May 2014
"Why do words change their meaning?" - Maitani
"To answer this question I need a thick volume titled Historical Semantics. Unable to provide such a volume in the present post, I’ll give two examples from our recent experience. Everybody knows that kid is a young goat and a child. The sense “child” appeared much later. It was first slang and then became a regular item of everyday vocabulary, though we still say that so-and-so has no... more... - Maitani
The Roman conquest of Greece, in pictures | OUPblog -
The Roman conquest of Greece, in pictures | OUPblog
"This sequence of photos roughly outlines the progress of the Roman takeover of Greece, from the first beginnings in Illyris (modern Albania) in 230 BCE to the infamous “destruction” of Corinth in 146 BCE. The critical figures of this swift takeover were two Macedonian kings, Philip V and Perseus, who were determined to resist Roman aggression. Many famous generals of the middle Roman Republic were involved with the Greek states as generals and diplomats, but the most critical of them was Titus Quinctius Flamininus. And then off in the wings, especially when he was fighting the Romans in Italy itself and monopolizing their resources, was Hannibal, the Carthaginian general. But Carthage too was destroyed in 146 by the Romans. Their grip on the Mediterranean was secure." - Maitani from Bookmarklet
Vikings: Life and Legend – Review | res gerendae -
Vikings: Life and Legend – Review | res gerendae
"...I’d still encourage anyone who likes Vikings (and who doesn’t like Vikings?) to go along to this – the cultural contact section in particular really is very interesting, and in general there are some amazing objects you won’t get to see again any time soon without going to Denmark. Plus while you’re there you can check out the excellent new Sutton Hoo and Europe (AD 300–1100) Gallery, which, as well as the spectacular finds from the Sutton Hoo ship burial, contains my favourite object of the whole day: a sword with the Futhark (runic alphabet) inlaid on it in gold. Swords, runes, and swords with runes – what more can you really ask for from a day out at the museum?" - Maitani from Bookmarklet
Subject List - Maitani
To explore the site, librarians are encouraged to sign up for free institution-wide trials, and anyone can search, browse, and view the opening sections of every article currently available. - Maitani
Peshawar: Ghosts of a Frontier City
"A single feather, milky blue, just fallen on my threshold, is from a Turkestan hill dove flying south from China to Peshawar, I imagine, though it is more likely to have been shed by a buttonquail which is common in these parts." - Maitani
"Made from melting the musk of each passerby with protolithic time, this threshold is neither a construction or a destruction but a slow composite of both. Along the Silk Road— the moving marketplace across Asia, Africa and Europe— Peshawar has been an important outpost: here, what is stolen by opium, is filled back in by shady trees planted by pilgrims; what is healed and made whole... more... - Maitani
Adam Gopnik: How Much Really Gets Lost in Translation? : The New Yorker -
Adam Gopnik: How Much Really Gets Lost in Translation? : The New Yorker
Adam Gopnik: How Much Really Gets Lost in Translation? : The New Yorker
"Once, in a restaurant in Italy with my family, I occasioned enormous merriment, as a nineteenth-century humorist would have put it, by confusing two Italian words. I thought I had, very suavely, ordered for dessert fragoline—those lovely little wild strawberries. Instead, I seem to have asked for fagiolini—green beans. The waiter ceremoniously brought me a plate of green beans with my coffee, along with the flan and the gelato for the kids. The significant insight the mistake provided—arriving mere microseconds after the laughter of those kids, who for some reason still bring up the occasion, often—was about the arbitrary nature of language: the single “r” rolled right makes one a master of the trattoria, an “r” unrolled the family fool. Although speaking feels as natural as breathing, the truth is that the words we use are strange, abstract symbols, at least as remote from their objects as Egyptian hieroglyphs are from theirs, and as quietly treacherous as Egyptian tombs." - Maitani from Bookmarklet
sunu ikidir "adam gopnik abi ne diyon sen" tonlamasiyla okuyorum. - seyif
"The book’s presupposition is that there are significant, namable, untranslatable differences between tongues, [...] The editors, propelled by this belief, also believe it to be wrong. In each entry of the Dictionary, the differences are tracked, explained, and made perfectly clear in English, which rather undermines the premise that these terms are untranslatable, except in the dim... more... - Maitani
What is often untranslatable: flavor, taste, color, texture, sonics, rhythm, intonations, connotations, etc. -- all of which add to the rich semantics of expressions. - Sean McBride
Important peculiarities of memory
"A slide from what looks like a fascinating talk by memory researcher Robert Bjork is doing the rounds on Twitter." - Maitani
"The talk has just happened at the Association for Psychological Science 2014 conference and it describes some ‘Important peculiarities of memory’." - Maitani
A Troublesome Racial Smog
"Nicholas Wade’s book, A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race, and Human History, is what the title suggests: a troubling view of human history. A Troublesome Inheritance is troublesome, but not for the reason he proposes: his courageous telling of hard truths about genetic differences among races." - Maitani
"Rather, Wade’s lack of understanding of history, the social sciences, population genetics, and the scientific process is troublesome. Not getting the basics right leads to his linking of all manner of lived inequalities to genetic differences among races. His logical errors set the clock back more than a century on public understandings of human genetic variation." - Maitani
And if you don't agree with my 18th century typological, pre-evolutionary, way to arrange that data to make the races, you're a naive, PC Marxist. - Eivind from Android
Tracing Indo-European Languages Back to Their Source—Through the False Mirrors of the Popular Press Read more:
"A recent article “Mapping the Origins and Expansion of the Indo-European Language Family” published in Science (vol. 337, pp. 957-960) by a team of evolutionary anthropologists and biologists headed by Dr. Quentin D. Atkinson has created an uproar both in the popular media and the blogosphere.* This article purports to supply novel quantitative evidence for the Anatolian hypothesis, which locates the Indo-European homeland in what is now the Asian part of Turkey, as opposed to the more commonly accepted Kurgan theory, which places it in the Pontic-Caspian steppes of southern Russia and eastern Ukraine. Before I continue with our detailed critique of the Science article itself, I must first examine the media reports on the supposed findings of Atkinson and his colleagues. It is one thing for an unconvincing, error-filled report to appear in an academic journal, and quite another for it to be immediately trumpeted in the major newspapers and magazines as constituting nothing less than a major scientific breakthrough." - Maitani
On the madness and charm of crushes | Philosophers' Mail -
On the madness and charm of crushes | Philosophers' Mail
On the madness and charm of crushes | Philosophers' Mail
"You are introduced to someone at a conference. They look nice and you have a brief chat about the theme of the keynote speaker. But already, partly because of the slope of their neck and a lilt in their accent, you have reached an overwhelming conclusion. Or, you sit down in the carriage – and there, diagonally opposite you – is someone you cannot stop looking at for the rest of a journey across miles of darkening countryside. You know nothing concrete about them. You are going only by what their appearance suggests. You note that they have slipped a finger into a book (The Food of the Middle East), that their nails are bitten raw, that they have a thin leather strap around their left wrist and that they are squinting a touch short-sightedly at the map above the door. And that is enough to convince you. Another day, coming out of the supermarket, amidst a throng of people, you catch sight of a face for no longer than eight seconds and yet here too, you feel the same overwhelming certainty – and, subsequently, a bittersweet sadness at their disappearance in the anonymous crowd." - Maitani from Bookmarklet
"Crushes: they happen to some people often and to almost everyone sometimes. Airports, trains, streets, conferences – the dynamics of modern life are forever throwing us into fleeting contact with strangers, from amongst whom we pick out a few examples who seem to us not merely interesting, but more powerfully, the solution to our lives. This phenomenon – the crush – goes to the heart... more... - Maitani
3quarksdaily: Why Noam Chomsky Is One of America's Great Public Intellectuals -
3quarksdaily: Why Noam Chomsky Is One of America's Great Public Intellectuals
"Noam Chomsky is a world-renowned academic best known not only for his pioneering work in linguistics but also for his ongoing work as a public intellectual in which he has addressed a number of important social issues that include and often connect oppressive foreign and domestic policies, a fact well illustrated in his numerous pathbreaking books. Chomsky’s oeuvre includes too many exceptionally important books to single out any one of them from his extraordinary and voluminous archive of work. Moreover, as political interventions, his many books often reflect both a decisive contribution and an engagement with a number of issues that have and continue to dominate a series of specific historical moments over the course of 50 years." - Maitani from Bookmarklet
Why Superstition Works: The Science of Superstition in Sports and Life -
Why Superstition Works: The Science of Superstition in Sports and Life
"In the South Pacific there is a place so remote that few people have ever heard of it, let alone seen it: the Trobriand Islands. The Trobriands are located off the east coast of Papua New Guinea, and no white man had set foot there until the late 1700s. During World War I, however, the islands were visited by a man who would one day become a legend in the field of anthropology, Bronislaw Malinowski. Malinowski was a stork of a man—thin, pale, and balding—often seen wearing a pith helmet and socks up to his knees. He had terrible eyesight, was a hypochondriac, an insomniac, and on top of it all had a strong fear of the tropics—in particular, an abhorrence of the heat and the sultriness; to cope, he gave himself injections of arsenic." - Maitani from Bookmarklet
"Malinowski was, nonetheless, a keen observer of humankind. And as he watched the Trobriand Islanders go about their lives, he noticed something odd. When the islanders went fishing their behavior changed, depending on where they fished. When they fished close to shore—where the waters were calm, the fishing was consistent, and the risk of disaster was low—superstitious behavior among them was nearly nonexistent." - Maitani
I wonder if everyone avoided shaking Moises Alou's hand on game days. ;-p - rönin
Home · Art of Making in Antiquity -
Home · Art of Making in Antiquity
"The Art of Making in Antiquity is an innovative digital project designed for the study of Roman stoneworking. Centred on the photographic archive of Peter Rockwell, this website aims to enhance current understanding of the carving process and to investigate the relationship between the surviving objects, the method and sequence of their production and the people who made them. The resource comprises around 2,000 images, largely Roman monuments with a selection of contextual sources, accompanied by analysis of the working practices underlying their making." - Maitani from Bookmarklet
terra buna bak - yuvarlakkafa
El Niño: Is 2014 the new 1997? - NASA Science -
El Niño: Is 2014 the new 1997? - NASA Science
"May 19, 2014:  Every ten days, the NASA/French Space Agency Jason-2 satellite maps all the world's oceans, monitoring changes in sea surface height, a measure of heat in the upper layers of the water.   Because our planet is more than 70% ocean, this information is crucial to global forecasts of weather and climate. Lately, Jason-2 has seen something brewing in the Pacific—and it looks a lot like 1997. "A pattern of sea surface heights and temperatures has formed that reminds me of the way the Pacific looked in the spring of 1997," says Bill Patzert, a climatologist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "That turned out to be the precursor of a big El Niño."" - Maitani from Bookmarklet
The Metropolitan Museum of Art Puts 400,000 High-Res Images Online & Makes Them Free to Use - Open Culture | Open Culture -
The Metropolitan Museum of Art Puts 400,000 High-Res Images Online & Makes Them Free to Use - Open Culture | Open Culture
The Metropolitan Museum of Art Puts 400,000 High-Res Images Online & Makes Them Free to Use - Open Culture | Open Culture
"On Friday, The Metropolitan Museum of Art announced that “more than 400,000 high-resolution digital images of public domain works in the Museum’s world-renowned collection may be downloaded directly from the Museum’s website for non-commercial use.” Even better, the images can be used at no charge (and without getting permission from the museum). In making this announcement, the Met joined other world-class museums in putting put large troves of digital art online. Witness the  87,000 images from the Getty in L.A., the 125,000 Dutch masterpieces from the Rijksmuseum, the 35,000 artistic images from the National Gallery, and the 57,000 works of art on Google Art Project." - Maitani from Bookmarklet
"The Met’s online initiative is dubbed “Open Access for Scholarly Content,” and, while surfing the Met’s digital collections, you’ll know if a particular work is free to download if it bears the “OASC” acronym. In an FAQ, the Met provides these simple instructions." How can I identify the Open Access for Scholarly Content (OASC) on the Met’s website? Look for this icon Open Access for... more... - Maitani
uguale uguale da noi eh... - SteveAgl-May WP be with u
Preserving Endangered Jewish Languages - Languages Of The World | Languages Of The World -
Preserving Endangered Jewish Languages - Languages Of The World | Languages Of The World
Preserving Endangered Jewish Languages - Languages Of The World | Languages Of The World
"Among the many endangered languages around the world are several languages and dialects once spoken by Jews in various parts of the diaspora, including Europe, Iran, India, and the Caucasus region. Not all Jewish languages have been discovered and described, and a few have probably passed away unnoticed. Sarah Benor, a professor at Hebrew Union College who specializes in Jewish languages, puts the number of endangered Jewish languages at around two dozen. The assimilatory tendencies in the Americas; the horrors of World War II; the persecution of Jews in the Soviet Union; the rise of nationalism in the Balkans, North Africa, and the Middle East; and—ironically—the creation of the State of Israel, which promoted Hebrew at the expense of other Jewish languages, all led to the weakening and even demise of many mixed Jewish languages, such as Yiddish, Judeo-Spanish, Judeo-Arabic, and others. In Israel, Judeo-Spanish and Judeo-Arabic were associated with Sephardim Jews who have generally... more... - Maitani from Bookmarklet
Welcome to Classical Language Toolkit’s documentation! — Classical Language Toolkit documentation -
"The Classical Language Toolkit is an extension of the NLTK and will offer natural language processing support for Classical languages." - Maitani from Bookmarklet
15,000 images of Persian manuscripts online - Asian and African studies blog -
15,000 images of Persian manuscripts online - Asian and African studies blog
15,000 images of Persian manuscripts online - Asian and African studies blog
15,000 images of Persian manuscripts online - Asian and African studies blog
"Asian and African Studies have just uploaded more than 15,000 images of Persian manuscripts online. This is the result of two years' work in an ongoing project sponsored by the Iran Heritage Foundation together with the Bahari Foundation, the Barakat Trust, the Friends of the British Library, the Soudavar Memorial Foundation and the Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute." - Maitani from Bookmarklet
"A leaf from the Saddar (‘100 doors’), a popular compilation of 100 rules for Zoroastrians which range from justifying instant death for sodomy to the treatment of good and evil animals, and the avoidance of different forms of pollution. This copy, dated Samvat 1631 (AD 1575), is in Persian language, but transcribed in Avestan (Old Iranian) script, together with a Gujarati translation (BL IO Islamic 3043, f 137r) - Maitani
BBC News - A brief history of plastics, natural and synthetic -
BBC News - A brief history of plastics, natural and synthetic
"When you think of plastic, what springs to mind? Cheap toys from China? Packaging? Or maybe a plastic bag? Of course they would, but how about a woolly jumper? Or cornflakes? Or an antique oak wardrobe?" - Maitani from Bookmarklet
"Believe it or not, from a chemist's perspective all these things are made of the same class of materials: Polymers. And the distinction between which ones we happen to call "plastics" and which ones we don't is fairly arbitrary." - Maitani
"Animal, vegetable, mineral, or synthesis?" - Betsy
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