language

Links, October 2022

links music history geography linguistics language indieweb

2022-11-07

First off, here’s a DJ set I liked. Right now a lot of people are talking about leaving Twitter (here’s mine). Many of those that go ahead with it and turning up in Mastodon (here’s mine) and talking a big game about how the collapse of Twitter will beget a golden age for the decentralised internet. That’s nice. I don’t believe it’s really going to be that simple, though. On the topic of decentralised internet things: the FBI seized the Z-lib ebook archive!

Links, August 2022

links history linguistics language media

2022-08-24

First I have this amazing oral history of the production of certain aspects of the video game Red Alert 3. Specifically the story is about how this incredible cut scene, starring Tim Curry as a high camp Soviet general blasting off into space, came to be. It’s astonishingly detailed and manages to go far beyond “pretty funny clip”. It talks about how casting and producing these little fragments of video for video games works.

The feeling of away

books france journal language travel

2021-11-16

I’ve been away from home for just over a week now. I’ve been in France. When I’m not in the UK I feel a lot less claustrophobic; I feel like I have such a wider range of choices to choose for my life. An advantage of this trip has been spending time with people who actually live in not-the-UK. I believe to some extent that people are the same everywhere but it’s been nice to see the variations in the patterns of a life.

Chinese women's writing

linguistics language justice sex gender china asia

2020-10-03

Jiangyong Nüshu is essentially premised on the simplification and stylization of standard Chinese characters. The women who created it chose one character to stand for one sound in their language (in contrast to standard Sinographic writing, where one sound may be represented by dozens or scores of discrete characters. In this way, the memory load on the users of the script was much reduced. In addition, Nüshu adheres to the principle of what I call “rhomboidization”, whereby the square shapes of Sinographs are tilted diagonally.

V. Krishna and the making of an English-Kannada dictionary

india language linguistics

2020-09-29

V. Krishna and Narasimhamurthy, KaGaPa’s proprietor, spoke passionately about Kannada literature and digitisation projects in the quaint little office room, surrounded by stacks of old Kannada books and literature. It was the perfect setting. Then, the extremely soft-spoken and mild-mannered V. Krishna fired up a computer and showed us his lifelong side project, his Kannada-English dictionary. Researched and written over a period of more than 40 years, 150,000+ Kannada words and 240,000+ English definitions, all neatly typed up in a Word document, complete with parts of speech tags and phonetic notations with diacritics for Kannada words.

The New York Accent

language linguistics nyc

2020-09-24

To begin with, White reminds us, the original Americans always pronounced r, as the British did in colonial times. Only in the late 18th century did the British stop pronouncing r after a vowel. Not surprisingly, the colonists who remained in the big East Coast seaports and had regular contact with London adopted the new British pronunciation. But those who settled inland retained the old r and never lost it.

Igbo Orthography and The Ndebe Script

literature language linguistics africa design

2020-07-15

Vowels are separated into low, rising, and high categories, which are presumably the only tonal delineations in Igbo. The notable absence of a corresponding “falling” tone, I first thought, creates problems for adapting the script to a language like Yorùbá, where, for example, the ọ̀ in Báyọ̀ carries a “falling” rather than a “low” tone when the sound is properly rendered. But on a second look, I find that what is meant as “rising” here is actually the same as a “mid” tone in Yorùbá.

The Académie Française

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2019-08-05

I was vaguely aware that the French language is basically policed by the Académie Française, but I’d never seen this statistic that really shows how small the base French vocabulary is. Aptly enough I saw it in this article about the French propensity to say… no. there are 500,000 words in the English language, but only 70,000 in French — The Culture Map by Erin Meyer via BBC