Dotard

2017-09-22 07:16 pm
[syndicated profile] languagelog_feed

Posted by Victor Mair

In recent weeks, President Trump has delivered a number of fiery speeches and incendiary tweets about what will happen to North Korea if Kim Jong-un launches nuclear missiles over Japan and toward Guam and the United States.

Naturally, the feisty dictator replied with some choice words of his own:

"North Korean leader responds to Trump: ‘I will surely and definitely tame the mentally deranged U.S. dotard with fire'", bThe Washington Post (9/21/17).

The Washington Post seems to have changed the title of the article, so I can no longer provide a direct link, but there are plentiful records of it on the internet.  In any event, countless other media outlets quoted the same odd word, "dotard".

Having been an English major in college, way back when, I was unflummoxed by "dotard", but it did send many readers scurrying for their dictionaries, where they would find something like this:

do·tard
ˈdōdərd/<input ... >
noun
          an old person, especially one who has become weak or senile.

That's not how I pronounce it.  For me, it is \dō′tərd\.

"Dotard" is related to the word for the mental condition referred to as "dotage" ("feebleness of mind associated with aging").

Many useful accounts of the history and meaning of "dotard" popped up on the internet this morning (e.g., here, here, and here).

James Griffiths has an article,"What is a 'Dotard'?" on CNN (9/22/17) in which he rightfully points out:

Kim, of course, did not say the word — he was speaking in Korean. "Dotard" was the official English translation provided by state news agency KCNA for the Korean "늙다리미치광이" ("neulg-dali-michigwang-i"), which literally translates as "old lunatic."

On the other hand, in "'Dotard' rockets from obscurity to light up Trump-Kim exchange, spark partisan war of words", Los Angeles Times (9/22/17), Mark Z. Barabak writes:

The Korean equivalent of dotard is “neukdari,” which is a derogatory term for an old person.

One possible explanation for Kim’s use of the antiquated insult came from Joan H. Lee*, who covered North Korea for the Associated Press. She said on Twitter that she had visited the offices of the government’s propaganda arm, the North Korean state news service, and “found the agency using very old Korean-English dictionaries for their translations.”

*[VHM:  I think that Barabak is referring to Jean H. Lee.]

There's been some confusion about just which Korean expression Kim applied to Trump.  The full epithet he employed was "neulg-dali-michigwang-i 늙다리 미치광이" (neulg-dali –> derogatory term for old/withered man/dotard; michigwang-i –> lunatic").  Google Translate renders that as "an old man lunatic".  Colloquially, one could translate the entire expression as "crazy old fool".

For a detailed discussion of the Korean expression, see this tweetstorm from Noon in Korea.

Prediction:  President Trump, whether directly or indirectly, will be the source of more new ("bigly", "covfefe") and resuscitated ("dotard") words than anyone since Shakespeare, though they are unlikely to last as long.

[Thanks to Ben Zimmer, Haewon Cho, and Jichang Lulu]

[syndicated profile] sociological_images_feed

Posted by Neeraj Rajasekar

Originally posted at Discoveries

Punk rock has a long history of anti-racism, and now a new wave of punk bands are turning it up to eleven to combat Islamophobia. For a recent research article, sociologist Amy D. McDowell  immersed herself into the “Taqwacore” scene — a genre of punk rock that derives its name from the Arabic word “Taqwa.” While inspired by the Muslim faith, this genre of punk is not strictly religious — Taqwacore captures the experience of the “brown kids,” Muslims and non-Muslims alike who experience racism and prejudice in the post-9/11 era. This music calls out racism and challenges stereotypes.

Through a combination of interviews and many hours of participant observation at Taqwacore events, McDowell brings together testimony from musicians and fans, describes the scene, and analyzes materials from Taqwacore forums and websites. Many participants, Muslim and non-Muslim alike, describe processes of discrimination where anti-Muslim sentiments and stereotypes have affected them. Her research shows how Taqwacore is a multicultural musical form for a collective, panethnic “brown” identity that spans multiple nationalities and backgrounds. Pushing back against the idea that Islam and punk music are incompatible, Taqwacore artists draw on the essence of punk to create music to that empowers marginalized youth.

Neeraj Rajasekar is a Ph.D. student in sociology at the University of Minnesota.

(View original at https://thesocietypages.org/socimages)

[syndicated profile] languagelog_feed

Posted by Victor Mair

I have sung the praises of Google Translate (GT) before (e.g., "Google Translate is even better now" [9/27/16]), but this morning something happened with GT that really tickled my fancy.

One thing I use GT for is to compose texts in Chinese.  I find it to be a very powerful and easy to use input tool.

So I input the following:

shuō dìngle 說定了
xīngqítiān zhōngwǔ jiàn 星期天中午見

After I finished typing that, I glanced over to the box at the right where the automatic English translation appears.  I was just floored when I saw this:

That's a deal
See you at noon on Sunday

The GT translation is both idiomatic and natural.  Miraculously, it somehow even managed to catch the playful tone of what I wrote in Chinese.  Of course, when used irresponsibly by people who know no Chinese to check it or who try to get it to translate something that is literary / classical / topolectal when it is designed for Mandarin, it can produce Chinglish howlers.  But in this case (and in many other cases that I have experienced), GT is every bit as good as a human translator, and sometimes better than most.

[syndicated profile] 2nerdyhistorygirls_feed

Posted by Loretta Chase

Loretta reports:

We Two Nerdy History Girls are partial to automata and other clockwork devices. Among numerous other marvels, I’ve shown you the singing bird pistols that inspired a scene for one of my novellas, and surviving clockwork items originally exhibited in London in 1807.

Susan has brought you—to name only two of many—a rope dancer and an automaton watch.

Searching the tags “scientific marvels” and “automaton” will bring up more posts on these ingenious devices.

Today, I offer you an egg.



Video: Gold Singing Bird Egg Basket from M.S. Rau Antiques

Readers who receive our blog via email might see a rectangle, square, or nothing where the video ought to be.  To watch the video, please click on the title to this post.


Big Grams Cauldron

2017-09-22 12:09 am
[syndicated profile] languagelog_feed

Posted by Victor Mair

One of the most famous Chinese bronze vessels of antiquity, preserved in the Shanghai Museum, is the Dà Kè dǐng 大克鼎 ("Larger Ke Cauldron"), dated to ca. 891-886 BC.  Discovered around 1890 AD, it is 75.6 cm in diameter and 93.1 cm in height and weighs 201.5 kg.

In terms of language and script, the Dà Kè dǐng 大克鼎 is distinguished by its lengthy inscriptions amounting to 290 characters in 28 lines.  The inscriptions tell how a noble named Ke cast the vessel during the reign period of King Xiao of the Zhou Dynasty and records the King's praise to Ke's grandfather and the award of a royal estate to Ke.  Ke is said to have cast this vessel in appreciation of the King's favors and as a tribute to his grandfather.  It is called the Dà Kè dǐng 大克鼎 ("Larger Ke Cauldron") inasmuch as it was discovered together with more than 1,200 other bronzes, including seven smaller Kè cauldrons.

The Dà Kè dǐng 大克鼎 ("Larger Ke Cauldron") inscriptions are recorded here in Wikipedia.

Dǐng 鼎 is usually translated as "tripod", but since not all dǐng 鼎 have three legs (some have four), I have chosen to render it as "cauldron".

The immediate occasion for this post is my noticing that the online Chinese encyclopedia, Baidu, translates Dà Kè dǐng 大克鼎 as "Big Grams Tripod".  One might well ask how that is possible.  It just so happens that kè 克, which means "overcome; subdue", also is the Chinese transcription of the measure of weight "gram(me)".  This same sort of semantic interference also happens frequently with the Chinese transcription of "meter", mǐ 米, which often mistakenly gets translated as "rice".

For an introduction to Baidu, see "Soon to be lost in translation" (7/11/10).

[H.t. Rostislav Berezkin; thanks to Edward Shaughnessy, Lothar von Falkenhausen, Bob Bagley, Connie Cook, and Adam Smith]

Better Than Art

2017-09-21 04:01 pm
[syndicated profile] lotrips_ao3_feed

Posted by <a rel="author" href="/users/Ink_Gypsy/pseuds/Ink_Gypsy">Ink_Gypsy</a>

by

Sean is surprised when Elijah asks to read his work-in-progress.

Words: 841, Chapters: 1/1, Language: English

Series: Part 17 of Sanctuary Singles

Utterly lost in translation

2017-09-21 07:37 pm
[syndicated profile] languagelog_feed

Posted by Geoffrey K. Pullum

During a search for something else, I happened upon this page at the Bible Study Tools site. It provides a nice reminder (for the two or three people out there who might still need it) of the fact that it's dangerous to trust websites, in linguistic matters or in anything else. As the screenshot shows, it purports to show Psalm 86 in two parallel versions, the Latin Vulgate and the New International Version.

"Filiis Core psalmis cantici fundamenta eius in montibus sanctis" is translated as "Hear me, Lord, and answer me, for I am poor and needy." The correct translation is debatable, but the first four words mean "A song psalm for the sons of Korah", and the rest means either "Its foundations are in the sacred hills" or (according to the Revised Standard Version) "On the holy mount stands the city he founded." Verse 2, "Diligit dominus portas Sion super omnia tabernacula Iacob" (roughly, "The Lord loves the gates of Sion more than all the dwellings of Jacob") is translated as "Guard my life, for I am faithful to you; save your servant who trusts in you. You are my God." The third verse begins Gloriosa dicta sunt ("glorious things are spoken") but is translated as "have mercy on me". This is worse than the worst botch I ever saw from Google Translate. And I suspect human error is to blame.

They've got the wrong psalm, having fallen foul of the discrepancy between the Hebrew (Masoretic) and Greek (Septuagint/Vulgate) numberings. They have aligned the Latin of Psalm 87 in the Hebrew numbering (86 in the Greek) with the English of the Hebrew Psalm 86 (Greek 85). The Authorized Version of the bible (1611) uses the Hebrew numbering, as does the Revised Standard Version (1951). Catholic authorities (see Rosary Bay's parallel Latin-English psalter, for example) use the Greek numbering, having (correctly) recognized that psalms 9 and 10 in the Hebrew numbering are two parts of a single psalm. The error on the Bible Tools site goes on, of course, to affect all psalms from 10 (in the Greek numbering) onwards.

The psalm that begins "Fundamenta eius in montibus sanctis" turns up in certain magical spells and incantations, so the error could turn out to have rather serious consequences. For example, in section 110 of Claude Lecouteux's The Book of Grimoires: The Secret Grammar of Magic it is recommended that an inscription of the Fundamenta eius psalm written, in pigeon blood together with certain magical characters (which do not have Unicode numbers, so I will not try to reproduce them here), if smoked over mastic and aloe wood and then attached to your right arm, will preserve your health and cause your business affairs to prosper.

Catching a pigeon, subduing it, and draining its blood into a bowl left my kitchen in a bit of a mess, but once the gory stuff was done, and I had enough blood to moisten my quill pen, it didn't take long to complete the necessary scribal job. I sewed the piece of parchment into the lining of the right arm of my jacket, and haven't looked back since. I don't leave home without it. It has made me healthy and prosperous, exactly as was guaranteed.

But you do have to be able to tell one psalm from another if you want to get your spells right. So don't put your trust in just any old site you find on the web when looking for translations of documents. It could lead you even further astray than a random condo development brochure about armed structure and crystals.

Namibia, Nambia, whatever

2017-09-21 05:05 pm
[syndicated profile] languagelog_feed

Posted by Mark Liberman

It's hard to keep all those African countries straight, as President Trump demonstrated in a speech to African leaders at the U.N.:

Mr. Trump continues to create jobs in broadcast comedy, even for workers normally employed in other industries:


Of course this speech error provided opportunities for the professionals as well:

And plenty of opportunities for piece-workers on twitter:

https://twitter.com/JuliusGoat/status/910588471751925760

Here's the original:

I like political humor as much as anyone, but still, I hope that Trumpistic speech errors don't turn into this decade's version of "Bushisms".

[syndicated profile] 2nerdyhistorygirls_feed

Posted by Susan Holloway Scott

Susan reporting,

Most historical research for a novel involves words, and more words: letters, journals, diaries, and other books. But sometimes research means things: objects that were significant to my characters, and somehow survived: a tangible, magical link to the past.

Despite the popular history myths, 18thc women didn't sew the their all the clothing that their families wore. Nor did they shear the sheep and harvest the flax, process all the fibers, spin the thread, and weave the cloth; even if you lived on the edge of the wilderness, there were skilled tradespeople who took care of all that, and merchants ready to supply their wares at every price point. But while creating jackets, breeches, and gowns was left to tailors and mantua-makers, women did make the less challenging items like baby clothes, neckcloths, handkerchiefs, shirts, and shifts at home.

Sewing by hand was a useful skill, and considered a virtuously industrious one as well for women of every rank. But for many women, sewing was also a form of personal satisfaction and self-expression. The past (and the present!) is filled with women for whom sewing a neat, straight seam of perfectly even stitches or completing an intricate embroidery pattern is a matter of pride, accomplishment, and zen-like peace. Stitching for a special person could create a personal, even intimate, gift as well. Hand-made items can come with love and good wishes in every stitch.

Eliza Schuyler Hamilton (the heroine of my new historical novel, I, Eliza Hamilton) enjoyed sewing, embroidery, and knitting. I've already shared one surviving example of her needlework, this lavish embroidered mat to display the miniature of her then-fiancee, Alexander Hamilton, made during the summer and fall when they were engaged but apart. Here are a pair of handkerchiefs that, by family tradition, were also made by Eliza, and carried by her and Alexander at their wedding in December, 1780.

The larger handkerchief would have been Eliza's. Made of fine imported linen, it shows skilled cutwork over net inserts as well as precise stitching of the highest level, suitable for a special event like a wedding. (Given its size, I'm wondering if this might have been a neckerchief for wearing around the shoulders - a popular style in the 1780s - rather than a handkerchief, but since the archival description calls it a handkerchief, then so shall I.) Surviving, too, is the gentleman's handkerchief with an embroidered geometric pattern with floral accents. Again, the legend is that Eliza made the handkerchief for Alexander, a romantic gift that he must have treasured.

Today the linen on the two handkerchiefs is yellowed and so fragile that they cannot be unfolded, but the beauty and the undeniable care (and likely love) that went into each one of those long-ago stitches remains. The fact that both pieces were set aside and treasured for more than two hundred years shows how special they must have been - and even now, in their special, acid-proof archival box, they're still stored together.

Many thanks to Jennifer Lee, curator, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University, for showing the neckerchief and the handkerchief to me.

Above: Pair of wedding handkerchiefs, c1780, Alexander Hamilton Collection, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University. Photographs ©2017 Susan Holloway Scott.

Kazakhstan goes Latin

2017-09-20 03:17 pm
[syndicated profile] languagelog_feed

Posted by Victor Mair

Excerpts from "Kazakhstan: Latin Alphabet Is Not a New Phenomenon Among Turkic Nations", by Uli Schamiloglu (a professor in the Department of Kazakh Language and Turkic Studies at Nazarbayev University in Astana, Kazakhstan), EurasiaNet (9/15/17):

Kazakhstan’s planned transition to the Latin alphabet raises complex questions. While alphabets may not be important in and of themselves, they play an important role in helping define a nation’s place in the world.

As a Turkologist, I regularly teach a range of historical Turkic languages using the runiform Turkic alphabet, the Uyghur alphabet, the Arabic alphabet and others. Turkologists also study various Turkic languages written in the Syriac alphabet, the Armenian alphabet, the Hebrew alphabet, the Greek alphabet and others.

Stated briefly, you can use a lot of different alphabets to write Turkic languages. From a technical point of view, it is just a question of how accurately any particular alphabet represents speech sounds.

The classic version of the Arabic alphabet — with additional letters introduced for Persian — does not represent the vowels of Turkic languages accurately. Nevertheless, it was used successfully for Chagatay Turkic in Central Asia and Ottoman Turkish in the Ottoman Empire until the early 20th century. In the late 19th century and early 20th century, innovations were introduced to represent vowels more accurately, and this is certainly the case with the reformed Arabic alphabet used currently for Uyghur.

Using the Latin alphabet to represent Turkish languages is not a new phenomenon. The alphabet was used to write the Codex Cumanicus in a dialect of Kipchak Turkic in the early 14th century. More recently, Turkey adopted one version of the Latin alphabet beginning in 1928, as did Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan from 1991, and Uzbekistan in 2001, following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

We should also recall that in the early Soviet period most of the Turkic languages of the union shared a common Latin alphabet — the so-called Yangälif — beginning in 1926. But this alphabet was soon superseded by individual Cyrillic-based alphabets that were different from each other.

There are several linguistic factors supporting Kazakhstan’s planned switch to the Latin alphabet. One, of course, is that the Latin alphabet is familiar to a far larger number of educated persons than the Cyrillic alphabet. It is also used widely for communication over the internet and cellular telephones.

It is now official policy in Kazakhstan to promote three languages through the educational system — namely Kazakh, Russian and English. I think it is well documented by now that the Russian-speaking space is in decline throughout the former territories of the Soviet Union. But Kazakhstan, like Tatarstan, is so strongly bilingual that I am not worried so much that the use of Russian will decline in Kazakhstan any time soon. The real challenge is to make sure that Kazakh becomes viable as the official language of Kazakhstan.

Unlike in Turkey, or say Uzbekistan, Kazakh has a long way to go before it becomes the default language of choice among citizens of Kazakhstan.

The entire article is fascinating and well worth reading, not just by linguists, but also by political scientists, social scientists, and cultural historians.  The only thing I would add is that the movement toward the adoption of the Latin alphabet among modern Turkic-speaking peoples began in 1928 with its promotion by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (1881-1938), the founder of the Republic of Turkey.

[h.t. Jichang Lulu]

[syndicated profile] sociological_images_feed

Posted by Evan Stewart

Over at Family Inequality, Phil Cohen has a list of demographic facts you should know cold. They include basic figures like the US population (326 million), and how many Americans have a BA or higher (30%). These got me thinking—if we want to have smarter conversations and fight fake news, it is also helpful to know which way things are moving. “What’s Trending?” is a post series at Sociological Images with quick looks at what’s up, what’s down, and what sociologists have to say about it.

The Crime Drop

You may have heard about a recent spike in the murder rate across major U.S. cities last year. It was a key talking point for the Trump campaign on policing policy, but it also may be leveling off. Social scientists can also help put this bounce into context, because violent and property crimes in the U.S. have been going down for the past twenty years.

You can read more on the social sources of this drop in a feature post at The Society Pages. Neighborhood safety is a serious issue, but the data on crime rates doesn’t always support the drama.

Evan Stewart is a Ph.D. candidate in sociology at the University of Minnesota. You can follow him on Twitter.

(View original at https://thesocietypages.org/socimages)

Because I Do

2017-09-18 07:31 pm
[syndicated profile] lotrips_ao3_feed

Posted by <a rel="author" href="/users/Ink_Gypsy/pseuds/Ink_Gypsy">Ink_Gypsy</a>

by

Sean and Elijah discuss their brothers and the differences in their families.

Words: 790, Chapters: 1/1, Language: English

Series: Part 16 of Sanctuary Singles

They call the wind 'Maria'?

2017-09-20 07:59 am
[syndicated profile] languagelog_feed

Posted by Geoffrey K. Pullum

I hope you appreciate the wisdom of the new policy on naming hurricanes that was announced here on September 11. The latest brutal storm to devastate the islands of the eastern Caribbean would not have been named for the mother of Jesus; it would have been named "Hurricane Malaria." That's more like it. Nasty names for nasty stuff. You know it makes sense.

[syndicated profile] 2nerdyhistorygirls_feed

Posted by Loretta Chase

Loretta reports:

Before we embarked on our month-long stay in London, I had read about the Memorial to Heroic Self Sacrifice in Postman’s Park, and put it on my (very long) list of places to see. This is why, following our visit to the Museum of London one day, my husband and I walked a short distance to quiet little Postman’s Park, for a completely different kind of experience of history.

The monuments for fallen military men, for political and military leaders, are easily found elsewhere. This memorial was meant for ordinary people who gave their lives to save others.

It was the idea of G.F. Watts, a Victorian painter and sculptor, to memorialize everyday heroes. His plan was for over a hundred ceramic plaques with the heroes’ names and their brave acts, but the memorial opened in 1900 with only four, and today seems to have stopped at fifty-four, though it appears that names will continue to be added over time.

Even fifty-four, though, provide for a powerful experience. And it does grows heartbreaking, reading one brief, sad story after another. Still, there's something consoling, too, especially in times like ours, when there seems to be so much ill will in our world. The names on the tablets remind us that the best in human nature does triumph, and does so often. These tablets stand for countless unnamed everyday heroes who have acted unselfishly over the years. There are some, we can be sure, who are acting heroically at this very moment.

You can move through a 3D image here, view large images here,  and see examples of more detailed histories here at the Smithsonian site. Wikipedia provides a list of the tablets here.

Clicking on the image will enlarge it.  Clicking on the caption will take you to the source, where you can learn more and enlarge images as needed.



Cultural invasion

2017-09-20 01:44 am
[syndicated profile] languagelog_feed

Posted by Victor Mair

Article in South China Morning Post (9/19/17) by Jasmine Siu:

"Activist fined HK$3,000 for binning Hong Kong public library books in ‘fight against cultural invasion’ from mainland China:  Alvin Cheng Kam-mun, 29, convicted of theft over dumping of books printed in simplified Chinese characters"

A radical Hong Kong activist was on Tuesday fined HK$3,000 for dumping library books in a bin in what he said was an attempt to protect children from the “cultural invasion” of simplified Chinese characters.

Alvin Cheng Kam-mun, 29, had told the court during trial that he had become angry after learning from newspapers that the Hong Kong government had “wasted public funds” to stock the city’s libraries with 600,000 books written in the simplified characters more commonly used in mainland China. Hong Kong uses traditional characters.

Kowloon City Court magistrate Wong Sze-lai, who convicted Cheng of theft, slammed his conduct as “selfish and stupid”, adding that the purpose behind the crime did not matter. She said English folk hero Robin Hood would similarly be found guilty of theft even for robbing the rich to help the poor.

Outside court, Cheng said the conviction made him feel “quite helpless” since he had never held any desire to obtain the property of others yet had been found guilty of an offence involving dishonesty.

He did not comment on whether he would continue his campaign against simplified characters, save for saying: “I hope Hongkongers will cherish and defend our language.”

Cheng, the vice-chairman of localist political party Civic Passion, went to a public library in Ho Man Tin on March 29 last year in the hope of “protecting libraries” and drawing attention to his cause. He filmed himself dumping nine children’s books into a library rubbish bin. The books cost HK$505 in total.

Cheng said that since children would not be able to tell the difference at a young age between the two versions of characters, the simplified books might affect their cognitive learning and confuse them. He also said the “effects and poisonous influences” of such books went beyond just the different shapes on a page.

The recorded stunt was uploaded to his Facebook page, where he called on others to follow suit during his campaign to run for a seat in Hong Kong’s legislature in elections last September.

I have quoted the article extensively because the issues at stake are of such profound importance for the people of Hong Kong that it is best to have as much of the background to the story as possible.  Alvin Cheng Kam-mun was motivated not by greed or dishonesty; his act was one of civil disobedience to the imposition of an alien writing system and mode of thought, using public funds, on the people of Hong Kong, without their consent or consultation.

The matter of what many Hong Kongers viscerally consider to be a degraded writing system pertains to culture and is particularly sensitive since the books were directed toward children at a malleable, formative stage of their life, but it is also linked to potent political issues that have the potential to cause tremendous social conflict.  Indeed, during the past week we have seen the universities of Hong Kong, especially the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) and the Education University of Hong Kong (EdUHK), engulfed in controversy and chaos over whether students have a right to put up posters and banners mentioning independence.

Talk like a pirate

2017-09-19 09:13 pm
[syndicated profile] languagelog_feed

Posted by Mark Liberman

It's Talk Like A Pirate Day again, but I've got nothing to add to our past coverage:

"R!", 11/03/2003
"Type like a pirate day", 9/9/2004
"R!?", 9/19/2005
"Type like a pirate", 9/18/2006
"Pirate R as I-R-eland", 9/20/2006
"Powarrr law", 9/20/2006
"Post like a pirate", 9/19/2007
"R", 9/9/2008
"Said the Pirate King, Aaarrrf", 9/27/2010
"R R R", 9/19/2012

 

Distributed confusion

2017-09-19 11:34 am
[syndicated profile] languagelog_feed

Posted by Mark Liberman

Tweeted yesterday by the magazine Bon Appétit (which is apparently not the same as the restaurant management company):


Extensive commentary ensued —

https://twitter.com/joe___nelson/status/909873028644900866

 

Samuel Johnson's birthday

2017-09-19 10:01 am
[syndicated profile] languagelog_feed

Posted by Mark Liberman

One of yesterday's Google Doodles commemorates Samuel Johnson's 308th birthday:

A partially-transcribed digital edition can be found here. The lexicographer entry is here (transcribed) and here (page scan):

Writing Away From Home, c1780

2017-09-19 12:00 am
[syndicated profile] 2nerdyhistorygirls_feed

Posted by Susan Holloway Scott

Susan reporting,

I'm a wandering writer. I don't have a desktop computer, or even a desk, let alone an office. Perhaps because I scribbled away at my first books on legal pads on commuter trains and while waiting at kids' sports practices, I can (well, most of the time) write wherever and whenever. With a laptop computer, it's easy enough, and even if that's not with me, I always have my smartphone for notes and ideas.

It wasn't that way in 18thc America. The painting, left, is an illustration by Angelica Kauffman to one of the most popular novels of the 1780s: Emma Corbett, or, The Miseries of Civil War founded on Some Recent Circumstances which happened in America. The civil war in question was the American Revolution, and when Samuel Jackson Pratt published his novel in 1780, the "miseries" were real and current. Told in letters, the story concerns the tragedies faced by two families torn apart by the war - the first fictional work to describe both sides of the conflict.

Here one of the novel's young women, Louisa Hammond, is shown writing a letter outdoors. While this makes for an elegant illustration, it also demonstrates the challenges of writing away from home. Writing on a single sheet of paper and using her portfolio, balanced on her knee, as an impromptu desk, Louisa holds an open bottle of ink in one hand, ready to dip her feather pen repeatedly as needed. Writing with an open bottle of ink seems a perilous act in a white dress. If the faithful dog at Louisa's feet is suddenly startled, or a breeze catches her hat and startles her, then there's a good chance that ink is going to splatter across her embroidered apron.

But while Louisa Hammond is a fictitious character, real people found a way to write away from home, too. Most gentlemen who traveled frequently owned a portable desk. Basically a hinged wooden box, these desks were the predecessors of modern laptop. Designs varied to taste, but all have a surface covered in soft cloth (which made a quill pen move more easily over the page) for writing, plus compartments for storing bottles of ink, pens, paper, and other supplies. The desks folded and latched shut into a self-contained unit for carrying.

This desk belonged to Alexander Hamilton, a real-life officer (unlike Louisa Hammond's true love) in the Continental Army who did survive the American Revolution. It's currently on view at the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, VA as part of their exhibition AfterWARd: The Revolutionary Veterans Who Built America, through November 27, 2017.

In the 1780s and after the war, Hamilton worked as a lawyer, frequently traveling by horseback and carriage for various cases around the state of New York. During this time, he also served as a representative to the Continental Congress and as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention, which meant more traveling between his home in New York City and, most often, Philadelphia - hundreds of miles on unpredictable roads, in good weather and bad.

Hamilton was a ferociously prolific writer, full of ideas, opinions, and arguments, and blessed with the gift for words to express them. In an era before phones, being able to communicate through letters was vital. Wherever Hamilton went, this desk usually accompanied him. Made of Spanish mahogany with brass hinges, the desk is battered and well-worn from use.

Tradition says that this was the desk on which Hamilton wrote the fifty-one essays that became his share of The Federalist Papers, and helped lead to the ratification of the Constitution. Striving to remove himself from the distractions of New York City in 1787, Hamilton and his wife Eliza traveled by packet up the Hudson River to Albany and The Pastures, the home of Eliza's family, the Schuylers. The length of the voyage was dependent on winds and currents, yet it must have given him uninterrupted days to think and write - something every writer craves.

Still, spoiled as I am by modern technology, I marvel at the idea of writing this way: drawing each letter, each word, with a quill pen in one hand and an ink bottle in the other, on a desk like this braced against your knees or a rickety ship-board bunk, and everything (including you) rocking and shifting as the packet tacked back and forth across the river....

Upper left: Louisa Hammond by Angelica Kauffman, c1780s, Fitzwilliam Museum Collection.
Right and lower left: Portable desk owned by Alexander Hamilton, American or English, late 18thc. Collection of Department of Special Collections, Burke Library, Hamilton College. Right photo courtesy of New-York Historical Society. Lower left photo ©2017 Susan Holloway Scott.

I, Eliza Hamilton will be published by Kensington Books on September 26, 2017. See here for more information and to pre-order.

Suggesting of story to read

2017-09-18 05:33 pm
[syndicated profile] hobbit_rpf_ao3_feed

Posted by <a rel="author" href="/users/Zorchide/pseuds/Zorchide">Zorchide</a>

by

I'll post here all the fanfiction story summaries that I found orignial or that I liked.

I advise you to do a trick, because perhaps you will find stories that you want to re-read for a long time without knowing the title.

P.S. This story was formerly called Challenge and was deleted by the administrators because of the ideas I had published for inspiring authors.

Words: 45380, Chapters: 57/?, Language: English

Neo-Nazi kanji

2017-09-18 03:49 pm
[syndicated profile] languagelog_feed

Posted by Victor Mair

Tattoo on the shoulder of a marcher in Charlottesville on Saturday, August 12:

Source: "A lot of white supremacists seem to have a weird Asian fetish," Vice News, Dexter Thomas (9/12/17)

People who know only the Chinese forms of the characters are puzzled by this tattoo.  It is a Japanese kanji, not a Chinese hanzi.

It can mean English "real": riaru リアル.

The on (Sinitic style) reading is jitsu the kun (Japanese style) reading is mi.

See the etymologies here.

The Chinese simplified equivalent is shí 实; the traditional form is 實.

Check out the definitions here: "real; true; honest; solid"   I think the guy is wearing this tattoo to indicate his dedication to "truth" and "reality".

[h.t. Ben Zimmer, Lane Greene; thanks to Fangyi Cheng]

Patriarchal homestead

2017-09-18 01:43 pm
[syndicated profile] languagelog_feed

Posted by Victor Mair

A tweet by Alex Gabuev:

The first translation on the panel (Northern Landscapes) seems all right, but both the Chinese and the English of the second are laughably off the mark.

The word “патриаршее” means “something that belongs to the Patriarch (of the Russian Orthodox Church)”. The original meaning of “подворье” is “inn”, “guest house”.  However, in this context it means “residence” (the temporary residence) rather than a “farmstead”.  Together, the phrase “патриаршее подворье” may be rendered as “Patriarch’s residence”.

For the Chinese, "zhòngnán qīngnǚ de nóngzhuāng 重男轻女的农庄" is a direct translation of the English, but taking the wrong meaning ("androcentric") of the mistranslated English word "patriarchal".  A better translation of “патриаршее” (from Greek Πατριάρχης) would be zōng zhǔjiào 宗主教 (Patriarch).

[h.t. Don Clarke; thanks to Nikita Kuzmin]

When Bros Hug

2017-09-18 01:12 pm
[syndicated profile] sociological_images_feed

Posted by Hubert Izienicki

In February, CBS Sunday Morning aired a short news segment on the bro hug phenomenon: a supposedly new way heterosexual (white) men (i.e., bros) greet each other. According to this news piece, the advent of the bro hug can be attributed to decreased homophobia and is a sign of social progress.

I’m not so sure.

To begin, bro-ness isn’t really about any given individuals, but invokes a set of cultural norms, statuses, and meanings. A stereotypical bro is a white middle-class, heterosexual male, especially one who frequents strongly masculinized places like fraternities, business schools, and sport events. (The first part of the video, in fact, focused on fraternities and professional sports.) The bro, then, is a particular kind of guy, one that frequents traditionally male spaces with a history of homophobia and misogyny and is invested in maleness and masculinity.

The bro hug reflects this investment in masculinity and, in particular, the masculine performance in heterosexuality. To successfully complete a bro hug, the two men clasp their right hands and firmly pull their bodies towards each other until they are or appear to be touching whilst their left hands swing around to forcefully pat each other on the back. Men’s hips and chests never make full contact. Instead, the clasped hands pull in, but also act as a buffer between the men’s upper bodies, while the legs remain firmly rooted in place, maintaining the hips at a safe distance. A bro hug, in effect, isn’t about physical closeness between men, but about limiting bodily contact.

Bro hugging, moreover, is specifically a way of performing solidarity with heterosexual men. In the CBS program, the bros explain that a man would not bro hug a woman since a bro hug is, by its forcefulness, designed to be masculinity affirming. Similarly, a bro hug is not intended for gay men, lesbians, or queer people. The bro hug performs and reinforce bro identity within an exclusively bro domain. For bros, by bros. As such, the bro hug does little to signal a decrease in homophobia. Instead, it affirms men’s identities as “real” men and their difference from both women and non-heterosexual men.

In this way, the bro-hug functions similarly to the co-masturbation and same-sex sexual practices of heterosexually identified white men, documented by the sociologist Jane Ward in her book, Not Gay. Ward argues that when straight white men have sex with other straight white men they are not necessarily blurring the boundaries between homo- and heterosexuality. Instead, they are shifting the line separating what is considered normal from what is considered queer.  Touching another man’s anus during a fraternity hazing ritual is normal (i.e., straight) while touching another man’s anus in a gay porn is queer.  In other words, the white straight men can have sex with each other because it is not “real” gay sex. 

Similarly, within the context of a bro hug, straight white men can now bro hug each other because they are heterosexual. Bro hugging will not diminish either man’s heterosexual capital. In fact, it might increase it. When two bros hug, they signal to others their unshakable strength of and comfort in their heterosexuality. Even though they are touching other men in public, albeit minimally, the act itself reinforces their heterosexuality and places it beyond reproach.

Hubert Izienicki, PhD, is a professor of sociology at Purdue University Northwest. 

(View original at https://thesocietypages.org/socimages)

[syndicated profile] 2nerdyhistorygirls_feed

Posted by Susan Holloway Scott

Breakfast Links are served - our weekly round-up of fav links to other web sites, articles, blogs, and images via Twitter.
• A bibliophile's guide to National Park libraries in America.
John Hancock's table: turtles, pineapples, and the paradoxical politics of 1768.
• An Irish suffrage leader tours America in 1917.
• Heartbreaking keepsake book made by a Jewish teen in 1941 for his boyfriend before he was murdered at Auschwitz.
• Amazing librarians: the women who rode miles on horseback to deliver library books.
Image: "The 'New Woman" and her Bicycle" Puck Magazine, 1895.
• How an 18thc orange-flavored dessert recipe created a modern political maelstrom.
• What does that say? Deciphering 17th-18thc handwriting.
• Ten common phrases that originated in the middle ages.
• Newly digitized: Gertrude Bell's 1911 diary of her journey from Damascus to Aleppo via Baghdad.
• America's first planetarium holds the ultimate cabinet of curiosities.
• The Roman cemetery where Keats, Shelley, and other unfortunate international visitors are buried.
Image: This hairy beast is an 18thc man's muff.
• An elegant, be-ribboned 1870s dress with a watery history.
• Why was Benjamin Franklin estranged from his wife for nearly two decades?
• The history of the ampersand.
• A well-worn pair of men's striped trousers, dating from the 12th-14thc.
• Seven flavors that any solider of the American Civil War would recognize.
• This is what an 18thc feminist looked like.
Video: Just for fun: What happens when you fasten a GoPro camera on the blades of a windmill.
Hungry for more? Follow us on Twitter @2nerdyhistgirls for fresh updates daily.
Above: At Breakfast by Laurits Andersen Ring. Private collection

Bichetr

2017-09-16 02:46 pm
[syndicated profile] languagelog_feed

Posted by Victor Mair

Receipt for yesterday's lunch:

The Ethiopian server asked for my name.

"Victor," I said.

"What?" she asked.

"Vic-tor," I enunciated as clearly as possible.

I paid for my order, then stood by the side to wait for my name to be called.

After about four minutes, she called out, "Bichetr!"

I claimed my burger, amidst the smiles of the other customers and the people working behind the counter.

Cf.:

[Thanks to Gypsy Gal]

What were they thinking?

2017-09-16 01:18 pm
[syndicated profile] languagelog_feed

Posted by Mark Liberman

Alex Baumans writes:

Perhaps no news to you, but I just discovered that the new Range Rover model is called the Velar. I wonder if the Uvular will be next.

To be followed by the Range Rover Pharyngeal and the Range Rover Glottal. (Or maybe a hybrid version called the Range Rover Labiovelar?)

And Jeep could fight back with the Jeep Ergative and the Jeep Grand Optative…

 

[syndicated profile] languagelog_feed

Posted by Victor Mair

In "Impromptu biscriptalism on a Starbucks cup" (9/8/17), we encountered a Starbucks cup from Shenyang, northeast China that had the following handwritten notation on the side:  wài's 外's ("foreigner's").  I referred to the "'s" as impromptu because I thought that it was essentially a one-off phenomenon.  Nonetheless, I considered the "'s" to be linguistically significant in two major ways:  1. evidence of biscriptalism; 2. incorporation of an English morpheme in Chinese.

It turns out that that this use of "'s" on a Starbucks cup in the far northeast of China was by no means a unique or rare occurrence.  One of the commenters, Nicki, wrote in:

My coffee usually comes labeled like that, although I order in Chinese and do have a Chinese name, they never ask. They do ask my Chinese (or Chinese looking) companions for their names, and I have a few photos of our cups sitting together, labeled 王's and 欧's and 外's.*

Yes, all three with the apostrophe s, from a Starbucks in Haikou, Hainan. As I recall, I ordered last.

[*VHM:  "Wang's", "Ou's", and "foreigner's".]

Nicki mentioned that she had posted a photo that documents what she wrote in the first paragraph of her comment.  With the help of others who are more familiar than I with the ways of Facebook, I tracked the photo down.  Here it is:

Can you guess which one is mine? #Starbucks #laowai #foreigner

Posted by Erik-Nicki Johnson on Saturday, August 2, 2014

So here, from Haikou in the far southeast of China, which is roughly 1,500 miles to the southeast from Shenyang, we have not one Starbuck's cup using the "'s" suffix, but using it with Chinese surnames as well as with the Chinese word for "foreigner".  All the more, this shows how widespread and natural this usage is.

[Thanks to TK Mair, Yixue Yang, Jinyi Cai, and Frédéric Grosshans]

[syndicated profile] languagelog_feed

Posted by Ben Zimmer

This head-scratcher of a headline from the Belfast Telegraph was brought to our attention by Mike Pope: "Ed Murray: Sex abuse claim US mayor's time in Northern Ireland 'should be probed'".

Ed Murray, the article explains, recently resigned as the mayor of Seattle under a cloud of allegations of sexual abuse. Amnesty International has asked for a police investigation into Murray's time in Northern Ireland (he worked on a peace project in Belfast in the '70s) to see if there are any further allegations.

The headline is remarkably opaque, especially for those not familiar with the details of the Murray case. First, "Ed Murray" followed by a colon might suggest that Murray is the source of the information in the headline rather than the topic of it. Then we get the noun pile "Sex abuse claim US mayor", which is supposed to be understood as "US mayor tied to sex abuse claim". As if that wasn't bad enough, the noun pile is then put in a possessive construction with the 's clitic, upping the opacity even more.

The noun pile here surely rivals some of the other specimens we've examined from the British and Irish news media. It also continues the running theme of baffling "sex" headlines, such as "Corpse sex kill threat prisoner gets 45 year sentence", "China Ferrari sex orgy death crash", and "Blindfold sex knife attack ex-wife jailed for murder attempt".

[syndicated profile] sociological_images_feed

Posted by Evan Stewart

In an era of body positivity, more people are noting the way American culture stigmatizes obesity and discriminates by weight. One challenge for studying this inequality is that a common measure for obesity—Body Mass Index (BMI), a ratio of height to weight—has been criticized for ignoring important variation in healthy bodies. Plus, the basis for weight discrimination is what other people see as “too fat,” and that’s a standard with a lot of variation.

Recent research in Sociological Science from Vida Maralani and Douglas McKee gives us a picture of how the relationship between obesity and inequality changes with social context. Using data from the National Longitudinal Surveys of Youth (NLSY), Maralani and McKee measure BMI in two cohorts, one in 1981 and one in 2003. They then look at social outcomes seven years later, including wages, the probability of a person being married, and total family income.

The figure below shows their findings for BMI and 2010 wages for each group in the study. The dotted lines show the same relationships from 1988 for comparison.

For White and Black men, wages actually go up as their BMI increases from the “Underweight” to “Normal” ranges, then levels off and slowly decline as they cross into the “Obese” range. This pattern is fairly similar to 1988, but check out the “White Women” graph in the lower left quadrant. In 1988, the authors find a sharp “obesity penalty” in which women over a BMI of 30 reported a steady decline in wages. By 2010, this has largely leveled off, but wage inequality didn’t go away. Instead, that spike near the beginning of the graph suggests people perceived as skinny started earning more. The authors write:

The results suggest that perceptions of body size may have changed across cohorts differently by race and gender in ways that are consistent with a normalizing of corpulence for black men and women, a reinforcement of thin beauty ideals for white women, and a status quo of a midrange body size that is neither too thin nor too large for white men (pgs. 305-306).

This research brings back an important lesson about what sociologists mean when they say something is “socially constructed”—patterns in inequality can change and adapt over time as people change the way they interpret the world around them.

Evan Stewart is a Ph.D. candidate in sociology at the University of Minnesota. You can follow him on Twitter.

(View original at https://thesocietypages.org/socimages)

Fashions for September 1862

2017-09-15 12:30 am
[syndicated profile] 2nerdyhistorygirls_feed

Posted by Loretta Chase

Seaside costume September 1862
Loretta reports:

Author Donna Hatch, whom I finally met in London, recently shared a post on crinolines, which I in turn shared on Facebook. You may want to look at this piece while you peruse this month’s fashions. You’ll note that this dress, from the Met Museum’s collection, which appears in the article, bears a resemblance to the image from Plate 2 of the magazine.
Description of Plates
SECOND PLATE.—First Toilette. Dress of white coutil embroidered in black. The embroidery in this style of dress always affects the Greek style of ornament, is always based on a line and placed close to the hem. The Zouave jacket is much rounded, and embroidered in accordance with the skirt. Sleeves half-large, rounded, and open to the elbow. The chemisette and under-sleeves in strict accordance, even so far, that the wristbands and collar band are equally flat, plain, and close. Red cravat. A full sash of black lace, knotted behind, takes off from the perhaps too nautical appearance of this dress. The hat is in capital accordance with the entire dress; it is of leghorn straw, flat brim, band and edging of black velvet, ends of black lace, and black feathers. The chemisette must be very full to give due effect to the jacket.

Second Toilette. Inasmuch as England sets France the fashion in men's apparel, we need barely refer to this toilette, but we may say it is peculiar from this fact, that not only is all the suit made of one material, but the hat also is en suite. The cravat is in bad taste, but the harmony of the suit and gloves is admirable.

FOURTH PLATE.—First Toilette. Dress of white muslin, trimmed with black lace insertion. The skirt is trimmed with a flounce, and there is novelty in the application of a band of insertion lace, put above the hem of the flounce, which is headed with a fine puffing, over which is placed two narrow insertions, forming three narrow plaits. Bodice low; the berthe being in accord with the petticoat; small puffed sleeve, and each in perfect keeping with the dress; the ends very wide— a still prevalent mode.


Second Toilette. Dress of drab gauze, trimmed with blue taffetas. The undulating flounces are unusual, and made more so by the edge-plaiting, while almost perfect novelty is obtained by the vertical ribbons continued under the lower flounce. The bodice open. The bodice is in exquisite agreement with the skirt. —Les Modes Parisiennes September 1862
September 1862 fashions

Clicking on the image will enlarge it.  Clicking on the caption will take you to the source, where you can learn more and enlarge images as needed.

A Bite of Russia

2017-09-15 03:25 am
[syndicated profile] languagelog_feed

Posted by Victor Mair

From Nikita Kuzmin:

Nikita writes:

This evening I found the above photo in my cellphone image gallery, which you may find rather interesting. I took this picture in August during my summer visit to Sergiyev Posad, a small town in the Moscow Region. It is considered as the spiritual center of the Russian Orthodox Church, because the Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius – one of the most influential monasteries in Russia, is situated there.

Just in front of the monastery, there is a Russian-cuisine restaurant, with a puzzling inscription in English, Russian, and Chinese. First, the inscriptions in three languages do not completely correspond with each other. Actually, only the Russian – Русский дворик (Russian courtyard) stands for the restaurant’s name.  Secondly, I am sure that the Chinese Phrase “体验舌尖上的俄罗斯”* originates from a famous Chinese TV program 舌尖上的中国**, which is devoted to different Chinese dishes and cuisines. Last, but not the least, the final phrase, “A bite of Russia”, reminds me of the English name of the program “A bite of China”. I was amazed how the owners of the restaurant transformed the original name of the Chinese TV program into an advertisement for their own establishment.

———

[VHM: *tǐyàn shéjiān shàng de Èluósī 体验舌尖上的俄罗斯 ("experience Russia on the tip of your tongue"); **shéjiān shàng de Zhōngguó 舌尖上的中国 ("China on the tip of your tongue") — incidentally, shéjiān 舌尖 is the Chinese equivalent of "apical"]

Next time I go to Moscow, I will definitely want to make a day trip to Sergiyev Posad to experience the cuisine at Русский дворик (Russian courtyard).

May 2017

S M T W T F S
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28 293031   

Page Summary

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated 2017-09-23 07:31 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios