A Sacrifice Made to the Loss of a Mind

27/M/Boston/Engaged. I'm a Ph.D. student in computer science and linguistics. I run on metal, wordplay, and snark. Most of the languages I speak are dead. This blog is mostly language and science stuff, books and science fiction/fantasy media (when there's a TV show on I like), with the occasional post from my personal blog or video of me playing stuff on the guitar. I also write a lot, but I'm way too chickenshit to post any of it. Maybe some day. Follow for more.
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Asker Anonymous Asks:
Ma, tu chiar ai avut curaju' sa bei Exclusiv? Si nu ti-o venit rau? :o Exclusiv e una dintre cele mai de cacat marci de vodca. A doua cea mai de cacat marca de vodca, chiar, si asta doar pentru ca nimic nu-i mai de cacat decat Saniuta. Condoleantele mele ficatului tau si-al gagica-tii.
science-of-noise science-of-noise Said:

So… this is Moldovan/Romanian?  I see “Exclusiv” so I assume this is about the random American Girl/vodka post.  I also see “cacat,” which phonologically tells me it can’t be anything good.

All I will say is that to most Americans, “good” liquor is defined as “what’s on sale at the liquor store and isn’t obviously made from the byproducts of a oil rig.”



English: One wug, two wugs
French: Un wug, deux wugs
Spanish: Un wug, dos wuges
Norwegian: Ett wug, to wug
Dutch: Een wug, twee wugen
German: Ein Wug, zwei Wüge
Hindi: Ek wug, do wug
Hindi: Wait, what gender is a wug?
Hindi: Ek wug, do wugẽ?
Irish: Aon wug, dó wuig
Irish: Hold on, what declension is “wug?”
Irish: Aon wug, dó wuga? Wugaí? Wugacha?
Irish: Wait, do I need to soften the “w”? CAN I soften the “w”? Do I even have a “w”?

First, for those that might not know what a Wug is: go here.

French, Spanish, Norwegian, Dutch and German also have gender/noun classes and irregular plural forms.*raining on parade* Or do we only care about gender in the non-singular form here because we were given the gender of the singular? Why then does Hindi have a problem?

By the way, can we talk about the other images in the stimuli set of the famous “Wug Test”? Like this one here below? Or these?


This image is a hand-drawn version of the original Wug test stimuli, I couldn’t find the original picture that I was looking for and I thought this was a sweet rendering. I found it here. The Wug and Wug Test © Jean Berko Gleason 2006. All rights reserved. For individual and family use only. Commercial use prohibited.

I didn’t choose the ricking life, the ricking life chose me.


For the European languages, you can choose a noun class to “follow” when trying to work up the inflection paradigm for a new word such as “wug.”  i.e. following “Zug” in German, “tog” in Norwegian, or “oog” in Dutch (this one’s actually misspelled in the OP—more here).  Opinions differ on which one you should choose, such as the Dutch question: should the plural take a more native-looking form, or should you just borrow the plural from the source language as well?

This makes Hindi a pain, though, because, while plural inflection is almost entirely regular if you know how the singular ends and the gender of the noun, there is almost no way to predict what gender an arbitrarily chosen noun is (especially if it ends in a consonant).  You can’t “follow” an existing word, because the European sense of “noun classes” doesn’t really apply (there are words with a thematic ending and words without, the words without have no rule to predict gender—which you need to know for plural formation—and the words with are riddled with exceptions).

Generally, nouns ending in  are masculine and those in -ī are feminine, except suddenly ādmī (m. - man), bhāī (m. - brother), or havā (f. - air).  With consonant final words, it gets even more random, with the gender being what it is for historical or semantic reasons and having to be memorized outright in every case.  Sometimes even different words for the same thing can be of different genders (bhavan - m., imārt - f., but both mean “building”).  The point of the wug test is regular plural formation, but in Hindi, you’re missing some crucial information needed to complete the test.  Given a new word like wug, you’d have to first assign it a gender before you can begin to inflect it (the truth is, Hindi speakers would most likely just borrow both singular and plural from English, so ek wug, do wugs, or have no change throughout—ek wug, do wug—which would inadvertently make it masculine without ever actually asking the question).

If you want more info on how Irish works (basically, it’s actually all wrong in the OP here, but even more complicated than it was attempting to/could possibly illustrate), go here.





i’m a 14 years old argentinian girl and i run a blog in english

literally everyone in America hates the American education system and has thousands of ideas for how to make it better but nothing ever fucking changes 

(via foreignfawn)

My fiancée got her American Girl dolls out of storage shortly before we finished off a giant bottle of Moldovan vodka.  A merrie olde tyme was had.


Might dark matter play a role in extinctions…? I don’t know but it sounds plausible at least.

Although statistical evidence is not overwhelming, possible support for an approximately 35×10^6 yr periodicity in the crater record on Earth could indicate a nonrandom underlying enhancement of meteorite impacts at regular intervals. A proposed explanation in terms of tidal effects on Oort cloud comet perturbations as the Solar System passes through the galactic midplane is hampered by lack of an underlying cause for sufficiently enhanced gravitational effects over a sufficiently short time interval and by the time frame between such possible enhancements. We show that a smooth dark disk in the galactic midplane would address both these issues and create a periodic enhancement of the sort that has potentially been observed… (PDF - Lisa Randall and Matthew Reece)

Image by Alan Stonebraker

h/t American Physical Society


Big Cat | by “Lisa Buckingham”


Big Cat | by “Lisa Buckingham

(via vote-anglosaxon)




English: One wug, two wugs
French: Un wug, deux wugs
Spanish: Un wug, dos wuges
Norwegian: Ett wug, to wug
Dutch: Een wug, twee wugen
German: Ein Wug, zwei Wüge
Hindi: Ek wug, do wug
Hindi: Wait, what gender is a wug?
Hindi: Ek wug, do wugẽ?
Irish: Aon wug, dó wuig Wug amháin/Aon wug amháin, dhá wug
English: The wug is playing. The wugs are playing.
Irish: Tá an wug ag súgradh. Tá na…wuig ag súgradh?
Irish: Hold on, what declension is “wug?”
Irish: Wuga? Wugaí? Wugacha?
Irish: Wait, do I need to soften the “w”? CAN I soften the “w”? Do I even have a “w”?


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Hello, Internet Stranger, OP here.  Basically the reason for the mistakes is that I studied some Irish almost ten years ago and never had a chance to use it, so it’s mostly gone, though having left a deep impression of a very complex language, so when making this post, I reached for the most complex language I could think of at the moment.  Shortly after posting, I realized my dó/dhá fuck up, and considered adding a line to that effect, but the post already had about 100 notes and it didn’t seem likely anyone would see it, so I just let it drop.  No, I wasn’t trying to construct an archaic dual form, I just don’t know Irish very well.  (I also made a typo in the Dutch one, but that’s been discussed already.)

Ha, that’s fair enough! I would probably have done the same too, because once the wrong version starts going around tumblr the chances of those people seeing a fixed version and reblogging it are pretty slim. Having a mistake in a post I made get around the internet is a deep-seated fear of mine. Luckily(?), I am not really cool enough on the internet for anyone to see.

You raise a number of interesting points (at least to me), some of which I knew, others I didn’t.  Let me see if I have the rules straight:

One X = (Aon) X amháin, Two X = Dhá X.  There’s no need for amháin for counts greater than one?

No, you don’t need amháin for counting more than one. It’s not so much that you need to use a random word ‘amháin’ for the one case, as amháin *is* the word for one. So “dhá chroí amháin” wouldn’t make any more sense than “two one hearts”.

When simply counting things, you don’t use the plural form?  However if the things are doing a thing, you do?

Yeah, it’s weird. Normal mentions of plural things do use the plural form of the noun, it’s just counting them that keeps singular. As far as I remember it used to be singular/dual/plural for counting, but it was officially ‘simplified’ a century or two ago to always use singular. Unfortunately, since Irish is, y’know, a natural language in use, it has a lot more going on than they bargained for, so counting is kind of buggy now. For example, things that are frequently counted like weeks and years were in too active of use to get altered, and now for counting have to be treated as exceptions. And the adjectives for counted nouns are no longer running on the same mutation rules as their nouns, so you can end up with really stupid things as the official written form.

The point about “softening” (lenition) was not whether or not it’s required for a particular noun, but whether it’s required in the given environment (of course, since “dó X” isn’t a thing, it doesn’t matter, but if it’d properly been “dhá X,” it seems like it would, if X begins with a consonant that could be lenited).

One heart = Aon chroí amháin/Croí amháin.  Two hearts = Dhá chroí.  Is that correct?

Gotcha, my bad. And yes, those are correct!

To a learner, at least, the Irish mutation rules can seem very arbitrary at first.

TL;DR: Apparently Irish is even more complex than the original post was attempting to illustrate.

Yeah, there are a lot of rules that can interact in weird ways (okay, so nouns in this situation are in the genitive form BUT NOT IF THEY HAVE AN ADJECTIVE OR IF THERE IS A DEFINITE ARTICLE PRESENT BUT ACTUALLY IF BOTH OF THOSE ARE THERE IT IS GENITIVE FORM AFTER ALL HAHA SURPRISE LOSER - wait, what?). I still can’t reliably do lots of things without checking a book first, so I definitely feel ya.

Whee language!

Language, folks.