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.

that-punjabi-girl-next-door:

it’s 2014 and people still don’t know that indian isnt a language

(via transliterations)

In the past – and much to our collective irritation – the only Indian cinema that earned any respect in the US was of the serious kind. Movie critics would swoon over the likes of Satyajit Ray, while disdaining our mainstream movies as over-the-top escapist trash. Finally, commercial Hindi movies are getting the respect they deserve…

Well, “respect” may be the wrong word. Bollywood is now the official bimbo of the international film scene. No one cares what our movies say as long as they look good and offer mindless fun. In fact, that’s our designated job according the kitsch-is-cool pose adopted by American critics. Cartoonish characters, absurd plotlines and bad dialogue? Thank you, that’s exactly what we ordered, with a giant serving of exotic locales, dance numbers, and costumes, please!

In American eyes, Bollywood becomes the cinematic equivalent of going to the circus. Bring on the clowns, the jugglers, the crazy acrobatics—and you get a pass on the stuff that real movies are judged on. And so it is that Ra.One which is almost universally panned by Indian critics for its clunky acting and weak plot gets rave reviews in the United States.

The underlying message is that “serious” cinema is best left to those who know how—in Hollywood, France, even Iran. Our job on the international cinema stage is simple: look pretty and play dumb.

Lakshmi Chaudhry, Why America loves brain-dead Bollywood
(via sahasi)

—-

This basically sums up all my periodic rage spats about Bollywood.

(via fuckyeahsouthasia)

A long succession of such accidents has put English so far in the race for dominance in global communication that it can hardly even be called a race now.

Geoffrey K. Pullum, who apparently thinks that imperialism, colonialism and deliberate linguicide are “accidents” (via darnhomosexuals)

—-

I have to say I don’t read it quite like that.  Imperialism, colonialism, and linguicide were deliberate British and European choices (see Macaulayism), but as processes, they were enabled by certain things about British and European society that were brought about by accident.  For example, why in the 18th century should England have been the world’s technological leader as opposed to anyone else?  Part of it was just geographical accident.  As an island nation, development of maritime technology became paramount to the English, giving them a leg up in the naval arms race that kicked off during the age of European expansion.  Hell, if the Spanish armada had attacked the English navy at Plymouth or if it hadn’t been stormy in Scotland in September 1588, we might we saying these same things about Spanish right now.

Going even further back, one could argue that the European Renaissance and subsequent expansion was kick-started by a bunch of gold that Mansa Musa spent with Italian merchants in Cairo, or that the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople closed off the Black Sea, pushing European expansion into the Atlantic, or that the wide east-west spread of the Eurasian landmass allowed plant and animal species to disperse longitudinally, facilitating the exchange of early agricultural technology.  So yes, British policy during the colonial period spread the English language around the world at the expense of indigenous tongues, but many of the things that put the British in a position to do that were “accidents,” and not due to the inherent superiority of the people or their language.

I think in his original article, Pullum phrased it inartfully, making it sound like English just happened to be the language of the British Empire and Hollywood without exploring how it got there, and there’s a bit of utilitarian snobbery in the last few paragraphs (no, not everyone should learn a language just because it’s “useful”), but I also don’t read a deliberate attempt to erase a history of colonialism (especially with the map of the British Empire right there at the top of the article).

(via transliterations)

polyglotted:

science-of-noise:

polyglotted:

forgetfuldepths:

kchikurdi:

Pre-Islamic Kurdish Alphabet

Whoa! Very interesting. I always thought it would look like Middle-Persian but it’s more similar to Manichaen.

Can anyone verify this? I’m not saying it’s not real… but as far as scripts go, it has very little uniformity. I’d just like some verification. (While looking for verification, I’m being forced to try and read Kurdish…. *sighs for not knowing Kurdish*)

Also, this looks nothing like Manichean (well certain parts look like the Manichaean from Fihrist al-Nadim, but it looks nothing like Manichaean Sogdian) or Middle Persian… just saying

I can’t really find any reliable source that says Kurdish ever had a proprietary script. It’s used variants of Perso-Arabic, Cyrillic, Armenian, and Latin, but I can’t find anything that looks like this.

That was always my understanding of Kurdish writings systems. The only place I could find images similar to this was in a Wikipedia discussion. He essentially says that even if Kurdish used this, it wasn’t a native Kurdish script. So it’s not a “Kurdish Alphabet”. Additionally he makes a reference to Hurrian and Luwian, but I don’t think this looks like either one. He sources 3 books in Kurdish and one PDF (page 4 discusses Kurdish scripts, but it’s in Kurdish).

So… I’m not really sure where to stand on it all… Mostly cuz I can’t read that Kurdish PDF and it actually has another version of this image in it (otherwise, this image is nowhere to be found).

I suppose it bears some superficial resemblance to certain Anatolian hieroglyphs, but that doesn’t really shed any light on this script, as you say, because Hurrian and Luwian were both extinct a thousand years before the first historical mention of Kurdish as an independent language.

I think this is probably just the Internet being the Internet.

polyglotted:

forgetfuldepths:

kchikurdi:

Pre-Islamic Kurdish Alphabet

Whoa! Very interesting. I always thought it would look like Middle-Persian but it’s more similar to Manichaen.

Can anyone verify this? I’m not saying it’s not real… but as far as scripts go, it has very little uniformity. I’d just like some verification. (While looking for verification, I’m being forced to try and read Kurdish…. *sighs for not knowing Kurdish*)

Also, this looks nothing like Manichean (well certain parts look like the Manichaean from Fihrist al-Nadim, but it looks nothing like Manichaean Sogdian) or Middle Persian… just saying

I can’t really find any reliable source that says Kurdish ever had a proprietary script. It’s used variants of Perso-Arabic, Cyrillic, Armenian, and Latin, but I can’t find anything that looks like this.

"Caca" (as in poop) is one of the oldest words in the English language. In fact, it’s way, way older than the language itself, coming via various borrowings but going all the way back to Proto-Indo-European *kakka-, meaning, you guessed it, poop.

yourmaj3sty:

The word “demon” means “replete with knowledge” and until Christianity, they were seen as minor spirits that were neither evil or good but both. Demons that helped humans were called “eudemons” and ones that like to do more harm than good were called “cacodemons”. Demon is derived from the Greek word daimon or “divine power,” “fate,” or “god”. In Greek mythology, daimon included deified heros. Daimones were intermediary spirits between man and the gods. A good daimon acted as a guardian angel. 


"Cacodemon?"  As in "shitty demon?"

yourmaj3sty:

The word “demon” means “replete with knowledge” and until Christianity, they were seen as minor spirits that were neither evil or good but both. Demons that helped humans were called “eudemons” and ones that like to do more harm than good were called “cacodemons”. Demon is derived from the Greek word daimon or “divine power,” “fate,” or “god”. In Greek mythology, daimon included deified heros. Daimones were intermediary spirits between man and the gods. A good daimon acted as a guardian angel. 

"Cacodemon?" As in "shitty demon?"

(via vote-anglosaxon)

scifigeneration:

Chemistry meets astronomy in today’s post, with a graphical guide to the atmospheres of our Solar System.

Read more about them here (there’s also a link to download the graphic, or to purchase it as a large poster): http://wp.me/p4aPLT-nV

via compoundchem

(via sagansense)

gradnessmadness:

This article talks about how advisors can help a grad student who’s become stuck/stymied in the writing process.  I found it useful from a student standpoint as well.  I would also recommend reading the comments at the bottom; there’s some good stuff there.

http://tinyurl.com/9r5nq87

(via linguisten)

allthingslinguistic:

tumblinguists:

A collection of historical sound changes that I curate. Feedback and (cited) submissions are encouraged.

So I just got this link in my inbox as a submission, and Oh My Gheg, I am in pure awe of this masterpiece.

Historical linguists, especially those of PhoPho leanings, look at this. Just behold.

Thank you, man-in-space!

It would be interesting to compile this data to see which of these changes are more and less common. Some, like palatalization, voicing assimilation, and homorganic nasal assimilation, should be really common, but it would be interesting to see if other trends would emerge. Anyone know if someone’s done this?