hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
Let’s do a meme! Pop a comment below, and I’ll either tell you something that always makes me think of you, or tell you something that one of the recent public posts on your journal reminds me of.

If you can’t think of what to say in your comment, just put a “.” or your username.

If you want my reply to you to be private, put “private please” in your comment and I’ll screen it, which will make it and all replies visible only to you and me (though others will be able to see your initial comment until I see your request for privacy).
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
So this morning, awake too early (thanks for all the barking, Gary) and lying in bed pretending I'd fall back asleep, I saw a toot (yes that's what they're called on Mastodon):
everyone: herbs and spices
america: 'erbs and spices
???: herbs and 'ices

the search for the missing nation
I tried to let it go, to appreciate the shitpost for what it was, or even just to ponder how interesting it is that both consonants at the beginning of spices are understood to be part of the syllable onset even to people who don't use words like "onset" for that (I've been doing lots of phonology reading today; it probably shows).

But I couldn't. I just coulnd't get over how annoyed I was at one little thing.

I started a screed.

I know this is just a joke but I also just have to say that it's not only America who says "erbs"; the word was originally erb and didn't have an h at all.

Overcorrecting pedants added the h in the 1400s to make the English word look like the Latin word it derived from, but the h was silent for everyone until it changed in Britain in the 1800s (thus, after American English had diverged from British English) as the result of more pedantry (thanks to [personal profile] silveradept, I'd also just read this morning about how many grammar rules are bullshit). And they're a specific, infuriating (to me) kind of bullshit, which I'll get to in a minute.

But before that, I thought of Eddie Izzard's line from Dress to Kill where he says to an American audience "you say 'erbs' and we say 'herbs.' Because there's a fucking h in it."

And the audience laughed because Americans have what Lynne Murphy calls American Verbal Inferiority Complex (a fact that suits the British superiority complex just fine!).

But I'm like, no! I will not accept this from a country where they have to say an historian because they don't say that h at all! (Yes I know not ever Brit says this, but not every American drops the h in herbs either, so this is where generalization gets you.)

The more I think about this, the more it bugs me that a few random posh white dudes (a very few! specific people with names we know!) came up with all these stupid rules. To quote from the link above: some of these "grammar rules that were entirely dreamt up in an age of moral prescriptivism, reflecting nothing of historical or literary usage, to encourage the poor English language to be more like an entirely different (and entirely dead) language, namely Latin?"

The random posh white dudes decreed that English should be more like Latin because they'd been taught that Latin was "pure" and thus superior to English. And they got their own way. (Maybe all of English has an inferiority complex when it comes to things like Latin.)

This educational snobbery and classism went a long way to making English the inconsistent, baffling mess it is now. (It wouldn't have been in a fantastic state anyway, with the influx of French and Latin and then the Great Vowel Shift ensuring nothing was spelled like it sounded any more. But still, this

It didn't have to be this way. Around the same time as these Latin-lovers, there was a movement for another kind of "purity," to go back to the Germanic roots of the English language, as a backlash against the huge numbers of French and Latin words that'd entered the language in the Middle English period (up until 1500-ish). Wikipedia says "Some tried either to resurrect older English words, such as gleeman for musician, inwit for conscience, and yblent for confused, or to make new words from Germanic roots, e.g. endsay for conclusion, yeartide for anniversary, foresayer for prophet."

To read something like "Uncleftish Beholdings," which is an explanation of atomic theory written in Germanic words, feels very odd. The Germanic words English has retained are mostly very "ordinary," everyday things, whereas our scientific vocabulary is especially full of Latin and Greek, so we're not used to what feel like "base" words being used to express technical or intellectual concepts.

I wrote all this (more or less, and without most of the links, though I included the Uncleftish Beholdings one because if you mention Germanic reconstructions for English, someone is bound to bring it up (and indeed someone did, who hadn't seen it mentioned just above the toot he was replying to)) before I went to work. I did work, I came home, had lunch, got ready to go to uni...and just before I left, I saw a screenshot of a startingly relevant tweet, from @paulcoxon: "Hello my name is Paul, I have a PhD in physics and thanks to a random brain freeze forgot the word for photon so had to call it a 'shiny crumb' in front of my colleagues."

Yes, you can have a physics Ph.D. and still forget a basic word like "photon." And when you do, what comes to your mind might be a Germanic construction like shiny crumb. (I knew "shine" came from Old English because I remembered seeing the verb; and I looked up "crumb" too which also comes from an OE word). I absolutely love "shiny crumb" and I wish to nominate it for the new Germanic alternative for our scientific vocabulary.

So yeah. I am so ill-suited to shitposts that I couldn't leave one alone. I had to take "herbs" and run with it until I ended up at shiny crumbs... via inkhorn terms, Anglish, snobbery and inferiority complexes. I hope you enjoyed the journey.

Or, as since journey's a nasty foreign word, maybe trip.
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
Andrew has found numbers on 538 for the midterms, so he's asking me which congressional district is mine and stuff.

I know the answer to that. But then he kept talking about the other ones, and I'm like how surprised should I be that that one's expected to flip Democrat? which one's the 7th again?

So I said "Can you not get me a map of Minnesota with all the congressional districts that I can hang right here so I have some idea what you're talking about when this happens?" (It happened not that long ago, another late-night conversation about Minnesota politics; that's when I taught him how to say names like "Ole" (which is a given name) and "Edina" (which is a town).)

Andrew looked on Amazon and couldn't find that but has found a coloring book of all the states where you can color the congressional districts!

It's called United Shapes of America. One of its authors is the 9-year-old daughter of the other; her author bio says she "enjoys reading, drawing and Taekwondo. She wants to be an astronomer and find life on other planets." I am utterly charmed.

I have too many coloring books I'm not using, or I'd have bought it already.
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
Social media can be really terrible, of course, but it also brought me this this morning, and made me laugh:
Do ghosts speak with a different accent than what they spoke while living? I would think that being in the community of a bunch of ghosts from different eras would have an impact on the specific accent of their language.
I read this when I should've been getting on with this week's sociolinguistics reading, which is about how well immigrants (from one English-speaking place to another) learn a new dialect so it's totally relevant.

GIP

Apr. 4th, 2018 06:22 pm
hollymath: (G)
I hate everything about this article (probably because I know just enough about language, minds and brains to have some vehement opinions but clearly not as much as cognitive scientists, but also aren't we supposed to be able to read words with the letters all jumbled up as long as the first and last letters are right?* I know as a partially sighted person I rely hugely on the shape of words (particularly the ascenders and descenders) to help me read them when I can't fully discern the letters in them, or when it just saves spoons to not have to do so)...

Okay, that parenthetical got away from me a little bit there, so let's try again: I hate everything about that article except for the amazing picture that the scientists used when they were trying to determine whether people could recognize a typeset lowercase g.

Look at those! I love it. That's some proper Lovecraftian weird-geometries (only thing other than racism that could drive someone insane, apparently!) shit going on there. The ones with the little tail on top facing the wrong way (upper left and lower right) look particularly eldritch and squamous I think.


* Turns out it's probably a bit more complicated than that...

Korean

Aug. 27th, 2017 05:07 pm
hollymath: (G)
Was talking to [personal profile] matgb and [personal profile] innerbrat and [personal profile] magister yesterday and Mat told me how interesting Korean seems as a language: "Nobody really knows where it came from," he said. It's not related to other languages. Apparently there's a debate about whether Korean is related to Tamil, thanks to traders along the Silk Road, but that seems pretty mysterious in itself: why would that one group of people or words make an impact where apparently nothing else did?

I knew a little about the Korean writing system, which is also unique and intends to have similar sounds also look similar, and there's some connection between the characters and how the sounds they represent are made when they're spoken. This system, hangul, was apparently designed by the great Sejong, a 15th-century king (though he may have had help!), who was concerned at how few people could read and write so made this to help more people do so. He said, "A wise man can acquaint himself with them before the morning is over; a stupid man can learn them in the space of ten days." So maybe there's hope even for me! Amid early opposition from a literary elite that apparently liked being an elite, hangul was apparently used mainly for things like women's diaries and books for children. Which just makes it sound all the more awesome to me, frankly.

Then Debi started talking about all the Korean dramas she could tell me about that she liked. I can't remember the names, sadly, but she was able to inform me that they all involve a lot of women cross-dressing. She isn't sure if that's a facet of Korean culture or just that which has filtered through to and appealed to her. Girls dressing up as their brothers to get educations not available to women and that sort of thing seemed to be common.

Then James was telling me about a zombie movie (which I think is called The Train to Busan?) that he says is really good. "You should learn Korean so you can watch that without having to worry about the subtitles," he said.

Imagine, me turning up to Korean class on the first day and being asked why I'm there. "I've heard the dramas and zombie movies are good."
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
For those fortunate enough not to know about Facebook, it has a feature where you can add to your updates what you're feeling, reading, drinking, eating, and a bunch of other options, one of which is "watching."

It's just another way for Facebook to gather saleable data on you, but it's successful enough that I find it appealing enough to use sometimes. As I did the other day when I started watch my birthday present from [personal profile] miss_s_b, a box set of the Sherlock Holmes ITV series from the 80s (well, mostly...it looks 80s to me anyway).

To distinguish this from all the other Sherlock Holmes movies and TV shows I might have wanted to say I was watching, I saw that Facebook called it Sherlock Holmes With Jeremy Brett, not quite its official name but how a lot of people refer to it, perhaps because all these shows and movies seem to end up being called "Sherlock Holmes" and hopefully partly because Jeremy Brett is just so great. (I call him my favorite TV Sherlock Holmes because that means I don't have to decide whether I like him or Clive Merrison better.)

So such Facebook posts end up being structured: "[person] is [reading/watching/eating/doing] [book/movie/food/whatever]. Mine said "Holly is watching Sherlock Holmes With Jeremy Brett."

The first comment underneath says "I like the way this status makes it look as though you and Jeremy are cuddled up on the sofa together, dissecting the plot.

An, of course, irresistible idea. I declared that this was exactly what I would imagine happening.

And, true enough, tonight I am doing the unusual thing of watching stuff in bed, just because I'm too cold to be anywhere else (this afternoon I spent, for reasons I'm too tired to go into, an hour outside without my coat and then three hours in a flat with the door open...). I'm under all the duvets. And if Jeremy wants to cuddle up and dissect the plot again, I'll warm up quicker!
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
Friend of mine (his tweets are locked; no one any of you know anyway I think) tweeted
"Whatever Happened to My Transylvania Twist?": Nostalgia and Modernity in Vampire Culture
(Followed by some explanation of the quote: "I've spent an uncommon amount of time thinking about the lyrics to "Monster Mash," and that line especially." His silly, very suited-to-the-medium-of-twitter idea resolves its tension when Dracula finally accepts the historical process of the dialectic and joins the band.)

But I read this first tweet and smiled and then suddenly realized how intense nostalgia would be in a long-lived or immortal species. And now I really want to read this treatise. And it doesn't exist.

This feeling of longing to read a book that doesn't exist is probably the kind of thing you'd get in a book about the nostalgia that vampires have.
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
Now I want a t-shirt that says

SOME WHITE CIS BOYS ARE GAY.
WE'RE OVER IT.
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
* It pleases me that I started coveting this shirt while I was holding a boy's hand.


[personal profile] magister told me about a t-shirt he spotted when we were out today (which of course I missed, so I'm glad he did tell me!) that said "Girls don't like boys, girls like ghosts and Jillian Holtzmann."

This is a convention I learned about from this slogan:

but quick googling tonight found me this and now I want it so much.
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
So [personal profile] miss_s_b sorta hinted at wanting a Six/Evelyn story (her favorite Doctor, my favorite companion (and one of her favorites too but I'm less sure it has the top spot for her than I am for me)) fluff...

...and because I do love Evelyn so much and there are never enough stories about her, this was sufficient for me to want to write something. Especially for such an appreciative audience as would be, if I got it right.

But, I'm no good at fiction. I can never come up with ideas (it's why I have no problem blogging: this's just about stuff that's actually happened to me!). What could I do that'd be worthy of such beloved characters?

Since Andrew's out of the house tonight, I was with the Hamilton soundtrack without headphones, loud. (I was also vacuuming, these being two thing Andrew can't tolerate when he's in the house so I have to save them for when he's not. I know how to enjoy my rare evenings home alone, oh yes.)

So naturally I thought What would Evelyn the historian think of Hamilton? Other than that it's Not Her Period, of course... There is already a Six/Evelyn American-history story (it's a theatrical story, even!), and it's a good one -- Assassin in the Limelight -- but still.

Oh man. I just realized that such a story might be a really good home for [personal profile] po8crg's idea that Britain calling it "the American War of Independence" is arguably racist/white-supremacist... Now I wanna write this even more.
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
I just read a post in a local facebook group that says "Are there any electricians on here who can explain the strange happenings in my home?" and now I'm hoping I live at the beginning of a gently supernatural story.
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
So it turns out 70s TV The Incredible Hulk is a thing.

James and I are watching it and he says "I love how he turns into the Hulk when he gets 'angry or outraged.' "

"Good thing they didn't have Twitter then," I said.

"I was gonna say: 'Damn, someone's been misgendered!...oh shit. I really liked that shirt...' "

I then imagined a comic or something about Hulk spending his evenings mending shirts, thinking to himself "this is the one where [twitter.com profile] DHLinton got called 'a fucking feminatzi' and they thought there was a t in the middle of the word 'nazi'...this was the one I was wearing when I learned that Chibnall got the Doctor Who job, this one is where England lost three wickets in the time it took me to eat breakfast..."

The possibilities are endless.
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
There's an xkcd survey. It's just full of random questions, like a poll from the good old days on LJ.

Here's my favorite question, and my answer:
When you think about stuff on the internet, where do you picture it being physically located? Even if you know it's not really how things work, is there a place you imagine websites and social media posts sitting before you look at them? If so, where is it?

A big box somewhere. Probably in California. I met a guy yesterday who said he was from the part of California that was the most likely target after 9/11 because Google and Facebook and Apple are based there. So I reckon the big box where everything is is probably there. Or else it's in space. Nearby. A sort of low-Earth orbit.
I remember there being like fifty places that were all the "#1 post-9/11 target," I think it was a badge of honor for a while to live near somewhere important enough to be the next place to get blown up. But the California guy didn't seem too impressed with my theory -- he was very California.

And it's easy for me to say since during 9/11 I was going to college in the middle of a prairie, you had to drive 45 minutes just to see a movie or go to Target, so we were under no illusions about our importance as a strategic military target.
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
Having a statistically-significant other who's an engineer means I don't want t-shirt/badge/whatever that says SMASH THE PATRIARCHY; I want one that calls for CONTROLED DEMOLITION OF THE PATRIARCHY.
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
Yesterday I announced, first to [livejournal.com profile] softfruit's front room and then to Facebook, "I'm totally doing a zine about how Pluto's only a planet according to the social model of planetude."

(Cf the social model of disability, for anyone who doesn't know what I'm talking about...something that's been on my mind lately because I'm trying to get myself "on the grid," so to speak, after only nine years in the UK flailing around or making excuses or being too crazy to sort anything out.)

It got a bunch of 'like's on Facebook and for the rest of the evening any time I said anything silly or overly-excitable, [livejournal.com profile] haggis said "You can make a zine about it." And [twitter.com profile] chellaquint, who I saw hosting Comedy in Space again over the weekend. And she remembered me from last time, bless her, even though it was a year and a half ago, and she told me I should go to Sheffiled zinefest in a month (as did her fiancée, who I'd been talking to before about language geekery), and since I'm not on Twitter any more Chella and I are Facebook friends now so when I said this about Pluto she said, "Please bring this to zine fest because OMG". Even though she thinks Pluto should be a planet! (I'm quite glad she likes me despite this rift (which, as [livejournal.com profile] diffrentcolours pointed out, is useful for telling us apart because otherwise Chella and I are a so alike!))

And when Andrew saw that, he said "when you do that zine I can help you with the desktop publishing software," and I said "what do you mean, 'when'?" Not even any "if"!

So if I'm not careful I'm going to end up writing about Pluto as an innocent object disabled by our ideas of how planets are better than non-planets.

(I think there's an interesting queer theory angle there too, about labels and how they're chosen...)

Hannelore

Feb. 2nd, 2015 05:23 pm
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
Last Sunday, I got an e-mail that at first looked like a spam. But having already opened it, I realized it was short enough and in simple enough German that I could figure out that it was in fact intended for someone called Hannelore with the same last name as me (I was immediately envious, as Hannelore's a much better name than Holly, but it's also something I can never change my name to now as it'd make it even more difficult for the right e-mails to get to the right person), and since my e-mail address includes my first initial and my last name, I could see how this guy (Dietz!) could reasonably have thought he was addressing Hannelore.

One of my good deeds for that day was employing my poor German language skills enough to say (I hope) that this e-mail address was not the one Dietz wanted. This despite [livejournal.com profile] diffrentcolours's suggestion that I ask the guy for Hannelore's address so we could be penfriends, though that did make me smile.

But I got no reply to my I'm-not-Hannelore e-mail and forgot all about it...until this afternoon, when I got a delivery confirmation from lidl-shop.de for something Hannelore has apparently ordered.

So naturally the first thing I do is text [livejournal.com profile] diffrentcolours. "I could be Hannelore's penfriend now!" I was excited to learn that she lives someplace called Königslutter am Elm, which I've since been reading about on Wikipedia, so now I know what its coat of arms looks like and its mayor's name.

So basically anything I thought I'd get done this afternoon has been abandoned in favor of learning what things like "Versandkostenpauschale" mean and looking at pictures like this:

Pleasingly living up to stereotype, there. But I know not to put too much faith in such things: if I did send her a letter and told her I was from Manchester and she looked that up on Wikipedia, she'd get the impression that it's a city that has sunlight.
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)


I'm sure it's purest coincidence that it was the train conductor I immediately thought was cute (she clearly had a sense of humor) who left me a heart on my ticket.
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
And I got such great ones this year!

In 2015, minnesattva resolves to...
Take evening classes in baseball.
Overcome my secret fear of liberals.
Go to enthusiasm every Sunday.
Stop cuddling with whipchick.
Find a better procrastination.
Go to the road trips every month.






Get your own New Year's Resolutions:


But...but [livejournal.com profile] whipchick's so irresistible and cuddly!
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
Now every time I wear my new sandals I have to think about [livejournal.com profile] diffrentcolours saying they're "half bondage half Roman soldier."

Profile

hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
Holly

April 2019

S M T W T F S
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 1011 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24252627
282930    

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags