Link Dump – Echidna edition

Echidnas are named after a Greek monster that was half women and half snake, and gave birth to most of the other monsters. That seems a bit unfair, considering how cute they are. There are four species of echidna and they’re related to the one species of platypus. Platypuses will fuck you up.

Lots of links, sorry no pictures this time. Feeling too lazy.

Fossil Words of Yore in the Offing “we may wait with bated breath for something in the offing, but it’s unlikely that anything else in our experience is ever bated, or that we’ve made any other use of the noun offing.” (From the MacMillan Dictionary Blog)

Princess Princess “Sadie and Amira are two very different princesses who decide to take their fairy tale into their own hands!” Short finished comic (44 pages) Lovely bits: Sadie is fat and can’t sing. Amara is a WOC and has awesome hair. The unicorn is not too bright. Not so lovely: they treat a guy like dirt for being a bit sexist and the villain uses fat-shaming and ableist language.

1-Up Mushroom Pizza Rolls “When you need energy to make it through the mushroom kingdom on you way to rescue Princess Peach (again), level up your game with these 1-Up Mushroom Pizza Rolls.” (from Kitchen Overlord)

Look Straight Ahead “Jeremy Knowles is a 17-year-old outcast who dreams of being a great artist. But when he suffers a severe mental breakdown brought on by bullying and other pressures at school, his future is called into question.” TW: depiction of schizophrenia based on the creator’s experience. Complete.

Beyond the Binary: Master Post “twenty four questions about gender, sex, sexuality, genderqueer issues, trans issues, stuff, things, the kitchen sink etc. answered by an amazing panel. Some of it’s 101 – some of it 201 – some questions that we get asked all the time, and some that many won’t have considered before.” (from A Gentleman and a Scholar)

Let’s Be Real: Balancing Life’s Roles “We say that ‘real men don’t eat quiche’ or ‘real women have curves,’ and it lets us draw arbitrary boundaries around broad identities in order to make them more exclusive, more secure.” (from Balancing Jane)

The Problem When Sexism Just Sounds So Darn Friendly… CN: discussion of benevolent sexism and history of research about sexism. The comments aren’t too bad, but there’s gender essentialism, sexism, and call outs of ‘reverse sexism’ there. Of course.

16 Words That Are Much Older Than They Seem (from Mental Floss)

Psychopathic criminals have empathy switch “Placed in a brain scanner, psychopathic criminals watched videos of one person hurting another and were asked to empathise with the individual in pain. Only when asked to imagine how the pain receiver felt did the area of the brain related to pain light up.” TW: the other links of the page are probably triggering (from BBC News)

What is an ontological metaphor? “metaphor in which an abstraction, such as an activity, emotion, or idea, is represented as something concrete, such as an object, substance, container, or person.” (Glossary of Linguistics terms) (Saving for when I get back to conlanging)

English words with Chinese characteristics “Chinese netizens are making up new English words based on very Chinese cultural phenomenon, making the foreign language a unique part of China’s online popular culture” (from Offbeat China)

Willard Suitcase Project – Jon Crispin is photographing the contents suitcases left behind by patients of the Willard Asylum. It’s very non-judgemental and each suitcase acts as a time capsule.

Pokemayan – Pokemon redesigned by a Mexico-based artist (from Monarobot)

SNESbox.com – play NES and SNES games in your browser.

Social justice link roundup (from Pharyngula Wiki)

Link Dump – Bibliobibuli Edition

bibliobibuli n. – those who read too much, and hence tend to be unaware of or oblivious to the real world

Trying to clear out the backlog of links so this is going to be a big one. But I’m including pretties this time.

(as always pics are linked to their source and you can view more of my favorites on DeviantArt)

Continue reading “Link Dump – Bibliobibuli Edition”

Link Dump – Linguistics Edition

Sorry, this is going to light on pretty pictures and heavy on things that are of limited interest to most people. You don’t like it, there are thousands of other blogs you could be reading.

Teach yourself linguistics

From all things linguistics:

Other Things

From Aveneca.com, host of the new CBB (aka the conlang board I’m on)

Linguistics lessons for language learners. Includes IPA, phonology, morphology, syntax, historical linguistics, sound change, and more. (from Nativlang, which also has some free lessons in different languages and published some books on Amazon and Lulu that look interesting)

It’s ‘not’ history – how negation usage changes in a cycle through languages. (from the University of Cambridge)

Lexique Pro – a free program for creating a lexicon for your conlang (or natlangs). I wish it was portable. Windows only.

How many languages did Tolkien make?

From Frathwiki.com, one of the conlang wikis:

  • Conlang Terminology – common jargon like lostlang, sketchlang, relex, ANADEW (Another Natlang Already Did it Even Worse).
  • Software Tools – a lot of the links are outdated, unfortunately, but there are word generators, several conlanging guides, sound change appliers, and more.

How I write a lexicon

Yeah, another conlanging post. I’ll move on to other things sooner or later.

So, I have the sprawling mess of a grammar for Ŋyjichɯn (which I need to upload again), but that’s not where I story my lexicon (or dictionary, or whatever you personally want to call it). The way I do it is culled from experience and things I’ve learned, mostly from the CBB board (aka, the conlang forum – there are others out there though) and Zompist (linking to the online Language Construction Kit, but looking through his other stuff is helpful as well).

I do it in Excel, because I tend to work on several computers and I haven’t found a portable lexicon program. It always starts with three columns: (conlang), English, and notes. Then columns get added in as I need them. The Ŋyjichɯn lexicon has the following columns, in order:

  • Alpha – the Ŋyjichɯn alphabetical order. It looks like gibberish because I use find and replace in another sheet or text document (or Zompist’s Sound Change Applier 2, aka SCA2) to change every letter to something else.
  • Group – a temporary column, to pull things out that I want to work on. Right now there are three groups: 1) 75 words I pulled out to completely fill in, 2) words that need I want to fix right now, and blank, aka everything else.
  • Lexeme – a lexeme is the basic form of the word before inflection. This is so I can sort it in English alphabetical order, because of the next column.
  • Modern – Ŋyjichɯn is going to get split into two dialects with the same grammar (mostly), but differect vocabulary. Modern Ŋyjichɯn is what I’m working on right now. This column has the words, with some inflections. It also screws up the sorting, because somethings (mostly pronouns) start with notes like ‘subject singular’ or something in parenthesis because the singular form isn’t used (eg, “(sing: rɯs)”). It could have been done in a better way. In the same cell, on a different cell is the paucal (small group) and plural of each noun, and the full inflection of the pronouns.
  • Stress – using no Unicode, I spell out the stress pattern of each word. This then gets run through SCA2 to give me the next column
  • Phonetic – like most languages, spoken Ŋyjichɯn doesn’t exactly fit the written version. It’s not as bad as some, but stress, phonemes interacting, and other factors leads to things like ‘nyma’ being pronounced ‘mima’ or ‘miftyk’ becoming ‘mistych’.
  • Combo – an abbreviated form of the words is used in certain situations.
  • Part of speech – normal stuff, except in Ŋyjichɯn most words can be used as verbs, so I’ve split the parts of speech into things like ‘descriptive (verb)’, ‘noun/static verb’, and then the normal stuff.
  • English – self explanatory, but it’s important not to have one-to-one relations as much as possible
  • Irr? – notes of whether and how a word is irregular
  • Etymology – Mostly empty (or actually marked ‘same’), but has things like ‘onomatopoeic’ and what words compounded to make another word.
  • Category – this is so I can find similarly themed words when I want to. I’ve got things like color, language, directions, anmials, etc, in a drop-down list (which I keep breaking when I add new columns) (I got the code for how to do it here.)
  • Notes – basically, anything else, including usage notes, historical notes, and what words it’s related to.
  • Wanrin & Tajin – these two columns are empty right now.

This is what it ends up looking like:

nyji-lexicon-example.gif

(you’ll probably have to click on it to actually be able to read it)

I also keep adding worksheets. Besides the lexicon, I’ve got the notes for alphabetizing, the category list, and a list of parts of speech. And I have most of the numbers in a seperate file altogether. There’s also an Excel file of words I need to translate, along with notes about etymology and stuff.

So, does every lexicon need all this junk?

Nope. It depends on the language and what you’re doing with it. If you’re just making a naming language that will end up with a couple handfuls of words, you’ll probably need less detail. You have to customize it to what you need. Some people end up programming things for themselves (I can’t do that). If I wasn’t using multiple computers, I’d love to use Lexique Pro, which is designed for linguists. But Excel works well for sorting and finding things.

Link Dump – Serendipity Edition

The Likeable Unlikeable Character – “Even an unlikeable character has virtues. Eeyore, the melancholy donkey in A. A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh stories, is not a likeable character at face value. He’s a moper and complainer and oozes negativity. But his unselfishness is a virtue that Milne used to endear us to him. Eeyore didn’t exude happy thoughts but he’d likely give you the tail off his back if you needed it.” (from Novel Rocket)

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Fantastic Batwoman Cosplay – Not entirely related: even though I don’t read the comics (it violates my guideline of not reading anything modern because I tend to get stabby), I appreciate the current Batwoman for not being the same old stereotypical male gaze oriented, super sexy supermodel. I like that she’s generally drawn bigger and curvier, with feminine strength. She’s not generically beautiful. Anyway, unnecessary opinion over. This is just a really good cosplay.

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Ame-Comi Duela Dent (Joker) Cosplay – The character is silly and the statue it’s based on is basically fan-service, but this cosplay is really well-done.

Wordcount for Lovecraft’s Favorite Words – “One of the things any fan of Lovecraft discovers early on is that Lovecraft was very attached to certain words. We either laugh or groan every time we hear something described as ‘indescribable’ or called ‘unnamable’ or ‘antiquarian’ or ‘cyclopean.’ And sometimes we wonder how many times he actually used the words.” (from Cthulhu Chick)

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12 Mind Blowing Number Systems From Other Languages – “The Oksapmin people of New Guinea have a base-27 counting system. The words for numbers are the words for the 27 body parts they use for counting, starting at the thumb of one hand, going up to the nose, then down the other side of the body to the pinky of the other hand” (from Mental Floss)

Tutorials off DeviantArt:

Understanding Your Style: Symbols, Design Pattern, and Anti-Pattern -or- Why a Little Figure Drawing Never Hurt Anybody. (Two parts, this links to the first part and there’s a link there to the second part.)

The Really Flippin’ Easy Way to Make Things Look Like Crappy Silver Age Comics (pretty sure I linked this before, but that’s alright)

Skin: A Tutorial (four parts, just linking to the first.)

Paper Charm Bracelet Tutorial (how to turn paper into cool looking beads)

WTF is a Conlang?

What is Conlanging?

Conlang is short for constructed language. Conlangers make up languages, whether that’s basically an English cypher or something as involved as Tolkien’s Quenya and Sindarin or Klingon created by Marc Okrend, which has taken on a life of its own. Generally, it’s done by people who love language for their own pleasure. It may or may not end up being used in stories (it seems most conlangs made up for as background are fairly skeletal). Some might be little more than a phoneme inventory, how to build words (morphology), and a bit of grammar. Some are as involved as any real language. There’s way too many different ways to do it for me to explain it, but the wikipedia page and the links at the end are a good start.

Why do you do it?

I like language. I unfortunately don’t have the knowledge necessary to be good at conlanging (I only learned IPA1 last year, for instance). It works my brain in different ways. I tend to work in spurts, which makes going back to things a challenge, but I have fun anyway. Pretty much all of my languages started as background for writing. My first (really bad one) was for a bunch of stories I started writing in junior high, I think, and was basically an English cypher. Several of them I came up with a phonetic inventory during class when I was supposed to be paying attention and did pretty much nothing else with it. I have a tendency to use mostly affixes and to create a writing system for each one.

When the Thundercats fandom was a lot more active in the 90s and early 00s, I started several Thunderian languages. Most of my languages started from that. They’re mostly going to get applied to other things (specifically the world of the White Knight, because creating a language is obviously easier than translating something into a real language /sarcasm). Some of my newer ones I take more inspiration from other, real languages, as you’ll see.

Some of my languages, in no particular order:

  • Herlanian: My first conlang. Objectively terrible. It was supposed to be the result of mixing a ton of real languages together, but it’s basically an English cypher. It just wasn’t very good at all and we shall never speak of it again.
  • Tusir: something I’m going to go back to at some point. A proto-language2, to then evolve into at least four other languages (theoretically). I was going to take inspiration from Arabic and Sanskrit. Currently just a phonetic inventory.
  • Nyazchyn: The name is probably going to get modified a little. Previously called Ochyn. One of my Thunderian languages, and probably the language I have the most done on right now. Previously SOV3 and isolating4, now highly synthetic, edging into polysynthetic. It takes some inspiration from Iroquois and other Native American polysynthetic languages, but only a tiny bit. Verb heavy and pretty much anything can be turned into a verb. This is the one I was working on most recently. I’m kind of lost on it right now (I stopped in the middle of things) so it’ll take some floundering to get going on it again. I need to do a ton of translations for it.
  • Lepadi: Playing with gender and another Thunderian language. The gender of a word determines the placement of the accent and the pronunciation. Phonemes have different sounds based upon gender. Noun-heavy with few verbs. I actually have a few passages translated, which is rather remarkable for me.
  • Okelen: Another Thunderian language, this one I was mostly dealing with the writing. It’s logographic like Chinese, but I was trying to avoid having any pronunciation info in the characters. VOS and supposedly agglutinating5.
  • Tynthna: Another Thunderian language that I did a fair bit with. Inspired by Japanese, with a syllabulary writing system and honorifics. That one was fun.

1 International Phonetic Alphabet

2 A language that will evolve into other languages. Latin is the proto-language for Romance languages, for example.

3 The word order of a language. English is subject, verb, object. There are six possibilities (I leave figuring them out as an exercise for the reader, or you could look at the link at the beginning of this).

4 A language is isolating, like Chinese, when the majority of words can’t be broken into smaller meaningful parts (aka morphemes). Synthetic is the opposite of that.

5 A form of synthesis, where you just keep adding bits (as opposed to fusional, aka inflectional, where the bits added mean multiple things)

Link Dump – Gunsel Edition

“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” – Mae West

11 Weirdly Spelled Words – And How They Got That Way Thought, Asthma, Colonel, and more words whose spelling makes no phonetic sense (from mental_floss).

(All images, click to go to the DeviantArt page and see full-size. I’ve shrunk them down quite a bit more even than the DA preview)

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Savoy Stomp Stomping through the Savoy Cocktail Book. Also other cocktails, recipes, and other blog stuff.

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You *have* to see the full size one of this to get the details. I wish it had better contrast, but it’s lovely.

No Logic in “Etymological”: A Response I Actually Sent Kory Stamper is a lexicographer at Merriam-Webster. She gets odd correspondence. This is a response to one of them. (from Harmless Drudgery)

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The Germans have a word for it – and it’s a very long one. ‘The editor of the Accidental Empire series muses on another thing the Germans do extremely well’ (from The Guardian)

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Look! Up in the sky! It’s…it’s… it’s an amazing optics display What you can get from just ice crystals and sunlight (from Bad Astronomy)

Cocktail DIY: Stocking Your Bar At Home I’ve started following the blog which has all sorts of great recipes, aside from cocktails. (from Putney Farm)

They Came From Outer Space Creepy astronomical and otherwise photos (from Bad Astronomy)

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I love the colors in this.

An Open Letter to Writers in 3 Acts: the Anguish & the Glory (from A. Victoria Mixon, Editor)

(note on this post’s title: Gunsel has a factoid associated with it that will never fail to amuse me. From Dictionary.com:

gunsel

1914, Amer. Eng., from hobo slang, “a catamite;” specifically “a young male kept as a sexual companion, esp. by an older tramp,” from Yiddish genzel, from Ger. Gänslein “gosling, young goose.” The secondary, non-sexual meaning “young hoodlum” seems to be entirely traceable to Dashiell Hammett, who snuck it into “The Maltese Falcon” (1939) while warring with his editor over the book’s racy language.

” ‘Another thing,’ Spade repeated, glaring at the boy: ‘Keep that gunsel away from me while you’re making up your mind. I’ll kill him.’ “

The context implies some connection with gun and a sense of “gunman,” and evidently the editor bought it. The word was retained in the script of the 1941 movie made from the book, so evidently the Motion Picture Production Code censors didn’t know it either.

Link Dump Cyan Edition

Yeah, I’m just naming these something silly from now on.

“Being a writer is a very peculiar sort of a job: it’s always you versus a blank sheet of paper (or a blank screen) and quite often the blank piece of paper wins.” – Neil Gaiman

The crayola-fication of the world: How we gave colors names, and it messed with our brains, part 1 and part 2. Why green lights are blue in Japan, how you name colors if your language only has two words, and a lot more cross-linguistic facts. (From Empirical Zeal)

Tired of cliché? Want to be unique? Pursue the why. Figure out the causes of your scenario and the consequences to add depth to your writing. (From TalkToYoUniverse)

Rules, Schmules: Don’t Follow the Rules, Tell a Great Story. “If you’re more concerned with the technical rules of writing than the story itself, you’re hurting your chances of ever getting published.” (From The Other Side of the Story)

Why I Love That Bad Guy: The “S” and “Z” Blocks. Did you know Tetris has villains? This is just amusing. (From Love the Bad Guy)

Mario’s Creators Answer Burning Questions About The Series. Interview with Shigeru Miyamoto and Takashi Tezuka. We find out the Koopalings aren’t Bowser’s kids and that ‘Dr.’ Mario has no medical license. (From Game Informer)

Review of the Weaponeers of Monkaa (From Michael Crawford’s Review of the Week). And the announcement from Spy Monkey Creations, with more pictures. I don’t need any more toys, but these look awesome to have on your desk to fiddle with. They come apart into lots of pieces (at least 25) and are compatible with all Glyos System toys. The most original thing? Some pieces can be a hand or a head and look nice as either.

And in other pretties news, my latest favorites on DeviantArt: A cat in Nick Fury cosplay, a really amazing Ryuk (from Death Note) cosplay, a gorgeous Voodoo Priestess drawing, and the best tutorial for getting that old comic book look I’ve ever seen.