sylvar: (Default)
This Indonesian/English post about Harry Potter fascinates me. Just watching the languages switch back and forth, trying to guess meanings, etc.
sylvar: (Default)
Why is there no 'g' in 'theorem'?

The N-Word

Mar. 30th, 2007 10:26 am
sylvar: (Default)

Stephen Colbert interviewing Jabari Asim, author of The N Word: Who Can Say It, Who Shouldn't, and Why:

Colbert: First question. Did you want to name the book The N-Word and they said, "No, you have to call it The N-Word"? Or, did you say, "I want to name this book The N-Word," and they assumed you meant, you know, The N-Word, when in fact you meant The N-Word?

Asim: I think I suggested calling it The N-Word and they thought it was a good idea to play it safe and call it The N-Word.

Colbert: OK. This raises another interesting subject to me, is that the N-word has become so anonymous [sic] with the N-word, uh, is saying the N-word pretty much like saying the N-word? Because, I would never say the N-word, but I don't want somebody to think I'm saying the N-word by saying the N-word. You know what I mean? Because I would never say that word that begins with the letter after M.

link (via Language Log)

sylvar: (Utena: Did You Hear?)
and it's badly fascinating. I'm going to bed because I should although I don't want to. (But I wouldn't be able to get much further without A First Dictionary and Grammar of Láadan anyway.)
sylvar: (Default)
Does anyone sell alphabet pasta in individual letters? (Let's say I wanted to buy a pound of Q, or a few ounces each of B, J, and S.)

Is alphabet soup available in different alphabets? Could I buy a pound of Greek or Russian or Cherokee letters? (I'm pretty sure Braille wouldn't work. Sorry, [ profile] tregoweth, you needn't suggest that.)

Do different brands of alphabet pasta have different frequency distributions? Do some have a Scrabble-like distribution that's useful for spelling out words, while others have about as many Es as Qs?

And yes, I'm totally serious.
sylvar: (Default)
I'm back at the office. I've got a painful cough, but the fever is gone, I'm mentally sharp enough to work, and (which is most urgent) I'm out of sick leave. I've still got over 40 hours of personal (vacation) leave, so even if I can't always work late to compensate for medical appointments, I can still get the care I need.

The Exchange server's mail file grew to 16GB, causing it to be slow yesterday and dead last night. With a phone call to our consultant, we got it back up within an hour. I'm satisfied that this problem has been nailed, but I'm not going to be a happy geek until we install some sort of NAS for a convenient, fast, and thorough backup. And besides, weren't these "good morning, the mail server's down" days supposed to be over when we shut down the homebuilt PC and 'chose an enterprise-class solution', i.e. drank the Exchange Kool-Aid?

Ah well. At least I can still laugh. And you Unix geeks will laugh when you realize what I just typed in order to confirm that there's really a user called sis (Suncoast Information Specialists) on our web server. Or at least you'll laugh if you're as dirty-minded as I think you are. Béni soit qui mal y pense. (And can any French mavens tell me if béni would have been an acceptable participle in the 1300s?)
sylvar: (Default)
You scored as Linguistics. You should be a Linguistics major!






























What is your Perfect Major? (PLEASE RATE ME!!<3)
created with

Good thing they didn't ask "Would you like to get a degree that leads to actual employment in your field of study?"...


Dec. 21st, 2005 11:39 am
sylvar: (Library Nut)
MS Office 2003 spell-check suggests lingam as a replacement for thlIngan.

And how do I know this? Because I just posted this to a mailing list full of systems librarians:

> Years ago it used to be that the true geeks spoke Klingon.
> THAT was an accomplishment. Now we just have to know the HP canon, far
> easier even if we memorize all of the spells.

tlhIngan Hol vIlaDlaH je.

("The spelling check was stopped before it finished. Do you want to send

Sadly, it's a lie. I had to look it up. jIquvHa' jay'. I think that means "I have no honor", but it's quite possible that I just ordered a qagh omelet, hold the qagh.
sylvar: (leviticus)
This afternoon's session on internationalization (or i18n, as geeks call it) was a lot of fun. The new catalog software apparently allows you to supply translations of words and phrases that will be used by people who want their library catalog to appear in Canadian French, Armenian, Chinese (simplified and traditional), etc.

I made a lot of suggestions, since I'm a linguistics geek. For example:

In English and other left-to-right writing systems, it makes sense to offer links like this:
< previous | next >
But in Arabic and Hebrew, it might make more sense for next to be on the left, since that's where the next page is.

Phrases like "You are logged in as " assume that the user's name should come at the end of the sentence. But in some languages, you can't just translate one phrase and follow it with a name, you have to embed the name into the phrase: in the name of Ben Ostrowsky are you logged in. And that's ignoring the languages in which "you are logged in" might be worded slightly differently if the user is male.

And then there were the non-linguistic suggestions like "Hey, if you give us an Export/Import function, then we can share our translations with each other without having to retype all these phrases one at a time."

The presenter said that they obviously need someone like me working for them, and said he knew of a house for sale in the vendor's hometown. I'll stay in touch with them about the idea, since we'll be moving when Jodi picks her next school. Since they already have offices all over the place, they probably would allow telecommuting, especially if my job would involve interviewing native speakers to make sure that we get things translated properly. (You don't want to translate that "Home" link as "Casa", for example. The Spanish equivalent means "main page".)

Some sort of winter-wonderland cocktail hour is starting soon. I saw them setting up Christmas trees, pastel castles, and the like inside the main ballroom. I'll go check it out to get some good pictures and use my free drink ticket. After that, I'll probably go to sleep early. There's a walking tour of Loring Park that meets at 6:30am, and if my knee's up to it, I want to see if I can find the Loring Park Micro geocache.

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The banner on the SciFi Serenity special -- the one that made Joss Whedon look abashed and blush happily -- said 生 日 快 乐 (shēng rì kuài lè), "happy birthday".

I couldn't have done it without The trickiest bit was realizing that is the Simplified Chinese version of .

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