larryhammer: text: "space/time OTP: because their love is everything" (space/time otp)
Some scholarly links. Feel free to school them as appropriate:

You can download free PDFs of all 21 volumes of the University of Chicago's Dictionary of Akkadian, with bonus link to a recording of part of Gilgamesh in the original. (via)

"In a breakthrough that disproves decades of conventional wisdom, two mathematicians have shown that two different variants of infinity are actually the same size." (via)

A very meaty article about the relationship between laws of physics and axioms of mathematics, and how they are selected. (The horrible title does not accurately represent the actual content.) (via?)


Subject quote from "Mador of the Moor," Canto I, James Hogg.
larryhammer: a symbol used in a traditional Iceland magic spell of protection (iceland)
The Periodic Table of Storytelling. Content warning: TV Tropes links. Which is basically the point of the page: an organized portal to key tropes. (via)

Why "Fuck you" isn't an imperative. Tl;dr: "fuck" isn't, here, a verb. (via)

The Legend of Gnome Ann.


Subject quote from "No Surrender," Bruce Springsteen.
larryhammer: a symbol used in a traditional Iceland magic spell of protection (iceland)
Things the world's most and least privileged people say. (via Janni)

An adaptation of Star Wars IV: A New Hope as a very long infographic. (via)

And because I love you for putting the 'trophy' in 'astrophysics', here's a pun generator. (via)


Subject quote from "The Knife," Genesis.
larryhammer: topless woman lying prone with Sappho painted on her back, label: "Greek poetry is sexy" (classics)
Drone footage of herding reindeer in Magerøya, Norway. Drone Art: Arctic Wildlife has more general footage and a beluga soundtrack (though without enough lingering, alas). (both via)

Cuneiform cookies. (via?)

In other non-news, designing a Chinese typeface is hard. And fascinating. (via?)


Subject quote from "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock," T.S. Eliot.
larryhammer: stylized figures of a man and a woman on either side of a shopping cart carrying a heart (romance)
TBD is 2 years old today. What a quick eight long months it's been.

Lots of growth lately, and not just physical. TBD is starting to try putting words together, with more or less comprehensible success. "Noun1 noun2" to indicate an association between the two was the first pattern, but there's been recent uses of "big" as a descriptor -- there's a "cactus" here and then there's a "big cactus" over there (saguaros, mostly, but also some of the larger, more rambly prickly pears). Also used: "no more," as in the milk/juice is all gone, and "bigger," as in requesting the bigger cup to drink from. Which requires even closer supervision than a small cup, and thus more frustration as the desire to do everything By Myself kicks in harder, but both impulses are good.

Some words can be hard to distinguish if TBD is not being careful: "Daddy," "jacket," and "cactus," for example -- and "puddle," "bubble," "Pablo" (the neighbor's dog), and "turtle" (our newest obsession, thanks to meeting some rescue desert tortoises at the house of the toddler down the block). Thus our misunderstanding for a while that Grampa was not being called Papa but rather Ba-ba (Mandarin for "Daddy"), as Gramma is always Ma-ma ("Mommy"). Some pronunciation shifts are predictable: a trailing -s is always dropped, so mau for "mouse."

Cleaning up is important -- including sing-song intoning "Clean up" using roughly the tune of the clean-up song at daycare. TBD is apparently often the only child in the one-year-old room who helps out with putting things away.

And finally, one especially good moment -- as we're watch Pablo over the wall, who howls a couple times, then goes over to the door:

Me: I think he wants to be let in.
TBD: *shakes head*
Me: You don't think so?
TBD: *shakes head*
Me: What does he want?
TBD: *hugs me*


Subject quote from "Regret," New Order.
larryhammer: a wisp of smoke, label: "it comes in curlicues, spirals as it twirls" (curlicues)
An AKICOLJ request:

Does anyone know the description, in phonetics, of the sound made by flapping the tongue between the lips while breathing through, as in the sound sometimes made while sticking out one's tongue at someone? (My best rendering of that is "blalalalah.") It's not a linguolabial trill, which is blowing raspberry -- where the plosive motion of air drives the vibration of lips on tongue. (Does this even count as a trill, since it's conscious muscle motion?) A voiced linguobilabial flap, maybe?

And is there an IPA symbol for this?

Question is prompted by TBD's pronunciation of "banana" using this (with a flexible number of syllables/trills), as well as the "ribbit" a frog makes.


Subject quote from "The Elements," Tom Lehrer.
larryhammer: stylized figures of a man and a woman on either side of a shopping cart carrying a heart (romance)
TBD is 23 months old, and the vocabulary explosion has been under way for a few weeks now -- a couple new words a day, plus increased repeating after us. Sometimes the intended word needs some deciphering -- though now that we know that "or" usually resolves as oy (moi for "more," doi for "door," oin for "orange") we can make more intelligent guesses. "More" is a favorite word -- which is used not just for "I want more" but "do that again" and "there are many things here." Not quite as favored as "uh oh," but close -- and more than "no."

We are still working out the meanings of some words -- for a while, it looked like "dog" was used just for larger dogs, "puppy" for smaller ones, while chihuahuas get meowed at,* but the last two days she's called a small dog a "doggy" and some large ones "puppy." "Door" can mean not just doors but gates, and sometimes seems to also refer to the wall/fence/car they open through. Other words are more stable -- "bee" has always been just about any bug, flying or otherwise, except ants. "Bee!" "Yes, that's a big butterfly."

And this morning, a new language milestone. TBD managed to snag a pair of my reading glasses and scamper out of reach, then looked up to [ profile] janni with a smile and said, "Eyes Daddy" -- first two-word phrase.

When "Mommy" and "Daddy" finally started getting used, it was heartwarming. Especially the gleeful "Daddy!" that greets me when I get home from work.

* We don't correct this -- it's a valid point.


Subject quote from "One Week," Barenaked Ladies.
larryhammer: stylized figures of a man and a woman on either side of a shopping cart carrying a heart (romance)
At 21 months old and 6 months with us, TBD is getting suddenly more verbal and more social: as in more words (including "no," "bubble," and the name of the neighbor's dog) and using them in front of other people -- including saying "Hi" to someone well-known and finally naming the dog when neighbor could hear. Daycare for a couple hours a day is probably an influence here. In general, though, all the signs are of more secure attachment, including wandering off into a crowd and confidently expecting to be followed. Oops.

Ever since returning to work, when I come home, TBD and I have gone for a walk through the neighborhood, wandering as the toddler commands -- exploring the nearby world. Lately, one common destination is the corner grocery, which happens to be a Korean market. While there, in addition to any supplies we might need, I pick up a packet of snack food, then we sit on the curb outside the store and consume it together. Yes, Asian snacks are not always the most healthy but this only a couple times a week -- and it's incredibly cute.

Still, people do give me a "Dad!" with a headshake.

Yesterday, I learned that I can divert TBD from going all the way to the store with a mandarin orange presented close to another suitable curb. Mandarins are in this house (TBD had five in a row, Saturday morning, and three more after nap). When they go out of season, probably Real Soon Now, we're going to have problems.


Subject quote from "Winter," Tori Amos.
larryhammer: topless woman lying prone with Sappho painted on her back, label: "Greek poetry is sexy" (classics)
TBD is 20 months old and suddenly has the attention span to sit through nursery rhymes, bringing us a Mother Goose board book to read several times a day. A few specific pages have the most attention: "Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, baker's man" because it's familiar from library story-time, "Ride a cock-horse to Banbury Cross" because the white horse in the picture are reminders of [ profile] dancinghorse's Fat White PoniesTM. But the others are wanted, as well, and TBD shows varying degrees of interest among them. Cats in pictures help, with or without fiddles.

(As an aside, if I had the power to excise one nursery rhyme from the canon, it would be "Peter, Peter, pumpkin-eater." Ugh. Even more, yes, than "What are little boys made of?")

TBD is understanding simple questions about daily life and answering with headshakes/nods or other appropriate actions: "Are you ready to lie down (on the changing table)?" "Are you hungry?" "Are you done (eating)?" And even make jokes out of this -- unexpectedly answering incorrectly to throw us off, then giggling at the idea -- of course you'd want to leave the changing table, or whatever. Some answers are creative: when TBD didn't want to go to the playground, the answer was to take shoes off (required for going outside).

And with this new facility at interacting with us, TBD suddenly feels more like a small person. We are, indeed, social beings who respond to language.

If you could banish one nursery rhyme, which would it be?


Subject quote from "Spring," Richard Shindell.
larryhammer: a wisp of smoke, label: "it comes in curlicues, spirals as it twirls" (curlicues)
TBD's latest word is "owl," which applies to all animals that fly with wings, and occasionally some that don't (such as an elephant). But pictures of owls are always named as such, including those on shirts. Fortunately, owls are in fashion so we have several of those. Also, I think TBD has started shaking her head for No and nodding for Yes, but it's not consistent enough to be sure. ETA: More questions confirm nodding/shaking.

In our current bedtime reading, More More More Said the Baby (link to author performance), we have developed a ritual: when the baby gets his belly-button kissed, we all take out our belly-buttons to be examined -- and when ten little toes are kissed, Janni takes off her socks and shows those off. (I can't do toes because TBD in lap, TBD can't because feety pajamas.) The eyes getting kissed, we're still working on the action -- pointing to one's own eyes, which you can't see, is hard. Identifying other body parts is coming along, though.

TBD has taken to taking someone else's hand and using it to do something -- such as pushing Janni's hand on my nose to honk it, or my hand to a container too difficult to open or close. There's a distinction between taking us somewhere (holding us by hand/finger) and repositioning us (grabbing clothing to, for ex, make one sit down with her).

In short, adorableness aboundeth. Also, owls.


Subject quote from "Tale from Black," Tunng.
larryhammer: a wisp of smoke, label: "it comes in curlicues, spirals as it twirls" (curlicues)
From a commentary on a poem by 18th century American versifier Philip Freneau: "Compared to their British cousins, American poets were somewhat at a disadvantage with respect to romantic ruins." Er, yes.

Maps of North American native nations showing the original names and locations as of European contact. Prints are available. (via)

On the evidence against Chomsky's language instinct and, with it, his supposed Universal Grammar. (via)


Subject quote from The Blue Castle, L.M. Montgomery.
larryhammer: a wisp of smoke, label: "it comes in curlicues, spirals as it twirls" (curlicues)
Me: Where's your ear?
TBD: *points to both ears at once*
Me: Good. Where's your mouth?
TBD: *points to mouth*
Me: That's right. Where's your tongue?
TBD: *sticks out tongue* *wiggles it* *points to it*
Me: Very good. Where's your eye?
TBD: *hesitates* *points to one ear*
Me: *trying hard not to laugh* Almost.

(The choice of body parts was dictated by pictures on wooden blocks we were pulling out of their box.)

larryhammer: Enceladus (the moon, not the mythological being), label: "Enceladus is sexy" (astronomy)
Peoples and words, words and peoples.

Photos of people around the world posing with the food they eat in a day. (via)

A linguist explains how English came to have gendered pronouns without gendered nouns/adjectives. Pull-quote: "It’s really hard for me to take seriously any claims about The Decline of English Among Kids These Days when you consider that if kids didn’t talk a bit differently each generation we’d still be speaking Pre-Proto-Indo-European." (via)

All the dialog of Star Wars: A New Hope in alphabetical order. Fun fact: "lightsaber" appears exactly once. (via)


Subject quote from "Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey on Revisiting the Banks of the Wye During a Tour, July 13, 1798," William Wordsworth.
larryhammer: a symbol used in a traditional Iceland magic spell of protection (iceland)
There are certain words that, when you read or especially write them too often, start to look wrong. People. Shoe. Digit. (I spent much of yesterday writing about check-digit routines.) An informal poll suggests that while there are words with this property for many people, not all words that go skludgy on a person go skludgy on others -- they are personal skludges.

What words do this for you?


Subject quote from Mazeppa, Byron.
larryhammer: a wisp of smoke, label: "it comes in curlicues, spirals as it twirls" (curlicues)
So there's this the odd linguistic feature of English pronouns in compound subjects where they switch between nominative and objective forms depending on the order. That is, "Me and Julio were down by the schoolyard" sounds entirely correct even though technically it should be "I and Julio" -- which actually sounds so stiff it feels actively wrong -- but in the reverse form, it's "Julio and I were down by the schoolyard" that sounds correct ("Julio and me" sounds acceptable as a colloquialism but to be avoided when speaking in formal registers).

Does anyone know the name for this?


Subject quote from "Owls," Weebl.
larryhammer: a low-fidelity picture of a man, label: "some guy" (Yotsuba & clover)
Sometimes the YouTube random-walk takes you from koto to taiko: a kids' troupe sends off a cruise ship in Nagasaki part 1, part 2. Bonus link: a high school troupe winning a national competition despite being afflicted with bad camerawork. (Hello, intensity. If anyone admitted to crushing on the young woman in the front center, I wouldn't judge.)

Gustave Doré's illustrations for Poe's famous bird poem. (via)

"Because" because reasons. (via)


Subject quote from "To Marguerite: Continued," Matthew Arnold.
larryhammer: a symbol used in a traditional Iceland magic spell of protection (iceland)
Thoughts on how poverty enforces short-term thinking that creates long-term problems. (via)

Thoughts on how English recently developed a new preposition because grammar. (via)

Thoughts from Hark! A Vagrant on the Black Prince. (via)


Subject quote from "Howl," Allen Ginsberg.

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