snippets

Mar. 25th, 2017 10:03 pm
kaberett: Photo of a pile of old leather-bound books. (books)
  1. The English sofa is a loan from Turkish. The Turkish for the English sofa, however, is kanape, as a loan from the French canapé, which has the original meaning of English sofa and, by figurative extension, the meaning of English canapé, because you've got a little piece of bread or pastry or something that looks like a sofa with the topping perched on top of it. ([personal profile] sebastienne conjectured this etymology when I was grumbling about the Turkish last week; they were surprised and delighted to be correct.)
  2. Fox/vixen is the solitary surviving example in modern English of the Germanic feminine suffix -en, -in: Fuchs/Füchsin.
  3. The English/French foyer is rendered, in Swedish orthography, foajé. It is pronounced the way one might reasonably expect foyer to be pronounced. See also: restaurang.
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
Just about all of you have pointed me at Translating Gender: Ancillary Justice in Five Languages, for which I am grateful! But having told [personal profile] jedusaur I'd liked it give or take disagreeing with a couple of the approaches taken, I completely failed to actually elaborate on what those points of disagreement were.

Read more... )
kaberett: a dalek stands at the foot of a flight of stairs, thinking "fuck." (dalek)
I react to being described as "in" a wheelchair (as opposed to using a wheelchair) by snarling, and I've just (in response to a Sociological Images article The NYC subway to a person in a wheelchair) worked out some more of the why.

There's part the first, which is that it's inherently passive terminology that obfuscates or elides my agency. But the thing I've just noticed, the actual big deal, is that it makes it sound as though me being in a wheelchair is a permanent and unalterable state, and that in turn contributes to the idea that if I can stand or walk at all I shouldn't be using one, and that by using one I'm faking -- in a wheelchair precludes the possibility of being out of it. I'm pretty sure this framing contributes directly to strangers' horror if I stand up to reach something on a high shelf in a supermarket, or get up to carry my chair down a flight of stairs rather than taking a sloped half-mile detour, or what have you.

(There's other issues - who's surprised? - with that SocImages article, including the part where actually level and step-free access is important to all sorts of people. It's genuinely very important not to conflate "accessible" with "level access", or to conflate "level access" with "wheelchair accessible"; the former erases a very great many disabilities, and the latter assumes that all you need is flat surfaces and doesn't stop to think about whether aisles are wide enough or there's space set aside for wheelchair users to sit, or what have you. ... but there we go.)
kaberett: Photo of a pile of old leather-bound books. (books)
I offer the "personal dictionary" from my auxiliary internet device, because I sort of feel it is actually pretty representative of me as a person.
Read more... )

Queries welcome, particularly those aimed at clarification. :-p
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
(Cis friends, by all means ask me questions to clarify, but maybe consider sitting out of actually having an opinion in comments on this one. Anon comments are permitted but will be screened; I expect to unscreen unless otherwise requested.)

Read more... )
kaberett: A cartoon of wall art, featuring a banner reading "NO GLORY SAVE HONOR". (no glory save honour)
Gifts are given; offerings are made or, well, offered. The latter is availability with no expectation whatsoever; the former implicitly requires acceptance, to a greater or lesser extent. I have been playing over the past few weeks with this distinction as applied to human interaction.
kaberett: Toph making a rock angel (toph-rockangel)
1. I got home to find a Terrifying Letter From The DWP... letting me know that my DLA's been autorenewed through to 2016 without me needing to do anything about it. :-)

2. I am now down to two half-written poems in the stack - one's a villanelle and will be hard; one might grow up to be a sonnet but is probably going to just be my usual style of thing.

3. Domestic bliss: doing the washing up while P curled up on the sofa with my complete works of Donaghy (he of Machines and Midriver), dipping in and out and reading me bits.

4. Swedennn. Snow and sunsets and AMINALS and RIDICULOUS FOOD (the ridiculous round thing with the whole in the middle, of which I have eaten approx my own bodyweight with butter and cloudberry jam over the past few days; ditto pepparkakor; ditto ajvar; I am a predictable human with predictable tastes) and exciting new food! Semla were not a thing I had previously consumed. (hahahahaha yes I win "simnel" is indeed finest wheat flour, semolina, which means semla is too, surprise)

5. Poking around etymonline.com after triangulating through all our mutual language; the -lic of garlic is in fact the same word as leek, and the Swedish for onion and (with modifiers) misc allium, and the German for misc allium. (Spem in allium, etc etc.) We were pleased.

6. Being helpful at my mother. :-) I mean, it is deeply weird to be grown-up enough to be helpful when it comes to casting an eye over CVs etc, but pleasant! Also she e-mailed me about pirates (and did not give me any updates on the rugby).

7. ... Elementary, though, okay. ELEMENTARY. SHOW.

8. Useful work done! Retweaked abstract (hopefully I'll be able to submit it tomorrow) for baby's first talk; did a quick blitz on an area I wasn't terribly clear on the specifics of and needed to be, wrote myself a summary, and have some questions for discussion with my supervisor; did an extremely sketchy first pass on the thesis outline I'm required to submit for my 21-month assessment, and slightly to my astonishment realised that it... continues to approximately make sense?

9. Mush. (SUCH TEENAGE.)

10. I am really really enjoying hair-adornment in the shape of tulmas courtesy of [personal profile] khalinche - they're beaded, and I reckon they're kind of like blue roses and P reckons they're kind of like a peacock and either way they make managing my hair marginally easier when it's hanging down in a braid, and are very very pleasing when I manage to arrange them either side of a bun. Sensory misc. Yes. :-)
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
(Not sure what's going on here? The answer is Ancillary Justice.)

We're told that Radchaai does not bother with gendered pronouns. It seems to me that the default pronoun used means gender-irrelevant (rather than gender-unknown or gender-specific, which seem to me to be a useful way of considering pronouns of gendered beings). We're told that Strigan's society uses gender-known pronouns even though it professes to consider gender irrelevant.

And yet: the Radchaai frequently refer to ships as "it" (I note that the standard English pronoun used to refer to vessels is the same as the way in which the Radchaai default pronoun is rendered). It's clearly not as simple as in/animate - ships have emotions, ships have personality and identity, ships are sentient, ships have ancillaries. Except that this is done in a literally dehumanising way - ships are explicitly not Radchaai, not citizens, and therefore not considered human; characters who are uninterested in or unsympathetic toward ships are far more likely to refer to them as "it", whereas characters who like ships seem to mostly not pronoun them; non-Radchaai humans are generally called the standard pronoun for Radchaai, despite being considered by at least some in the society to have sub-human status - and so I am left picking away at what distinction it is the Radch is making here...

Thoughts very much appreciated!
kaberett: A series of phrases commonly used in academic papers, accompanied by humourous "translations". (science!)
It was once, several years ago at this point, my intense displeasure to be party to a conversation in public space in the house I was living in at the time, where I was doing housework -- and actually, I say "conversation", but what I mean is "a middle-aged white guy who was a guest of one of my housemates was holding forth about his expertise in child language acquisition".

Astonishingly enough, he was wrong about everything. In particular, he literally claimed that children should be taught Esperanto instead of a natural language like French, because it's completely unfair and unreasonable to expect children to memorise tables of irregular verbs before they can have a conversation with their friends, and Esperanto doesn't require them to do that! It is, he said, ridiculous -- you give five-year-olds recorders, not bassoons.

(1) That isn't even how child language acquisition works (very different to language acquisition post-11, and third & subsequent languages are much much easier than the first couple),
(2) The reasons you don't give five-year-olds bassoons are that (i) they are extremely expensive, (ii) they're twice the height of most five-year-olds, and (iii) five-year-olds do not have the lung capacity because unlike violins where it is possible to make 1/8th-sizes at standard pitch by changing the tension of the strings the same cannot be said for a wind instrument,
(3) Actually giving 5yos recorders is preposterous, because while they're very easy to get a sound out of they're very hard to get a nice sound out of, see also "why on earth do we teach children to draw with wax crayons",
(4) There is absolutely no benefit from teaching children a constructed language rather than a natural language, especially not one that is not only so heavily based on Indo-European but the Romance family while claiming to give people an introduction to ~every language ever~,
(5) ... dudebro you just claimed Mandarin and Cantonese were IE languages I am so done with this conversation, please stop mansplaining linguistics to me and please for crying out loud stop encouraging schools to teach children Esperanto.

If you have ever heard me loudly exclaim bassoons are NOTHING like irregular verbs, you now know why.
kaberett: Photo of a pile of old leather-bound books. (books)
The point of language is to communicate; if communication's been achieved, everything else is window-dressing and point-scoring. Who defines "accuracy" and "what (forms of) nuance matter)s(" is a case of privilege. Rich white folk not caring to understand Englishes (written or spoken) other than "Standard English" also means that communication loses accuracy and nuance, but oddly rich white folk (of which I am one!) don't seem, by and large, to be as worried about that. Taking the time to understand multiple Englishes (or multiple forms of any language) doesn't impoverish us - it makes our engagement with language richer.

See, e.g., linguistics blog Languagehat on the topic; I feel I should clarify that I'm Cambridge-educated and upper-middle class and I speak RP - but English is my second language and I speak a really weird hybrid of dialects in my first language, that combines the "standard" form of the language as legislated in the largest country in which it's spoken with forms of dialect that were definitely spoken in one very specific geographic area in the 1950s, but might well not have been since then. In my first language, spelling things the way I do is absolutely a political statement and will be interpreted as such, even though what it is in practice is "that's how my grandmother taught me to write". Just because the politicisation of Standard English is largely invisible to people for whom it is their first or primary language doesn't mean that the choice to use it (never mind attempts to enforce it) aren't political.

(Questions about the specifics I'm referring to re German etc welcome from you lot!)
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
Don't ever label me "sexual". Not ever.

Just. Don't.

(I can probably face explaining in comments, but I don't have words to send a post into the void.)
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
-- that they are like blankets or warm jumpers or soup: full of potential. Because they can be beautiful and intricate and handed down through generations, or they can be new and designed particle by particle, or they can be both. (Everything old is new again.)

That they are fuzzy: there is a thing I want to work into a poem at some point, which is that gift means present and Gift means poison and there's obviously something in there about poisoned chalices, about how the act of giving (and giving and giving) can destroy us, about how the things we choose to give as gifts can be toxic to the recipients, about generosity and care and gentleness.

That they taste, that they have different mouth-feels, mouth-shapes. That I know how to be polite in German and imperious in English; that my poetry is English but my lullabies and prayers are German.

That they are the tools by which I communicate: hello, I'm a person. Would you like to make something?

That I have the choice, every day, whether to use them to heal or to hurt; and in choosing to help I remind myself that I am human, that I am real, that I am here.
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
I understand I'm not always great at explaining what I'm up to here, so -- if you have questions about how things are going for me or what I'm doing or how exactly my life fits together, please feel encouraged to ask. <3

(Today on my way home from work I saw: (1) someone busking with a tuba that belched flames every time they played a note; (2) a cavalcade of police motorcycles, blues flashing, who as far as I can tell were learning how to halt a busy junction in the rush hour. It was kind of endearing.)
kaberett: A series of phrases commonly used in academic papers, accompanied by humourous "translations". (science!)
... because they use "normal" words with specific and non-obvious meanings, especially not if you are claiming that natural/"hard" sciences don't. Because to me:
  • "cold" means "under 800degC"
  • "present" means anything from "today" to "1 January 1950" to "the last hundred thousand years"
  • "recent" means "any time in the last 5 million years"
  • "large variations" can encompass "approximately 5 parts per million"


This post brought to you by my having reached the stage of the day where I have a quiet helpless burying-head-in-hands hysteric upon meeting that last one in a paper I'm reading.
kaberett: A stylised potato as background, overlaid with a list of its applications. (potatifesto)
I appear to get on much better with derivative works of the Sherlock Holmes canon than I ever have with the actual, er, canon. So. There's a thing.
***

Hands. )
***

Languages. )

tally

May. 30th, 2013 04:16 pm
kaberett: Photo of a pile of old leather-bound books. (books)
7hr20 (three papers) down; 9h50 (four papers, one viva) to go.

So far so good. Tomorrow is Hell Day; from there it should be uphill all the way.

ETA though now I'm amused by the various meanings of "downhill all the way" and "uphill all the way"...
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
I've been fortunate enough to hear from gay kids all across the country. A lot of them don't have supportive families, but some do. I cherish the good stories, but there's often a moment in those good stories that makes my heart hurt: when they tell me how happy they are that their parents "still" love them -- because all those kids knew that not loving them was an option.

Amelia at HuffPo (yes, I know).

This says something that hurts my heart, too: both because it is so achingly true - of myself, of so many other kids - but also because it erases me down to "gay".

"Gay" isn't good shorthand for either GSM or LGBT+, and I do so wish people wouldn't do it.
kaberett: A series of phrases commonly used in academic papers, accompanied by humourous "translations". (science!)
I much prefer the German convention of e.g. LehrerInnen or Lehrer/innen to the common English convention more closely approximating "hero(ine)". Because, actually, I don't think heroines are parentheticals; and I prefer written habit that doesn't normalise masculinity and relegate women to an afterthought. So: hurrah heroInes and hero/ines, basically.

See also: my feelings on "he" as a "gender-neutral" pronoun.

This post brought to you by the speculative fiction I'm currently working my way through.

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kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
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