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Iversen’s Multiconfused Log (see p.1!)

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Iversen
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 Message 2681 of 3959
14 November 2011 at 6:33pm | IP Logged 
I have made a wee comment on Youtube about the same theme as here, the rebirth of the Scots Dictionary
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Iversen
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 Message 2682 of 3959
15 November 2011 at 11:31pm | IP Logged 
I have been studying several things, including some excerpts in Latin from Ephemerida about science, but right now there is something I find more important, namely a TV program in English about the cracking of the Maya code - certainly a theme relevant for a language learning forum. It is available at Youtube here, but I had to log in to see it.

In precisely this moment a series of signs are translated into a Maya language (of which there are around 30) - and every sign represents a word, spoken as one syllable. However they also say that many Maya are dropping their old languages.

But the story starts before. First somebody had to make useful copies, then a wellmeaning hippie named Eric Thompson arrived on the scene and convinced a gullible world that the Mayas were a uniformly peaceloving people who weren't interested in anything but timekeeping - a people of Asperger-like calendar fanatics. This erroneous idea was probably caused by the fact that only the Mayan numbers could be read, not the rest - but even more it was based on Thompson's own wishful thinking. And his influence unfortunately meant that the attempts to use phonetical reasoning to crack the code were delayed for decades.

Luckily a smart lady named Proskouriakoff analysed some inscriptions and found out that a series of stelae with hieroglyphs actually recorded a list of rulers of Palenque, and she proved it so convincingly through the dates that even Thompson had to accept her reasoning. Later heroes included the Russian Knosorow, who as a soldier 'found' a manuscript in the smoking ruins of the German National library with copies of all three preserved codices and set out to find sounds in the writing - he succeeded in some cases, while other attempts lead to errors. And then a David Stuart who had visited the excavations at palenque as a child and apparently learnt Maya added the final component to the decoding process, when he discovered that some elements in the Maya signs were used purely for their phonetic value (first catch: a sickle-shaped thingy with some dots, which had the value /u/).

I remember from another program about the same theme that the Spanish priest Landa (actually the same man who put most Mayan manuscripts on the pyre) had written down the value of some signs in Latin letters with some assistance from Mayans in his service. Modern researchers first judged that this attempt to forge a Latin Maya alphabet was totally confused nonsens, but later they found out that there was a system in the sign names, and this could support some interpretations of genuine Mayan glyphs).

The system turned out to be a 'logosyllabic' system, i.e. a mix between ideographic readings and phonetic elements, sometimes even with one sign used in both functions. This reminds me of the way the the Sumerians and their followers used the cuneiform writing - the signs had originally a pictorial interpretation, but were later used for their sound in some kind of syllabic system. It also reminds me of the Japanese system, where Chinese pictograms are 'clarified' by phonetic elements. But my associations also go to another Oriental writing system: the Mayas tended to combine several signs into nice little square packets - in principle somewhat like Korean hangul, but the Koreans use it in a strictly standardized way to combine letters into syllables. The Maya not only combined heterogenous elements, but they apparently also improvised the combinations. In the closing moments of the program it was described how the artistic Mayan masterwriters not only made these combinations with great freedom, but for each phonetic element they also had the choice between up to 15-20 different signs which all shared a certain sound and therefore all could be freely used to indicate a certain sound.

In other words, the Mayan writing system is fundamentally rebusical - and it is hellishly complicated!


Edited by Iversen on 16 November 2011 at 2:06pm

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Iversen
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 Message 2683 of 3959
16 November 2011 at 3:02pm | IP Logged 
Ut dixit heri, legi excerpta scientifica ex Ephemeridibus in raedas-longas-ex-munu-revertens, inter alium denuntiationem actionis telescopii Herschel, qui ab Instituto Europaeo missum est ut caelo investigaret. In Cane Majore colluctationem stellae morientis deprehendit quae multissima de materia effuserant. Astrum VY Canis Maioris - quod a terra nostra 4500 spatiis lucis annuae distat (quamvis Vicipedia 4900 ait) et maior stella nota esse dicitur: se solem nostrum reponeret, usque ad orbitam Saturni pateret! Staella rubra hypergigantissima nominatur, et mox quam supernova displodere dicitur.

Etiam de Grampo griseo ("Risso's dolphin" Anglice) legi, cetacea rarissime conspecta, sed nunc apparatu photographico a litore Cambricae depictus est. Tam rare est eum videre quod Marcus Simmonds de Socitetati balaenis et delphinibus servandicis addictae (WDCS) inquit "Forte aliquid magni momenti cognovimus". Forsitan eadem bestia est quae ante triennium in alto mari Hibernico prospicatus est - balenae delphinique longaevissimi sunt!

As I wrote yesterday I have read some scientific excerpts from Ephemeris in the bus-back-home-from-work yesterday (although I tried in vain to look the first item up through Google - maybe it has disappeared from the archivium of Ephemeris since I made my printouts).

I read one text about the findings of the space telescope Herschel which has been studying a cluster of dying stars in the constellation Canis Maior (the same area whee Sirius is found). Among these red giants one is singled out, namely VY Canis Majoris which according to some astroners is so big that it would reach beyond the orbit of Saturn if it replaced our sun. But it is not going to replace our sun. Instead it is on the brink of exploding as a supernova, and it could then produce gamma bursts which in the worst possible case would hit the Earth and fry it.

Another article told about the sighting of a Risso's dolphin near Bardsey, Wales. Normally it lives in deep waters far from land and therefore it is extremely rare to see one. However Wikipedia tells about one individual, dubbed Pelorus Jack who "accompanied boats in Admiralty Bay in New Zealand's Marlborough Sounds for more than 20 years". What a freak!

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Fasulye
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 Message 2684 of 3959
17 November 2011 at 6:33pm | IP Logged 
Iversen wrote:
I read one text about the findings of the space telescope Herschel which has been studying a cluster of dying stars in the constellation Canis Maior (the same area where Sirius is found). Among these red giants one is singled out, namely VY Canis Majoris which according to some astroners is so big that it would reach beyond the orbit of Saturn if it replaced our sun. But it is not going to replace our sun. Instead it is on the brink of exploding as a supernova, and it could then produce gamma bursts which in the worst possible case would hit the Earth and fry it.


Let me think astronomically about it: Would you say that the dying stars in the constellation Canis Maior are part of the Milky Way? I have never read about gamma ray bursts within the Milky Way. Or could otherwise such gamma ray bursts hit our Solar System? I would doubt that!

Fasulye
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Iversen
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 Message 2685 of 3959
18 November 2011 at 10:07am | IP Logged 
At less than 5000 light years distance this cluster of old, dying stars must belong to the Milky Way. I watched several Youtube videos about VY Canis Majoris yesterday, some more scientific than others (and surrounded by videos made by complete rambling sensationalists without a shred of sense in their head - just google "2012 mayan"*), and it seems clear that this star or some of its companions can explode at any moment, and because it already is surrounded by a cloud of emitted gases the explosion will be spectacular. Luckily it is just so far away that the explosion in itself shouldn't transmogrif our planet into a smoking cinder.

I'm not quite sure whether it will emit a gamma burst or not. When you hear about gamma bursts they have normally been emitted far away and they hit the earth after billions of years. But at least one major extinction event, the one between Ordovicium and Silur, has tentatively been explained as the result of precisely such a burst. And getting a blast from just 4900 light years distance would immediately solve all our other environmental problems, including CO2 in the atmosphere. There probably wouldn't be any atmosphere left.

There is another less violent radiation source, the socalled magnetars, which being more numerous and able to repeat their performance, could be a greater threat. But these also emit narrow gamma rays which can point in any direction, so we would be very unlucky to receive a blast within our lifetime. And if we do then it is too late to complain.

* or Google "11.11.11", a date which according to a series of new agey Youtube videos should have heralded the dawn of a new spirituality. Did you feel any such thing come your way last Friday? Apart from a lot of weddings I don't think anything special happened that day. I'll look forward to the Dec 21 2012 with the same confident expectation that nothing special will happen there either. The good thing about all this is that some of those sensationalist videos are in Spanish.


Edited by Iversen on 18 November 2011 at 10:49am

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Iversen
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 Message 2686 of 3959
18 November 2011 at 3:31pm | IP Logged 
In Romanian there is a funny little genitive-like thing which sometimes is called a particle (for instance in the Routledge grammar), sometimes an article (for instance in Colocaru p. 37).

One of the intriguing things about this purely Romanian language element is that I a few years ago got into a discussion with a Romanian here at HTLAL about its use. I had used it as indicated in my printed grammars (Routledge and Lombard), but this was called into question. I then collected a lot of examples, and it turned out that there are examples where the word has congruence with the entity possessed rather than with the possessor as the 'official' rule dictates. I may have neglected Romanian grammar lately so just for fun (and training) I decided to make a new collection to see whether my old conclusions could be confirmed.

Romanian has three genders and 3 cases (nominative-accusative and genitive-dative plus remnants of a vocative). However the neutrum is the same as the masculine in singular and as the feminine in plural so it doesn't have its own proper forms:

Masculinum and neutrum singular (na vs. gd): al, alui
Masculinum plural: ai, alor
Femininum singular: a, alei
Femininum and neutrum plural: ale, alor

The genitive-dative forms below would normally only be used in conjunction with a possessive pronoun in the genitive (al meu, tau, lui, ei, lor..., and in 'a-word-less 'examples with concatenations like the first one below there is a definite parllelity with the constructions based on the a-words . The pronoun has the same forms in the genitive and the dative, and the use of the a-word can been seen as a signal for a genitival use - but its absence clearly doesn't prove a datival use:

(1) conform teoremei lui Pitagora
(1) forma lor generală

The forms of the pronoun in the 3. person are lui, lei and lor. See the article at Wikipedia for the complete table of the a-word plus a pronoun in the genitive case.

I quote all examples where you can see whether the a-word follows the owner or the owned thing. The list doesn't include regular genitive articles as these supposedly always follow the owner. Numbers in parentheses refer to the list of texts at the bottom:

AL:
concord ambivalent
(5) nu am fost niciodata la vrun concet de-al lui mi-asi dori sa-l intalnesc in realitate (notice "de", which actually is an alternative way of marking posession - and see more aboout this construction at the end of this post)

concord with owner

concord with owned
(3) un rezumat al cărţii i-ar face să condamne pe loc romanul
(3) oameni prinşi într-un joc al conştiinţei


ALUI:
concord ambivalent
(5) Nr. telefon alui justin biber     (NB: could and should maybe be analyzed as "a lui", but then "a" is wrong from all points of view)

concord with owner

concord with owned


AI:
concord ambivalent

concord with owner

concord with owned
(6) Primii locuitori ai satului au fost românii de viata nemeseasca din Ardeal,


ALOR (all genders):
concord ambivalent

concord with owner

concord with owned


A:
concord ambivalent
(1) o idee mai veche a lui Sophie Germain (sic - "lui" here is the masculine form)
(1) o demonstrație completă a teoremei.

concord with owner

concord with owned
(1) o mulțime finită de contra-exemple la marea teoremă a lui Fermat.   
(2) Conform Teoremei a II-a a lui Kirchoff (Legii ochiurilor), (several times)
(3) Paradoxal, ultima ispită a lui Hristos
(4) El este mâna stângă a lui Dumnezeu
(4) Marea teoremă a lui Fermat
(6) care îsi parasesc bastina din cauza politicii antiromânesti a princepelui Transilvaniei Stefan Bathorej.
(6) Dupa 1613 stabilirea pe teritoriul satului a alogenilor de origine leseasca,
(7) Nici eu nu pot suporta folosirea incorecta a lui decat    (maybe ambivalent concord - what gender is an isolated word like "decât" or "după"?)
(7) s-a mai observat tot în aceeaşi regiune folosirea abuzivă a lui "după" în loc de "de pe"   (maybe ambivalent concord)

ALEI:
concord ambivalent

concord with owner

concord with owned


ALE:
concord ambivalent

concord with owner

concord with owned
(4) Într-unul din întortocheatele coridoare ale Sanctuarului stă un băiat
(7) dupa noile standarde ale limbii romane


Conclusion - whatever the grammars say: in combinations with a 3. person pronoun in the genitive, the a-word normally accords with the owned thing, the pronoun always with the owner. And the examples with alui and alei and alor are rare and suspect.

About "de + a-word + pronoun"

(8) Un var de-al meu sau un var de-ai mei?
(8) Un var de-al meu.
(8) Un var de-al meu.
(..)
(8) Teoretic sună mai bine să spui: "un văr de-al meu", însă varianta corectă este a 2-a: "un văr de-ai mei", explicată după logica "un văr dintre ai mei".
(8) Un var de-ai mei, bineinteles. Suna gresit un var de-al meu, nu te zgarie la ureche? "DE" este prescurtarea de la dintre, asadar expresia completa suna: un var dintre ai mei. Cum sa spui un var dintre al meu?

If even the Romanians themselves can't agree what then about us learners?

Sources:

(1) Marea teoremă a lui Fermat (Wikipedia)
(2) 3. Teorema a II-a a lui Kirchhoff (Legea ochiurilor)
(3) Amintiri nescrise ale Creaţiei
(4) Mana stanga a lui Dumnezeu
(5) Nr. telefon alui justin biber
(6) APARITIA SATULUI
(7) Decat vs doar
(8) Un var de-al meu sau un var de-ai mei?



Edited by Iversen on 18 November 2011 at 3:59pm

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Iversen
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 Message 2687 of 3959
21 November 2011 at 12:18pm | IP Logged 
ESP: Dum la semajnfino mi partoprenis en la kongreso kaj la ĉiujara Kristnaska ĉefmanĝo de mia vojaĝadoklubo. Mi renkontis alian membron kiu estas lernantan de Nederlanda lingvo kaj Dana signolingvo (kiu estas rilata al Hispana signolingvo, dum kontraste Sveda signolingvo laŭ ŝi estas bazita sur Usona signolingvo, ASL). Mi ankaŭ montritis la enhavon de mia mansako - tio estas ĉiam amuza: gvidlibro pri Ateno en Greka, malgranda Rusa vortaro, la tria volumo de la Sinjoro de la Ringoj plus printaĵojn en Platta, Skota, Pola, Portugala kaj kelkaj aliaj lingvoj. La trajnovojaĝado daŭras preskaŭ tri horoj, kaj mi sukcesis legi preskaŭ 200 paĝojn de Esperanto - sed ne havis tempon por finigi la libron, tiel ke lamentinda Sam ankoraŭ estas portanta sinjoron Frodon peniga, tiel ke li povos ĵeti la ringon en la flamiĝinta kratero de Monto Sorto ('Mount Doom', - sed mi preferas la nomon Orodruino).

I participated in the annual general assembly and christmas party of my travel club this weekend (and met another member who has become a learner of both Dutch and Danish sign language, which allegedly is closer to Spanish sign language than it is to ASL). I also had to demonstrate the contents of my bag, which always is fun: a guide to Athens in Greek, Lord of the Rings III in Esperanto, a small Russian dictionary and printouts in several languages. The train trip to Copenhagen takes almost three hours in each direction, so I got through almost 200 pages of Tolkien - but left poor Sam struggling uphill with master Frodo on his back, where the latter is supposed to throw the ring into the molten abyss. I know from the English version and the film that he succeeds, but it still is a somewhat awkward situation - especally for mr. Samwise.




Edited by Iversen on 27 November 2011 at 10:52pm

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Iversen
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 Message 2688 of 3959
23 November 2011 at 1:47am | IP Logged 
ES: Gollumo kaj la ringo nun estas forbrulitaj en la fajra internaĵo de monto Orodruino, kaj la agloj estas vinontaj por porti Frodon kaj Samon reen al la civilizacio - sed ili devos tranokti sur la monto ĉar mi ne havas tempon por legi pli ĉinokte. Mi ankoraŭ pensas ke estis nerespondecema de Tolkien lasi Gandalfo kaj Aragorno kaj la aliaj ataki Mordoron ne sciante ĉu la du hobbitoj ankoraŭ estis sur la prava spuro. Aŭ eble li diris sekrete ion al Gandalf, sed nenion a mi, lia leganto, kiu laŭ mi ne estas tre OK.




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