erinptah: Cat in a backpack (cat)
Linguistics links:

Nothing new under the sun: "in tibullus 1.8 (a poem about his boyfriend Marathus) has this line about “pugnantibus linguis” (literally battling tongues) which means that the idea of tongues battling for dominance in homoerotic fiction has been going on since at least the 1st century bce"

From Seaspeak to Singlish: cool English dialects and English-based creoles.

Hawaiian pidgin has a great all-purpose noun -- it's "you-know-what", "whatchamacallit", "so-and-so", and "the thing" all at once.

Cat links:

Before there were laptops, cats were happy to sit on our portable typewriters.

"I was right there in case he got upset — I was expecting him to hiss or growl or slink away. But then one of the ginger kittens started licking Mason’s ear, and Mason sort of leaned into it and closed his eyes like it was the most amazing thing ever."

erinptah: (daily show)
Translation disasters...or miracles: lots of facepalm-y mishaps ("Kings of Leon" turned into "The Lion King"), but also some solid cross-language puns.

Mash up two canons based on their titles. The Golden Compass Girls...Ender's Game of Thrones.

Change one letter, get a new canon. Star Bars...Evolutionary Girl Utena...Post (about an island of misplaced mail).

Fusion between things with similar names: Mad Men: Fury Road...The Boardwalk Empire Strikes Back To The Future...The Princess Tutu Diaries.

Invent a crossover by title: Dancing with the Star Wars...Jurassic Parks and Recreation...Guardians of the Galaxy Quest.

Change a letter, get a new work: The Vorkosingan Saga (it's a Eurovision AU)...Les Minerables (a Steven Universe AU)...Person of Pinterest...Loft.

Change a letter, get a new work: Sass Effect...The Block Jewels Trilogy (it's a Tetris crossover!)...Funding Dory.

Change a letter, get a new work: The Imperial Ranch series (Anaander Mianaai retires to Wyoming and raises cloned sheep)...The Neverending Store (like Costco or Sam's Club, but more)...Captive Pince (the harrowing account of a siege in the Hogwarts Library).
erinptah: (Default)
An interlude with nice things.

Dinosaur tail found fully preserved in amber, and yes, it's feathery.

"A team from BP was carrying out routine operations near an oil well, using a remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV) at a depth of 1325 metres, when they spotted the creature, which they nicknamed the flying spaghetti monster." The noodly appendages are real. RAmen.

Mall space got repurposed into gorgeous loft apartments.

"The Ptolemaic dynasty was able to spend big on the institution thanks to the riches of Egypt’s fertile land and resources from the Nile, including papyrus, the ancient world’s main writing material. As a result, the library had an edge in development over others. The Ptolemaic kings were determined to collect any and all books that existed—from the epics, tragedies, to cookbooks."

"Olio wants to make it easy for busy food sellers to avoid wasting food. 'These vendors usually don't have enough surplus to donate to a charity or something, but they still end up having to throw away quite a lot at the end of the day.'"

"I asked other immigrants about their first moments of culture shock in the United States. Here's what they told me." Braces, junk food, chatty cashiers, and more.

"Hebrew marks gender prolifically (even the word “you” is different depending on genders), Finnish has no gender marking and English is somewhere in between. Accordingly, children growing-up in a Hebrew speaking environment figure out their own gender about a year earlier than Finnish-speaking children; English-speaking kids fall in the middle.

"When pigs fly" and equivalent metaphors, in different languages, illustrated.
erinptah: (Default)
"On Sunday, May 8, Germany hit a new high in renewable energy generation. [...] Power prices actually went negative for several hours, meaning commercial customers were being paid to consume electricity."

Animal eyes span an incredible variety of weirdness. Also coolness. This mollusk has eyes made of rock!

"It may be that different animals arrived at different times. A 2008 study of Movile's only snail suggested that it has been down there for just over 2 million years. When it entered the cave, the ice age was just beginning, and the snail may have escaped the cold by going underground." (That's, uh, the species of snail, not a single really-old individual.)

"Psychologist Jackie Andrade of the University of Plymouth in southern England showed that doodlers actually remember more than nondoodlers when asked to retain tediously delivered information, like, say, during a boring meeting or a lecture."

"How many other people are learning Spanish, and where do they live? Duolingo recently answered such questions by running the numbers on their 120 million users, spanning every country on the planet."

"Coming to terms with the fact that he couldn't outrun a volcano, Landsburg decided to make his last moments on Earth count. He documented the eruption until the last possible second, then carefully rewound his film, placed his camera in his backpack, and lay down on top of it, shielding the equipment from the encroaching shower of magma and ash with his own body."

"Thanks to the colossal changes humans have made since the mid-20th century, Earth has now entered a distinct age from the Holocene epoch, which started 11,700 years ago as the ice age thawed." With a gorgeous gallery of ways we've altered our own bedrock.

"A giant pothole, the Devil’s Kettle, swallows half of the Brule and no one has any idea where it goes. The consensus is that there must be an exit point somewhere beneath Lake Superior, but over the years, researchers and the curious have poured dye, pingpong balls, even logs into the kettle, then watched the lake for any sign of them. So far, none has ever been found."

An animal shelter that used to have "unadoptable" cats now has a 30-day waiting list, thanks to hiring them out as mousers.

"As you can see from these pictures, Smoothie knows how to pose for the camera. Then again, it’s pretty easy for her. After all, while most of us have a best angle, EVERY angle is Smoothie’s best angle." This is a magical elf cat, you guys.
erinptah: Vintage screensaver (computing)
"It’s a person’s right to identify however the hell they want. If they’re more comfortable as a 'person with a disability' than as a 'disabled person' then that’s nothing to do with me. [...] 'Disabled' is the best word in the world for describing the barriers I confront and no non-disabled person has the right to try and take that from me."

"We may be able to ask questions about typical and atypical developing children that we couldn't ask if we only examined typically hearing children." Deafness, ASL, autism.

Discussions about what non-native English speakers think of the English language.

Quiet updates made to the latest edition of Richard Scarry's Best Word Book Ever. Good ones! Gender-neutralizing ones, for starters.

"In the early 1800s, school children reciting their ABCs concluded the alphabet with the &. It would have been confusing to say ''X, Y, Z, and.” Rather, the students said, 'and per se and.' 'Per se' means 'by itself,' so the students were essentially saying, 'X, Y, Z, and by itself and.' Over time, 'and per se and' was slurred together into the word we use today: ampersand."
erinptah: (Default)
"I'm a regular commenter on a long-running fic, but some of the author's recent choices had turned me off of the whole thing. [...] I have two choices open to me: (i) vanish from the comments box with zero explanation; or (ii) explain to the author why I'm no longer feeling a fic that I once loved. If you were the author of that fic, would you want to know?"

(iii) Leave comments that bring up the issues, but gently. Err on the side of positive reinforcement of the parts you liked. Keep the criticisms in-universe when you can. "Tony, no, don't do it!" is more palatable than "Tonyfan89, no, don't write it!"

Especially if the author turns out to be more self-aware than you think. I remember reading a fic where a main character was getting hostile and angry to OOC levels, and it was really uncomfortable to read...five or six chapters of this, and it turned out she'd been possessed. She was going grimdark that whole time - in a believable, canon-compliant way, even.

(iv) Vanish from the comments box for now. When the final chapter is posted, leave a general comment recalling the things you liked. That'll give the author (and you) closure. Don't spell out that it stopped working for you. They can probably figure that out for themselves. (Does not apply if the fic got irretrievably offensive at some point.)

"How do you define canon? Is canon just the source text itself? Or does it include fictional characters' social media accounts and other things outside the text (interviews with the author, etc)?"

"What indicates the "worse" head writer/producer/creator? One who made you suddenly rage quit cold turkey because of a simple storyline? Or one where gradually over time things got less interesting until they got to the point where you just stopped caring and couldn't bring yourself to watch or read your canon?"

Fannish terms in non-English-speaking fandom spheres. Lots of Japanese, plus a few ways English terms get adapted into Anglo/Romance languages.

If you have consumed a canon in its original language and then picked it up in another, was there anything that stood out to you that the translator put in?"
erinptah: (space)
Multilingual anons on writing in their second languages. Or their first languages. (I do wish more people specified what their first languages are.)

Fandom and meme terms in different languages. "Anonymous Anonymusovich, what do you want to talk about?"

Comics industries in different countries. (So many places where Donald Duck is the biggest deal. So many.)

"What are some interesting things about weddings in your culture, or your country, or even just your family? Any stories about particularly sweet or horrible weddings to share?"

Stranoge/Funny Things You Did As A Child. For anyone who wants to put a touch of realism in their kidfic: some examples of how weird kids are.
erinptah: (daily show)
Meme: When you see this, make a post in your journal or in a community. It can be anything: a crosspost something you've posted on Tumblr, a few words about the last thing you read/watched, or just a "Hi, how is everyone?" Then go read your f-list and leave at least one comment.

People talk trigger/content warnings, including how to make them most useful and how to reasonably approach the fact that they can't cover everything (nor should have to).

Recent-upload statistics for both AO3 and Interesting to see what older fandoms are still churning along (Harry Potter: of course, Sonic the Hedgehog: wow, tween furry fandom is a powerful thing), and which are more popular on which site.

How people write and release WIPs. (Guest-starring my praise of Microsoft Notepad as a fic-writing program.)

The Best Writing Advice You've Ever Been Given. Lots of it is general, but it's good and thoughtful.

"Let's talk about works that used language barriers or linguistics to good effect. And about works that really should have but didn't. And works that tried and failed."

Related: writing fic for multilingual canons.
erinptah: (daily show)
ESL writers talk about their experiences in English-language fandom.

Experiences of fandom in non-English languages, for the flip side of that.

"I could look up how, say, Balinese names are formed on Wikipedia and check baby name websites, but there's nothing there to prevent me naming a character the Balinese equivalent of Gertrude. So, how are names formed in your culture and how should people avoid creating weird names, nonnies?"

" struck me as funny the other day that apple and pineapple are linked in English, and apple and potato (pomme and pomme de terre) are linked in French. Any other examples of things that have related names in one language but utterly unrelated in another?"

Fannish terms translated into different languages! Admittedly, a lot of it ends up being about tongue-in-cheek terms for A/B/O, but still. (Je ne regrette chien~)

Translation of an adorable omegaverse-explaining comic from Pixiv (original in Japanese)!

Brainstorming for non-canid-based weird-biology AUs. Bizarre kinks abound.

Related: A/B/O worldbuilding discussion. If you ever wanted to know what kind of variations on the theme people are out to read.

And these ideas aren't new, if Aristasia is anything to go by. Iddy fannish shared universe with biologically-determined BDSM-esque roles...but instead of starting with mpreg knotting, it started with lesbian spanking.
erinptah: A map. (writing)
"What is your opinion about the use of italics for “foreign” words in fiction in general? How do you determine which words to italicize? To what degree it is a stylistic or political choice?"

The article there has a bunch of opinions from pro writers. Fic writers, what do you do?

Me, I'm thinking I'll keep using italics, and there's one reason carrying most of the weight: because on the Internet, not all your readers are going to have English as their first language, and ESL fluency levels will vary. If the second language coming up in the fic is one that they speak, great. But if it's not, they might just end up lost.

Anecdote 1: One time I had on Radio Junior, a kids' radio/streaming station that broadcasts primarily in French. My brother and I were both taking French in school at the time. The station changed songs, and he said, "You know, I was recognizing some of the words in that last song, but now I'm not getting anything at all." The new song...was in Italian.

Anecdote 2: Another time I went to the forums seeking help with a word I couldn't find in any dictionaries. Turned out it was a typo.

So it seems polite to signal "hey, don't stress about not recognizing this phrase, or not being able to find it on your translation website of choice -- it's a different language from the main text, and there may even be a translation at the end of the chapter."

Other fannish people, how do you handle this? Especially those of you who regularly read in a second language: what do you prefer?
erinptah: (night vale)
(This is a post I started writing last June, in case any of you wanted to know just how long I can leave a tab open when I put my mind to it.)

So I've read the Hunger Games trilogy (extended book thoughts), and seen both extant movies, and read a lot of fic (THG fic recs). Pretty sure at least half my mental image of the Panem universe comes from fic. There's way too much worldbuilding that the books never get into (how does Career training work? what does Mentor HQ look like during the Games? what's the day-to-day culture of districts 1-11?), and the films expand on it, but only so far.

Along with the book-reading, I went through this set of chapter-by-chapter reviews, which pick apart the worldbuilding in great detail. They can be pretty harsh on the characterization, but the straight-up research on social logistics and survivalist elements -- both within the Games and back in close-to-starvation Twelve -- was wonderful.

I bring this all up because one of the reviews made an offhand reference to the "gratuitous weird names," and the rest of this post is about explaining why they're wrong.

The names make complete sense for a future where the language is a slightly futuristic English and the culture has changed in the way Panem's has. )
erinptah: A map. (writing)
How does character synning work on the AO3? Particularly when characters are shared across adaptations, or even used in multiple fandoms.

Tag indexing on Tumblr with Tumblr tags, as compared to tag indexing on AO3, and how it handles Tumblr-style tags.

Another round of A/B/O discussion, this time with Punnett squares. Social worldbuilding and genetics discussions alike.

Drop a letter from the name of a fandom returns. Featuring such classics as His Ark Materials, Petty Soldier Sailor Moon, and an outright poem for Rime and Punishment.

"Have you noticed any changes in fandom over time, i.e. certain types of stories becoming more popular, particular writing styles being in vogue, specific issues being addressed repeatedly, etc?" Reflections on the evolution of fic.

On various canons that include second languages (mostly with English as a first language, but there's some anime and others too): "So for those of you nonnies who actually speak the languages being portrayed, how well/badly do the shows/actors do with those languages?"
erinptah: A map. (writing)
AO3 stats on shipping/gen categories, with the requisite debate on What Gen Means, plus some discussion on how relationship tags can work.

"What are the defining characteristics of "zine-y" fic? I know that zines existed, and that you had to walk ten miles uphill both ways in the snow for them, but next to nothing about the fic that went into them. Or, for that matter, how about 90's fic?" Fans reminisce about various eras of fandom.

"What defines a child for you?" As applied to fiction, where characters' apparent ages, chronological ages, mental ages, and species' relative ages may all be wildly out of whack.

FFA mediates between two anons who are definitely not [personal profile] politicette and myself regarding nursery decoration conventions in A/B/O universes.

"How would you describe an orgasm? What's it feel like?"

Tales of embarrassing fannish pasts.

A thread on femslash and yuri tropes, largely featuring discussion on Sedentary Yuri Fandom.

And another, on "what did you wish femslash did better/did at all/stopped doing?"

On the religion post: Religion as personal choice and worldview versus religion as inextricabe element of a person's birth culture, and experiences thereon.

"You really love {coffee shop AUs / potatoes / women in drag}. Fortunately, other people do too! Unfortunately, most people are into {slashing baristas / french fries / androgyny} and you're into {characters geeking out about coffee / hash browns / hard butches}. Share your woes and examples!"

The kind of slip-ups multilingual people make with language (versus the ones fic writers expect them to make), and how the various modes of speech intersect in their brains.
erinptah: (daily show)
"Most grievous cases where the author clearly doesn't speak whatever language they decided to use for effect or for their exotic foreign character?" Some fandom, some original (looking at you, Dan Brown).

"The SJ crowd don't care about you unless you have the "right" kind of disorder. Anyone else believe this? I'm thinking about language policing in particular." Discusses how anxiety and some forms of OCD are badly served by the current standard of Internet Social Justice discourse.

The whitewashing of characters of color is a serious problem, but that doesn't mean you'll never see the backlash go too far (discussing Legend of Korra fanart).

Characterization discussion, with a lot about AUs: "How do you decide what's essential to a character, what traits they absolutely must exhibit?"

"I'm in a terrible mopey mood, somebody talk femslash with me. Unsolicited recs, tropes you want to see, favorite ships, ships you wish people shipped, fandoms you miss, trends in femslash fic and potentially how they differ from yuri fic, sob stories about how no one writes what you want them to write, success stories about how everybody ships the ship you ship, femslashers you love, wanky femslashers, secret opinions, etc." It's like a mini-[community profile] girlgay anon post.

Warning policies on kink memes: what to require, what to let slide, how much leeway to give for choosing not to warn.

"Do you care about what gender takes which roles in BDSM fic or fiction (F/m, M/f, M/m, F/f)? Why or why not? Does it matter what kind of BDSM -- if women submitting isn't your thing, is it a different matter if there's no D/s involved?"

Disney's representation of various non-white cultures, discussed by members of those cultures (with some non-Disney animated movies thrown in).

Religious/mythological utopias other than "Eden" and "Arcadia".

Nifty worldbuilding thread: information for engineering fictional continents' population density, geography, disease resistance...

A thread on China turns up some fascinating thoughts on how the Western media deals with the country versus how it actually works.
erinptah: (waldo-carmen)
How to talk about gender with first graders in a way that gets them thinking and not bullying.

Musings on fantasy armor versus female figures, as crafted by someone who actually makes armor.

A history of Chicago's underground abortion services in the years before Roe v. Wade.

A cryptographer takes a closer look at Biblical Greek and inadvertently discovers that Paul's only clear condemnation of homosexuality...was a mistranslation.

Debunking the myth that pre-colonial Africa had no homosexuality. With research!

The tensions faced by a mixed-race family.

How do you keep a language from dying out? Make it available to text in, as is being done with the Mande family of West African languages and hopefully plenty more to come.

Next time someone tells you they support traditional marriage, send them this link: records of Christian same-sex weddings from the 300s through the 1600s.
erinptah: (winding road)
Quick things--

1. Had TDS and TCR tickets right in a row, but couldn't find a place to crash overnight, so I had to cancel one. Opted to keep TDS, as I've already been to a TCR taping. The bus tickets are squared away; I'll be seeing Jon do TDS live for the first time on August 18. (Now watch Colbert end up having an amazing guest on the 17th.)

2. There is an awesome magical girl multifandom fic swap currently acepting signups! Go check it out.

3. Thundercaaaaaaaaaaaats. *_* (More on this later.)

4. Til Ungdommen ("To Youth" - a Norwegian dirge) sung in Oslo Cathedral in memory of the victims of the terrorist attack. Someone on FFA did a quick translation, which I'm copying here for posterity, and because I know I want to be able to find it again.

Whoever that in their right arm carries a burden, dear and precious, cannot murder. )
erinptah: (college lesbian)
A race-based casting criticism that takes on the wrong targets, including The Middleman. Awesome background info on Wendy Watson makes me love the series all the more. (Plus a hefty subthread on one of the weirdest misunderstandings of the Bechdel Test I've ever seen.)

Speaking of the Bechdel test, how many of your fics pass it? Skewed by the fact that the source often doesn't.

Enthusiastic critique from CLAMP readers over this post about CLAMP and adult women. And from the opposite hemisphere, a long chewy debate over race, gender, and Disney princesses.

Random moments of bilingualism. Goes well with this epic compendium of bilingual puns, jokes, and ridiculous strings of homophones. And don't miss dealing with gender in different languages, where a lot more of the words may be gendered...or, in some cases, where not even the pronouns are.
erinptah: (Default)
A typical incendiary blog post. Be sure to read the amazing, amazing comments.

Fortune cookies you'd really like to see. Such as: "If you'd opened me first, I could have warned you about the shrimp." And: "Me you can trust, but that Thin Mint on 5th and Park is a lying bastard." And: "Be thankful that Chick Tracts don't fit into these things."

Why everything you know about studying is wrong. Or at least, quite a bit of it.

Trans chick in hot-pink wig wins...Scrabble tournament. FTW.

Obsolete English words that should really make a comeback. Compare with awesome non-English words that just don't translate.

Google, in its ongoing quest to Organize Everything Ever, has a database of 500 billion words published in six languages between 1500 and 2008. Even its flaws turn out to be interesting.

Obama's speeches become popular in Japan as a way to learn English.

BUFFALO BUFFALO BUFFALO BUFFALO BUFFALO BUFFALO BUFFALO a gramatically correct sentence. I love English.
erinptah: (waldo-carmen)
Does the contours of your native language shape how you think? No in some ways, but definitely yes in others, including some very surprising ones.

As a sidebar, this amazing chart contrasts the meanings of over eighty colors across ten different cultures. For instance, black is the color of mourning in the West, but if you're Chinese it's white, Eastern European it's yellow, and South American it's purple. Purple also has connotations of insight in Japan, whereas the same is green in Hindu culture, and yellow in Native American. (Incidentally, red signifies passion just about everywhere.)

When translating involves more than two languages: dealing with the Greek and Latin in Negima!, and trying to keep it all consistent. Here's a bit of straightforwardness about the process in general, and here's a bit about the editor's job, including the history of the industry.

An opera written and sung entirely in Klingon. And the reviews say the music and performances are actually good. What's Klingon for "FTW"?

The importance of baby babbling, and how to encourage it.

Somebody went and uploaded the entirety of The Story of English on YouTube. It's an Emmy-winning documentary from the '80s, with enough breadth and depth that it doesn't date itself in embarrassing ways - only in interesting ones. (Which is to say, it's more "this is a snapshot of the world at the time" than "this is a laughably inaccurate declaration about how language will work in the far-off year 2000".) Including glimpses of speculation for the future of computer communication, long before the Internet came into its own.

October 2017

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Where the towels are oh so fluffy


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