September 19th, 2007

Hudson 1

Vanishing Languages

Very sad recent article;

The Enduring Voices project is identifying areas which are 'extinction hotspots', where a lot of languages are at risk of going into extinction.

They named a region of northern Australia that includes Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australia where local languages are most threatened. The linguists said aboriginal Australia harbours some of the most endangered languages, with 153 different ones spoken in this region.

A region of central South America covering Ecuador, Colombia, Peru, Brazil and Bolivia was second.

Placing third and fifth on the list were regions of North America -- an area including British Columbia in Canada and the U.S. states of Washington and Oregon, and an area covering the U.S. states of Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico.

Eastern Siberia was the No. 4 "hot spot."

(no subject)
Experts are warning of a "global extinction crisis" of the world's languages and have identified five hotspots where tongues are vanishing most rapidly.
Watch as language hunters in Australia's outback discover the only known speaker of a language long thought to be dead.

(crossposted: geographile and linguaphiles)

Ishtar and Etymology

Being Ramadan and all, I thought this post was fitting:

Knafa (or ichnafa as my grandmother would say... there are probably a lot more ways to pronounce it than wikipedia has listed) is a popular Middle Eastern dessert. At the "Sweet Factory" here in Houston, you can get it "bil jubna" (with cheese) or "bil ishtar" (with... ishtar. I don't know what that is really, it has a cottage cheese consistency and is delicious).
Ishtar is the Assyro-Babylonian goddess of fertility, sexual love, and war. Is this a coincidence or was the food named after this goddess? I'm having a hard time finding stuff online since I don't know Arabic :(
It seems strange because I don't think the food ishtar is eaten in the area that was once Assyria/Babylonia. I could be wrong, feel free to correct me on that one.

Somewhat related: Is it even possible to find etymologies of words in languages with a non-Latin alphabet (with descriptions in English)? Or even Latin alphabet languages for that matter. Seeing how there apparently isn't an Arabic Etymology Dictionary in ANY language, my guess would be no.

Oh wait, I just found a good link for Chinese:

Song translation, Spanish

I found this song on my computer the other day, and I'm in loooooove with it.
I'm curious what the lyrics translate to. Babel fish didn't help too much. Here's what I found on a site:
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I hope this isn't against any rules... the only world I can understand from my 8th grade Spanish class is mundo, hah. Obviously 9 years later, it was very helpful.
  • i_eron

laugh in many languages

In "the name of the rose" by Umberto Eco there is a Latin line (a part of Adso's dream):
Ut cachinnis dissolvatur, torqueatur rictibus!
I think it sounds very nice in Latin, that in addition to its agreeable meaning.

Apparently, in many translations of the book it is still in Latin.
There is a great sounding Russian translation by Elena Kostioukovitch:
Всем полопаться от смеха, скорчиться от хохота!
(roughly: vsem polo'patsia ot sme'ha, sko'rchitsia ot ho'hota!)

Some googling produced an English version in an article by Douglass Parker which I could not fully identify with:
May he dissolve in laughter, may he be racked with guffaws!

More googling produced a Turkish version:
kahkahalarla gülünsün, gülmekten katılınsın
I do not know any Turkish (just heard some), but phonetically it is very nice (if I read it anything near correct).

Does anybody know translations of this line to English or other languages?
Or do you want to produce your own version? Thanks!

Geek, nerd, loser

My friends approached me about the difference between geek, nerd, and loser. While I think of loser as a universal term (as in, can be applied to any person with any characteristics, "smart" or not), I think of geeks and nerds on varying levels of intelligence (amongst other things), but I noticed that all of our opinions about the terms geek and nerd were different. What's the difference between the two? Smarts, grace in society, attitude? Are they semantically different, or do they mean the same? So how would you personally - without looking it up in whatever manner you look things up - describe the three terms?

And on a side note, which of the three terms would you apply to this description:
"Spends time reading intellectual books but isn't smart; awkward, and pretty much complete 'bumblefuck' around girls; doesn't get very good grades, but wants to get a PhD and generally does nothing of importance with his life - but acts like he does."

Edit: I didn't realize there was another post like this already. If someone links me to it, this one can be deleted/closed/what have you. There's too many posts in this community daily for it to be easy to keep up with the topics.

DoD Languages

I was wondering if anybody had access to, or knew where to get, the DoD Office of the Secretary of Defense's critical language list? I wasn't able to find much online; maybe I just didn't try hard enough. It's supposed to come out yearly?
save me

What language is this.

Okay, i've been reading the Yahoo España news a lot lately for my college spanish class and well i came across an article that was not in spanish and sent it through altavista and none of the languages seemed to work with it. I have a feeling that it is Basque, I'm just not sure. so if anybody knows..

muchas gracias de mí :)

EUSKADI.-Guggenheim Bilbao Museoak "Sukar izoztua" eta "Amets amerikarra" zikloak eskainiko ditu Zinema Hamabostaldian
Artemis - Puma

An Architectural Detail with Text in French

I know how you all love these, but I'll try anyway because I'm that curious...

The following appears on the post office in Québec City's old town:

"I am a dog that... does what?"

I assume that it starts with "I am a dog that gnaws. In gnawing I take my rest." Even if that much is correct, I can't figure out the remainder. (I've never studied French, and I'm not even sure I always correctly guess where one word ends and another one begins in this... passage .)