April 16th, 2009


Ogham cursive style..??

I came across the following image while doing a search about Ogham. On a forum this image was posted by a member calling it "Ogham calligraphy". I have never seen any mention of a cursive style anywhere else so I'm wondering if anyone can shed any light on the origins of the following script? Also which language it is in? To me it looks more along the lines of Sarati or old Mongolian script. Omniglot is currently down so there goes my favourite script resource! :( Was hoping you guys could help!

The poster claims it says "The final reality that is accessible to human thought is infinite, eternal and without structure or purpose. It is indifferent to our conduct. We are divided from it by our finitude from which structure and purpose arise. These truths glorify or annihilate according to how our thoughts and actions have led us to apprehend them."

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musunde hiraite

More Hindi info.

I have a friend at school who is from Bihar, India, but grew up in Oman, in the Middle East. She's the one who gave me the list of Hindi films to watch that I posted about a while ago. Today, I had a chance to sit and chat with her for longer than usual, and ask her a lot of questions about Hindi as a language, as well as the cultures of India (and of Oman). I thought some of her responses might be of interest to other Hindi-learners here, especially ones like me who are dabbling learning independently.

First, a couple detailed things: she confirmed that although 'bhaiya' is the more familiar/affectionate form of 'bhai', the '-ya' ending was not generalizable in the way that, say, '-ji' is generalizable. She was not able to think of an equivalent way of making other relationship terms more familiar/affectionate. That's what you all had told me, but I thought you might be interested to have it confirmed.

On the other hand, she said that 'guru' was a term which could be applied to a woman just as easily as to a man. Her impression was that non-Hindi-speakers thought of it as having a male meaning because the most famous gurus were generally men, but stated that any woman who was a teacher or mentor, with whom one had a relationship of respect (not friendship) could perfectly well be called 'guru' or 'guruji.'

More broadly, and to me both interestingly and a little dismayingly, she looked at http://www.shabdkosh.com/ when I showed it to her. We looked up 'sister' as an example. Her opinion was that the site was slanted toward very "proper"/somewhat old-fashioned Hindi. I pointed to the term given for 'little sister' in particular and asked if that would realistically be used. She said possibly in a village, where people were very traditional, but definitely not in a city. We didn't review the site and other words enough to see how consistently this slant was represented.

It's made me feel a little cautious about using the dictionary, though, so if anyone knows of a more current/idiomatic dictionary (online or in print) which would give more information on the nuances of different words with similar or identical definitions, I'd be grateful to hear about it.

I don't want to abuse her patience, but she actually seemed delighted by my interest and not dismayed by my areas of ignorance, so if anyone has questions they haven't been able to get satisfactory answers to - the way I did, for instance, about a female mentor - that you would like me to relay to her, I would be willing to see about it. Obviously, she's just one person, and part of a specific Indian diaspora community. But she's very well educated, very fluent and idiomatic in US English as well as, apparently, Hindi (and I have no idea how many other languages), and has offered herself to me as a resource.

Hope at least some of this was of interest to someone.

boids of a feather :^))))

I'm perplexed by a phrase and very interested in your interpretations of it.
"People is animals and them with feathers is boids".
The first part looks clear enough to me, but the second... "People with feathers are snakes"???? I have a few ideas, but I'd like your insight very much.

It's a saying quoted in "How to Live" by Henry Alford. It's a non-fiction book. The author tries to collect recommendations and aphorisms from seniors. One woman from Woodstock, New York, mailed him the favorite phrase of her late father Bill. Sadly there is no further context (in this part of the book Alford just quotes a lot of "elderisms", that's how he calls these sayings). Google didn't help (Bill wasn't keen on blogging, I reckon :^)))).

UPDATE: it seems that "Boids" are "birds" in New York humorous pronunciation (though some snakes are called boids too), and birds may be young women. Thanks, everybody, for a speedy responce!
  • rfk

Icelandic names

I hope there are some people with Icelandic knowledge in this community...

I have to mention an Icelandic mathematician's name in this report I am writing. I am following the usual practice of referring to mathematicians by just their last names.

As far as I know, Icelandic people don't have family names, their "last names" are just their fathers (or mothers??) name plus son/daughter.
Also, I understand that Icelandic people call each other by their first names even in formal contexts?

His name is

Hjálmtýr Hafsteinsson

How should he be called? "Hafsteinsson" or "Hjálmtýr" or should I use the full name?
  • qichin

An Introductory Post

Hi all!

I'm really glad I stumbled over this LJ community, as I think "linguaphile" is something I think I can label myself as, and it's great to find so many like-minded people.

I'm a student of historical linguistics. I grew up with German, English, and Chinese, had 4 years of French in school, 3 years of Latin for university, several courses in various old languages, such as Sanskrit, Old Prussian, and Old Persian (this semester), and an intro or two to a bunch of other languages. Finally, I'm trying to teach myself Japanese, which sadly is not easy with a timetable filled with other languages...

So I'm hoping that my time here will be full of exchanges on languages and linguistics with you guys :D