April 17th, 2009


Ecclesiastical Latin

I went to Mass today and after Mass, the congregation took part in Adoration of the Eucharist (-it was Catholic). While the priest was placing the Eucharist in the monstrance, the congregation fell to their knees and sang O Salutaris Hostia - a hymn written by St. Thomas Aquinas. At any rate, the Latin used during the song was pronounced differently from the Classical Latin pronunciation that I've learned in class.

Now, I am quite aware of the differences in pronunciation. However, it struck me today while I was singing: why is there a difference in pronunciation? Is it that the pronunciation is influenced by the Italian pronunciation since the Holy See is situated in Rome? Or is it because Latin was adopted at a time when the ecclesiastical pronunciation was common among the vulgar masses? What's the story behind this pronunciation?
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    contemplative contemplative

It's just Greek to me.

At the end of the Hammer Films 1958 movie, Dracula-- the evil one is finally killed over a Zodiac wheel mosiac on the floor. The movie's set designer really went out for a unusual blend of styles, but the Zodiac wheel's text has piqued my interest. I would imagine the Greek is just the names of the Zodiac constellations and their nicknames, but I looked at the wikipedia entry and what I see in the screenshot doesn't match. Dracula's ring was deliberately put on Aquarius the water sign for the movie's final frames, the sign represented rebirth, etc.

Would anyone familiar with the movie or Greek (or both ;) be able to tell me what the text is?

Thanks so much!
There is another image of the Zodiac wheel behind the cut.

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Against Formalism

Somewhat related to my last post, can anyone recommend any good references which outline the limitations of formalism and the (current-ish and historical) argument(s) against formalism? Outlining the pros and cons of transformationalist grammar would be nice too.

Please note that the person reading this is linguistically-educated almost exclusively in formal linguistics-- though not all of it Chomskian.

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bride with white hair

my child

How many languages allow "son" to be a word by which to call a child of either sex? You can't do it in English, but you can in Hindi, Punjabi, Bosnian (&co.) and Korean. Any others?

ETA: actually, not Korean; I misheard. the word for 'child' and 'son' are just very similar.

typical eastern european -> english gramatical errors

I'm working on a translation of a French comic book, and on one page there's a girl I presume to be eastern European (admittedly this information is derived entirely from the first words out of her mouth being "Hallo! Salut!" much like the Romanian (?) music group O-zone's famous song "Dragostei din-tei" aka "The Numa Numa song").

ANYWAY, She speaks in very poor French, so in the translation I need her to speak very poor English... But it's been so long since I tried learning Russian that I've forgotten most of the sentence structure that could lead to grammar mistakes. To make it more difficult, she doesn't have very long lines, so there's not much room for it.

Since this IS an assignment, I will refrain from putting up the actual lines so I can just collect general information and apply it to my translation. If this is still a little too much 'doing the homework for me' let me know and I will gladly delete it.

Thanks for any suggestions!

Handwriting within different writing systems

I have dyspraxia. In relation to languages, it means I sometimes have trouble with my handwriting. However, I find that writing in Japanese is much easier and my handwriting is a lot more legible.

I put this down to the fact that it has stroke order -- something which keeps everything distinguishable for me. I also find having some form of order to the writing means I tend not to mess up as much with what I'm writing. However, when using the Latin alphabet, everything gets jumbled up and I will write things in the wrong order and especially when I'm taking notes it can become completely illegible. I remember someone making a post -- a good while back -- about their friend inventing a sort of "stroke order" for the Latin alphabet to help him write.

Does anyone else feel the same way, with whatever writing systems they use? Whether you have a LD or not.
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    Aphex Twin - Backdoor.Ranky.S