ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Some linguists rendered a legal brief in Klingon. Okay, that's cool. But then I saw this and cracked up laughing:

a California nonprofit devoted to supporting "constructed languages" — is trying to convince a court that the alien language from "Star Trek" is a real, "living" form of communication.

Guys, it's a pidgin now and has been for, gosh, probably more than a decade by this time. It didn't take long to become a household language. Over in Europe it's customary for people to learn multiple languages, and the home language is whatever two people have in common. For several couples that was Klingon, and so their kids learned it as a native language. Well, anything that's spoken live by native speakers counts as a real language. It's a pidgin, technically, because it's "borrowed" from elsewhere so kids aren't learning it from older native speakers. It's going to have carryover from English (or French, Italian, etc.) and will take a while for that to rub off. But all they really need to prove the case is convince a native speaker of Klingon to show up. Which would be awesome.

CBS and Paramount have sued, alleging that the unlicensed use of Klingon amounts to copyright infringement.

*headdesk* You cannot copyright a LANGUAGE. It is words. It is not an arrangement of specific words which is what can be copyrighted. It is not a logo or a trademark. You can copyright The Klingon Dictionary but not the language itself.  A movie is pretty obviously not a dictionary.  You also cannot copyright plain words. TSR tried copyrighting "dragon" once and lost. Words belong to everyone. You can only copyright what you do with the words.

"There would be great danger to allowing the copyright power to extend to prevent others from speaking a language," Duan wrote in a blog post Thursday.

Thank you brain-having person for pointing out the gigantic clusterfuck that would ensue from all the native peoples and their conquerors simultaneously trying to copyright the same languages.  Coyote would have so much to do, he'd have to invite all his Trickster friends from every pantheon just to cover all of that.  0_o
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 [personal profile] dialecticdreamer has posted the story "Hidden Storms" based on my prompt.  Bil and his alien friends discuss etiquette, taboos, reading and writing.  <3  This is what science fiction should be.
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Here's an article on language loss through social deprivation.  Consider the extreme hostility that immigrants often face when trying to function in a new country.  The overwhelming demand that they give up their native language and culture is hard enough for people who choose  to immigrate.  For refugees, who are not voluntary immigrants, this additional violation of self can be shattering.
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The movie Finding Nemo has been dubbed into Navajo as Nemo Hádéíst’į́į́’.  Any talking beast movie is likely to come across rather differently in a tribal language.  Before this, they did the first Star Wars movie.  I imagine that parts of its dialog are a great deal shorter -- as Navajo is an excellent language for discussing mystical things -- while others are probably much longer (I've watched the video about describing an iPod).  In any case, I'm pleased to see people not only working to keep their language alive, but engaging the children who are needed to carry it forward.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
 Alas, it is 21 volumes long, so not practical for me to read.  But I am happy that it exists.
ysabetwordsmith: (gold star)
 Using biology to study folklore to study sociogeography.  I love how science sticks to itself!  This is like a hot fudge brownie delight of scientific goodness.  :D
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
This poem came out of the April 7, 2015 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] janetmiles. It also fills the "a gentle fall of rain" square in my 3-16-15 card for the [community profile] genprompt_bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by [personal profile] stardreamer.

"A Gentle Fall of Rain"

Soft words are like water,
wearing away hard stone
one drop at a time.

People see only the softness,
and do not understand the power.

The gentle art of verbal self-defense
is like aikido, all circles and spirals
of swirling words to deflect attacks.

People hear only the circumlocution,
and not the bell-song of the shield in action.

Practicing nonviolent language is like
standing outside in a gentle fall of rain,
a study of tenderness and cleansing.

People feel only the raindrops,
and not the sun lifting the sea into the sky.

But it is there, it is there, it is all there --
one word, one language, one thought,
each shaping the other into infinite complexities.

People do not need to understand these things
in order for them to work.

* * *


The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense by Suzette Haden Elgin is the leading resource on nonviolent communication.  See some examples online.  It's potent stuff.

Aikido is a martial art based on circles.  Like other peacemongering skills -- and like the mage in D&D -- it looks pointless at low levels and becomes freaking unstoppable  at high levels.  Also, it was officially started  by a man with superpowers. So if you want to gain superpowers and are willing to spend a few decades on that project, this is a good choice.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Here is a fascinating look at the evolution of Italy and its languages, including the spillover of mostly-southern-Italian immigrants into America.

Over in Terramagne, you can see how this influences some of the main characters.  Ham, as part of the Damask collective, has a Sicilian grandfather.  So Ham has a very Italian-American flavor of expression.

The Marionettes as a Family have spread throughout much of Italy, and beyond, but their highest concentration remains in the southerly parts -- Sicilia, Calabria, Puglia, and so forth -- whose regional differences contribute to the cultural flavor.  T-Italy is less assimiliated but more tolerant than local-Italy.  It's more common for people to speak a regional dialect as their home language and keep Standard Italian for public or official discourse.  I've caught a few instances of my Marionettes codeswitching not only between English and Italian, which they do a lot, but also into Sicilian, which they pretty much restrict to people they consider family.  This little extra bit of flexibility is also why Italy has one of the more integrated soup cultures -- there are more than a few soups on the police force, mostly strongmen and speedsters -- and the Mob conflict is a periodic nuisance rather than a culture-wrecking disaster.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
I am all asquee over this bit of linguistic news that archaic words are regaining crowd appeal.  Why?  Because it's a triangulation point helping to confirm my hypothesis that the frame has popped off and English is in one of its phases of rapid evolution, like the Great Vowel Shift.  Whenever that happens, there's a big uptick in archaic resurgence because as the language retools itself, people check the attic for things that might be usable to fill gaps they're finding that inspired such a major change in the first place.  It's a time when the usual rules are suspended enough to permit drastic revisions of practice.  So you see certain words appearing and disappearing from common use, like skipping a stone across a lake, if you track them out over centuries.

*chuckle*  Slightly marred by those of us whose farmemory and taste in literature have always led us to use "alas" as an everyday word.
ysabetwordsmith: Two smiling women; Kelly is blonde and Dale is brunette (walking the beat)
This is the freebie for the October Creative Jam. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] dialecticdreamer, [personal profile] alexseanchai, and [personal profile] curiosity. It also fills the "Festivals and Celebrations" square in my 10-2-15 card for the [community profile] ladiesbingo fest and the "music" square in my 9-4-15 card for the [community profile] genprompt_bingo fest. This poem belongs to the series Walking the Beat.

Read more... )
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Some of these predate the internet even in their slang usage, although social networks have greatly spread the usage. 
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
This study showed how names influence imagination

I've always annoyed people trying to apply these tests, because I stop with, "I don't know anything more about that person.  All you've given me is a name.  That doesn't contain the information you're asking for."  Or a picture.  Or whatever.  Because it could be boy named Sue or a white Irish kid named Javier.

Sometimes when I'm naming characters they just tell me.  Sometimes I go looking for things that match.  I like using ethnic names because it's a chance for wider representation.  I often look up the demographics of a region to find locally common names and ethnic groups.  But every once in a while they do something off-pattern, like sex-swapped names, or the Louisiana woman who started screaming curses in Italian.

Assumptions are bug spots that'll stop you from seeing what's really in front of you.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
So this is one way to represent the sounds of humpback whale songs.  Doubtless someone is doing this over in Terramagne too.  Just ignore the humanocentric reference to this being "almost like" a language.  0_o
ysabetwordsmith: (Fly Free)
This is the freebie for the September Creative Jam, inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] zianuray.

"Truth vs. Reality"
-- a desert poem

Between truth and reality
lies all that is, a contradiction
that completes creation.

Some things are true but not real.

What you cannot see may
still be so in its secret self.

There is knowledge that lies
within us, not out in the world.

Some things are real but not true.

What you can touch with your hands
may tell lies to your fingertips.

The shape of the body does not
always match the shape of the soul.

Only by learning to embrace
the contradiction can we
perceive the whole.


ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)

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