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This poem is spillover from the April 2, 2019 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] pantha, [personal profile] ari_the_dodecahedron, and [personal profile] readera. It also fills the "language" square in my 4-1-19 card for the School Days Bingo fest. This poem belongs to the Officer Pink thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.

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This poem came out of the April 2, 2019 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired and sponsored by [personal profile] satsuma. It also fills the "Waldorf school" prompt in my 4-1-19 card for the School Days Bingo Fest. This poem belongs to the Arts and Crafts America series introduced in "A Country of Craftsmen."

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Here is a diagram showing a lovely array of indigenous words for forest and related land types, distinguished by natural features and usage.  It's much easier to discuss land management with such a nice vocabulary, instead of just "forest."
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Put humans together and they'll make a language if there isn't one they can already use.  This article looks at young sign languages emerging, and raises some ethical questions. 

They got stuck on ethics and gave up even trying to make any recommendations, though, so I'll step in.

1) Don't be a dick.  Do not do things that make other people's lives harder just because you are curious about them.  Don't trample the local culture.

2) Nothing about us without us.  Involve the people you are working with.  Listen to them.  Respect their choices.

3) Give back.  Don't come in and take what you want without returning anything for it.  This makes it an exchange rather than misappropriation.  If you're worried about messing with the data, weed a garden or donate some food or whatever people need at the moment.

4) All languages are valuable.  Don't come in and try to stamp it out because you wish people would use some other language.  It does not matter why.  It is none of your business what language other people choose to use.  They may not even care about talking to you.  You may tell them about other languages, but it is wrong to pester them and evil to force them to switch.  See Rule #1.

5) Don't bait and switch.  It is cruel to offer something and then not deliver.  This may be a particular issue in poor and isolated Deaf communities if the topic of medical care or adaptive equipment comes up.  If you think you're going to need something, or the local people might need it, then make sure you can secure a supply.  If there is no feasible way to get it, then leaving it unmentioned may do less harm than mentioning it.

6) Don't withhold information or lie to people.  This may be challenging to balance with Rule #5 but is essential regarding Rule #1.  Primarily this means if someone asks about something you have not mentioned for reasons of Rule #5, it is time to share what information you have.

7) Remember that these are live people, with feelings, not a science experiment.  Of course they are fascinating.  Keep your enthusiasm within reasonable bounds and mind your ethics as best you can.  Don't act like a mad scientist.  You and your hosts are fellow explorers of human nature; you are equals.  Act like it.

Yeah, this upends centuries of scientific custom, but sometimes science needs a kick in the can from humanities.
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Sign languages can reveal hidden structures -- and limitations -- of spoken languages.  So there, assholes who don't consider them real languages. 
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Here's a fascinating article about people freediving with sperm whales.  Feel free to prompt for any of this if you wish.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Zooeyia (pronounced zoo-AY-uh) is the idea that pets, also known as companion animals, can be good for human health.
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Beautiful just to read, but incredibly useful if you write Japanese poetry such as haiku. 
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Evidently there's a terrible-sounding book on this topic, and someone decided to rant about that, with a very bad habit of equating nonviolent communication (the concept) with Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life by Marshall B. Rosenberg (the book).

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Here's an article about a language created by and for women's perspective. I knew Suzette; she was one of my first famous writer-friends. I wrote college papers about her work. We actually connected when I mentioned that I was doing one on women's invented languages. She handed me her then-unpublished manuscript for a sequel to Native Tongue so I could copy precise quotes from it.

I'm one of the people who has kept that language alive and in use. I'm not fluent -- few people are -- but I own the dictionary/grammar and I taught a class on it in the Grey School of Wizardry. That included me adding a few suggested augmentations to make the language more useful to spellcasting, because if you look at the grammar, you can see how well it lends itself to certain locking and unlocking features.

I also use certain words whenever I need them. Radíidin  is certainly one of them, but so is ranem (nonpearl: an ugly thing such as a festering hatred to which one pays attention).  I use the emotion grids to explain why people feel the way they do, based on reason, blame, and futility; or the quality of reason behind it.  

There is so much in this language that speaks to things that people are just now beginning to discuss in public, in large numbers, rather than a handful of us canaries saying, "Hey, y'all, might could be you'd want to pay attention to this fire over here before it spreads."  Not just vocabulary, but grammar.  Grace and efficiency and power.

In a word, super-gizomology, and Suzette would dislike me saying that because she was a very unassuming person who avoided being made much of.  Sorry, old friend, I call 'em like I see 'em.  Like Nikola Tesla, you built something ahead of its time, and it's going to take a while for the rest of the world to figure out how it even turns on.  But linguistic super-gizmology it is, because it's full of fresh encodings, and those are rare as hen's teeth.  <3
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 Here's an article about the non-STEM gifted kids.

That was me, by the way.  I do like science, but I suck at math.  My off-the-charts (I mean that literally, I broke the Pimsleur) gift is linguistic.  I'm also high on existential intelligence, which started upsetting people when I was a toddler.  And naturalistic intelligence -- hence my scientific interests in plants, animals, outer space, etc.  

The vast majority of what people recognize as "gifted" falls into ONE intelligence, logical-mathematical, with a little spillover into visual-spatial for people who like to build stuff.

Folks can appreciate things like music or dance, but rarely think of the top performers as "gifted."  They're perfectly happy to take advantage of the kinesthetic genius who plays a popular sport, because that's of use and interest to the public.  If what you have is fine manual dexterity, they won't give a flying fuck.  Interpersonal experts who are leaders are praised; those who are brilliant followers are treated like kleenex.  And existential or intrapersonal genius just gets you in trouble.  Nowadays they'll probably just beat you to death.  I had a hard enough time when I was little and there was a lot more breathing room then.

So look at the field.  There are (at least) 9 types of intelligence.  Only one is widely recognized and supported, with fragments of others. That means between 7/9 and 8/9 gets ignored or actively attacked.  But there are gifted people in ALL of those areas.

If you know a gifted child, or for that matter adult, support them in their area of expertise.  And it's only going to be the obvious one about 1/9 of the time.
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Day 3

In your own space, share a favorite piece of original canon (a TV episode, a song, a favorite interview, a book, a scene from a movie, etc) and explain why you love it so much. Leave a comment in this post saying you did it. Include a link to your post if you feel comfortable doing so

Among my favorites is the episode "Darmok" from Star Trek: The Next Generation.  It presents an alien race whose language is untranslatable because they speak in metaphor and allusion.  Within seconds I was yelling possible translations at the screen.  Some of these turned out to be accurate.  I'm pretty good at picking up languages on the fly, and I love xenolinguistics.  Other people have subsequently explored Tamarian grammar and vocabulary.  

I love this episode because it's one of the few that truly conveys a species that "thinks as well as a human, but not like  a human."  It leaves us with questions, not answers; puzzles, not solutions; and yet at the end of the episode ... Picard and Dathon at El-Adrel.

If you haven't seen it, watch it.  This episode works pretty well even out of context, and it's one of the greatest pieces of science fiction ever made.


Dec. 11th, 2018 02:53 am
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I found a fun new word today:

Taphonomy is the study of how organisms decay and become fossilized. The term taphonomy (from the Greek taphos, τάφος meaning "burial", and nomos, νόμος meaning "law") was introduced to paleontology in 1949[1] by Russian scientist Ivan Efremov to describe the study of the transition of remains, parts, or products of organisms from the biosphere to the lithosphere.


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