Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Greek text of Aristophanes’ Lysistrata added to Project Gutenberg

Posted by Nathan Bierma on 02/22 at 06:55 PM
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Friday, February 17, 2006

Using iPods in language classes

From the Philly Inquirer:

Students in Spanish and French-language courses at Moorestown Friends School use iPods and voice recorders to practice their speaking skills, critique their pronunciations and keep records of their language studies. Students in Rob Buscaglia’s Spanish classes provided these examples of the work they have been doing with the iPods.


Posted by Nathan Bierma on 02/17 at 10:25 AM
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Monday, February 13, 2006

‘Turin’ or ‘Torino’?

From the Salt Lake Tribune:

map of ItalyMaybe it’s time to add the “Torino” vs. “Turin” Olympic face-off to “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off,” the Gershwin brothers’ classic song of pronunciation differences.

  Torino, of course, is how Italian natives refer to the city that will open its sports venues to the world this weekend, says Adriano Comollo, the founder of Salt Lake’s Italian Center for the West, a nonprofit group that helped create bocce ball courts in Pioneer Park, as well as promoting all things Italiano.

  But there’s no confusion for natives, like Comollo, who understand that it’s linguistically correct for Americans to refer to Turin, which is the Anglicized name of his hometown, just as the city of Roma is known outside of Italy as Rome.


Related: “Turin”: Home of the Shroud

Update: “Torino” favored for euphony?

Posted by Nathan Bierma on 02/13 at 11:25 AM
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Saturday, February 11, 2006

“steer” meaning “rudder” in Chaucer

...among the Middle English tidbits noticed in Chaucer’s “Complaint to His Purse”—a poem he wrote to the king to oh-so-subtly suggest that the king was behind on his payments to Chaucer. Upon receiving this poem, the king paid up.

The ME text with this gloss:

To yow, my purse, and to noon other wight
To you, my purse, and to none other wight[person],

Complayne I, for ye be my lady dere!
Complain I, for ye be my lady dear!

I am so sory, now that ye been lyght;
I am sorry now that ye be so light,


Posted by Nathan Bierma on 02/11 at 02:47 PM
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Coetzee: author, autor, literatus?

J.M. Coetzee in The Australian:

BOOKS of mine have been translated from the English in which they are written into some 25 other languages, the majority of them European. Of the 25 I can read two or three moderately well. Of many of the rest I know not a word; I have to trust my translators to render fairly what I have written. ...

As author I find it gratifying when a translator contacts me for advice. Among those who regularly confer with me are my French, German, Swedish, Dutch, Serbian and Korean translators. ...

My novel Foe, if it is about any single subject, is about authorship: about what it means to be an author not only in the professional sense (the profession of author was just beginning to mean something in Daniel Defoe’s day) but also in a sense that verges, if not on the divine, then at least on the demiurgic: sole author, sole creator.

Here is an exchange between my Serbian translator and myself, from the time when she was working on Foe:


Posted by Nathan Bierma on 02/11 at 02:35 PM
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Friday, February 03, 2006

‘On Language’ 2/1: “presticogitation

The word is out.

Posted by Nathan Bierma on 02/03 at 11:33 AM
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Word-final consonant clusters, the perfective aspect, and other child linguistic feats

Juicy morsels from the Nov. 2005 issue of the Journal of Child Language:

Asymmetries in the acquisition of word-initial and word-final consonant clusters
Previous work on the acquisition of consonant clusters points to a tendency for word-final clusters to be acquired before word-initial clusters (Templin, 1957; Lleó & Prinz, 1996; Levelt, Schiller & Levelt, 2000). This paper evaluates possible structural, morphological, frequency-based, and articulatory explanations for this asymmetry using a picture identification task with 12 English-speaking two-year-olds. The results show that word-final stop+/s/ clusters and nasal+/z/ clusters were produced much more accurately than word-initial /s/+stop clusters and /s/+nasal clusters. Neither structural nor frequency factors are able to account for these findings. Further analysis of longitudinal spontaneous production data from 2 children aged 1;1–2;6 provides little support for the role of morphology in explaining these results. We argue that an articulatory account best explains the asymmetries in the production of word-initial and word-final clusters.


Posted by Nathan Bierma on 02/03 at 11:15 AM
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