Creating Welsh Words.

Cardiff University student creates Welsh scientific words (BBC):

A Cardiff University student carrying out research into fatal diseases found many of the medical terms did not exist in his mother tongue. But far from being dissuaded, Bedwyr Ab Ion Thomas decided to make up Welsh words to explain his studies. The 23-year-old now hopes to have made a mini dictionary of new terms to help others by the time he finishes his PhD. “I hope that I can contribute not only to science but also to the Welsh language,” he said.

The medicinal chemistry student from Cardiff is attempting to develop treatments for rare diseases, such as mad cow disease, kuru and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), for which there are currently no cures. But carrying out his research in Welsh has brought up some “extra challenges”, with many of the scientific terms used only existing in English or Latin. One example is a binding pocket – where a drug would bind in a protein – which he translates as “poced feindio”. “These inconsistencies emphasise the need for scientific terms in Welsh to be standardised to avoid confusion,” he said. […]

Professor Simon Ward, director at the university’s Medicines Discovery Institute, said it was “important” to show you could study any topic in Welsh. “You don’t just have to be studying Welsh poetry in the Middle Ages – you can also do cutting-edge scientific research,” he said.

Of course a lot of people will say it’s a waste of time, but if the Welsh want to talk about mad cow disease in Welsh, more power to them, say I. (Thanks, Trevor!)

Also, I’ve recommended the delightful 1941 comedy Ball of Fire more than once (2011, 2013, 2016), but my wife and I watched it again last night and I feel compelled to do so again. Not only does it star Gary Cooper as a linguist and Barbara Stanwyck as the tough dame who provides the slang he needs for his encyclopedia, it’s full of great dialogue like “It’s as red as the Daily Worker and just as sore.” Don’t miss it if you can, in the immortal (alleged) words of Sam Goldwyn.

Also also, Dmitry Pruss would like to know about any authoritative scholarly work in German about Russian patronymics; a marriage application (not his) is being rejected by German authorities because the birth certificate lists the prospective groom with a patronymic, but his Western IDs don’t have any middle name. Dmitry says:

I believe that a letter in German Legalese or faux Legalese, citing scholarly work about what a Russian patronymic is and why it isn’t a middle name (or indeed any part of an English name) may suffice in his quest. But I don’t know how to find the relevant work in German 🙂

Thanks in advance for any help!

Comments

  1. S K Lewicki says:

    German bureaucracy is formidable but not insuperable. I have a Polish nephew, resident in Berlin, who married a German woman. His surname ends -ski; she took his name on marriage, becoming -ski also in Germany, but as anyone familiar with Polish names knows, as a married woman’s surname, it should end in -ska. It took a good deal of time and effort to persuade the German authorities to allow her to become -ska on her German official papers, but in the end, they did succeed!

  2. An inspirational story indeed!

  3. David Eddyshaw says:

    Now I have to come up with a Welsh word for “quixotic” …
    (cwicsotig doesn’t seem adequate.)

    Needs to be a character from Welsh history (or literature) who was plucky, but mad and ultimately doomed to inevitable failure. How hard can it be?

  4. @David Eddyshaw: That makes me think of Efnysien, although his madness is less “plucky” and more “violent at the slightest provocation.”

    It does seem quixotic* to try, simultaneously, to work on treatments for spongiform encephalopathies—which are protein-based, making them hard to treat selectively, and always progressively fatal—while at the same time trying to develop a whole new vocabulary for describing molecular biology.

    * My brother tried writing a novel, which took place in a fictional world, in which he tried not to use any words that were recognizably related to proper names from our universe. However, he eventually caved and used “quixotic,” which I think I and everyone else who read his drafts were critical of. He never exactly finished** it and eventually gave up working on it, which was too bad, since it had some interesting ideas.

    ** He did write an ending of sorts, but it was clearly out of keeping with the rest of the tale, and it was nothing like the ending that he told me he had planned. Having despaired of bringing the story to its proper conclusion, he inserted a character based on his then girlfriend, and had the tormented protagonist just decide to give up his fight and run off with her instead.

  5. David Marjanović says:

    The English Wikipedia has articles on how names in different cultures/jurisdictions work… but the German one seems not to. All I found was half a sentence (in the short Anthroponymie article), unambiguous though it is:

    “Russische Namen bestehen aus Vorname, Patronym und Familienname (der Vater von Fjodor Michailowitsch Dostojewski war Michail Andrejewitsch Dostojewski)”

    (cwicsotig doesn’t seem adequate.)

    …you could always go for cichotig…?

  6. John Cowan says:

    Arthur comes to mind, though I wouldn’t call him mad exactly.

  7. Speaking of tragic, I’ve lost track of the graduate student I once knew who wrote a guide for American students in the UK. The word “wank,” she explained, means “nap,” so if you’re late you should tell your hostess, “I was just having a wank.” And BSE stands for British Seal of Excellence, so to get the best cuts at the butcher’s you should firmly demand “BSE! BSE!” and back up your insistence by stamping your feet and mooing.

  8. Thank you, LH!!

    formidable but not insuperable

    That’s the hope LOL, that it isn’t the full Kafka and that they just need a trustworthy-looking document to attach to the case. But did your surname change story require a lawyer? Or just writing notes?

    PS: Funny, just yesterday, when we discussed the surnames which don’t always point to the family origins people believe at first, I mentioned common misconceptions
    about the surname Levitsky and “is it Jewish” (with a few exceptions, not).
    (and the mysterious ancestor was actually Frania Franciszka Lewicka )

  9. David Eddyshaw says:

    @Jonathan Morse:

    Have you tried the famous echo in the Reading Room of the British Museum?

    It is customary on entering an Underground carriage to shake hands with all the other passengers.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerard_Hoffnung

  10. Bathrobe says:

    t took a good deal of time and effort to persuade the German authorities to allow her to become -ska on her German official papers, but in the end, they did succeed!

    And Poland is right next door! I don’t think I’ll ever say anything again about Americans being insular.

    Incidentally, I had problems with an extremely scrupulous translation firm in Australia when I asked them to translate my Chinese driver’s licence into English.

    They insisted on transliterating my Chinese name directly into Latin letters, not my English name. Of course, this would be enough to freak out any Australian bureaucrat. I submitted to them a notarised Chinese document showing that the bearer of that Chinese name was the same as the person holding an Australian passport. This was rejected because the Australian government doesn’t recognise documents issued by foreign governments (by which, I presume, they mean ID cards, etc.)

    I was impressed with their professional ethics but flabbergasted at how petty the result was. If I had been Chinese there would have been no problem because a transliteration of the Chinese name would have matched the name in my passport. But because I was Australian the translators insistence on principle meant that there was virtually no way that a translation of my Chinese driver’s licence would make sense to Australian bureaucrats.

    They eventually relented and put my name in the translation, along with an explanatory footnote (of which I don’t remember the content but was sufficient for purpose), which meant that I could present a Chinese driver’s licence in support of an application to get a new Australian driver’s licence.

  11. I’m a big fan of Hoffnung. I had no idea that he was Jewish, that he died so young, and that he “studied at Hornsey College of Art, but was expelled for his lack of gravity in the life class.”

    The concept of playing this kind of practical joke on hapless foreigners must go very far back but I can’t think of any interestingly ancient examples.

  12. Rodger C says:

    …you could always go for cichotig…?

    That was my first thought. My second was cichotesg.

  13. The Zompist Phrasebook is the traditional internet source of bad advice:

    http://www.zompist.com/phrases.html

  14. David Eddyshaw says:
  15. in his mother tongue ?

    Would anyone young enough to be a student have Welsh as their mother tongue? Or even as their mother’s mother tongue?

    Certainly there were militant Welsh languagists when I was working there in the 1980’s. I remember a training session in Anglesey where I presented in English and they discussed in Welsh — but using the English words for all the technical terms I was talking about. Similar experience in Ceredigion (Cardigan) — although the Welsh was really only for the social bonding, not full discussion.

    Less Welsh in Cardiff/Swansea/Port Talbot: only pleasantries.

    Clearly all these speakers’s English was up to mother tongue level.

  16. David Eddyshaw says:

    Would anyone young enough to be a student have Welsh as their mother tongue?

    Oh yes. I’m not surprised at all.
    There are more Welsh speakers around even in Swansea than you might think; people don’t initiate conversations in Welsh with strangers, so this is not immediately apparent.

    Welsh-speaking colleagues in Carmarthen conduct almost half of their consultations in Welsh (admittedly with a predominently elderly population, in eye clinics.)

    There is a near-total lack of equivalents for technical terms (or at least any that anyone but an enthusiast can be expected to recognise) so technical discussions of medical issues do end up with a sort of macaronic character. But they’re still in Welsh.

    The last person in my own family who was uncertain in her English (which she learnt as a teenager) was my great aunt, but you still come across the occasional patient in their eighties who is more fluent in Welsh than English, even now.

  17. My cloistered life! This is the funny graduate student I lost track of, and I never knew a thing about her except the brief interlude at Cornell.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jo_Miller

  18. Small world. When I read that bit about “having a wank” my first thought was that it sounds like something Jo Miller would say. I know Jo from undergrad. She is still gifted with a sharp wit.

  19. David Marjanović says:

    And Poland is right next door! I don’t think I’ll ever say anything again about Americans being insular.

    Well, yes. West Germany (like Austria) is still, in its own mind, on the other side of the Iron Curtain; and East Germany (“the Saxons’ revenge on the Prussians”) was insular even when it was on the same side of the Iron Curtain as Poland. The stereotype is that Poland is an uninterestingly poor country with an economy based on car theft and bike theft and a language that consists of impenetrable heaps of sibilants.

  20. Good lord. I guess we’re going to have to start assigning Jo Miller numbers.

  21. A 2012 interview in which she talks about her college and grad school experience. (She seems to have dropped off the edge of the earth since 2017.)

  22. @Bathrobe:
    My wife had a similar experience. When we married, she took my last name, which starts in “H”. Back then she still had Kazakh citizenship, and in her passport the name was written in both Cyrillic and Latin script. As usual in most of the former USSR, the name was transliterated into Cyrillic with “Х”, and then back-transiterated into Latin script with “Kh”. The result was that in some German documents that were based on her Kazakh passport, e.g. her driving licence, her name was written with “Kh”, while in other documents it was written with “H”, leading to lots of questions and arguments with various authorities. At some point after she got her German citizenship, we made the effort to have all her official documents re-done with the correct spelling, based on our German marriage certificate.
    @Dmitriy Pruss: many German authorities know about Russian patronymics due to the many Aussiedler from the former USSR; I remember it coming up and not being a problem during the citizenship application of my wife. I assume someone at the authority you’re dealing with is being conciously obtuse.

  23. AJP Crown says:

    “Unlike a certain other university you and I both attended, Yale doesn’t conflate learning with suffering. ”

    That’s Cornell? And only the Medieval History dept, presumably; it can’t be the entire place.

  24. J.W. Brewer says:

    Theory: Jo Miller is quietly working on a new project to create new Welsh technical vocabulary via an institutional mechanism structured like an improv comedy group.

  25. I assume someone at the authority you’re dealing with is being consciously obtuse.

    As I understand the whole issue is specifically about marriage between German nationals and foreigners. Not with immigration. The same groom never had any issues with his blue card or citizenship application (which will take considerable time to process, unfortunately, or the problem might have become mute). But for the marriage license application, a certified copy of groom’s birth certificate didn’t cut (they needed the original). A US passport as a proof of nationality didn’t work (they needed the original certificate of naturalization). And they need a sworn statement authenticated by the US Consulate that the groom is single (which is ordinarily just stupid rather than hard … instead of taking the groom’s word directly, they ask him to utter the same words before a foreign diplomat …. except in the times of COVID, getting an appointment in person in the Consulate is something entirely adventurous). But the “bigamy check” is being solved, while the patronymic thing isn’t even close.

    By the way, in the US, the DoS handbook has an exhaustive list of acceptable immaterial discrepancies in the applicants’ names, including both dropped patronymics and feminine suffixes
    https://fam.state.gov/FAM/08FAM/08FAM040301.html#M403_1_5_A

  26. David Eddyshaw says:

    Theory: Jo Miller is quietly working on a new project to create new Welsh technical vocabulary via an institutional mechanism structured like an improv comedy group.

    If she isn’t, she should be. That is an excellent idea. I may have to petition the Senedd …

  27. AJP Crown says:

    an institutional mechanism structured like an improv comedy group
    You mean the House of Commons?

  28. John Cowan says:

    a certified copy of groom’s birth certificate didn’t cut (they needed the original)

    In the U.S., as we learned from the birtherism folly, the only original certificate is the one in the files of the local recorder of vital statistics, and in some states that is purely electronic. Everything else is a certified copy.

  29. I went through that nonsense when I was trying to get a Massachusetts driver’s license. I had to write the State Department and make phone calls to relevant officials, but I finally got it.

  30. John Cowan says:

    Bigamy is a very strange thing in legally-monogamous countries: it is both impossible (the second marriage is void ab initio) and criminalized. It should be a maxim that what is impossible can never be a crime, but this is evidently an exception.

    Presumably what is really at stake here is fraud on the first spouse, or failing that, on third parties such as the state and insurance companies that treat spouses and non-spouses differently.

  31. Jen in Edinburgh says:

    Or on the second spouse, who’s the one not gettting a legal marriage out of it – the first spouse doesn’t necessarily lose any more than if the perpetrator simply set up house elsewhere without bothering about a ceremony.

    I think it is a kind of fraud, though – other impossible-but-illegal things might include selling a property you don’t own, or making an agreement on behalf of a company which doesn’t exist.

  32. David Eddyshaw says:

    Presumably it’s not in fact illegal to be a bigamist, but only to attempt to become one. If you could be a bigamist without having become one, they couldn’t lay a finger on you.

  33. ə de vivre says:

    Re. names: Forms in Quebec have no field for middle names, but forms for the federal government do. Many Quebec institutions require my name to be the same as the one associated with my social insurance number, but they’re idiosyncratic about whether they parse it as [First-Middle] [Last] or [First] [Middle-Last]. I prefer the former, since I essentially never use my middle name in everyday life, and it often takes me a bit to understand when someone calls me “monsieur [Middle Name].”

    There was a minor scandal here when, after a major data leak at the Desjardins credit union, people affected were given free credit monitoring. But the software, probably made in the USA, would glitch out if you tried to enter a name that used accented characters.

    Presumably it’s not in fact illegal to be a bigamist, but only to attempt to become one. If you could be a bigamist without having become one, they couldn’t lay a finger on you.

    This reminds me of when they legalized pot in Washington state. There was a period of several months after possession was decriminalized but before the regulations governing its sale came into effect when it was legal to posses marijuana but there was no legal way to purchase it. Several companies would accept donations and give you gifts of certain amounts of pot corresponding to certain levels of donations. I have no idea if this distinction actually absolved them of liability, but AFAIK no one took the trouble to go after those organizations.

  34. Utah struck its bigamy laws as contradicting freedom of religion, but it was on the books for a long time, and most local families have some ancestors who served time for this, or fled the US. Generally one can’t get into Heaven without plural marriage, it’s that important.

    Germany doesn’t request the records from the vital statistics departments though. They just ask the applicant to produce some paper from the authorities of the country of origin. Some nations simply refuse to provide it, in which case the bachelor status can be established in the German court. Some duly request the info from the vital stats offices. Some, like the US, just quiz the applicant and furnish his or her sworn statement.

    (Hard to say what is the spirit of the law; it may have been intended to prevent immigration fraud, but then it probably shouldn’t be applied to the legal permanent residents of Germany. Or it may even be a holdover from the more xenophobic times, a limpieza de sangre thing? But what’s the point guessing about the intent when the task is narrowly practical?)

  35. David Marjanović says:

    As usual in most of the former USSR, the name was transliterated into Cyrillic with “Х”

    A sobering tale about the assumption of Russian as default in the USSR and most of its successors – Kazakh actually has a letter Һһ used for its admittedly marginal /h/.

    a certified copy of groom’s birth certificate didn’t cut (they needed the original).

    *facepalm*

    A US passport as a proof of nationality didn’t work (they needed the original certificate of naturalization).

    Of course, because the passport could be a fake. But the certificate of naturalization could never be, I guess.

  36. passport could be a fake

    Good enough for everything immigration though. And it beats me, why the hard proof of nationality is a prerequisite for a marriage license. It isn’t like a security clearance.I can only remember that the Reich Jews were stripped of their nationality so maybe that’s a legacy of those days. (Apropos of that, one of my genealogy acquaintances, Randy Shoenberg of the “stolen Gistav Klimt” fame, restored the once-stripped Austrian citizenship and is happily traveling in Europe now, something the US citizens can’t)

    BTW in Russia one can get both a replacement birth certificate (not a copy in the legal sense, but of course not the original in the birthiism sense) but ALSO a more detailed archive-verified copy of the actual record (which often contains more details than the certificate issued from it). So the “vital record” vs. “vital act certifcate” distinction may be real in some circumstances!

  37. David Marjanović says:

    maybe that’s a legacy of those days

    I suppose that’s possible. The German definition of murder is in fact such a legacy, with very odd consequences…

  38. AJP Crown says:

    The 2004 Civil Partnerships Act defined a similar offence relating to same-sex civil partnerships, now often informally though not legally known as bigamy.

    What’s if the first marriage is to a man and the second… isn’t? Surely that deserves a special word, not just bigamy.

    c1250 Gen. & Exod. l. 449 Bigamie is unkinde ðing, On engleis tale twie-wifing.

    Bigamy is such a peculiar word; out there on its own, unlike anything else. If the state were invented now it would get some silly name like simultaneous biwedlock.

  39. J.W. Brewer says:

    Bigamy constrasts with the similarly-constructed word digamy, but since in modern Western societies digamy is both legal and not even socially deprecated the word is obscure. Perhaps it has a pejorative air and not enough folks want to be pejorative about the referent?

  40. There once was an old man of Lyme
    who married three wives at a time.
    When asked, “Why a third?”
    he replied “One’s absurd,
    and bigamy, sir, is a crime.”

  41. In one of the earliest episodes of the Australian legal dramedy Rake (available on Netflix, I think), the main character is defending a man on a bigamy charge. The defense’s situation goes from bad to worse when it comes out that the man actually has three wives, not just two.

  42. SFReader says:

    I learned recently that in France they essentially legalized polygamy.

    Basically, French law removed in several stages all distinction between traditional marriage and common law marriage (informal marriage) which resulted in legalization of Islamic (or any other) plural marriage since they are now regarded in France as just another informal marriage (there being no restrictions on number of spouses in informal marriage).

  43. AJP Crown says:

    An alternative to bigamy is marrying the same person over again without an intervening divorce. Also known as “reaffirming our vows” as if vows dissolved over the years, I see it as contempt (or something). I’ll be making vow renewing illegal when I come to power.

  44. In Ireland divorce was illegal from 1937 to 1996; many Catholics got a church annulment (without a civil annulment) prior to a second church marriage, at which the priest was careful to sign only the church register, not the civil register; but technically this just added misprision to the felony of bigamy. Neither was ever prosecuted.

  45. January First-of-May says:

    Presumably it’s not in fact illegal to be a bigamist, but only to attempt to become one. If you could be a bigamist without having become one, they couldn’t lay a finger on you.

    Depends on what is meant by “having become”; IIRC, this does occasionally happen in the case of a divorce and remarriage followed by the divorce being voided for some unrelated reason (e.g. being issued by an official who had no authority to issue [this kind of] divorce) – and, as far as I recall, the second marriage still becomes void.
    (I thought this might just be Hollywood, but an attempt at googling immediately found a link that confirmed my interpretation.)

    At one point last year, I tried to look up what would happen if a married pair turned out to be unknowingly (e.g. due to an adoption) too closely related to legally marry; this sounds like a soap opera plot, but did appear to have actually happened at least once (I no longer recall the details).
    As far as I do recall, the answer was that the marriage would be annulled, but the usual punishment for an illegal marriage (whatever it was – I don’t recall that) would not occur.

  46. AJP Crown says:

    I wonder if there are lawyers who specialise in defending alleged bigamists. It can’t be hard to prove but there might be mitigating circs (“I forgot”).

  47. J.W. Brewer says:

    My vague and anecdotal impression is that at least in the U.S. actual criminal charges against bigamists are sufficiently few and far between that it’s not really a specialty you could make a steady living with as a lawyer. A somewhat more common scenario generating employment for lawyers is that the bigamist dies and a fight then ensues between the more recent putative wife and the prior lady who had been in practice out of the picture for many years but who maybe never got formally divorced with all the i’s dotted and t’s crossed. Conflict can then arise about which of them has claims to certain portions of the dead guy’s estate, which is the default beneficiary under insurance policies and retirement accounts, etc etc.

    FWIW, at least in New York if you get married and it’s not for the first time (or, rather, you admit on the paperwork it’s not …; don’t know how much checking in which sort of databases they do to detect those who might lie about it) you need, when getting the marriage license, to present the bureaucrat issuing the license with formal documentation (death certificate of prior spouse if widowed, appropriate final court order if divorced) showing that the first marriage is definitively over in the eyes of the law.

  48. January First-of-May says:

    My vague and anecdotal impression is that at least in the U.S. actual criminal charges against bigamists are sufficiently few and far between that it’s not really a specialty you could make a steady living with as a lawyer.

    “Oddly enough, it is only in the case of a prosecution for bigamy that one can be certain that such result [i.e. a voided divorce] will follow, and prosecutions for bigamy after anything that resembles an effort to obtain a divorce are so rare that, for practical purposes, they may be and are ignored.”

    The Myth of the Void Divorce, F.V.Harper, 1935

    (This in turn referenced an 1930 work of Harper called The Validity of Void Divorces, which I have downloaded but not yet read.)

     
    One interesting real case that came up on my googling: in 2014, a rich Pennsylvanian politician, during a messy divorce fight, provided evidence that his wife of 24 years (with whom he was divorcing) was not in fact his wife at all, as she had not officially divorced another man that she was previously married to until some years into said 24, and that therefore she was not entitled to any part of his riches.

    I hadn’t looked up how it ended, though from a cursory reading of the relevant news articles I had the impression that the law was probably on his side.

  49. AJP Crown says:

    I had to send notarised copies of my first-marriage divorce decree with my second marriage licence, birth certificate, passports, pet vaccinations, tax forms, library card etc. to show some university bureaucrat that I, a British person, was the father of another British person claiming their right to home-student undergraduate tuition fees in England and not in fact an unrelated foreign bigamist. Both sides used lawyers for that little fight. By luck mostly, we won and then the daughter decided to go and study somewhere else instead.

  50. Several companies would accept donations and give you gifts of certain amounts of pot corresponding to certain levels of donations.

    We’ve had this situation (cannabis possession legal but sale illegal) in Washington, DC, for several year now thanks to meddling by Republicans in Congress. It’s one of the things that would be remedied by DC statehood.

    what would happen if a married pair turned out to be unknowingly (e.g. due to an adoption) too closely related to legally marry

    I remember running across an old newspaper article about a couple whose marriage was ruled void when it was discovered that one of them was legally black, though they had both claimed to be white (I’m not sure whether the black one even knew they were black at the time). I don’t remember the year, but theoretically it could have happened in the US as recently as 1967, when the Loving vs Virginia ruling ensured that interracial marriage was legal everywhere in the country.

  51. In the genealogy materials of the Czarist Russia I saw a record of two simultaneous divorces of a man who was married to two different women, and was divorced for this reason, with both. It was a Jewish record, and divorces were always widely allowed by the traditional laws, but record-keeping was more meticulous than for any other type of vital records, because it was no big deal to misrecord someone’s birth or death but divorces had to be done perfectly right to make sure that nobody is ever born to a women who is married to someone else than the father (the traditional law was OK with divorce for as strong a reason as mutual dislike, or with out of wedlock births by single mothers, and could even stomach bigamy … but illegitimate births by married mothers was something so horribly sanctioned that it had to be avoided at all costs)

  52. No discussion of bigamy is complete without a reference to the Trial by Jury

  53. Jewish divorces must be recorded also so that there’s no risk of a Cohen marrying a divorcée.

  54. @Bathrobe: i worked as an administrator for a chinese theater company in the u.s., and the worst bureaucratic nightmare we had was when a performer’s green card had his name in u.s. order (individual name – family name) and his driver’s license had it in chinese order (family name – individual name). his immigration status was up in the air until we managed to figure out how to harmonize them, and we never did find out how they ended up different (the driver’s license should have been copied from the green card)…

    and for more on the development of new vocabulary (and phrases, idioms, etc) for small languages that don’t want to import them as loans, here are two pieces on the yiddish vocabulary for Black Lives Matter:

    an article by one of the yiddishists proposing an approach; and a transcript of an Allusionist episode about the project.

    and a related-ish article, while i’m throwing yiddish-language-change links in here and tempting the robot fates) on what to do with a prominent yiddish writer’s racist-slur pseudonym in contemporary scholarly and pedagogical writing.

  55. Jen in Edinburgh says:

    so that there’s no risk of a Cohen marrying a divorcée.

    Is this why Marianne had to go?

  56. gwenllian says:

    Would anyone young enough to be a student have Welsh as their mother tongue? Or even as their mother’s mother tongue?

    Certainly there were militant Welsh languagists when I was working there in the 1980’s. I remember a training session in Anglesey where I presented in English and they discussed in Welsh — but using the English words for all the technical terms I was talking about. Similar experience in Ceredigion (Cardigan) — although the Welsh was really only for the social bonding, not full discussion.

    Less Welsh in Cardiff/Swansea/Port Talbot: only pleasantries.

    Clearly all these speakers’s English was up to mother tongue level.

    Still plenty of Welsh mother tongue speakers around, though Welsh is currently collapsing as a community language all over its traditional heartlands (Y Fro Gymraeg) except for the town of Caernarfon and its surrounding area. Despite the Welsh language commissioner expressing concern that the situation of Welsh could soon be much like that of Irish, the government seems to be really focused on increasing the number of Welsh speakers in English-speaking areas and on the plan to achieve the highly symbolic number of a million speakers, and not at all on the question of whether it’s actually going to be spoken outside of the education system once the communities where it’s most people’s mother tongue and the preferred community language are gone. Of course, there’s not really much the government could do about the lonstanding trends of rural Wales being a great place for non-Welsh-speaking retirees and families looking to spend their savings on a piece of rural paradise, and not that great a place for young locals to stick around and start families, but the focus and priorities of its language preservation and promotion efforts still seem kind of counterproductive and upside down, all things considered.

  57. It’s quite possible to be married to several people even though it’s not legal to marry several people, as long as the marriages were entered in a place where they were allowed, and the place where you live recognize marriages entered in that place. Such stories show up in newspapers now and then. They don’t cause as much outrage as the situation where a person is married to only one other person, but that person is too young to marry. Should the marriage still be recognized, and does it matter if the young person only was too young at the time of entering the marriage or still is?

    Translating scientific vocabulary into your mother tongue never gets old, I believe. Isn’t that part of the charm of scientific vocabulary in the first place?

  58. David Eddyshaw says:

    Tony Naden once produced a booklet of computer terminology for Mampruli (this was a jeu d’esprit: at the time he himself had the only laptop I had ever seen north of Lake Volta.) The only term I remember is kuuwa “mouse.”

  59. From what I understand, Palestinian Arabic is increasingly borrowing Hebrew vocabulary, starting with technical terms but leaking elsewhere, and starting with bilingual Arabic/Hebrew speakers but leaking into the speech of monolinguals and Hebrew-avoiders.

  60. Lars Mathiesen says:

    Up until 2017-02-01 it was possible for 16 and 17 year olds to get a dispensation from the general Danish limit of 18. It no longer is, but there must be lots of such couples who are still married (it happened 70 times from 2005 to 2015).

    There was a major scandal a few years before that because the relevant minister ordered the separation of all refugee couples where one part was under 18, even though there was a duty of individual evaluation of each case in the law. (“They’re Muslims so it’s all child brides, off with their heads!”) I think the law for Danes was changed to airbrush that miscarriage of justice a little.

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