Linguistic Legacy Materials at LDD.

Language Documentation and Description (LDD) “is an international journal that publishes peer-reviewed research on language documentation, language description, and language support, broadly conceived”; at a Nick Nicholas Facebook post, Peter Austin commented:

There’s a bunch of interesting papers in this issue of LDD about the social lives of linguistic materials and the need to study the various “versions” of published “final” documents.

It does indeed look interesting, with titles such as “Philology in the folklore archive: Interpreting past documentation of the Kraasna dialect of Estonian” (Tobias Weber) and “Legacy materials and cultural facework: Obscenity and bad words in Siouan language documentation” (Saul Schwartz).

A public service notice: Globus Books is having a two-day online sale (20% off on orders of $40+) on July 3rd and 4th. If you want to buy some Russian books, now’s a good time.

And a personal note: today is my birthday, and I’ve already gotten some presents of Hattic interest, notably (from my generous wife) Keys to the “Gift”: A Guide to Vladimir Nabokov’s Novel, by Yuri Leving, which I’m extremely excited about — it’s my favorite Nabokov novel, which means it’s one of my favorite novels, period. On the sf front, I got This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone, which got great reviews, and on the cop-show front, All the Pieces Matter: The Inside Story of The Wire, by Jonathan Abrams, which comes at the perfect time, since I just finished the fifth and final season of The Wire, which I continue to think of as the best TV show in existence. (Some people think the last season is the best, others the worst; I can understand both points of view, because the development of the earlier story arcs and characters was fantastic, whereas the newspaper stuff was disappointing by comparison to the general excellence of the show: dogged reporter Alma and honest, professional editor Gus vs. bad editors whose names I don’t even remember, which shows you how cardboard they are.) Tonight I’ll be dining on the traditional chicken curry, with lemon meringue pie for dessert. My wife knows how to keep me purring contentedly.


  1. David Eddyshaw says

    today is my birthday

    O Hat, live for ever!

    This Is How You Lose the Time War is very good.

  2. Stu Clayton says

    This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar

    AND Max Gladstone.

  3. cuchuflete says

    ¡Feliz cumple, chavaluco!

  4. Breithlá sona dhuit!

  5. عيد ميلاد سعيد!

    ⴰⵎⵓⵍⵍⵉ ⴰⵎⴳⴳⴰⵣ!

  6. ⴰⵎⵓⵍⵍⵉ ⴰⵎⴳⴳⴰⵣ!

    OK, that’s very cool.

  7. Kabyle?

  8. Kabyle Wiki indeed has an entry:
    “Amulli ameggaz (s Teglizit: Happy Birthday To You) d tizlit tamensayt i wesfugel s umulli n tlallit n kra n ufgan”
    about a certain song… (but I think it must be not only kabyle)

  9. Van harte gefeliciteerd!

  10. אַ פֿרײלעכן געבורסטאָג!
    ביז אַ הונדערט צװאַנציק!

  11. David Marjanović says

    This Is How You Lose the Time War

    I’m reminded of the three laws of thermodynamics: “you can’t win, you can’t break even, you can’t quit the game”…

  12. Herzlichen Glückwunsch zum Geburtstag nachträglich!

  13. John Cowan says

    Yesterday was my birthday.

  14. Glückwunsch nachträglich to you too!

  15. Trond Engen says

    To all recent bursdagsbarn, Hurra for deg som fyller ditt år!

  16. nachträglich

    There is an anecdote about a Russian governor general who forgot to congratulate czar Nicolai II on his birthday (ok, that probably was his name day, whatever). When he remembered it, the best thing he could think of was to send a telegram to SPb “drinking your majesty’s health for the third day”. To which he received a reply “high time to quit”.

  17. הוראַ, הוראַ, מיר װינטשן דיר
    הוראַ, הוראַ, מיר װינטשן דיר
    מיר װינטשן דיר געזונט און גליק!

  18. Felicitations for both birthdays. (Sorry, I can’t stretch to cross-linguistic witticisms.)

    Hurra for deg som fyller ditt år! Ouch!

    Thanks @Trond, but we already have Brit. and U.S. ‘novelty singers’. Being in foreign doesn’t make it less painful.

  19. Lars Mathiesen (he/him/his) says

    Forsinket tillykke til JC!

    Another factual event: When Hitler congratulated King Christian X on his birthday in 1942, he received the same formulaic reply that (as it’s usually phrased) a Jutlandic potato farmer would get (Spreche meinen besten Dank aus, Christian R). Which didn’t exactly improve relations, in fact the Danish envoy to Berlin was sent home.

  20. David Eddyshaw says

    Penblwydd Hapus i Siôn Cywan hefyd.

  21. Trond Engen says

    @AntC: Yeah, sorry, I was really looking for something like this or this, but when i saw Olga Marie, I couldn’t resist.

  22. when i saw Olga Marie, I couldn’t resist.

    I agree those who like that kind of thing will find that is the kind of thing they’ll like.

    I might have mentioned previously my mother’s sister married a Norwegian, and moved to Oslo (though his family’s roots were near Stavanger). So my family for one Summer holiday decamped across the North Sea. One evening my Aunt was called to some work social. Faced with entertaining a bunch of English-speakers (of course these were the days when there were only two TV channels), my Uncle treated us to his entire catalogue of LP’s — of accordion ensembles. Not bouncy Irish-style jigs and reels, but dour four-square rhythms with interminable repeats. I’m sure they would have sounded fine after several tumblers of strong spirits, but we were kids.

    Your male voice choir fills me with the same emotions. ‘Hurra for deg’ — couldn’t they jazz it up a bit? (Dourness doesn’t seem to be a universal characteristic of the National music: a Hardanger fiddle can be quite toe-tapping.)

    Makes you wonder how Grieg managed to break through the dourness.

  23. Trond Engen says

    Norwegian traditional accordion music is admittedly strangely dour. Still, some very good and wildly entertaining contemporary musicians have come out of that tradition. I give you Gabriel Fliflet of Fliflet/Hamre and Stian Carstensen.

    I’ll admit that I didn’t play any of the videos before posting. I picked the one with the choir because it looked like the most polished version, and I assumed the one with the gaudy cartoon would be pretty jolly.

  24. OK, I’ve finished This Is How You Lose the Time War, and… I regret to say that I disliked it. The problem is obviously with me, since lots of people, including the esteemed Hatters above, whose opinions I respect have liked it a great deal, but me, I didn’t. The problems I had with it:

    1) There are only two characters (if you can call them that), Blue and Red, who are essentially identical aside from representing the two sides in the Time War.

    2) They write in the same overwrought, “poetic” prose that the novel is narrated in; the reviews call it things like “lush and lustrous, allusive and elusive,” but I just roll my eyes and plow ahead, hoping for something to happen.

    3) Nothing happens except that the two exchange letters and “fall in love”; everything else is a blur of unexplained travel up and down time lines and absurd micromanagement of said time lines — there is no attempt to make it plausible, just “poetic” imagery and the hope that the reader will think “oh yeah, the butterfly effect” and not worry about how it’s supposed to work.

    4) The two characters, when they’re not writing each other letters (encoded in various “poetic” ways), spend their time killing people, singly and en masse, in order to advance their sides’ strategic goals (which appear to consist solely of defeating the other side). It is like reading an epistolary romance between an SS officer and a KGB officer, each of whom has high-flown thoughts that don’t keep them from engaging in mass murder. Are we just supposed to accept the killing as background noise?

    No, it’s great stuff for those who like that sort of thing, but that happy group does not include me.

    (Also, I can’t help but suspect that there’s going to be a fucking sequel.)

  25. Disappointingly recembles my own expectations (based on the annotation). A year ago I was looking for a novel to read, came across this title and even thought it could be a suitable victim for my experiments with translation, but the imagined more or less (more more than less) what you described, and did not read it.

  26. John Cowan says

    my mother’s sister married a Norwegian

    A particular Norwegian, or just any Norwegian?

  27. David Eddyshaw says

    You’re only allowed to marry one Norwegian at a time. (It’s some Scandinavian thing.)

  28. Trond Engen says

    Not me, for one.

Speak Your Mind