2017-05-28

Update on why this blog is doing nothing

Hi! It's been several years months since my last post. I've kind of had trouble thinking of what to post for most of the time I've been blogging. When I do have ideas, I write drafts and never finish them. But I haven't been twiddling my thumbs for the last year or so. I've been working a lot on the languages of kårroť, as well as some of the history and culture. Hopefully I'll be able to turn some drafts of that into posts on the Zompist Bulletin Board (a forum for language geeks and creators) and/or on this blog. Speaking of which, I've started a little sandbox for ideas on kårroť which you can find on the ZBB here. A user on that site called Frislander (tumblr) started an alternate history project. Despite getting a lot of advice, I am the only person who has opted to become a collaborator (distinguished from other posters by having editing privileges over the project's documents and by basically having taken over the project :D ). Here's a link to the discussion thread. Email me if you want to become a collaborator (my email can be found in the "About this Weblog" page). I've started a YouTube channel to make a public playlist of all my favourite songs (901 videos as of posting this!) Feel free to suggest songs to add, but I must see the video and like it in order to add it. More importantly, I've started reading George Lakoff's Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things, an important work on semantics and metaphor, because I need to know more about those areas to make my conlangs truly unique rather than remixes of the languages I know from home and the languages I am learning. As an apology to those of you wondering if I fell off a cliff or something, here's a cool video I found on the interwebs:


Check out the webcomic by the people who made this video, ChaosLife! If you like spooky stuff, check out their other (actually, their main) webcomic, FindChaos! Links can be found in the new links page in the navbar.

2017-03-10

History of Toilets

I watched The Toilet: An Unspoken History, a great BBC documentary presented by Welsh poet Ifor ap Glyn.

2017-01-15

周有光

周有光, Zhōu Yǒuguāng, passed away yesterday. He is famous for being the head of the committee which invented Hànyǔ Pīnyīn. Pīnyīn is the most widely used method of writing Standard Chinese in a Latin script alphabet, as well as the only official such system in the People's Republic of China. Pīnyīn is purely based on the sounds of the language, rather than roots or meaning. Each consonant sound is matched to a single letter or combination of letters, while each mark above a vowel represents a specific tone (tone marking is sometimes eliminated for typing convenience, but this is considered bad practice). The vowels are more complicated (see the Wikipedia page for a more accurate and expanded explanation), but there still is a one-to-one correspondence between sound and spelling. For example, Pīnyīn is actually the Pīnyīn representation of 漢語 (or 汉语 in simplified characters). 漢 is represented by "pīn", while 語 is represented by "yīn". 周有光 breaks down as 周 = "zhōu", 有 = "yǒu", 光 = "guāng".
The project of creating the script took several years before it was published by the government in 1958. This project helped 周有光 avoid being purged, but, like other intellectuals, he was sent to live in the countryside for “re-education” during the Cultural Revolution. He turned 111 the day before he died.
Pictures:
1920s With his wife in 1953
In 2012