I travel to NYC [midtown] this morning for some meetings and to see some museums. I'll be there through Thursday evening, so no new posts on Wednesday and Thursday.
Election turmoil in Iran continues. Those claims by the past leader of a resounding win seem far-fetched. Perhaps a big lie ?
Barry to bloviate more. What else is new?
Tonight I expect to have a Golden Kryptonite Martini as the "club" bar. It's quite a convivial place, but I know fewer and fewer people nowadays. Time marches on.
Congress seems unable to walk and chew gum at the same time. Financial regulatory overhaul is running into Barry's health care reform and climate change legislation.
My German is making good progress now. But that language sure has some weird constructions. Why would one separate a prefix from a verb and stick it at the end of a sentence or clause ? Weird. And these stem vowel changes are so common. They are a relic in English, too, of its Germanic roots. [e. g. drink, drank, drunk] Some linguists think these oddities go back to a melding of a Semitic language [Phoenician] to proto-German circa 500 B. C. E. Perhaps. This wierdness came from somewhere and not from early Indo-European.
I took Latin in high school and remember some. From a time and population movement perspective, Latin must be rather closer to Indo-European than many modern languages. And its grammar seems closer to Polish than to English, French, Spanish or German. Of course the words themselves are very different.
A language has two dimensions: its words and its grammar. Both are important for understanding linguistic roots. Too much attention is placed on simple word evolution. Grammar might be more important. I strongly recommend the books by John McWhorter on this subject and the Teaching Company CD course by him. He's an excellent lecturer and writer. and extremely knowledgeable without being pedantic.
A language is really a bundle of closely related dialects with one annointed "standard" dialect, usually from the region of capital city of the nation. Standard English comes from the London dialect; standard French from the Paris dialect; and Polish from the Warsaw dialect.
Enjoy the week. The blog will return Friday.
Word of the Day
"Clinal" - adjective [$10]; from cline - noun
Cline means 1. Biol. a graded sequence of differences within a species, etc.; 2. a continuum with an infinite number of gradations.
Sentence: "All peoples of the world speak complex varieties of language, differing in clinal degree from one another and often not assignable as any one "thing". [from McWorter, The Story of Human Language", notes for the Teaching Company CD course, part 3, page 28.]
Das Wort der Woche
That means, "Word of the Week" in German. Coming soon.
That means, "Word of the Week" in Polish. Coming soon.