Tuesday, April 25th, 2017 08:50 pm
liv: In English: My fandom is text obsessed / In Hebrew: These are the words (words)
[personal profile] liv
I made the classic mistake with Passover this year, of getting worked up and stressed about the practicalities of it instead of preparing spiritually. Actually it all went completely fine, but it wasn't until the last day of the festival, when all the organization was over, that I actually remembered to feel joy and celebration for being free.

contains religion )

Monday was just wonderful, though. That was when it really started to sink in that not only was I actually happy at being redeemed from slavery, but I am incredibly joyful and grateful to have such an excellent family. Both the ones I grew up with who are so great to celebrate Pesach with, and my family of choice who are incredibly supportive about joining in with my festivals and including me in theirs in a really respectful and non-pressurey way. We played D&D with [personal profile] jack GMing, something we've been meaning to do for ages and just not had time for, and it was really fun and relaxing.
[syndicated profile] allthingslinguistic_feed


Today’s interview is with Braden Curtis. I’m really glad that he’s added his experience to the linguistics jobs interview series, because more and more graduates are going to end up doing the kind of digital media jobs that didn’t even exist when I graduated from university. Braden’s website (Ordworks) houses his photography, video work, book and collection of game designs - he’s a man of many skills!

What did you study at university?
I received a basic B.A. in Linguistics, with a minor focus (would you believe it, I can’t remember if it was ever an official minor, but the sentiment was there) in Japanese, including a few chunks of study abroad. My focus, loose as it was as an undergrad, was on syntax and semantics, and I had a vested interest in redefining prescriptive rules of foreign grammars—Japanese’s particularly—that, as I saw it, got in the way of their acquisition. (I advocated a more descriptive understanding of the language’s basic building blocks. Agglutination, ho!)

2. What is your job?
I’m presently the Digital Managing Editor for Townsquare Media Missoula, a cluster of seven local radio stations, including a country station, a rock station, a top 40 pop station, three news stations, and a brand-new alternative music station. Really, I’m our personalities’ Blog Mommy; I oversee and attempt to enhance local entertainment content on our various digital platforms, including our websites, social media, and video platforms.

3. How does your linguistics training help you in your job?
Does linguistics training ever not help? Less glibly, my background with linguistics gives me a different perspective from many of my peers in the other markets of our parent company’s holdings—specifically, I care much less about perfect grammar and much more about effective communication. So long as they take care of the major pitfalls that get in the way of message receipt (or that twist the meaning of their intended message), e.g. spelling or typographical errors, wholly mangled syntax, etc., I counsel my team that allowing their personal voice (remember: these are radio DJs—voice is everything to them) to come through is not only acceptable, it’s possibly the most distinctive and valuable element of their work.

4. Do you have any advice do you wish someone had given to you about linguistics/careers/university?
Linguistics, I’ve often said, is the Science of the Humanities—and it can be just as distancing as that makes it sound. If you’re not careful, it’s easy to climb up into an (academic) ivory tower, and distance yourself from the very thing that matters—not just the language of the people, but the people themselves. But, if you temper your knowledge with compassion, if you let linguistics’ fundamental tenets (insofar as at least some of us see them) of observing and seeking to understand things as they are, not things as they might be, I think that linguistics can make you more human. Right now (and evermore), we could use as much humanity as we can get.


Also relevant to digital media jobs: Advice for writing pop linguistics articles.

Drawing tutorials

Monday, April 24th, 2017 07:01 pm
green_knight: (Konfuzius)
[personal profile] green_knight
By chance I stumbled across this set of tutorials (hosted by one particular piece of software, but completely agnostic, you don't even need to work digitally).

In fact, the tutorial that made me go 'oooooh' was

which teaches you how to draw a dragon, complete with anatomy. (I like this way of working. Iz impressed.)

The horse one is mostly accurate (it gets one coat pattern wrong and most of the horses move much stiffer than they should) but there's nothing egregiously _wrong_, so I hope that the other species - cats, big cats, foxes, wolves - are equally accurate.

I am starting to see the first improvements in my drawing - the lines I draw are smoother and more confident - so I'm hoping to eventually move out the line exercise phase into one where I actually begin to draw stuff.

Right now, these tutorials are way beyond me - I could copy the lines, but I cannot decide where they should go and vary postures or phases of the stride - but if I squint sideways, I can see there from here.


Monday, April 24th, 2017 01:20 pm
liv: alternating calligraphed and modern letters (letters)
[personal profile] liv
So the wonderful amazing [personal profile] ghoti_mhic_uait gave me a proper alto recorder as an afikoman present. I am slightly awkward about it because an actual musical instrument is a bit bigger than the sorts of things my family generally expect as Passover presents – it's a gift-giving occasion, yes, but it's not anything like on the scale of Christmas. But I am also really really happy, it's the most absolutely perfect present.

babbling about me and music )

And I'm allowed to play the recorder. Just like I learned with piano all those years ago, I don't have to be a brilliant performing soloist, I can just play because I want to. And with work, with amazingly satisfying work, better than any video game, I can get to the point where my playing sounds at least pleasant. But I do in fact want to focus on more social sorts of playing, not learning a bunch of sonatas to a mediocre standard.

So does anyone have any recs of social sorts of music? Melodies of songs, perhaps, or even something aimed directly for people who want to play recorder to accompany singers? The readthrough people have a songbook, right, with dots in? Would it be possible to obtain a copy? I'm happy to pay for music but I'm spoilt for choice so I need some ideas first. And I am somewhat interested in online tutorials though I think I can mostly learn fine just by practising pieces, cos it turns out I know how do that. I like baroque music a lot, and there happens to be quite a lot available for recorder, but I am not wedded to only playing baroque, any style is fine, and I'm quite positively interested in recorder versions of pop music, if that exists. (And if it's set for descant, well, all that rusty music theory means that I do in fact know how to transpose.)

Stuff - especially schools

Monday, April 24th, 2017 12:31 pm
lnr: (Default)
[personal profile] lnr

Wow, I'm faintly astonished by the amount of stuff being posted here on DW at the moment. I think I'm going to have to investigate reading on my phone rather than just in breaks at work or I'll never keep up :)

So since we got back from the peaks:

  • The boiler broke, but was fixed within 24 hours with a £300 quid part. Thank goodness for the annual £160 service contract!
  • Easter happened
  • We had a visit from Rae and Adam and enjoyed the unexpected sunshine in the Botanic Gardens
  • We went for a bike ride over to Whittlesford and Thriplow, with a picnic lunch, and back via Harston Red
  • My phone came back from its holiday in Sheffield, safely in one piece
  • Primary school place application results were announced (more on that below)
  • The UK announced a snap general election
  • Mike had a birthday
  • We survived three lovely birthday parties for four four-year-olds in two days
  • Ireland seem to be on the way to huge changes in abortion law
  • The consultation phase on organisational change ends today

Many positive things there, but the organisational change and general election, on top of general brexit fears, are a bit tough. Still the hardest thing at the moment is probably the primary school results.

schools )

Finally, a meme: meme )

[syndicated profile] allthingslinguistic_feed

Dogspotting may even be the birthplace of DoggoLingo’s titular term “doggo.”

Though created in 2008, Dogspotting really took off in the summer of 2014, particularly in Australia.

This is significant because, as internet linguist Gretchen McCulloch points out, adding “-o” to words is very Australian. For example, where we’d say def to abbreviate the word definitely, Australians would say deffo.

So were Australians posting in Dogspotting saying “doggo,” which English-speakers around the world picked up on and turned into a viral Internet word?

“That makes a shocking amount of sense,” says John Savoia, who founded Dogspotting and runs the page with Reid Paskiewicz and Jeff Wallen.

“I bet you anything [doggo] was used before Dogspotting and we just made it part of the lexicon,” Paskiewicz says.

James Moffatt, a performance artist who grew up in Adelaide and is not a member of Dogspotting, says he remembers doggo being used “as an affectionate diminutive to refer to dogs throughout my childhood.”

- I’m quoted in this NPR article Dogs Are Doggos: An Internet Language Built Around Love For The Puppers (which you should definitely read in its entirety)

Forgive us our Trespassers

Sunday, April 23rd, 2017 06:35 pm
hairyears: (Default)
[personal profile] hairyears
Tomorrow we celebrate the anniversary of The Kinder Scout Mass Trespass, in which hundreds of Ramblers and other members of the public forced their way past gamekeepers to hike on the moors and peaks of Derbyshire in 1932.

I have many reasons to be thankful that they did, having walked upon those very hills myself; and on others, which were long fenced off against the public as the playgrounds of a privileged few.

Some of the original Trespassers were imprisoned, and I do not doubt that they would suffer harsher treatment if they tried such acts of civil disobedience today.

So, a question for the legally-minded Journallers who read this: what would the Trespassers be charged with today? And what would be their fate if any of them could not prove their cizenship, or looked ever such a little bit foreign?

Would my long-lapsed membership of the Ramblers Association, and my evident sympathy for their aims - I have led a ramble myself! - turn out to be a liability? Worse, perhaps, than the social consequences that arise when I reveal my ability to hold a lengthy conversation about 1980's hiking socks?

A quick update for the newly-risen

Sunday, April 23rd, 2017 11:27 am
hairyears: (Default)
[personal profile] hairyears
A quick 'Hello' to everyone who's deleted their LJ and migrated to Dreamwidth!

It seems that DW has become more active, and I hope that it gains the critical mass to stay this way.

For those of you who have reanimated their LJ/DW after a few years, I am still a bit geeky, still noodling spreadsheets on a trading floor in London (but maybe elsewhere in a year or so), still writing Limericks (only, now getting prizes for it), still practising Aikido (quite a bit), and still, well... Me. Only more so.

...If you're catching up from a few years ago, I am married to the lovely [personal profile] ewt ('Ewtikins' on LJ but please don't go there, we both have people on our social graph who really don't need your clicks adding to the continuing construction of antisocial network graphs by hostile actors), wheezing a bit (London's pollution is geting to me), and extending my range of terrible puns into Franglais.

If you're catching up from a few days ago, I'm back from Eastercon, where I took part in the most enjoyable panel of my life - on the future of Artificial Intelligence - and I wonder, in retrospect, whether I ended up dominating a discussion among people who know a bit more about it than I do. Also, I am very, very sorry about *that* remark in the Dead Dog party, on the subject of Hadrians wall, the Picts, and tinned food.
[syndicated profile] allthingslinguistic_feed


things that would be great:

a starbucks staffed entirely by linguistics students, and instead of hazarding guesses in the minefield that is the spelling of names, they use IPA

yes and then they draw little trees of your order so as to avoid giving you a [tall ice] coffee rather than a tall [ice coffee]

Bitdefender got under my skin

Friday, April 21st, 2017 01:48 pm
green_knight: (Default)
[personal profile] green_knight
After a brush with a virus-infected website a few days ago, I decided to install Bitdefender (we have a household licence), scanned my computer, and so far, so good.

It very soon got under my skin. The application is designed to always run - but how that's implemented is a) a menu bar app (so far, so good), and b) the main app is running ALL THE TIME, telling you that you are (or are not) protected. Every hour, it updates its virus definitions, and sends you a notification. (You can turn this off, but still.)

I hate the interface of the app. It's black and blocky and intrusive and I find dark blocky interfaces stressful. If your website contains a black navigation strip at the top, I will either not visit it or block the top of my screen because IT STRESSES ME OUT TO VIEW THIS ALL THE FUCKING TIME.

So you can guess what Bitdefender's dark intrusive, impossible-to-kill interface was doing to me. You can quit the app, but it comes back immediately. It's not needed - the menu bar app is perfectly capable of doing the background scanning etc - but it just sits there and glares at me.

And it's sneaky. I know that what it tries to out-sneak is malware writers, but you cannot kill it with any of the options built into the system - it does not play well with the system, it circumvents the usual settings, all so that it can shove its dark, ugly interface into your field of vision.

I've uninstalled the app. I will eventually reinstall it (or something else) to protect my computer, but right now, protecting my mental health was a priority.

Sometimes, I hate programmers.

Storyist offer (& writing process neep)

Friday, April 21st, 2017 01:10 pm
green_knight: (Writing)
[personal profile] green_knight
I've been using Storyist (Mac-only) for three or four years now, and I am completely and utterly in love with this software.

Right now, it's available as part of a bundle containing a lot of other useful software (Aurora is a decent photo editor; Scapple is my mind map of choice, and a number of the rest of apps in the bundle look very yummy, too.)

Storyist works on the same principle as Scrivener (it also has an iOS app which I use frequently; though there's no Windows version if you need that); but for me the main difference is that I found Scrivener unintuitive and clunky: if you want to use it, you need to work through a lengthy tutorial and watching these five videos, and at the end of all that I still felt that I needed to mould my workflow to please the software rather than the other way round.

With Storyist, I felt inspired from the moment I first opened it, and it has improved my workflow tremendously.

I use the side-by-side feature extensively; and it's made a big difference to my writing: the fewer things I need to hold in my head, the more capacity I have for writing.

I like the ability to have the same document side by side, so you can keep writing while scrolling through and pulling up previous scenes for comparison. I've worked with two documents side by side when translating, but mostly, I will pull up relevant information in the second pane while never losing my place in the main one. For characters, I simply dump descriptions in there; but I may also keep reference photos, maps and diagrams. Recently I wrote a council scene where everybody was sitting around a table - having a seating plan made it possible to consider who would hear a whispered remark, who might inadvertently (or deliberately) step on someone else's toes, whether my protagonist would see a speaker's expression or not... it made for a much better scene.

I've also used Storyist for editing so I can keep characters and their quirks straight - this means that the descriptions of a technology remain coherent, but not identical. If a phrase is repeated too often, or all characters use the exact same phrase all of the time, readers will notice. At the same time, you want a certain consistency in how characters describe a new technology like mind speech or FTL travel: how does it feel, what metaphors do they use, does it _mean_ something if one character experiences it differently. And you don't want descriptions to differ between books, so you need to write them down _somewhere_... and I've found Storyist to be perfect for that.

As a bonus, you get outlining and notecard tools which are pretty good - I don't use them that often, but they're worth mentioning. This is a tool that will work in oh-so-many ways for very different workflows. I can't emphasise how much difference it has made to me to have all of my materials - different mss, notes, images - in one place, and to be able to access them without losing my place in the running text.

So if you haven't tried this kind of tool, now is a good time; $29 is as good a price as you're going to get (Storyist has a free trial!) and you'll get a bunch of other apps into the bargain.
[syndicated profile] allthingslinguistic_feed


Lingthusiasm Episode 7: Kids these days aren’t ruining language

There are some pretty funny quotes of historical people complaining about kids back then doing linguistic things that now seem totally unremarkable. So let’s cut to the chase and celebrate linguistic innovation while it’s happening. 

In episode 7 of Lingthusiasm, your hosts Lauren Gawne and Gretchen McCulloch explore how far back we can trace complaints about the language of Kids These Days, why linguistic discrimination is harmful, and why “be like”, hyperbolic “literally”, and other modern innovations are actually signs of something awesome. 

We also announce a Patreon to keep the podcast sustainable. You can support us there to listen to a bonus episode about swearing and future monthly bonus content, and help decide the topics of future episodes. Even if you’re not sure about pledging, do check out the Patreon goals to see some of our future plans and our video to see a totally realistic and not at all staged cameo from our producer.

Here are the links mentioned in this episode:

You can listen to this episode via, Soundcloud, RSS, iTunes, YouTube, or wherever you get your podcasts. You can also download an mp3 via the Soundcloud page for offline listening, and stay tuned for a transcript of this episode on

You can help keep Lingthusiasm advertising-free by supporting our Patreon. Being a patron gives you access to bonus content and lets you help decide on Lingthusiasm topics.

Lingthusiasm is on Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter.
Email us at lingthusiasm [at] gmail [dot] com

Gretchen is on Twitter as @GretchenAMcC and blogs at All Things Linguistic.
Lauren is on Twitter as @superlinguo and blogs at Superlinguo.

Lingthusiasm is created by Gretchen McCulloch and Lauren Gawne. Our producer is Claire Gawne and our music is ‘Ancient City’ by The Triangles. Recorded on April 6, 2017.

Our new episode is up! We also now have an official posting schedule, if you’d like to mark your calendars: regular episodes go up on third Thursdays of each month!

Voting intentions

Thursday, April 20th, 2017 07:38 pm
liv: cast iron sign showing etiolated couple drinking tea together (argument)
[personal profile] liv
OK, this is UK party politics, please feel free to skip. In short, I am looking for Labour supporters to convince me to vote for your party.

what is the point of Labour? )

I will of course be researching all this stuff for myself, but I really want to be convinced, which is why I'm asking people who are pro Labour to guide me in where I should be looking. And to take the opportunity to counter the media bias against Corbyn. I do kind of like that he doesn't toady to Murdoch, but being willing to insult the Daily Mail isn't enough if he then goes and votes for terrible policies.

The importer has (mostly) caught up!

Wednesday, April 19th, 2017 11:02 pm
denise: Image: Me, facing away from camera, on top of the Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome (Default)
[staff profile] denise posting in [site community profile] dw_maintenance
Our content importer has mostly caught up with its backlog; almost everything that's still listed as being "in the queue" are jobs that were tried, failed once or more with a temporary failure, and are waiting to try again. (The importer tries a few times, at successively longer intervals, when it gets a failure it thinks might be temporary/might correct itself later on.) This means that new imports scheduled now should complete in hours (or even minutes), not the "several days" it's been taking.

If you tried to schedule a second import while the first one was still running, at any time in the past 10 days or so, you may have confused the poor thing. If you think your import should be finished by now and it isn't, and you're seeing "Aborted" on the Importer Status part of the Importer page, feel free to open a support request in the Importer category and we'll look into it for you. (It may take a little bit before you get a response; those of us who have the access to look into importer problems have been really busy for the past two weeks or so, and I at least need a few days to catch my breath a bit before diving back into the fray! But we'll do what we can.)

I hope all y'all are continuing to settle in well to your new home!

Vulgar: Language generator

Wednesday, April 19th, 2017 06:30 pm
[syndicated profile] allthingslinguistic_feed
Vulgar: Language generator:

This looks like an interesting project

Vulgar is a constructed language (conlang) generator for fantasy fiction writing that creates unique and usable constructed languages in the click of a button. Vulgar’s output models the regularities, irregularities and quirks of real world languages; phonology, grammar, and a 2000 unique word vocabulary.

I’m not much of a conlanger myself but I tried it out and got something that looked cool and fairly plausible as a language. It seems like it might also be useful for generating problem sets for linguistics classes when you can’t use real language data for some reason or as a starting point/inspiration for people wanting to create more advanced, custom conlangs. 

Here’s a bit about how it works

Vulgar is capable of generating 10 quadrillion unique and usable conlangs.

How does it achieve this? Using pseudo-randomness!

Vulgar begins with a random seed number between 0 and 1 to 15 decimal places (10 to the power of 15 = 1 quadrillion). This number is then run through a formula that generates many many thousands of other random numbers. (“Pseudo”-random because, although there is nothing truly random about them (i.e. they are determined by an exact mathematical formula), every decimal number between 0 and 1 is equally likely to be produced, and there is no obvious pattern to the human eye.)

These numbers are used to make tens of thousands of decisions about which phonemes to select to build words, and what grammar rules to generate based on pre-defined thresholds. The seed number of a language can also be used to retrieve its full version in the premium version.

It looks like the creator is still adding new features, so you can ask questions or report bugs via this thread on the conlangs subreddit

A Burden Shared

Wednesday, April 19th, 2017 02:07 pm
[syndicated profile] jo_walton_blog_feed

Posted by Jo Walton

I have a new short story up on today, A Burden Shared. It’s about familial love and the future of disability. Well, actually, it’s about pain. I had the idea for this one in conversation with Doug Palmer at Boskone last year.

Reading Wednesday 19/04

Wednesday, April 19th, 2017 02:39 pm
liv: Bookshelf labelled: Caution. Hungry bookworm (bookies)
[personal profile] liv
Seemingly DW exploded while I was away over Passover. Hi, everybody who suddenly showed up after many years' hiatus. I'd be delighted if this burst of activity lasts, even if the reason for it is a very sad one. Anyway, I'm just about caught up on reading, and have quite a backlog of posting which I'll try to get to in the next couple of weeks.

As for reading, though:

Recently acquired: My family have basically turned Passover into a massive book exchange. So let's see if I can reproduce it. lists of book presents ) Recently read: All the fishes come home to roost by Rachel Manija Brown ([personal profile] rachelmanija). (C) 2005 by Rachel Manija Brown, Pub 2006 Hodder & Stoughton Sceptre, ISBN 0-340-89881-X.

This was a birthday present from [personal profile] rmc28, and I got to it on Good Friday this week, when I was taking a breather from all the Passover stuff, and had a bit of a cold and wasn't feeling up to go out and look for more exciting activities than spending the Bank Holiday sitting at home reading.

All the fishes come home to roost is a memoir of a really horrendous childhood that manages to be uplifting rather than miserable.

detailed review )


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Lethargic Man (anag.)

April 2017


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