Entries tagged with fannish:stupid language tricks

> Recent Entries
> Archive
> Reading
> Network
> Tags
> Memories
> Profile
> my jf account

interrobang studios
December 1st, 2010 09:20 pm - On categories of things.
I've been messing around on LT a bit - I did some things I'd been putting off, and rewarded myself with some book cataloging (is a book on saints' cults in medieval Christendom religion, mythology, folklore, history, or magic? And how does that have to affect where I put similar books that aren't Christian-flavored? Arggh.) And alongside the usual grey areas of cataloging, I ended up wading into an argument on how we should list gender in the drop-down on the crowdsourced author pages for trans authors. (I don't have all the answers, but at this point I'm at least confident to know when I can say: No, sir, you are wrong.)

Anyway. Right now I'm sick of all this categorizing of things that cannot be categorized. You know what is much nicer? Numbers! And [personal profile] espreite just posted a v. v. serious entry about privilege and oppression among numbers. So I have made a poll! Which numbers describe your identities most accurately? )

(17 comments | Reply)

October 31st, 2010 06:22 pm - Sola scriptura, sola fide, sola gratia
Ah. Of course I wore my voice out the day before Reformation Sunday, when we sing all the good old traditional hymns.

Anyway, to make me less depressed after listening to Pastor's Reformation Day sermon, which was all about the deeply disappointing way the ELCA is (slowly, politely, quietly) attempting to schism itself over the issue of same-sex partnerships (which our Churchwide Assembly decided they approved of last year), here is an embed of the video our Presiding Bishop posted as part of the It Gets Better project, which [personal profile] beatrice_otter linked to a few days ago:
Video + transcript )
And, wow, I'd never really thought about the fact that Lutheran pastors have a specifically recognizable style, but it is so very painfully obvious what denomination he's from even without the intro. Which is to say: it's not by any means a perfect statement, but I am *so proud* of my Bishop for deciding to join the project, especially given the way his Church is spasming over it right now, and the cultural Lutheran more that you avoid divisiveness at all cost.


...oh, is there another holiday on 31 October? Sorry, you know how tunnel-vision us Christians can get about other folks' holidays. :P

I have very specific tastes when it comes to horror, I have come to realize.

The horror I find nicely shivery brings in a few particular factors: the unseen monster and the unknown fate; the incomprehensible but malignant outsider sentience; and the shift of ordinary things and places into sudden objects of fear.

The first horror-y fiction I ever read that I actually both found scary and liked was the classic fantasy novel The Face In The Frost, by John Bellairs. It's a short novel which combines parody/humor, classic quest fantasy with evil wizards, and that sort of deep horror of the mundane and unknowable. It stars two wizards named Prospero (but not the one you're thinking of) and Roger Bacon (also not the one you're thinking of) as they try to stop Melichus (a old schoomate of Prospero's) from evoking a formless, all-encompassing alien evil out of a mysterious book.

The book was clearly inspired by the Voynich manuscript, a deeply creepy Medieval book full of drawings of cyborg women, strangely biological-looking circle diagrams, and alien plants, which is written in a mysterious script that has never been decrypted. Melichus' book from The Face in the Frost is very similar, but it is finally read - by Melichus - after he discovers that, when you study the book obsessively, sleeplessly, compulsively, staring only at the pages of the book until all the rest of the world seems unreal - suddenly it wavers into something readable. Something alive, strange, something that wobbles between not quite real and too real to exist, but readable.

I've always wanted to mock up some pages of the book, properly bespelled, and since I finally found my stylus, I drew them for All Hallows. Here it is, a two-page spread from Melichus's evil book:
a two-column layout that looks like it's from a medieval manuscript, with intricate and creepy drawings of plants, circle diagrams, and naked women in plumbing all around the margins. The text is in an alphabet that is strangely familiar, but not one you know.
And yes, if you figure out how to read it properly, it really does decrypt by itself, one slow letter at a time, alive and wavering but readable, like the evil book in the story: there is proper magic in it.

The plaintext I used was a nonsense poem from later in the book. The marginals are directly inspired by the Voynich manuscript - luckily the artist of the Voynich wasn't a particularly good draftsman either.

If you figure it out or try try and fail, let me know? I've never really tested this method on anyone else, so I'd love to know how well it works. Anybody posting a full decryption within the next few days gets their comment screened, but discussion of methods is strongly encouraged. :D

ETA: If you want to know how this encryption works, [personal profile] siegeofangels worked out the cheating decryption method, and I give the rest of it away in comments to her entry.

(24 comments | Reply)

September 9th, 2010 09:17 pm
Hi all! I am working on a Fanlore entry (I figured it was past time), and am running into the fact that terms that I thought were established don't seem to give Google results for anyone but, um, me. Pretty much.

So, I thought I'd try a poll. :D

Poll #4330 On terminology
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 74

When I am talking about the novels, animated series, comics, web extras, role-playing games, audio dramas, and so on that are authorized by a particular fandom's owners but are not part of main canon, I call them:

View Answers

11 (14.9%)

11 (14.9%)

secondary canon
25 (33.8%)

"tie-ins", duh
51 (68.9%)

11 (14.9%)

0 (0.0%)

just plain non-canonical
9 (12.2%)

Better than canon, usually
5 (6.8%)

Expanded Universe/Extended Universe/EU
37 (50.0%)

gray canon
4 (5.4%)

authorized fanfic, or something else involving the word 'fan'
14 (18.9%)

Different terms in different fandoms, and I'll go into detail below
12 (16.2%)

I don't.
6 (8.1%)

7 (9.5%)

I am going to talk about this in a comment.
6 (8.1%)

This concept needs a fanlore entry of its own.

View Answers

59 (100.0%)

0 (0.0%)

If there's a fannish term I use a lot, and a few of my friends do, and I really find it useful, but hardly anybody else uses it, I should:

View Answers

Try to avoid using it on Fanlore and similar places
4 (7.5%)

Use it on fanlore, and hope somebody else decides to make an entry for it eventually
9 (17.0%)

Make an entry for it (or add it to the relevant entry) in hopes that it will become more widespread
40 (75.5%)

ETA: I am also interested in whether people include things like interview canon and behind-the-scenes extras, drafts and outlines and subtitles, things someone involved with the production once said informally, prop canon, and merchandise packaging under the same umbrella as authorized media tie-ins, or consider them a different level of canon, and whether different terms include different things to them. But I couldn't figure out how to phrase it as a poll question in a way that wasn't overcomplicated.

People are invited to add comments expanding on this!

(59 comments | Reply)

February 22nd, 2010 03:08 pm - Wulf and Eadwacer
So, a long, long time ago, before I had an online journal or interacted with fandom in any way, back before Wikipedia ruled the internets, I used to post on Everything2, which is a wikipedia competitor with a very different structure, ethos, and culture. (As much as I do like the Wiki system, I wish more sites used an E2 framework instead - I think it would've worked really well for fanlore, for ex., with its emphasis on multiple voices and automatic flow.)

Anyway, one of the things I posted there, over eight years ago (!!!), was an attempted translation of the Old English poem Wulf and Eadwacer into poetic Modern English. I'm no Anglo-Saxon scholar, but I go through phases of reading lots of early English poetry and poking at the language, so it may be a bad translation, but I like the poem, and I like my version better than any of the other translations I've found, and I have nothing at all staked on it being a good translation, so critique it all you want. (I am, oddly, very fragile when it comes to criticism of my fiction - I can get scared into writing nothing for months even by *effusively good* feedback - but have a very thick skin about my poetry - say whatever you want about it, it won't change what the poem means to me.)

So there's this translation, that's been sitting pretty much ignored on a website that's been slowly dwindling in readership, until [personal profile] shanaqui with her riddles on [community profile] poetry inspired me to look it up again and repost my Wulf and Eadwacer there.

And what should I discover but that someone has quoted my translation in an academic paper, as far as I can tell from Google pretty much in full, and published it in the journal "Language and Literature" only this month.

I am trying to articulate why this pisses me off so much. Given that I generally approve of fair use and quotation and derivative/transformative work with or without permission, and am pretty radically anti-intellectual-property in general, and strongly support acafandom in using internet postings in published papers, I ought to just be happy that somebody (somebody who I rather admire as a writer and scholar) has noticed my un-expert little translation and thought it worth talking about.

But, well, what pisses me off? Is that the journal's publisher wants 25 dollars from me in exchange for the privilege of looking for only 24 hours at the article about my work that they published without even notifying me.

<I>That</i> pisses me the hell off (pardon my Anglo-Saxon. And Old French.) Cue rant. )

Short version: if Transformative Works and Cultures was pay-only, I would be a lot less supportive of it, that's for darn sure.

(I tend to think that fanacademia, even beyond TWC, tends to be fairly good about freely sharing info - even when papers are published behind pay-only, it's been fairly easy for me to get copies for free - but that might be because accumulated fanmeta rep has gotten *me* inside several locked walls of access that I don't even see any more.)

(Also, said fan network has already gotten me a copy of the paper about Wulf and Eadwacer that discusses me. I am now officially recorded in the ongoing conversation of Western Thought as "Melannen, a kind of 'groupie' for wit and wisdom" --- I'll take it! Could be worse. Also, my e2 post is "not exactly post-structural exegesis," but rather "a crude recommendation" to "make the empty room exciting with your own furnishings". Hmm, you know, I don't have any titles on my DW journal pages yet... :D But seriously folks, it's a reasonably good paper which is doing pretty much the same thing I tried to do in my e2 post but better - the quotes are actually a compliment, because I'm the only one of six translators - including Burton Raffel - he actually discusses at any length whatsoever. Even if he is baffled by the internets and the way learnings happen there. And he got the date of publication of the E2 entry wrong by five years somehow. And altered my translation in a fairly significant way without, apparently, noticing.)

...er. Speaking of the value of a public domain, last weekend I was at Farpoint - my first ever sci-fi con! - and spent most of the time trying to pretend it was con.txt, which meant hanging around the do-it-yourself panel rooms and figuring out how to talk about fanfic in them without outright admitting I'm a fanfic writer. (Panels I either gave or attended: Writing SF Erotica, DIY Social, SF Worldbuilding, Webcomics 101, Sex and SciFi, Not Everyone's a Pro, Copyright/Copywrong, Convention Sales for Creative Types, and Sherlock Holmes. I want to talk more about the con later, but this post is going to be long enough already.)

One of the coolest ones I attended was The Copyright, Copywrong panel, which was recorded and is available as a podcast. )
...anyway it also features me as "person in audience who wouldn't stop talking". Hear! Me attempt to talk to Marc Okrand without getting squee all over him! Hear! Me slip slash discussion in under the radar by casually mentioning the OTW without explaining what it is! Hear! Me get scolded for talking too much and not letting other people participate! Hear! Me completely fail to mention Interrobang Studios, which is ostensibly why I was at the con!

(and for the record, if I was not so lazy I would officially put all of my work under a creative commons share-alike license, the share-alike being most important and the attribution being least.)

Current Mood:: [mood icon] amused

(30 comments | Reply)

July 16th, 2008 03:48 pm
You do know what CAPTCHA programs are for, right? They give Humanity an *economic imperative* to develop ever more sophisticated Turing-test-passing AI systems.

The first true artificial intelligences on Earth will be spambots.

Current Mood:: [mood icon] amused

(1 comment | Reply)

November 3rd, 2007 11:04 pm
There *is* stuff going on in my life right now other than NaNo (I spent eight hours hanging vinyl siding at a Habitat for Humanity site today) but of course, I feel like I shouldn't post to JF until I've done my writing for the day, and by the time I've finally gotten around to that, I don't feel like talking about anything else.

Thing I learned from NaNo today: Trying to be realistic with your treatment of language and have the MC not be at all fluent in the local speech has some excellent side effects: when you don't feel like writing out a conversation, you can just say that they're talking to fast for the MC to catch more than the gist of it, and summarize. Bonus: when you can't even write her voice effectively, you just remember that she's barely at a conversational speaking level anyway, and just go with it.

(current wordcount: 7055, which is about 2000 words for today and puts me more-or-less back on track after yesterday. Still crap, but the first plot interlude is done now, we're back to just exploring the world, so it should go smoother for awhile :D.)

Current Mood:: [mood icon] pissed off

(3 comments | Reply)

May 12th, 2006 11:41 pm - More stupid language tricks!
I actually got a chance to sit down and watch Dr. Who on SciFiFri for the first time in several weeks.

And you know what I want to see? I want the Doctor and one of his companions to park the Tardis in a major city on the East Coast of the United States sometime in the 20th century. And just as they're about to head out, suddenly the door flies open and a really hot guy runs in, and then takes off all his clothes, and runs right back out. And the Doctor blinks, and says, "I've got to come here more often."

And meanwhile up in the sky, Superman is thinking, "hmm, I don't remember a phone booth being there before."

.... Also, Captain Jack owns my soul, but you probably could have guessed that already.

Time travel confuses me. In particular, the banana factory confuses me. As [livejournal.com profile] stellar_dust said, what does the Doctor mean when he says "Now", in reference to something several light years and thirty centuries away, while talking to another time traveller with an entirely different personal reference?

There was a post on [livejournal.com profile] languagelog today about a language, Pirahã, whose verbs have no temporal markers. Which is to say, assuming I'm understanding it right, there is no equivalent to past, present, future, or for that matter any of the other bits of language that consisently trip up time travellers. Instead, they have two equivalents to tenses which that article calls 'proximate' and 'remote' - 'proximate' referring to things or events in the speaker's direct control or experience, and 'remote' used otherwise. Beyond that there are very few time-descriptive adverbs, most of which refer to cyclic events in the speaker's direct experience - 'at mealtime', 'when the sun is high' - and that's it.

This seems to me a very practical sort of language for a time-traveller. In fact, it must be pretty close to how the Doctor and Captain Jack conceptualize time in general, given their completely matter-of-fact approaches to what I see as impenetrable tangles of paradox. Things on my personal timeline, and things not on my personal timeline. Simple, right? Unfortunately, *I* don't conceptualize time that way, and I'm far too sleepy right now to turn my head inside-out enough to try to understand. But it's still *fascinating*. After finals I'm going to have to read up on what I can about differently temporal languages and see if I can get the Doctor to make sense.

Current Music:: the dr. who theme will not stop playing in my head!
Current Mood:: [mood icon] sleepy

(14 comments | Reply)

May 11th, 2006 05:55 pm - for what prize I woot not
Sometimes I sore regret that I grew up with a language which makes no distinction between formal and informal pronouns.

This comes up because I seem to be writing Boston Legal fic as a Sir Thomas Malory pastiche, and while Late Middle English *grammar* I can manage pretty instinctively, I keep having to stop and think about whether to use 'you' or 'thou'. Okay, so it's not as hard as it *could* be - clearly King Dennys uses 'thou' to *everyone*, because *everyone* is inferior to Dennys of Cranepool. Sir Alain du Côte, by contrast, always uses 'you', because Sir Alain is familiar with nobody - except with Dennys, and occasionally with whatever damosel he's sleeping with. I have a feeling that Sir Jeraint, the Knight of the Hands, uses 'you' with absolutely everyone, except when he's very nervous and forgets, because it seems like that's one of the social things Asperger's would make difficult. It's when I start with the characters who are more or less normal that I run into trouble.

I suppose that this isn't that big of a difficulty - after all, many modern languages still make the distinction, English being one of the first to drop it, so translators must handle the issue. But when I speak Spanish I usually just go with 'usted' for everyone, because none of my teachers bothered to explain how to choose (and since they all spoke different dialects anyway, they'd probably have contradicted each other), and anyway it's one less set of conjugations to remember. I have a feeling I sound comically old-fashioned, but then my grammar sucks so bad they'd be laughing at me anyway, and better too formal than too informal - anyway usted is the direct translation of English 'you'. And in English I only fall naturally into 'thou' when cursing people.

This is actually the *second* Arthurian pastiche I've attempted in the past few months. The first was an SGA retelling of the romance of "John, the Knight of the Lion", (because who other than John Sheppard would go on adventure, get manipulated into marrying a lady, and then go back to his city and get distracted and completely *forget* that he'd married her?) John uses 'you' graciously toward his men and ungraciously toward his superiors but 'thou' promiscuously towards people he considers his equals. Rodney, by contrast, thous everybody indiscriminately until they earn his respect, at which point he switches to 'you' and sticks with it, even while he's calling them idiots. Elizabeth is scrupulously correct, using 'thou' to inferiors and 'you' to superiors and equals, although she tends to fall back to 'thou' in private, even with Caldwell. Ronon uses 'thou' on everyone except those above him in his direct chain of command, because that's how they did it on Sateda. Teyla and the Athosians only use the formal (except in prayer), although she's been picking up the informal a little with people who use it to her, mostly John. Ford uses 'thou' with his inferiors and equals and 'you' with his superiors and has always felt slightly odd about the Major calling him 'you'.

And, hey, since I went there *anyway* - Mulder thous everybody as a direct affront to his aristocratic background, except when he's being manipulative. He was being manipulative when he met Scully, and then never got around to switching back. Scully is very correct in the same middle-class way as Elizabeth, but the longer she spends around Mulder the looser she gets. House uses thou exclusively except with his parents. And with Wilson's wives and Chase's father, and other attempts to be deliberately obnoxious with it. It took him almost six months to get Chase to stop using 'you' on him, and he still hasn't broken him of being polite to Cuddy and the patients. Cameron switched from 'thou' back to 'you' with him after their date, and Foremen always uses you, except when House suceeds in provoking him. Wilson also uses 'thou' with everyone, but somehow with him they assume it's affectionate rather than contemptuous.

Harry Potter uses 'thou' with everyone he calls by their first name and 'you' with evereybody else, except for Dumbledore and Snape whenever he thinks he can get away with it, and Mr. & Mrs. Weasley because they insist, and Slytherins when he wants to make trouble. Bones uses 'you' with everyone, even small children, except the people she considers hers, which is basically just the stooges and Booth. Hodgins considers 'you' to be a tool of the patriarchy; Zack calls everybody 'you' because whenever he tries to 'thou' somebody he gets shot down, except Hodgins and Bones and (when she's feeling generous) Angela. Booth takes 'thou' from Bones and his army buddies but nobody else.

SG1 always sticks with 'you' except in moments of extreme emotion, except for Daniel, who will at the slightest provocation give you a ten-minute dissertation on why English preserved the informal form, and who likes to randomly switch to 'thou' just to see Jack twitch, and has gotten everybody but Jack to use thou with him off-duty. Jack has never yet called a Goa'uld anything other than 'thou', except that sometimes with General Carter he forgets; and he's been on thou terms with Thor since about ten minutes after they met. The Asgard and the Ancients thou *everybody*, but the Nox don't, even when they're calling us children; the Tollan use 'you' but they make it clear it's only to be polite.

Darnit, now I want to write stories where they really do use middle English pronouns. Oh, wait - there's one open on my desktop right now! What a coincidence! I'll get right to that, then.

Current Mood:: [mood icon] wet

(19 comments | Reply)

May 10th, 2006 03:21 pm - [profile] wtf27 #011: Fantasy AU (Traditional)
Knights Arrant,
or, the Romance of Sir Alain du Côte and the Cup of Truth

Knights Arrant,
or, the Romance of Sir Alain du Côte and the Cup of Truth
(Boston Legal fic; WIP)

How Queen Shirley of Cranepool sent the companions forth upon their Quest. )

How King Dennys had an altercation with a Beggar, and Sir Brad met with a Damosel most fair. )

How Sir Brad and Lady Dyones parted from the others, and how Sir Brad did strive with a fell beast, and how Lady Dyones gave unto him courage in battle. )

(Sorry. I tried. It won't flow. Maybe more in the morning.)

iv. How they encountered a Priest most Foul; and what passed at the pavilion of Sir Daniel the Merry.

v. How King Dennys and Sir Alain set out upon the Quest of the Cup of Truth.

vi. How they found the Chapel of the Just, and what happened when they entered into it.

vii. How King Dennys fought many battles, and Sir Alain defeated the Friar of the Cup in a battle of wits.

viii. How Sir Brad was smote upon the head by a knight most dishonorable, and how by enchantment King Dennys was held captive.

viiii. How King Dennys did make love unto a damosel, and Sir Alain came upon Lady Dyones in the field.

x. How King Dennys did defeat the stratagems of the false Lady, and how Sir Alain freed Sir Brad from the captivity of the Knight of the Hands.

xi. How Queen Shirley was sore displeased, and how Sir Alain and Sir Dennys took refreshment upon a balcony.

Current Mood:: [mood icon] productive

(5 comments | Reply)

February 27th, 2004 02:12 am - eldest and fatherless
This is, like, *completely* uncanonical. To the real history and place, and to any of the three* fictional worlds I'm pulling in. Because that would require a *lot* more research than I've done, and I refuse to take this thing that seriously. Just call it severely AU.

The backstory about Aelfwine is derived from early work on The Book of Lost Tales, btw. That much is real. The origin of the Red Book is a mystery, but it must have shown up around this time, for early work on "The Hobbit".

Yes, it's the start of the crossover Tolkien rpf.** )

*Or possibly four, since Reg is apparently actually a Time Lord. But he'll always be a Highlander-style Immortal to me!
**No, it's not slash. Even *I* wouldn't stoop so far as to slash Tolkien! Besides, the only feasible pairing would be Ronald/Jack, and just . . no. Sorry. Get it out of my head! Ah! Now I won't be able to stop thinking about it! it's . . too . . horribly . . plausible . .

Current Music:: radiohead - the ballad of bilbo baggins
Current Mood:: [mood icon] geeky

(4 comments | Reply)

December 6th, 2003 11:34 pm - Good Omens/Once Upon a Time in Mexico crossover. Um, sorry.
And in Those Days, in Mexico . . .
Rating: PG-13, for violence, I guess.
Pairings: Um, Sands/War? *sheepish shrug*
Word Count: 1666
Disclaimers: Crowley, Aziraphale, and the Horsepersons belong to Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. Most of the rest belongs to Robert Rodriguez.
Notes: Major spoilers for Once Upon a Time in Mexico, spoilers for Good Omens, minor spoilers for Desperado. The Hebrew was very kindly translated for me by [livejournal.com profile] woapalanne. The Spanish is all mine, has not been beta'd, and is probably very, very bad. But practicing my Spanish was my excuse for writing this, so . . . feel free to correct it or flame it for me.
Inter-agency cooperation, good reasons to wear sunglasses indoors, the several meanings of the name El, and the things humans do to each other with out any prompting at all . . . )

Current Music:: Saint Saens - Danse Macabre
Current Mood:: [mood icon] confused


November 8th, 2003 12:19 pm - Fun with semantics!
Yes, I know I just posted, but some things are worth spamming for.

Every so often I pick up S I Hayakawa's classic Language in Thought and Action for a bit of light reading. This dates back to the first time I read So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish and got it mixed up with Language, Truth, and Logic. Anyway, last night I opened it randomly to a chapter about the importance of context to the meaning of a word, and how ignoring context of words and statements is the best way to start endless, uproductive arguments. At the end of the chapter were some exercises:

Exercise 1 asks you to take five sentences using a nonsense word in context and derive a definition therefrom. One of the words it uses as such is 'wanky'.

I think (now I'm done cracking up) that I'm disappointed nobody picked up on the British slang meaning. It's a book on semantics, man! Unless they did it on purpose, in order to make a point about context. In which case they should have used different example sencences. To wit:

1. He seems to be perpetually wanky.
2. Some people feel most wanky in the early morning, but I get that way just before supper.
3. If you want to get over that wanky feeling, take Johnson's Homogenized Yeast Tablets.
4. . . . the wanky, wanky bluebell / that droops upon its stem . . .
5. I'm not cross, just wanky.

I sense a new set of journelfen icons brewing.

Current Music:: essence - still crying
Current Mood::


> Go to Top
Dreamwidth Studios