Xah's Belles-lettres Blog Archive 2012-09 to 2012-09

Google translate wife snake 2012-09-30
Google translates “wife” (娘子) into “snake”. 2012-09-30

Lost in Translation: Madame White Snake; 小青姨……你妈是白娘子吗…

numeronyms

The terms are frequently abbreviated to the numeronyms i18n (where 18 stands for the number of letters between the first i and last n in “internationalization”, a usage coined at DEC in the 1970s or 80s) and L10n respectively, due to the length of the words. The capital L in L10n helps to distinguish it from the lowercase i in i18n.

learned a new word, Numeronym.

embargo

One week before the film's release, Disney removed an embargo on reviews of the film. John Carter received mixed reviews from critics. As of May 5, 2012, it holds a 52% rating on the film-critics aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes based on 207 reviews; its consensus is, “While John Carter looks terrific and delivers its share of pulpy thrills, it also suffers from uneven pacing and occasionally incomprehensible plotting and characterization.”

the word embargo is historically related to “bar”, “barricade”.

embargo «1590s, from Sp. embargo “seizure, embargo,” noun of action from embargar “restrain impede,” from V.L. *imbarricare, from in- “into, upon” (see in- (2)) + *barra (see bar). As a verb, from 1640s.»

'Tis all a Chequer-board of Nights and Days
Where Destiny with Men for Pieces plays:
Hither and thither moves, and mates, and slays,
And one by one back in the Closet lays.

A poem by Omar Khayyám (1048 – 1131), translated by Edward FitzGerald (poet) (1809 – 1883)

locomotion, quadrupedal, knuckle-walking

locomotion

Knuckle-walking is a form of quadrupedal walking in which the forelimbs hold the fingers in a partially flexed posture that allows body weight to press down on the ground through the knuckles.

Gorillas and chimpanzees use this style of locomotion as do anteater and platypuses.

Anthropologists once thought that the common ancestor of chimpanzees and humans engaged in knuckle-walking, and humans evolved upright walking from knuckle-walking: a view thought to be supported by reanalysis of overlooked features on hominid fossils.

Since then, scientists discovered Ardipithecus ramidus, a human-like hominid descended from the common ancestor of chimpanzees and humans. Ar. ramidus engaged in upright walking, but not knuckle-walking. This leads scientists to conclude that chimpanzees evolved knuckle-walking after they split from humans 6 million years ago, and humans evolved upright walking without knuckle-walking.

Knuckle-walking, 2012-09-24

comprise, eponymous, extant, solicitation

Gorilla, :

Gorillas comprise the eponymous genus Gorilla, the largest extant genus of primates. They are ground-dwelling, predominantly herbivorous apes that inhabit the forests of central Africa. The genus is divided into two species and either four or five subspecies. The DNA of gorillas is highly similar to that of a human, from 95–99% depending on what is counted, and they are the next closest living relatives to humans after the bonobo and common chimpanzee.

Females will purse their lips and slowly approach a male while making eye contact. This serves to urge the male to mount her. If the male does not respond, then she will try to attract his attention by reaching towards him or slapping the ground. In multiple-male groups, solicitation indicates female preference, but females can be forced to mate with multiple males. Males incite copulation by approaching a female and displaying at her or touching her and giving a “train grunt”. Recently, gorillas have been observed engaging in face-to-face sex, a trait once considered unique to humans and bonobos.

solicit «early 15c., “to disturb, trouble,” from M.Fr. soliciter, from L. solicitare “to disturb, rouse,” from sollicitus “agitated,” from sollus “whole, entire” + citus “aroused,” pp. of ciere “shake, excite, set in motion”»

dromedaries, nomadic, peripatetic

nomadic

The 14 million dromedaries (one-humped camel) alive today are domesticated animals (mostly living in Northern Africa, Middle East). The Horn of Africa region alone has the largest concentration of camels in the world, where the dromedaries constitute an important part of local nomadic life. They provide peripatetic Somali and Ethiopian people with milk, food and transportation.

The Bactrian camel (2-humps) is now reduced to an estimated 1.4 million animals, mostly domesticated. About 1,000 wild Bactrian camels are thought to inhabit the Gobi Desert in China and Mongolia.

Camel, 2012-09-06

vocabulary: diffused, parable, lore

diffused

The story of the blind men and an elephant originated in India from where it has widely diffused. It has been used to illustrate a range of truths and fallacies. At various times it has provided insight into the relativism, opaqueness or inexpressible nature of truth, the behaviour of experts in fields where there is a deficit or inaccessibility of information, the need for communication, and respect for different perspectives.

It is a parable that has crossed between many religious traditions and is part of Jain, Buddhist, Sufi and Hindu lore. The tale is also well known in Europe. In the 19th century the poet John Godfrey Saxe created his own version as a poem. Since then, the story has been published in many books for adults and children, and interpreted in an ever-increasing variety of ways.

vocabulary: doppelgänger, harbingers, sinister, portends, omen

harbingers

In fiction and folklore, a doppelgänger (German “double walker”) (pronounced [ˈdɔpəlˌɡɛŋɐ]) is a paranormal double of a living person, typically representing evil or misfortune. In modern vernacular it is simply any double or look-alike of a person. It also describes the sensation of having glimpsed oneself in peripheral vision, in a position where there is no chance that it could have been a reflection. Doppelgängers often are perceived as a sinister form of bilocation and are regarded by some to be harbingers of bad luck. In some traditions, a doppelgänger seen by a person's friends or relatives portends illness or danger, while seeing one's own doppelgänger is an omen of death.
Doppelgänger, 2012-09-04

effervescence, aqueous, fizzing, fermentation

Effervescence

Effervescence is the escape of gas from an aqueous solution and the foaming or fizzing that results from a release of the gas. The word effervescence is derived from the Latin verb fervere preceded by the adverb ex, which means to boil. It has the same linguistic root as the word fermentation, a complex biochemical reaction leading amongst others to the production of carbon dioxide and to the subsequent liberation of CO2 gas from the solution when this latter becomes supersaturated with respect to this gas. The making of beer, wine, or champagne, by fermentation is thus also accompanied by effervescence of CO2 from the barrel where the process occurs.
Effervescence, 2012-08-06
“Fondling,” she saith, “since I have hemm'd thee here
Within the circuit of this ivory pale,
I'll be a park, and thou shalt be my deer;
Feed where thou wilt, on mountain or in dale:
Graze on my lips; and if those hills be dry,
Stray lower, where the pleasant fountains lie.”

from William Shakespeare, Venus and Adonis, Stanza 39, line 229

inaugural

An official hall of fame exists at the International Table Tennis Federation Museum. A Grand Slam is earned by a player who wins singles crowns at Olympic Games, World Championships, and World Cup. Jan-Ove Waldner of Sweden first completed the grand slam at 1992 Olympic Games. Deng Yaping of China is the first female recorded at the inaugural Women's World Cup in 1996.
Table tennis, 2012-08-06

euphemism

Freedom fries is a political euphemism for French fries used by some people in the United States as a result of anti-French sentiment during the controversy over the U.S. decision to launch the 2003 invasion of Iraq. France expressed strong opposition in the United Nations to such an invasion. Some frowned upon the French position, leading to campaigns for the boycotting of French goods and businesses and the removal of the country's name from products.
Freedom fries, 2012-08-06

The Hunger Games, and Highbrowism of The New Yorker: hobbesian, dystopian, epicene, courtier, cosseted

star-crossed lovers, thwarted, malign

In the fictional story The Hunger Games , the protagonists, girl Katniss Everdeen and boy Peeta Mellark, are described in the fiction as star-crossed lovers. What is star-crossed lovers? Quote from Wikipedia:

“Star-crossed” or “star-crossed lovers” is a phrase describing a pair of lovers whose relationship is often thwarted by outside forces. The term encompasses other meanings, but originally means the pairing is being “thwarted by a malign star” or that the stars are working against the relationship. Astrological in origin, the phrase stems from the belief that the positions of the stars ruled over people's fates, and is best known from the play 〈Romeo and Juliet〉 by the Elizabethan playwright William Shakespeare. Such pairings are often but not always said to be doomed from the start.

Hunger Games

See also: Arcade Fire - Abraham's Daughter (Hunger Games Ending Credits Song)

ambience, drudgery, laureate, larger-than-life, aplomb, pulp-fiction

larger-than-life

Henry Charles Bukowski (1920 – 1994) was an American poet, novelist and short story writer. His writing was influenced by the social, cultural and economic ambience of his home city of Los Angeles. It is marked by an emphasis on the ordinary lives of poor Americans, the act of writing, alcohol, relationships with women and the drudgery of work. Bukowski wrote thousands of poems, hundreds of short stories and six novels, eventually publishing over sixty books. In 1986 Time called Bukowski a “laureate of American lowlife”. Regarding Bukowski's enduring popular appeal, Adam Kirsch of The New Yorker wrote, “the secret of Bukowski's appeal… [is that] he combines the confessional poet's promise of intimacy with the larger-than-life aplomb of a pulp-fiction hero.”
Charles Bukowski, 2012-08-06
larger-than-life = very imposing or impressive; surpassing the ordinary (AHD)
pulp-fiction = inexpensive magazine printed on poor quality paper, from 1986 to 1950s. Often featuring stories that's lurid or sensational. Pulp-fiction

How National Geographic Paints a Pretty Picture for Middle Class Americans

ethology

Ethology (from Greek: ἦθος, ethos, “character”; and -λογία, -logia, “the study of”) is the scientific study of animal behavior, and a sub-topic of zoology.

Although many naturalists have studied aspects of animal behaviour throughout history, the modern discipline of ethology is generally considered to have begun during the 1930s with the work of Dutch biologist Nikolaas Tinbergen and Austrian biologists Konrad Lorenz and Karl von Frisch, joint winners of the 1973 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Ethology is a combination of laboratory and field science, with a strong relation to certain other disciplines such as neuroanatomy, ecology, and evolution. Ethologists are typically interested in a behavioral process rather than in a particular animal group, and often study one type of behavior (For example, aggression) in a number of unrelated animals.

Ethology, 2012-07-30

mended

I admit that in the past I've been a nasty
They weren't kidding when they called me, well, a witch
But you'll find that nowadays
I've mended all my ways
Repented, seen the light and made a switch

Linguistics Excursion: phonology: mora

Mora (linguistics). Quote:

Mora (plural moras or morae) is a unit in phonology that determines syllable weight, which in some languages determines stress or timing. As with many technical linguistic terms, the definition of a mora varies. Perhaps the most succinct working definition was provided by the American linguist James D. McCawley in 1968: a mora is “Something of which a long syllable consists of two and a short syllable consists of one.” The term comes from the Latin word for “linger, delay”, which was also used to translate the Greek word chronos (time) in its metrical sense.

A syllable containing one mora is said to be monomoraic; a syllable with two moras is said to be bimoraic. Also, in rarer cases, a syllable with three moras is said to be trimoraic.

Japanese is a language famous for its moraic qualities. Most dialects, including the standard, use moras (in Japanese, haku (拍) or mōra (モーラ)) rather than syllables as the basis of the sound system.

For example, haiku in modern Japanese do not follow the pattern 5 syllables/7 syllables/5 syllables, as commonly believed, but rather the pattern 5 moras/7 moras/5 moras.

As one example, the Japanese syllable-final n is moraic, as is the first part of a geminate consonant. For example, the word Nippon (one of the pronunciations of 日本, the name for "Japan" in Japanese) has four moras (ni-p-po-n); each of the four characters used in the hiragana spelling にっぽん represents one of the four moras.

Thus, in Japanese, the words Tōkyō (to-u-kyo-u とうきょう), Ōsaka (o-o-sa-ka おおさか), and Nagasaki (na-ga-sa-ki ながさき) all have four moras, even though they have two, three, and four syllables, respectively.

ingénue, wholesome, candid, cunning, vamp, foil

ingénue

The ingénue (/ˈænʒənuː/) is a stock character in literature, film, and a role type in the theatre; generally a girl or a young woman who is endearingly innocent and wholesome. Ingenue may also refer to a new young actress or one typecast in such roles. The term comes from the French adjective ingénu meaning “ingenuous” or innocent, virtuous, and candid. The term may also imply a lack of sophistication and cunning.

Typically, the ingenue is beautiful, gentle, sweet, virginal, and often naïve, in mental or emotional danger, or even physical danger, usually a target of The Cad; whom she may have mistaken for The Hero. Due to lack of independence, the ingenue usually lives with her father or a father figure (although in some rare cases she lives with a mother figure). The vamp (femme fatale) is often a foil for the ingenue (or the damsel in distress).

demure

Ruth Handler believed that it was important for Barbie to have an adult appearance, and early market research showed that some parents were unhappy about the doll's chest, which had distinct breasts. Barbie's appearance has been changed many times, most notably in 1971 when the doll's eyes were adjusted to look forwards rather than having the demure sideways glance of the original model.
Barbie, 2012-07-25

charter, vernacular, monarch, statute

vernacular

Magna Carta, also called Magna Carta Libertatum or The Great Charter of the Liberties of England, is an English charter, originally issued in Latin in the year 1215, and translated into vernacular-French as early as 1219, and reissued later in the 13th century in modified versions. The later versions excluded the most direct challenges to the monarch's authority that had been present in the 1215 charter. The charter first passed into law in 1225; the 1297 version, with the long title (originally in Latin) “The Great Charter of the Liberties of England, and of the Liberties of the Forest,” still remains on the statute books of England and Wales.
Magna Carta, 2012-07-25

depictions, raunchier, portrayals, pudenda, genitalia

portrayals

For many years, Penthouse fell between Playboy and Hustler in its explicitness and general attitude toward sexual depictions, with Playboy being visually softer and less focused on female genitals and with Hustler going for a raunchier look and content often consisting of toilet humor. Almost from the start, Penthouse pictorials showed female genitalia and pubic hair when this was considered by many to be obscene.

Up until 1973, the depiction of female genitalia offered fuzzy portrayals of the pudenda, without the inner labia parted, after which sharper views of the vulva were shown.

Simulated sex, but not penetration or male genitalia, followed; then, several years later, male genitalia, including erections, could be seen. In addition, Penthouse attempted to maintain some level of reading content, although usually of a more sexually oriented nature than Playboy.

Penthouse Magazine, 2012-07-01

what's ontology? how it relates to materialism?

the Philosophy of Fck Sh�t Stack

dyspepsia, abdomen, bloating, belching, nausea, heartburn

Dyspepsia

Dyspepsia (from the Greek δυσ- dys- and πέψις pepsis “digestion”), also known as upset stomach or indigestion, refers to a condition of impaired digestion. It is a medical condition characterized by chronic or recurrent pain in the upper abdomen, upper abdominal fullness and feeling full earlier than expected when eating. It can be accompanied by bloating, belching, nausea, or heartburn.
Dyspepsia, 2012-06-27