This Scrabble game of me against ‘CPU’ (central processing unit) had an unusual ending: the computer had to pass the last 5 turns. It could not find a way to put even one of its 7 remaining tiles on the board.
I figured out which the final letters on CPU’s rack were: A A I I O O V Y. So yes, not a lot to work with. Even so, CPU still managed to beat me by a wide margin, 420-336. It had built two 7-letter words, GEMLIKE and TERNION, for 50 bonus points each.
Here are the meanings of some of the more unusual words on the board: GI: a lightweight two-piece white garment worn in judo and other martial arts. TERNION: the number three; three things together; a ternary or triplet. JEHADIS: (plural) a person involved in a jihad; an Islamic militant. TOFT: a site for a dwelling and its outbuildings; an entire holding comprising a homestead and additional land. QIS: (plural) the circulating life force whose existence and properties are the basis of much Chinese philosophy and medicine. TREMS: (plural) short form of tremolo (arm) on a guitar, a lever attached to the bridge of an electric guitar and used to vary the pitch of a note. IGG: (slang) to ignore or snub (someone); a snub or rebuff. FET: short form (acronym) for field-effect transistor, a transistor in which most current flows in a channel whose effective resistance can be controlled by a transverse electric field. PERVO: (slang) a sexual pervert.
From the Latin word corona, mid-16th century, meaning ‘wreath, crown’. Architecture: a circular chandelier in a church, or a part of a cornice having a broad vertical face. Astronomy: the rarefied gaseous envelope of the sun and other stars. Biology: the cup-shaped or trumpet-shaped outgrowth at the center of a daffodil or narcissus flower. Medical: coronavirus is any of a family (Coronaviridae) of large single-stranded RNA viruses that have a lipid envelope studded with club-shaped spike proteins. Physics: the glow around a conductor at high potential. Smoking: a long, straight-sided cigar.
It was only 45 °F (7 °C) for my late-afternoon stroll around the block today, but hey, now there is an hour more of sunshine.
I found this Arabic friendship pyramid on Twitter (@arabicwords_0).
There seems to be a specific Arabic word for every degree of friendship.
(Note: These words all describe platonic friendships/ relationships. There is a different set of Arabic words for carnal relationships!).
I could not resist to write in the Afrikaans words on the right, as well.
Finally: these are constructive or positive friendships, with the possible exception of drinking companion. Is that where we can add in fair weather friend and frenemy?
And here is the Spanish translation of King Ottokar’s Sceptre (see my recent posts about its translations into Scots, Irish and Welsh).
Below is the panel from the book again that I use to compare the translations with (Tintin and detectives on the motorcycle). The two bungling detectives with similar-sounding names (in Spanish: Hernández & Fernández) say the same thing as usual, but just in different words.
I have Welsh ancestors, and so a Welsh translation to add to my collection of translations of Tintin adventure called ‘King Ottokar’s Sceptre’ was definitely required.
Quick Quiz (answers below): In which country is Welsh is spoken?Which city is the country’s capital?
Welsh is the only language that is de jure* official in any part of the United Kingdom, with English being de facto official.
*de jure- by law; de facto- in fact/ the reality
Welsh has been spoken continuously in Wales throughout recorded history, but by 1911 it had already become a minority language. Today Welsh is spoken by some 850,000 people in Wales. The Welsh government plan to have one million Welsh language speakers by 2050. [Information from Wikipedia]
(Answers to the Quiz: Wales, in the southwest of Great Britain, capital Cardiff).
My Tintin book in Irish landed on my porch today.
Irish (written Gaeilge in Ireland and pronounced ‘gail-gyuh’) is spoken by some 2 million* people in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
It has been the dominant language of the Irish people for most of their recorded history, with inscriptions in primitive Irish of the names of people going back to at least the 4th century.
*These are level 2 speakers with some knowledge of the language. There are fewer than 100,000 daily speakers (outside the education system).
Some of the Adventures of Tintin tales have now been translated into Scots*.
So of course, I had to add one of these books to my collection.
I ordered it on AbeBooks.com.
*Scots is spoken in Scotland and parts of Ulster in Ireland. It is sometimes called Lowland Scots to distinguish it from Scottish Gaelic, the Goidelic Celtic language that was historically restricted to most of the Highlands, the Hebrides and Galloway after the 16th century. [Source: Wikipedia]
It was a fine day here in the city: eighty (27°C) and sunny.
My English-French illustrated dictionary has landed on my porch.
It is illustrated with panels from Belgian cartoonist Hergé’s Tintin characters, which is why I had to have it, of course.
I have decided to improve my cryptic crossword skills, and so I printed out a few that I had found in online issues of The Irish Times.
I am not allowed to use Google too directly. (Shockingly, many of the clue phrases and their solutions can be found online).
I do use Google to look up synonyms, or the odd word or phrases that I do not understand.
Example: I think you need to be an Irishman or a Brit, to know that C of E stands for Church of England.
‘We do not see things as they are, we see them as we are’.
– from Seduction of the Minotaur, by Anais Nin (1961)
The entire Sept. issue of Scientific American is dedicated to the topic on the front page in bold letters: Truth, Lies & Uncertainty: Searching for Reality in Unreal Times. The articles are heavy on science and general philosophies about what is real and what is virtual. For example: to this day, philosophers cannot agree on whether mathematical objects (say, the number ‘7’) exist, or are pure fictions.
A summary of the article by Prof. Anil K. Seth that goes with the picture below, goes like this:
‘The reality we perceive is not a direct reflection of the external objective world. Instead it is the product of the brain’s predictions about the causes of incoming sensory signals. The property of realness that accompanies our perceptions may serve to guide our behavior so that we respond appropriately to the sources of sensory signals’.
So throw in Presidents that lie every day, greedy corporations with profit incentives, and worldwide social media networks — and holy cow: it’s more important than ever before to try to verify if something uncertain or new that we come across, is ‘true’.
I spent the day running down the interesting architecture sights around central station, and the Aker Brygge (Aker docks), a little further along the waterfront.
I also checked into some stores and some bookstores.
I have so far come up empty handed, as far as finding Tintin books in Norwegian, to add to my collection.
Hmm.. is that a legitimate word: cenosillicaphobia? I wondered, as I looked at the letter board sign behind the bar counter in the Elysian Capitol Hill Brewery tonight.
Well, kind of. It looks like it was invented some 10 years ago. It is listed by Urban Dictionary, but not by Merriam-Webster (the gold standard for online dictionaries).
Ceno means empty, such as in cenotaph (a tomb or a monument erected in honor of a person, or group of persons, whose remains are elsewhere), sillica would be the glass and phobia (of course), the irrational fear.
No reason to suffer from cenosillicaphobia when the bartender is right there, though – unless you have had several too many, already.
The sugarbush is from the protea family. The ‘flowers’ are actually flower heads with a collection of true flowers in the center, surrounded by bracts (modified leaves). In days gone by, the nectar used to be collected and cooked into a syrup.
A famous Afrikaans folk dance song goes like this: Suikerbossie ek wil jou hê (Sugarbush I want you so) Suikerbossie ek wil jou hê (Sugarbush I want you so) Suikerbossie ek wil jou hê (Sugarbush I want you so) Wat sal jou mama daarvan sê (What will your mama say of that)
Dan loop ons so onder deur die maan (Then we walk under the moon) Dan loop ons so onder deur die maan (Then we walk under the moon) Dan loop ons so onder deur die maan (Then we walk under the moon) Ek en my suikerbossie saam (My sugarbush and I together)
.. no, not a pastry that you can eat – the kind you can read. I got this little first-grade reader book at a second-hand bookstore for a few dollars. For now, I don’t intend to learn Danish. I just like the o with the streg (ø) and the a with the overring (å). So foreign.
‘Søren and Mette’ was first published in 1954. The authors were teacher Knud Hermansen and psychologist Ejvind Jensen. The artist was Kirsten Jensenius. An updated version of the book is still in use today.
I have a few German ‘Adventures of Tintin’ books in my collection, and I can start to read those with a better understanding as well.
The two bungling detectives (Schulze & Schultze in the German translation), first appeared in King Ottokar’s Scepter. Check out the table for their names in the other translations.
My only beef with the German translation is that the text is in ALL CAPS – which means YELLING in today’s rules for text formats. I would have much preferred it to be Mixed Case. Carlson Comics, please take note of that for the next update to the German translation!
I am working my way through a large set of German language lessons in duolingo. (It is a website and an app. I find the desktop/ website better to use, since it is easier to type in the answers to the lessons that way).
Every now and then, I get a German phrase that is remarkably easy to translate directly into my native Germanic language of Afrikaans, but impossible to translate directly into English. (And I love it – it’s what fascinates me about languages).
Here’s one : German: Es ist mein Ernst. Afrikaans : Dit is my erns. English: It is my [Hmm. What word to use here? Cannot say ‘It is my serious/ It is my earnest’. Need a noun forsome thing/ some issuethat is taken seriously].
This morning a blanket of fog enveloped the whole area; it is amazing how warm and stuffy it got from just one week ago when we were sitting here in the office building shivering from the cold. The marble floors and door thresholds – and even windows – in the building ‘sweat’ – all the moisture condensing on it. It’s bad to have slippery marble floors, so the office management had to put non-slip mats in the lobbies and hallways. Yesterday a few of us walked up to the reservoir close to the office building here where we work.
But hey! it’s Friday and I have a weekend in Hong Kong to look forward to. The Marriott Courtyard hotel room waiting for me there will be a get away and a little lap of luxury, and I am going to snooze in that king-size bed with the six pillows.