2 May 2008

Transliteration for dummies

Submitted by Karl Hagen
Note to the College Board: the correct transliteration for 'þ' is 'th', not 'p'. I've finally started to go back to analyzing the SAT writing material to infer the College Board's views on grammar, and while flipping through the January 2008 SAT, my eye came upon this bit from a passage in a reading section about Ezra Pound's translation of the Old English poem "The Seafarer":
Moreover, there are unfortunately some mistakes, as when Pound misreads purh ("through") as pruh ("coffin").
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2 May 2008

New Service Provider

Submitted by Karl Hagen
I've been neglecting my blog lately, partly because I've been busy, but also because my former service provider was giving increasingly spotty service, and I didn't have the energy to deal with it. However, I've now switched to a new provider that I trust will give much better service. (The site already feels much snappier). I can also finally upgrade Drupal.
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11 Jan 2008

Google News is pissing me off

Submitted by Karl Hagen
My browser's home page is Google news, and when I am signed in, it gives me a list of "personalized" news stories that are supposedly based on my previous searches and news. Yet it continually serves up stories that I have absolutely no interest in (most recently the Britney Spears tragicomedy), and there seems to be no way to override what Google thinks is good for me. Why, oh why, don't they have a "not interested" button like Amazon? For the time being, I've given up on their personalization and will go to Google news without signing in.
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23 Dec 2007

Let's call it 19th century

Submitted by Karl Hagen
I'm now in England for Christmas, after spending a week in Ireland. We stayed in a lovely rural area in Claire, and one of the spots we stopped was Bunratty castle, a fifteenth-century structure that has been quite well restored. Like many other castles, it is cramped and has lots of narrow staircases, not at all like the Hollywood image of spacious luxury. You can understand why so many aristocratic families tended to abandon their castles for more comfortable dwellings.
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11 Dec 2007

Prose translation is for sciolists

Submitted by Karl Hagen
I was contemplating a post about Old English metrical forms to mirror the last one on word order, but I'm leaving for England and Ireland at the end of the week and don't have time to come up with anything elaborate. So instead, I present for your philological amusement my translation of one of Aldhelm's Enigmata into Old English verse.

Ic eom huses weard,    holdscipes genoh,
bold wæccende,    bryce geardstapa.
On þearle niht    ic þeostre oferfare,
ne anforlæte    þæt eagena leoht,

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4 Dec 2007
A few days ago, a Language Log post mentioned an old Onion article about reverting the grammatical rules of English to something roughly equivalent to Late Old English. It's satire of course (something that seems to have gone over some people's heads), and the article doesn't actually follow a consistent practice.
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4 Dec 2007
The notion that Beowulf's nudity in the movie can be justified by the original poem seems to be floating around out there on the web. I seem to recall Neil Gaiman himself making that claim in an LA Times interview several months before the movie opened, so perhaps that's the origin of the idea. (I can't find a link for this article, though.)

I'm afraid, though, that that's a misreading (or at least reinvention). The relevant passage starts at line 661.

Ða he him of dyde, isern-byrnan,

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20 Nov 2007

I'm clearly not trying hard enough

Submitted by Karl Hagen
According to the Blog Readability Test, my blog has a high school reading level. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not. Part of me feels that I need to work harder to obfuscate my writing lest someone question my academic credentials. Of course it could just be the algorithm. I presume that this site is using something similar to the Unix style command. When I run my ten most recent items (not all of which are on the front page) through style, I get the following results: readability grades: Kincaid: 9.2
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