Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Interlingua, a language for the world

Interlingua is an "artificial" language amongst others as Volapuk, Esperanto, and Ido.  Its supporters however claim it is a "natural" language because its vocabulary is extracted from the most international of West European languages with a minimum of alteration.  Heavily based on Latin and Greek roots,  with all the crazy grammar rules removed, it seems to me to be ideal method of communication among foreigners who don't want to or cannot use hard-to-master English.

Here is a sample:
"Il es, naturalmente, ben cognoscite a vos que in un affaire bancari succedite tanto multo depende super essente capace de trovar remunerative investimentos pro nostre fundos, como le augmentation de nostre clientes e numero de nostre depositores. Un de nostre le plus lucrative medios de investir le moneta es in le forma de prestos ubi le securitate es indubitabile. Nos ha facite multo in iste direction durante le ultime pauc annos, e il ha multe familias nobile a que nos ha avantiate grande summas super le securitate de lor picturas, bibliothecas, o platta." 

"Heri matino, io ha sedite a mi bureau al Banca quando un carta esseva portate  a me per un del commissos. Io esseva supersaltate quando io ha vidite le nomine, proque illo esseva aquelle de nihil altere que––ben, potesser mesmo a vos io melior non dice plus que illo esseva un nomine que es un nomine familiar in tote partes del mundo––un del plus alte, plus nobile, e plus exaltate nomines de Anglaterra. Io esseva superate per le honor, e ha essayate, quando ille ha entrate mi bureau, a dicer assi, mais ille ha immergite se immediatemente in le affaire con le aer de un homine que vole hastar presto per un carga disagradabile."
(translation by Dr. Stanley Mulaik)

Here is the original text from Arthur Conan Doyle's "The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet":
“It is, of course, well known to you that in a successful banking business as much depends upon our being able to find remunerative investments for our funds as upon our increasing our connection and the number of our depositors.  One of our most lucrative means of laying out money is in the shape of loans, where the security is unimpeachable.  We have done a good deal in this direction during the last few years, and there are many noble families to whom we have advanced large sums upon the security of their pictures, libraries, or plate.

“Yesterday morning I was seated in my office at the bank when a card was brought in to me by one of the clerks.  I started when I saw the name, for it was that of none other than – well, perhaps even to you I had better say no more than that it was name which is a household word all over the earth – one of the highest, noblest, most exalted names in England.  I was overwhelmed by the honour and attempted, when he entered, to say so, but he plunged at once into business with the air of a man who wishes to hurry quickly through a disagreeable task."

Anyone with a working knowledge of a Western language will understand much of the above, since Latin and Greek word roots form a fundamental part of English as well as even non-Romance languages.  An experiment to combine non-European languages as Arabic, Hindu and Chinese with Western ones only resulted in only one recognizable pattern: that of Latin/Greek derived words.  So any international constructed language has to be European-based, sorry multiculturalists.  I think this is appropriate since Western Europe has contributed so much to the creation of the modern world through culture, science and technology.  We live in a Westernized world.  

Interlingua had its roots in Peano's Latino sin reflexione, a project to create a Latin-based language without so much horrific grammar; this started in 1903.  Later on some scholars took it up and developed Interlingua between 1937 and 1951.  Their dreams of it being adopted by the United Nations or other intergovernmental institutions fell by the wayside as English continued its uninterrupted march to dominance in the 20th century as the international language of business, politics and culture.  

Still, I think Interlingua is the best way for foreigners to communicate with each other, if they do not use English.  The European Union could use it in their official business instead of the 24 (and counting) languages they are forced to use today.  Just as medieval Latin united the educated classes in Europe for many centuries, so could its descendent, Interlingua, fulfill that role today, on a global scale.


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Bizarre biwa instrument

The Japanese biwa is a lute derived from the Chinese pipa and earlier Asian lutes.  The Japanese film Kwaidan, based on Lafcadio Hearn’s book about ghosts, includes a story about Hoichi, the blind biwa player.  Traditionally,  biwa  music centers on the Tale of the Heike, a clan war of ancient times.  

Very eerie vocalization to be sure.

Here even a gaijin (foreigner) gets in on the action.

Here is the Chinese pipa instrument that preceded the biwa.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Anniversary of Hungarian Revolt of 1956

October 23, 1956 was the start of the Hungarian revolution against the puppet state set up by the Soviets.  This event followed smaller revolts in East Germany in 1953 and 1956, as well as Khrushchev's famous "secret speech" revealing Stalin's abominable reign as Soviet tyrant.  Up to that point Comrade Stalin had been thought of as stern but kind Uncle Joe, thanks to years of Soviet propaganda, swallowed wholeheartedly by the captives of his empire and free people alike.  Rumors emerged that some of Khrushchev's audience at the 20th Congress went home and had heart attacks or committed suicide, such was the shock of the small peek at the truth K allowed. 

This is the time when many communists left the party in Great Britain, US, Italy and France, for example, not being able to stomach the Russian medicine for Hungarian disobedience.  

When the Russian tanks and soldiers entered Budapest on Nov. 4, 1956 to reconquer the country as a subservient state, all pretense of  the fraternity of socialist states was shattered to all who chose not to delude themselves any longer. 

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Balinese music, new to me...

Lots of percussion it seems from my limited musical knowledge.

Called gamelan, pronounced GAM-e-lan.  Influenced  Battlestar Galactica season 3 soundtrack.  Guess I never liked that show, though this kind of spooky music would go well with sci fi (sorry Harlan Ellison).  (He hates that phrase.)  Not a viable option compared to Babylon 5 for example, or Deep Space Nine. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Huichol art

Some Huichol yarn paintings.  Surprisingly, these art forms of using beads or yarn held in place by resin or wax didn't develop until the early 1960's supposedly at the suggestion of an American artist.  The original inspiration of many subjects is of course peyote visions.

Beaded figurines and "paintings."  There's even a VW "Bug" car covered with over 2 million beads in some museum. 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Some Crazy African Greys

Greys seem to pick up on telephone conversations really well.

Saturday, April 06, 2013

More Alan Watts

Here he takes a somewhat Ram Dass-ian Hindu perspective of life as a game of hide and seek, or the divine disguised as oneself and the world.  This perspective is all fine and dandy but without an efficient technique of cultivating and making this realization an inner experience, it is likely to fade away during the daily grind of existence.  

I think what can remedy this is the daily discipline of sitting meditation.  All skills are acquired through disciplined practice of a proper technique, and the skill of becoming fully awake and staying that way is no exception.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Tara mantra

Tara is a female Buddha that comes in many forms, most common white or green.  White Tara represents compassion, long life, healing and serenity, while Green Tara is enlightened activity that removes obstacles, fears and worries.  All in all there are 21 emanations.  As John Blofeld points out, the Chinese Kuan Yin is not a female version of the male Avalokiteshvara but rather a Chinese version of the Tibetan Tara figure.

21 emanations of Tara above.

This Russian video about Tara certainly pulls out all the stops.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Roman Army

A few examples of Roman reenactments, the Germans and the British seem to be the most avid fans.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

From the Sublime to the Silly

Having viewed a few blogs about pens I purchased a blue Kaweco Sport AL with medium nib a while back.  The AL I presume stands for aluminum, which is what the guy in the video is trying to remember at one point.  This is a fountain pen.  It is designed to hold their own ink cartridges only, and apparently many lamented there was no converter for it.  A converter is a device with a piston inside that enables one to use ink from a bottle, and is inserted in the pen where the original cartridge is located.  Recently I discovered Kaweco now makes a converter for its Sport pen, as explained in the video located at this site. For Kaweco Sport fans, this is a big deal as now they can use their favorite ink with it.

Kaweco sounds like a Japanese company but is actually German, it started in Heidelberg in the 1880's.  This particular pen is quite short but one can make it longer by placing the cap on the end when writing.

There are a lot of interesting pen blogs out there on the Internet, it seems that really good fountain pens quite often cost over a hundred dollars, so it can get to be an expensive hobby if one takes it seriously.  Another German pen that is popular but not so expensive is the Lamy Safari series, for example.