This week’s audiobooks: Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare and Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater.

You need to download Overdrive media player, too.

 This is a fun program that HarperAudio is taking part in too. Spread the word!

Whoa! Next week’s titles are Little Brother by Cory Doctorow and The Trial by Franz Kafka! (Aside: I usually associate Overdrive with the kind of onerous DRM that Doctorow doesn’t like — even more restrictive than Audible’s, which prevents me getting to buy his audiobooks via Audible, or at least that’s how I understand it. I’m very curious to see what the licensing terms are here.) And looking further ahead I see a production of Francis B. Gummere’s translation of Beowulf!

UPDATE: The download ends up as a DRM-free MP3 fileset, not one of Overdrive’s DRM-laden WMA filesets. Recommendation for AAC/M4B audiobook devices: use Chapter and Verse to assemble a single audiobook file with chapters from the resulting files.

writhed like an electric fan: unpopular opinion ›


series 1 was the best.


Rose was snarky and occasionally bitchy and always awesome and flawed and terrible.

She was terrible to Mickey. It wasn’t portrayed as a good thing, or a funny thing, at least not for a majority of the time. She was selfish and arrogant and thought she could change…

That’s where Cody’s got it wrong," Zia said. "You don’t change the world by stirring up something in Raven’s pot."
“Then how do you change it?”
“By being strong and true.”
“See,” Maida added. “That’s what makes the cuckoos so bad. You can only gentle them by killing them and every death diminishes us.”
Zia nodded. “We should know.”
“Or ask Jack if you don’t believe us.”
“I believe you,” Ray said. “I just never thought of it that way.”
“The best change you can make is to hold up a mirror so that people can look into it and change themselves. That’s the only way a person can be changed.”
“By looking inside yourself,” Zia said. “Even if you have to look into a mirror that’s outside yourself to do it.”
“And you know,” Maida added. “That mirror can be a story you hear, or just somebody else’s eyes. Anything that reflects back so you can see yourself in it.”
“We can’t do that with the cuckoos?” Ray asked.
Maida shook her head. “You can’t do it with people who never look outside themselves.

Charles de Lint, Someplace To Be Flying


Hippy Archaeologist.  

(via doctorwho)


Foreign Tongue Twisters: Khadak Singh …


खड्गसिंह के खडकने से खडकती है खिडकीयाँ 

खिडकीयो के खडकऩे से खडकता है खड्गसिंह। (Hindi):

Khadak Singh ke khadakane se khadakati hain khidkiyan, khidkiyon ke khadakane se khadakata hai Khadak Singh.

What the heck does that mean?:

When Khadak Singh shakes, the windows shake; when the windows shake, Khadak Singh shakes.

Not only awesome to say, but extremely useful, too! 


Fictional Language Showcase: Nadsat

Nadsat - the word coming from the transliteration of the Russian word for ‘teen’ (-надцать) - was invented by A Clockwork Orange author and polyglot Anthony Burgess. Nadsat is basically English, with some transliterated words from Russian and with rhyming patterns derived from Cockney slang, King James Bible and made up of a collection of words invented by Burgess himself. Burgess used Nadsat to capture the essence of the juvenile mind, so: sex, violence, drugs and beatings to the sweet tune of ‘Singing in the Rain.’ Nadsat is semi-functional as the grammar hasn’t been completely revealed to the public, though Burgess suggests he has worked the language to a functional state.

Let’s learn some Nadsat, shall we, my koshkas?

Peeting the old moloko with synthemesc. - Drinking milk spiked with a certain drug 
Bog bust and bleed you - May God strike you down.

Interested in speaking like a bowler cap clad, poolstick wielding, orgy-loving droog? Click here to get the basics.


Language Learning (Hard)

And there you have it, the world’s ‘hardest’ languages to learn. I remember reading an article that including Icelandic at the top of the list but that does not seem to be the case here. Here’s what makes them so difficult (according to their studies):

Arabic: lack of cognates, few vowels, difficult prononciation
Chinese: four tones, thousands of characters, complex writing system
Japanese: thousands of characters, three writing systems (hiragana, katakana, kanji)
Korean: different sentence structure/syntax/verb conjugations, some Chinese characters

I expected these four to be on the top but what about Hindi or Thai or Malay? I suppose these are the most commonly studied but having studied Japanese, I wouldn’t call it ‘harder’ than another language, just more involved and perhaps requiring more study time. But that’s just my humble opinion …


Life Goes On: Natori, Japan: A cherry blossom tree flowers in an area devastated by the tsunami and earthquake. (Yasuyoshi Chiba)

Lungbarrow ›