Friday, 20 March 2015

Sony and Scott de Martinville

A bit of mail the other day asked if I'd review something I'd bought: the subject line helpfully told me There’s still time to review your recent Argos purchase. Normally I'd've ignored it, but as it reminded me of an impulse buy that I'd regretted I followed the link thinking 'OK Argos, you asked for it' and ranted away.
<rant> 
After a sentence or two I noticed the warning Maximum review-length exceeded by 243 characters. How very dare they,  invite me to vent and then pull the rug out from under my... er... keyboard? So I gave them a couple of dismissive sentences, and stored my words of wisdom for future recycling.
It was hard to set up, because the ON/OFF switch was hidden away at the back. With the radio I was replacing the ON/OFF switch was at the front. This was convenient because switching off with this button was more graceful (in engineering terms); think of a Windows PC – it has to be shut down properly. Switching off my previous  DAB radio directly at the socket made an audible popping sound (increasing wear on the speakers). With a button on the front, switching off properly was easy.
But, as it happened, this radio did not have a graceful way of shutting down; the popping sound was equally loud whether I switched off at the wall or using the inconveniently placed ON/OFF switch. So I ignore the popping sound and switch off at the wall. People who know me personally will know how to interpret the word 'ignore'.
 </rant> 

OK, what's bought is bought; Quod empsi empsi.

But this serves to introduce the theme of sound transmission technology. Recently I caught the end of a TV series that asked How we got to now with Steven Johnson and as his name was part of the title I assumed he was an expert. Perhaps so [definitely, it appears], but not in all things, in particular with respect to phononograms. [Oops – I misheard his accent; he gets it right, but with a confusingly trans-Atlantic twang.]

The phonautograph, a precursor of Edison's Earth-changing invention, is described here (about 9 minutes in). Johnson asks
Why has nobody heard of this guy? Because, unbelievably, Scott's design was missing one crucial feature: playback.
It could record, but not reproduce. This is strangely (inversely, in every way, including commercial success) like the Sony Walkman, which was based on an existing dictation machine, but with the recording facility neutered. (For all I know the technology was still there inside the box, but as it had no User Interface it might as well not have been. This cnet piece may tell you.)
<autobiographical_note>
This reminds me of a project I worked on in the late 1980s, which similarly  involved taking an expensive bit of kit and bastardizing it – 'cost-reduced engineering' was the buzzword du jour.
</autobiographical_note>
So whereas Sony made a mint by taking a sound recorder and removing the ability to record sound  – a sound recorder that couldn't record     Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville made not a sou by inventing a machine that could record but couldn't play back.

Ho hum. I wanted to find a quote from one of  Eça de Queirós's Cartas de Inglaterra. Eça was a sort of 19th-century Alastair Cook, based in England, and writing home not to the UK but to Portugal.

Full details here
When he hears reports of Edison's 1877 invention, he imagines their primary use will  be in making 'living wills' – understandable really as (in the words of that Johnson TV programme)
For the 100,00 years since language developed, every word  ever spoken by anyone was immediately lost to the air.
And one of the video clips used to illustrate these words is a death-bed scene. Letting the dead speak was a major selling point of sound recording technology. But that quote will have to wait until after the concert I'm singing in on Saturday. Don't miss it.




Mammon When Vowels Get Together V5.2: Collection of Kindle word-lists grouping different pronunciations of vowel-pairs. Now complete (that is, it covers all vowel pairs –  but there's still stuff to be done with it; an index, perhaps...?) 

And here it is: Digraphs and Diphthongs . The (partial) index has an entry for each vowel pair that can represent each monophthong phoneme. For example AE, EA and EE are by far the most common pairs of vowels used to represent the /i:/ phoneme, but there are eight other possibilities. The index uses colour to give an idea of how common a spelling is, ranging from bright red to represent the most common to pale olive green to represent the least common.

I'm thinking about doing a native iBook version in due course, but for now Mac users can use Kindle's own (free) simulator.

Also available at Amazon: When Vowels Get Together: The paperback.

And if you have no objection to such promiscuity, Like this

Freebies (Teaching resources:  
Nearly 50,000 views  and 7,000 downloads to date**. They're very eclectic - mostly EFL and MFL, but one of the most popular is from KS4 History, dating from my PGCE, with well over 2,500 views and well over 1,000 downloads to date. So it's worth having a browse.)

** This figure includes the count of views for a single resource held in an account that I accidentally created many years ago.




Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Johannes-Passion


I took advantage last Sunday of an invitation to sing as an alumnus at a concert of possibly the greatest musical retelling of a story we all know well – some better than others.
<autobiographical_note> 
In my youth I spent many an hour standing through readings  on Palm Sunday and on Good Friday (dramatized readings on that day, to the extent of having separate voices for the Evangelist, Jesus, Pilate, Peter et al., but without Bach's extraordinary music).
</autobiographical note>
And between rehearsals I went down to the Fitzwilliam Museum to see Those Bronzes. I can't say I was deeply impressed. The anatomical detail of the nude riders was impeccable, though the anatomical detail of the panthers was  no better than could be expected of an early 16th century European sculptor. And the mechanical/dynamic details were frankly extraordinary (in a bad way). The riders' backsides were hovering improbably about a hand's breadth (scaling up by a factor of 3 or 4,  as the bronzes were surprisingly small) from their steeds' backs. There were two possible explanations: the riders, supported, apparently, chiefly at knee-level, had remarkably (improbably?) strong thighs; or the sculptor was (wrongly) assuming a horse-like trotting gait (rather than a feline one) – with the riders effectively in mid-air.

My visit to the Fitzwilliam  was accidentally (and charmingly) prolonged by a Music in the Fitzwilliam lunchtime concert.  [That  link doesn't cover the Chamber Music recital I stumbled upon (quietly).]

So I was a few minutes late for the afternoon rehearsal.

The concert itself was good, though I could have done better – as I had sung the piece with two other choirs I thought I knew it better than I did. But the music was beautiful, and Knowles-proof. And I was amazed, as usual by the drama of Bach's word-painting.
<update> 
from Rick Marschall's biography, p. 99 
[I imagine the English word 'beck' – now for the most part reserved for dialects and crossword puzzles  is related.]
Beethoven's pun came to mind as I listened to the recit before Peter's Ach, mein Seel, with its excruciating chromatic keening – a mixture of grief, fear, and self-pity. Not long afterwards the dramatic writing is no less oceanic when the veil of the Temple is rent 'from top to bottom' [cascade of  little black notes] and 'the earth did quake' [another three bars of frenetic black notes], until an uneasy peace is restored when 'many bodies of saints arose'. 
</update>


The concert was followed by dinner and drinks. (I transpired to be less resilient than I had been 40 years ago, and retired at tennish.)

My room was in a part of the college that I had last visited in my post-graduate year, as my Supervisor had rooms on P Staircase. I was disappointed in the morning  to find that breakfast was not, as billed, served in Hall, but in the Bar – which was decorated with a poster taken from the College Archives. It was a May Week production of Tamburlane the Great, which I thought I recognized as one I had seen in 1972.

But I soon realized – because of the prices ("5s. and 3/6") – that it couldn't have been.
<autobiographical_note>
In early 1971 I was working in Vehicle Registration (pre-Swansea) and one of my tasks involved part-reimbursement of road tax paid in £.s.d. and reimbursed in decimal money.
</autobiographical_note>
So  those prices must have pre-dated my matriculation. Besides, I now realize, the time of year was wrong. The production I saw was the Fresher's Production – done in the Michaelmas Term of my second year. The fresher producing it was one Robert McCrum, and it was, to say the least, a confusing event. It was done on a typical student shoe-string budget, and in modern dress. The cast of thous... [well, probably 20-30, there were only 60-odd in the undergraduate cohort ] were clothed from their own wardrobes, and the design concept was that the two armies had distinctly coloured sweaters – brown and green. But of course the Browns ranged from dark chocolate to khaki, and the Greens  ranged from British Racing Green to ... khaki. So there was a good deal of crossover.

Returning to the Bar and the poster, it featured a caricature of the 'Marlowe' portrait; 

and as it happened at dinner I was sitting next to the man who wrote an article (or completed it on behalf of the named author) in my Alumnus organ 'the Association Letter' last year, ) pooh-poohing the identification. In fact, some of the browsing and sluicing (not mine, that phrase, Wodehouse's) took place in a room where that  painting was hung – a neat coincidence.

I wrote some time ago here and here about the Corpus Chronophage. I failed, then, to mention a reminiscence that came to mind again this weekend:
<digression>
A few years ago I was in Cambridge, and missed a trick. I was at the front of the crowdlet in front of the Chronophage, and a tourist behind  me wondered aloud what the inscription meant: 
Mundus transit, et concupiscentia ejus 
It took me a while to work it out, as two of the less obvious words (everything except et) had glyphs that hid the letters un and en behind the conventional stone mason's tilde, giving û and ê. But what it says could be rendered as The world passes, as does its concupiscence. (I think the comma justifies my as does).
 <meta_digression type="autobiographical">
Some might prefer greed or avarice. But my sixth-form form tutor, for whom the word cadaverous might have been invented , insisted that what 'concupiscence' meant in Canon Law (his focus at the time) was not just greed or avarice but the tendency to want that which you know you shouldn't indulge in. So that mundus tag could be  rendered more pithily (in the words  of an anonymous 18th century suicide note) as All this buttoning and  unbuttoning.
</meta_digression>
My opportunity was to contribute to The Cambridge Experience for these tourists, suggesting that around every corner there lurked a Vulgar Latinist. But by the time I'd worked it out, the moment had passed. So here it is now: talk about Esprit d'escalier – more like Esprit du plus ténu souvenir.
</digression> 

Enough of this; back to that mundum . And more word-hacking.

b

 In fact he was also my Director of Studies, though I had chiefly social contact with him during my undergraduate years, as most of my supervisions happened outside College. He supervised my postgraduate year.

Update 2015.03.10.17:10 – Added this note, correcting a faulty memory:
This, as I have been reminded by an erstwhile fellow chorister (who didn't sing on Sunday as he was otherwise engaged running), is rubbish(!) My memory derailed itself; and wronged both Robert McCrum (1972) and Howard Goodison (1971), producers of two different freshers' productions. The brown/green jumpers belonged to the previous year's play  –  Troilus.

Update 2015.03.11.15:45 – Added bit on Bach's word-painting in red.


Mammon When Vowels Get Together V5.2: Collection of Kindle word-lists grouping different pronunciations of vowel-pairs. Now complete (that is, it covers all vowel pairs –  but there's still stuff to be done with it; an index, perhaps...?) 

And here it is: Digraphs and Diphthongs . The (partial) index has an entry for each vowel pair that can represent each monophthong phoneme. For example AE, EA and EE are by far the most common pairs of vowels used to represent the /i:/ phoneme, but there are eight other possibilities. The index uses colour to give an idea of how common a spelling is, ranging from bright red to represent the most common to pale olive green to represent the least common.

I'm thinking about doing a native iBook version in due course, but for now Mac users can use Kindle's own (free) simulator.

Also available at Amazon: When Vowels Get Together: The paperback.

And if you have no objection to such promiscuity, Like this

Freebies (Teaching resources:  
well over 46,800 views  and nearly 7,000 downloads to date**. They're very eclectic - mostly EFL and MFL, but one of the most popular is from KS4 History, dating from my PGCE, with well over 2,500 views and well over 1,000 downloads to date. So it's worth having a browse.)

** This figure includes the count of views for a single resource held in an account that I accidentally created many years ago.



Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Keeping the conversational pot boiling.

Excuse the recent sparsity of blogging. I've been preparing for this concert and also hacking away at the word-face (assiduous followers may have caught my foray into the world of schmaltz as I‘m still on "-al".)

A few days ago I caught on Radio 4 Extra a reading of an Edith Nesbit ghost story:
The Ebony Frame (it was  a repeat of a recording made in 2012, so  not iPlayer-able; that link is to Google Books.) What caught my attention was this sentence:
Mildred and her mother kept the conversational pot boiling with a profusion of genteel commonplaces, and I bore it, as one can bear mild purgatories when one is in sight of heaven. 
What particularly struck  me was the expression "keeping the conversational pot boiling". Grim Tales , the collection that includes The Ebony Frame, was published in 1893 (says  ISFDB) and Etymonline dates potboiler to 1864 in what it calls "the figurative  literary sense". So Edith Nesbit was expanding  the scope of an idiomatic (and quite recent) coining, and at the same time illuminating it. Etymonline glosses it as "The notion is of something one writes solely to put food on the table"  – the figurative pot is the one on the author's cooker. Well,  ye-e-s-s-s, but where – there – is the idea of "keeping something going"? (the something  in question being a commercial literary presence)? It wasn't until hearing that Nesbit usage  that I saw this image's richness.

The word potboiler has – not inappropriately – been a slow burner, as the Collins frequency graph shows:




So much for pot boiling. 

b

PS A quick clue to keep you going: Letting off about marching orders. (9)

Update 2015.03.06.18:55 – Updated TES stats.


Mammon When Vowels Get Together V5.2: Collection of Kindle word-lists grouping different pronunciations of vowel-pairs. Now complete (that is, it covers all vowel pairs –  but there's still stuff to be done with it; an index, perhaps...?) 

And here it is: Digraphs and Diphthongs . The (partial) index has an entry for each vowel pair that can represent each monophthong phoneme. For example AE, EA and EE are by far the most common pairs of vowels used to represent the /i:/ phoneme, but there are eight other possibilities. The index uses colour to give an idea of how common a spelling is, ranging from bright red to represent the most common to pale olive green to represent the least common.

I'm thinking about doing a native iBook version in due course, but for now Mac users can use Kindle's own (free) simulator.

Also available at Amazon: When Vowels Get Together: The paperback.

And if you have no objection to such promiscuity, Like this

Freebies (Teaching resources:  
well over 46,800 views  and nearly 7,000 downloads to date**. They're very eclectic - mostly EFL and MFL, but one of the most popular is from KS4 History, dating from my PGCE, with well over 2,500 views and well over 1,000 downloads to date. So it's worth having a browse.)

** This figure includes the count of views for a single resource held in an account that I accidentally created many years ago.












Wednesday, 18 February 2015

What's a VINmelier?

The other morning I heard a quotewordunquote on the radio that saddened me hugely. Man‘s inhumanity to man is bad enough, but what he does (well, come to think of it , the perp was a she, not that women are notable for their crimes against lexicography) is, as they used to say, ‘the outside of enough‘.

The object of  my abreaction ...
<digression>
When I first  met that one I thought I‘d never find a use for it. I have a suspicion my usage is questionable...
<metadigression> 
"(psychoanalysis) the release and expression of emotional tension associated with repressed ideas by bringing those ideas into consciousness" 
says Collins, so my version is an instance of semantic broadening.  Or,  to put it another way, vulgarism.
<metadigression> 
           but  it‘s a good try.
</digression>
was selmelier – which I haven‘t found in any credible dictionary. Its earliest use that I can find is here – a post dated in 2011:
It isn’t in the dictionary (yet), but it’s a great twist on the French word sommelier (suh-muhl-yey), meaning a wine expert. A selmelier is someone who can suggest an appropriate gourmet salt to complement your food.
(This attributes the coining to Mark Bitterman (an aptonym if ever I heard one),  though I can‘t find it in the parts of  his 2010 book that Amazon will let me see. Anyway, it is a  [bastard?] child of the millennium.)

A "great" twist, the post says, though I can‘t say I share their enthusiasm. The first syllable of sommelier has nothing to  do with  wine. The etymology that etymonline provides traces it to saddle. And rather than quote the more interesting bits I‘ve done a whole screengrab, to capture the serendipity of the advert that Big Data chose to throw up:










So why did the neologizer treat it as though it  meant "wine" and behead the word, replacing it with another comestible? And, adding vulgar  pretension to ignorance, why did they first translate that word?

The reason, as some of you will have already shouted at their screen, is that that's the way people treat words when they feel the need to invent a new one. I‘ve cited the example of gyro-copter somewhere in this blog I think [or maybe it ended up on the cutting room floor, along with many another digression].  A helicopter is,  etymologically, a helico- -pter. But, as helipad/port and gyrocopter demonstrate, successful neologisms pay little heed to etymology; insisting that they should  is another form of a tendency that I really have mentioned  elsewhere (in a footnote to this):
An interesting blog from the OED stables [ed. an apt place for saddle metaphors - I‘ve just realized, inconsequentially] refers to this tendency to be hung-up on a supposed 'original' meaning based on etymology and calls it the 'Etymological Fallacy'.
Another example that comes to mind is hamburger – originally a reference to a place rather than to a foodstuff. But cheeseburger, lambburger etc. (and indeed 'burger' itself) are proof that modern understanding and current needs trump etymology.

So "selmellier" is OK. [ But I reserve the right to treat it with the contempt that some people reserve for eXpresso, which cropped up on the TV the other day.  Susie Dent corrected Jimmy Carr‘s X, and some wag quipped "...unless you want it quickly  - then it‘s an eXpresso". Especially, I thought, if you‘re in a bistro. You can pick the bones out of that here.]

Is that the time?

b
Update 2015.03.13.15:30 – Updated TES stats (at last). Things are still a bit iffy; before the TEStizz

downloads of "BobK99"‘s  one resource totalled well over 800.  The latest TES  mail says they‘ve gone down to just 9. On the other hand, downloads  of that one resource have    increased from 0 to 40.  Meanwhile "BobK"‘s views have lost more than 1,000, aand downloads increased by about 250. Still, I‘m using the  new numbers (and resisting the temptation to edit a bunch of old posts ;-).

Update 2015.02.21.14:15 – Added this note:


PS I've come across another example, which I wrote about in an old post, taken from Brian Foster's  The Changing English Language.
 He writes:
'Cavalcade', etymologically a procession  of horsemen, has given rise in American English to a series of words in which the -cade element denotes the idea of 'spectacular display', e.g. aquacade, musicade and motorcade. Of these only 'motorcade' has penetrated into British use.... It remains to be seen  how productive this ending will be in Britain....
Well, he was writing in 1968 (or before), so I think we can stop holding our breath; -cade's hopes of becoming a productive suffix in British English, can wave  forlornly to that slow-moving motorcade, or cortège, that follows many a linguistic speculation like this.


Mammon When Vowels Get Together V5.2: Collection of Kindle word-lists grouping different pronunciations of vowel-pairs. Now complete (that is, it covers all vowel pairs –  but there's still stuff to be done with it; an index, perhaps...?) 

And here it is: Digraphs and Diphthongs . The (partial) index has an entry for each vowel pair that can represent each monophthong phoneme. For example AE, EA and EE are by far the most common pairs of vowels used to represent the /i:/ phoneme, but there are eight other possibilities. The index uses colour to give an idea of how common a spelling is, ranging from bright red to represent the most common to pale olive green to represent the least common.

I'm thinking about doing a native iBook version in due course, but for now Mac users can use Kindle's own (free) simulator.

Also available at Amazon: When Vowels Get Together: The paperback.

And if you have no objection to such promiscuity, Like this

Freebies (Teaching resources:  
well over 46,500 views  and over 6,800 downloads to date**. They're very eclectic - mostly EFL and MFL, but one of the most popular is from KS4 History, dating from my PGCE, with over 2,500 views and over 1,000 downloads to date. So it's worth having a browse.)

** This figure includes the count of views for a single resource held in an account that I accidentally created many years ago.
















Friday, 13 February 2015

Let‘s get quizzical

You could do worse than to read this....(but that does not exclude the possibility of the writer‘s doing better). Shame. As so often,  the writer‘s heart is in the right place. I have said elsewhere that stuff that goes down well on the net...
<digression type="pps">
At the time of writing there are 31 generally approving comments.
</digression>
..., even when imperfect, is often enlightening (provided that one treats it like a gourmet rather than a gourmand).  For example, of one piece I said:
As I often find, blog posts can be worth reading – even though the writing sets my teeth on edge [and after this there's what I regard as a rather pleasing digression about Monteverdi, not included here but you may like to judge that pleasingness for yourself here].
The aforementioned post is a list of grammatical lapses to avoid. This sort of thing is a bit of a bugbear of mine (see here and here, for example), but this one isn't an out-and-out lip-curler. Also, the author had the luxury of a proof-reader, which exposes my own unaided effort to 'ovifacial disfigurement'; (OK – I risk getting egg on my face). It does, though, fail to pass muster in a number of respects (while generally offering good advice).

Here are a few nits:

Nit 1


Quite. I discussed this here

As I said there:

Ermm, up to a point. When I've heard it ["affect"" as a noun] used in real life
<digression theme="crossword_clue">
I'm a cold prat, 
mixed up and shunning daughter – suitable treatment for Lear? (10)
OK, this one calls for knowledge of a trade-name, so I'm giving the answer in a footnote. [Citalopram]
</digression>
it has meant the ability to feel 'emotion or desire', or – as COD puts it – 'emotion or desire as influencing behaviour'

So it's a bit of a shame that, having got it right about each word being syntactically two-faced, it gives examples of only the more common uses, and gives a misleadingly curtailed definition for the noun 'affect'.

What‘s more, what has ‘desired‘ got to do with anything? Admittedly "desired effect" is a common collocation;  this search of BNC suggests that  if you say or write "desired" followed by  a noun there‘s a good chance that the noun will be "effect". Instances of "desired effect" outnumber the combined total of the next four most common collocations. But the desire of the ‘effecter‘ has only an incidental effect on the... erm... thing.  

Nit 2

Indeed. But again in the effort for brevity something's been left on the cutting room floor. 'A basis for comparison [sing/plur]' isn't really good enough. Criteria are a set of things (e.g. values) that form a basis for judgement

Speaking of which ("e.g.", that is)...

Nit 3


It is? Someone's been remembering their Latin lessons a bit over-enthusiastically; "That is." And the example given for 'i.e.' is just wrong.; i.e. doesn't mean 'As a result, or 'Consequently'. In an expression of the form "A i.e. B",  A and B have to be syntactically and/or semantically parallel; for example 
"... the design  came out differently than [...sorry about that – I‘m trying to be even-handed (using the original example) – although "differently than" sticks in my craw] his vision i.e. the results did not reflect his intentions."

Nit 4

 

Yes; but 'to be certain of' is unfortunately ambiguous (do I mean 'unfortunately'  – or 'flamboyantly'?).

Nit 5

Yes; but it's a shame the writer missed my favoured 'loth' (mentioned here).  Maybe it's not an option for Americans (poor mites!); and of course the related and under-used 'nothing loth'.

Nit 6


Yes. My mnemonic is 'a pal is a person'. So what is the 'example' supposed to exemplify? It‘s OK – it exemplifies a possible use of the word. Possible – just not the one in question.

Nit 7
 

Up to a point. It rather depends on what your feelings are about defining and non-defining relative pronouns; or, rather, on what your chosen house style dictates. In some views either of these can be used of a person, 'who' in a non-defining clause and 'that' in a defining one. Not everyone has swallowed Strunk and White hook, line, and sinker (if that's this nostrum's source, as I suspect; whenever a native speaker of American English pontificates about grammar, S&W is the prime suspect in my view). Perhaps this is a British English thing – because of the King James Bible and the Book of Common Prayer we're more tolerant of syntax that some regard as archaic. I‘m one of the people THAT [ahem] don't mind either way.

Anyway... Time's wingèd chariot  is, as ever, snapping at my heels.

b
PS – Having used the tag crossword clue to point to an old one, I feel I should...
Island clobbered Uncle Sam (9)

Update 2015.02.14.17:20 – Added afterthought in red.

Update 2015.02.15.11:55 – Added embedded PPS.



Mammon When Vowels Get Together V5.2: Collection of Kindle word-lists grouping different pronunciations of vowel-pairs. Now complete (that is, it covers all vowel pairs –  but there's still stuff to be done with it; an index, perhaps...?) 

And here it is: Digraphs and Diphthongs . The (partial) index has an entry for each vowel pair that can represent each monophthong phoneme. For example AE, EA and EE are by far the most common pairs of vowels used to represent the /i:/ phoneme, but there are eight other possibilities. The index uses colour to give an idea of how common a spelling is, ranging from bright red to represent the most common to pale olive green to represent the least common.

I'm thinking about doing a native iBook version in due course, but for now Mac users can use Kindle's own (free) simulator.

Also available at Amazon: When Vowels Get Together: The paperback.

And if you have no objection to such promiscuity, Like this

Freebies (Teaching resources:  
nearly 48,200 views  and over 6,500 downloads to date**. They're very eclectic - mostly EFL and MFL, but one of the most popular is from KS4 History, dating from my PGCE, with over 2,400 views and nearly 1,000 downloads to date. So it's worth having a browse.)

** This figure includes the count of views for a single resource held in an account that I accidentally created many years ago.
















Saturday, 7 February 2015

She ain‘t Hevae...

...she‘s my mother.

This, believe it or not, is† (or at least was) my school song. My subject line is a reference to the phrase split here over the second and third lines:
        Ad te clamamus,          exsules filii  Hevae
which was translated in the rather florid version I learnt at my mother‘s knee (or, rather, Aunty Katy‘s knee) as

To thee do we cry
Poor banishedu/d children of Eve

"Children of Eve"


But in Rossini‘s Salve Regina, which my choir will be singing next month (as an addition to the main piece), the text is "Salve Regina... Madre in ciel... de tuoi figli abbi pietà" [="Hail Queen... mother in heaven.. have pity on your children"]. There‘s no mention  of Eve in the Rossini version. (In fact the words are very different, although the two prayers have a few phrases in common.)

Which may account for two facts:
  1. The printed score is entitled...
        <digression>
        Regular readers will know how I feel about 'titled'.  The rant in red here will fill you in.
        </digression>

    ...Ave Maria. which seems to be the default name for anything Marian (see here for examples). I note that Classic  FM use it to refer to Rachmaninoff's Bogoroditse Devo.
  2. The Wikipedia article on this antiphon doesn't list Rossini among its many musical  setters (admittedly in a list that doesn‘t claim to be exhaustive).
Ho hum... so little time, so  many digressions, as I've said before.

Tales from the word-front

I nearly have an MO for the new book. The only cloud on the horizon is the brain-dead book creator I‘m using. I plan to see whether it  can be brought up to snuff, and to make available a smallish extract (words that include the letters *al*) in  mid-late Spring (Northern Hemisphere, since you ask ).

b

Update 2015.02.08.11:00 – Added this note:

† (...and, if my reading of the script is right, with this very tune)


Update 2015.02.08.14:40 – Added parenthesis in red.

Update 2015.02.23.10:40 – Added textual correction
u/d I‘ve just looked more closely at that Latin text. It says "Ad te clamamus exsules, [sic] filii Hevae". So the Englished version was not just "rather florid", but had a  different spin. Without the comma, the children of Eve, being exiled, are crying; the exile is an afterthought – just a bit of background information. With the comma, it seems to me that the exile is the reason for the crying.


Mammon When Vowels Get Together V5.2: Collection of Kindle word-lists grouping different pronunciations of vowel-pairs. Now complete (that is, it covers all vowel pairs –  but there's still stuff to be done with it; an index, perhaps...?) 

And here it is: Digraphs and Diphthongs . The (partial) index has an entry for each vowel pair that can represent each monophthong phoneme. For example AE, EA and EE are by far the most common pairs of vowels used to represent the /i:/ phoneme, but there are eight other possibilities. The index uses colour to give an idea of how common a spelling is, ranging from bright red to represent the most common to pale olive green to represent the least common.

I'm thinking about doing a native iBook version in due course, but for now Mac users can use Kindle's own (free) simulator.

Also available at Amazon: When Vowels Get Together: The paperback.

And if you have no objection to such promiscuity, Like this

Freebies (Teaching resources:  
well over 46,000 views  and over 6,800 downloads to date**. They're very eclectic - mostly EFL and MFL, but one of the most popular is from KS4 History, dating from my PGCE, with over 2,500 views and over 1,000 downloads to date. So it's worth having a browse.)

** This figure includes the count of views for a single resource held in an account that I accidentally created many years ago.
















Wednesday, 28 January 2015

New tales from the word-face

It has been a long time. But slow (infinitesimally slow, a cross between Zenoic [I doubt if there‘s any point looking for that in a dictionary of all places] and Brownian motion]) progress is being made with The Second  Book. I‘m not trying to replicate the processes I used for WVGTbook. I‘m seeing What‘s Out There (quite a lot, and some of it even works), and what can be done with it.

The software assistance can be great fun, notably predictive text. I have mentioned before the hypersensitivity of my keyboard, and its tendency to latch on to one letter. The predictive text thingy goes out of its way to suggest improvements. My favourite so  far is this:

But, progress: I‘ve found something that converts XLS files to HTML, and after several attempts I think I‘ve got to a stage of usability. Here was the first try:
proofOfConcept.html
Promising

          <digression>
(and by the way interesting – the /w/ phoneme  sometimes, and more or less systematically [when it does]  makes the vowel sound it precedes behave differently: ban can tan ... etc but swan and wan, calm farm marm ... etc but swarm and warmbap cap tap ... etc but swap [WAP  is exceptional, like some other acronyms],  carp harp tarp ... etc but warp, and so on. But this does not happen invariably: back knack sack ... etc but no change for quack or whack...)
           </digression>

but not  much of a  prognosticator for heavy work. So I moved on to poc2.html.

One of the problems with the first book was the coding of the notes; the indices weren‘t hotlinks to the  notes (which I think would make it more likely that the notes would be read). This was a shame, as I think the notes are ‘the  best bit‘. In my XLS file (using Google Sheets and not Excel) I attached notes to individual words as XLS Comments, hoping that the converter would do something sensible with them (rather than just dropping them into the bit-bucket, as it did – oh well, I‘ll just  have to  keep playing). Here it is without notes:

poc2.html

Anyway, tempus, predictably, has fugitted. I just wanted to  let people know the game was afoot.

b


Mammon When Vowels Get Together V5.2: Collection of Kindle word-lists grouping different pronunciations of vowel-pairs. Now complete (that is, it covers all vowel pairs –  but there's still stuff to be done with it; an index, perhaps...?) 

And here it is: Digraphs and Diphthongs . The (partial) index has an entry for each vowel pair that can represent each monophthong phoneme. For example AE, EA and EE are by far the most common pairs of vowels used to represent the /i:/ phoneme, but there are eight other possibilities. The index uses colour to give an idea of how common a spelling is, ranging from bright red to represent the most common to pale olive green to represent the least common.

I'm thinking about doing a native iBook version in due course, but for now Mac users can use Kindle's own (free) simulator.

Also available at Amazon: When Vowels Get Together: The paperback.

And if you have no objection to such promiscuity, Like this

Freebies (Teaching resources:  
nearly 48,200 views  and over 6,500 downloads to date**. They're very eclectic - mostly EFL and MFL, but one of the most popular is from KS4 History, dating from my PGCE, with over 2,400 views and nearly 1,000 downloads to date. So it's worth having a browse.)

** This figure includes the count of views for a single resource held in an account that I accidentally created many years ago.