The Miser

A miser sold all that he had and bought a lump of gold, which he buried in a hole in the ground by the side of an old wall. Daily he visited it to inspect it. Rousing the curiosity of one of his workmen, who, suspected that there might be treasure and decided to watch his movements. He soon discovered the hidden treasure, and when his master's back was turned, came to the lump of gold, and stole it. When the Miser returned, on his next visit, found the hole empty he began weep and to tear his hair.


Interesting program on Romani

BBC Radio 4 recently had a programme Word of Mouth on the words we use (BBC Radio 4 FM, 11:00pm Monday 28th July). It's interesting to find out that a lot of words in English have their roots in the Romani language. The programme found that Romani was a dying language in the UK until recent immigration from Europe which has brought about a revival.

One thing I found interesting were the origin of some words that are in common use that are of Romani. I've looked around the web and here are some of the words that are originally Romani:


Chomsky at Google on Language

Chomsky talks at google about the Universal Grammar, the youth of today and how reliant the propaganda model is for the internet.


ZDT: Eclipse-based tool for learning chinese

Last year I started to learn Chinese. But didn't get very far. I've found out that the eclipse-platform has been used to create a program to help with learning Chinese script. It is called Zhongwen Development Tool or ZDT. (Zhongwen is Chinese for Chinese). The program helps when learning Chinese characters and tests your chinese character and radical knowledge using a flashcard system.

It is free and available on SourceForge.


Learning a language

Want to quickly learn a language?


Internet Helping Language Recording

The university of Manchester has an interesting project documenting the language of Gypsies: Romani Project. This is particularly interesting as Romani is rarely been written down if at all. Some years ago a picked up a book out of interest called Describing Morphosyntax, which highlights how many languages in the world are disappearing. It is a guide of how a linguist might document these vanishing languages.


Ideas and metaphor

The The Word-Nerds have an interesting pod-cast explaining a well used metaphor in politics: The Ship of State. This dates back to Plato's republic. I've heard this metaphor reused in different ways by different authors recently. They point out that governor has its roots in the Roman word for Helmsman.

It shows how a good metaphor can be very powerful. It provides ways of talking about areas of the problem that everyone understands. It allows you to quickly express complex ideas and emotions. For example if you're sailing close to the wind then it implies more work, rougher sea and a narrower margin of error. Rocking the boat can be easily understood as something like sabotage; although in calm seas could be a joke. There are many.

Man from out of space...

A man from out of space
Said `I'm from a superior race.
You're all inferior
While I am superior'.
Then fell flat on his face. --- Spike Milligan



Happy valentines.

My heart has made its mind up
And I'm afraid it's you.
Whatever you've got lined up,
My heart has made its mind up
And if you can't be signed up
This year, next year will do.
My heart has made its mind up
And I'm afraid it's you.

---Wendy Cope


Let the language be your guide

'Tis but thy name that is my enemy.
Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.
What's Montague? It is nor hand, nor foot,
Nor arm, nor face. O, be some other name
Belonging to a man.
What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other word would smell as sweet.
So Romeo would, were he not Romeo called,
Retain that dear perfection which he owes
Without that title.


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