Take That, Rosetta!

If you could wake up tomorrow and be fluent in any language you don’t currently speak, which would it be? Why? What’s the first thing you do with your new linguistic skills?

There are so many to choose from, but I would rather have complete mastery over English. While that being my first and primarily spoken language, one can never know enough!

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The language of the future: what will it be like?

With the situation today, I very much fear for the future, if language does survive extinction. If you get what I mean.

Well, I have posted an exhaustive post on similar lines before, for your reading pleasure (and more links to click on):
Dystopia or Decadence? Age of braindance decadence: We didn’t get rid of our problems, we multiplied them.

*click click* away! (and please read)

Quite Literally

Language evolves. The meaning of a word can shift over time as we use it differently — think of “cool,” “heavy,” or even “literally.”

Today, give a word an evolutionary push: give a common word a new meaning, explain it to us, and use it in the title of your post.

Ah this is ‘my type’ of prompt. There are so many such words which have gained additional meanings over time, and sadly all what most people know are the irrelevant or absolute hogwash ones. And many easily associate ones which don’t make sense at all. Others are as said above are just thrown about loosely.

I’d like to share one such story of butchery of a word, here as you might have guess. This brilliant comic courtesy of the ever amazing The Oatmeal.

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A Manner of Speaking

Well I don’t know what much to say for this, since I don’t particular have a pattern which can be noticed or mimicked. Though I tend to speak fast and before I used to stammer a lot, for which the insignificant species still at times ridicule me for it but now things are much better. Well I don’t know whether I’ll have to boast about my vast vocabulary or hipster nature, but I use words like ‘godspeed’ and phrases like ‘back in the day’ a lot which is quite prominent. The former mainly came from The Witcher franchise of games, which is my most favourite and one of the best there is, see my review of The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings here. While the latter is, well more of a self made thing (origin unknown) which is a favourite of the likes of some I know.

etaoin shrdlu cmfwyp vbgkjq xz

So when you read the title, sure you must have thought “what gibberish is this?” Actually that is the order of the most used letters in the English language from most to least used. You should read this article on wikipedia on letter frequency, an interesting read. Here is an excerpt from it.

The frequency of letters in text has often been studied for use in cryptography, and frequency analysis in particular. No exact letter frequency distribution underlies a given language, since all writers write slightly differently. Linotype machines assumed the letter order, from most to least common, to be etaoin shrdlu cmfwyp vbgkjq xz based on the experience and custom of manual compositors. Likewise, Modern International Morse code encodes the most frequent letters with the shortest symbols; arranging the Morse alphabet into groups of letters that require equal amounts of time to transmit, and then sorting these groups in increasing order, yields e it san hurdm wgvlfbk opjxcz yq. Similar ideas are used in modern data-compression techniques such as Huffman coding.

So what made me write this is today’s daily prompt, which asked: There are 26 letters in the English language, and we need every single one of them. Want proof? Choose a letter and write a blog post without using it. (Feeling really brave? Make it a vowel!)

I technically ‘failed’ that challenge, since I used every single one of them in the title itself. But not counting it, I still didn’t use quite some, so it’s not hard, actually not at all. Most of us can manage and must have done it times not countable, just matter of checking all those hundreds of posts (even the long ass ones) with patience.

Instead here is a funny song for you to have a laugh (hopefully):

Apply Yourself Unnecessarily

While this is not a latest attempt at learning something that did not come easily and actually quite some years old, I thought this would be worth mentioning as it more ‘memorable’ of some sorts with mixed feelings and not exactly good or bad.

It is something back in the day during when I was in school, and perhaps the first time I realized how fucked up our education is (the realization which kept growing till date and continues to do so). There are several boards of school/high school education common in the country and worldwide, while every state had its own state board, in mine of which I was a part of. Here in Mumbai Bombay and in the whole state, we had 3 languages, the first language of course was English, the second language was Marathi being my state’s language while the third was optional to choose from for grades 8-10, where many schools offered different ones like Hindi (the national one), Sanskrit (India’s oldest language and one of the world’s oldest) and French being most popular choices while several other schools in the city/state and other parts of the county offering more like German, etc. I took Sanskrit, primarily because it fetched good marks, and something which I enjoyed as I was familiar with lot of Indian scriptures.

Now here is when the problem(s) started (in this context). I’m from a primarily English speaking family, somewhat manage to speak my mother tongue Tamil and Hindi, both being quite messed up, and there was this new language. I had nothing against (in the beginning atleast) as learning a new language is always fun, growing watching anime, reading manga and being familiar with Japanese culture, there was an interest in Japanese. My uncle is from Germany, so I had interest in German too. And who isn’t interested in (the) French and Spanish? 😉

I had to deal with Marathi, the beginning 2 years grades 5 & 6 I survived somehow but eventually failed in my finals of grade 6, I remember getting some 70% and my performance had dipped from a potential 90 straight just because of that. And when you are a person like me who doesn’t care about these petty things (seriously who cares about school?), and especially when you are from a typical Indian/Asian family (South Indian – Brahmin to make it more worse than it already is) it was seriously hell.

For the first time in my life I had ‘failed’ (again I school context) and it hurt the pride and soul of my civilization (or so it seemed) and for the first time in my life I went for one of the only tuition for Marathi near my home/school in the afternoons after school from grade 7-10.  To me it totally didn’t make sense, why Marathi is mandatory but the national language (still doubts in it) Hindi is an option? I’m not at all racist, but why is there a need for me to learn mug-the-shit-up of it? There was clearly no learning in it, which I soon realized prevail till perhaps I’ll graduate now. I can’t say for the rest of the world (completely) but anything attached to the word ‘system’ itself here is completely fucked up. Not even exaggerating slightly.

But coming back to the story here, there was a good side of it too. My tutor Mrs. Prathiba Aunty (as I said earlier in my other post, in school days, female teachers had no last name, either it was ‘mam’ or ‘aunty’ if bit informal as in this case) is a very sweet lady and I still see her once a while as I stay nearby, and almost every year pay a visit to her on her birthday in early February (which is now coming). I also made really good buddies, spent those days hooked on Nintendo, Pokémon, Sonic, Dragonball and countless others. Although seldom to none contact with any of them now, since all have their own lives and I keep forgetting the password of mine, it was not all bad.

And if you are curious, I managed to pass out with a decent 90% (I honestly don’t know how, my genius was never in the books) and leave that crap behind. Well thanks to that, I can understand Marathi, if not read or write properly, is useful as I live here, but not was not necessary at the same time. And my Hindi still sucks.

That was my not-so-really-learning story for this time.