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Mostly-fascist city-state shout-out! … dee bee punkt com 7th of June, 2006 POST·MERIDIEM 01:07

Singapore airport. The same humidity, the same slightly small, slightly delicate scale to things, the same aesthetic, the same reassuring efficiency (free internet!) that Japan had. Maybe there’s something to this “Asia” concept after all.

Anyway, it occurs to me that I would never have taken the train to catch a plane in Ireland without leaving half a day leeway, but that I took it without a second thought in Germany, even though there was connections involved. Yay, Germany.

Word of the day: „kahl“ is German for “bald”; you can also say „der hat eine Glatze“ to mean the same thing.


Yay for blog posts on the road. :-)

In Yiddish there is no adjective for ’bald’; the only option is "er hot a plikh," which is just like the German phrase but with a Slavic word instead of a Germanic one.

I’m just delighted you made it out of the GI alive :-)

Emma—yes, indeed :-). On the way back it was much harder to get an SSH connection to my emacs to type anything up, though, must do something about that.

Ben—wow, ‘plikh’ has been around! Norwegian, Icelandic, Lithuanian, Latvian, Polish and Rhaeto-Romance! And what Roman-alphabet transcription for Yiddish would you recommend learning? I don’t find any of them intuitive, so I need to focus on one properly at some point, and while material on YIVO is easily available, the folks over at sci.lang are not convinced of its ubiquity.

Dave—I am also entirely delighted that I made it out of that part of the world, it didn’t look that likely for a few hours there.

What transcription do I recommend? YIVO, grudgingly. The sci.lang people are right - ubiquitous it ain’t, but it has the following things going for it: it’s coherent and systematic, and it’s the only system that could be said to be ’standard,’ though this is a dubious claim. Also, it’s the system that will cause the least number of people to shriek at you if you use it. On the other hand, it is off-puttingly counterintuitive, and looks very strange to people who aren’t used to it. Also, it (perhaps intentionally) obscures the Germanic component of the language. I guess that’s not really a con, but it’s not a pro either. Anyways, at least for academic/technical purposes, use YIVO. For anything else, use your discretion.

[…] it (perhaps intentionally) obscures the Germanic component of the language. I guess that’s not really a con, but it’s not a pro either.

It’s a con if you have had very little to do with spoken Yiddish, are well aware of the ambiguities of how English is written, and speak German, which is where I’m coming from. Oh well. Thanks for the recommendation!

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