April 7th, 2004

Porsupah smile by Djinni

The allure of etymology

(Hopefully LJ won't spew on this entry, as I've included some Chinese characters..)

I'm not actually learning Chinese, but I'm probably picking a few snippets up here and there, simply through fascination of the two volumes of "Fun with Chinese Characters" I have (no.2 and 3). In the second, I noted that the character for rabbit - 兔 - (also hare? I have to find out whether nezumi in Japanese can only mean mouse-or-rat, and if so, how to distinguish between the two), if placed beneath the symbol for "cover" - 冖 -, results in 冤, as page 81 puts it: "an inoffensive hare confined beneath a cover suggests oppression. By extension, it also means injustice and false accusation. Oppression has long established itself in human society, but, asserts the proverb, 'A house established by oppression cannot long enjoy prosperity'". (Being a paper book, though, it offers no audio, so I can't tell how they actually sound. I keep wanting to tap the characters and hear their intonation) Nifty books, in any event - every page covers one character, giving its early pictorial form, traditional and simplified forms, and a description of how compound characters were composed, along with example phrases and a stroke-by-stroke guide to writing it. It's the kind of book which, like the Penguin Dictionary of Science, is one I can open at any page, delve into, and recurse from there. Wonder if they offer the volumes in electronic form? (Ooh, an on-disk form of Grzimek.. now that'd be fabulous. Or even just Walker's)

Learning Japanese - the Linguaphone box contains what looks like a fairly reasonable package suitable for OS X (and earlier), but how good it is I'm not in the best position to judge. Any recommendations for or against? (The only absolute requisite on the technical front is OS X compatibility) I'm also going through the BBC series "Japanese: Language and People", which is a fairly elementary series (and thus ideal for me), though shying away from kanji for the most part, and to a lesser degree, Pimsleur level 1.

Good gods. When I read of the Uist hedgehog culling in the Guardian's "Pass Notes", it seemed like satire.. but it does indeed appear to be genuine.

Hm.. well, the Indian gig may yet still be a live possibility. They've unfortunately made an offer to someone else already, but do foresee further need for peeps skilled in code optimization and processor architecture, either there, or outsourced to international contractors. (There were also comparable vacancies, for which I've naturally applied, with IBM - makers of the rather luscious PPC97x and POWER families - and Motorola, on their ARM CodeWarrior team. If anybody's great uncle happens to be a hiring manager with either.. ^_^)
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