Sunday, August 31, 2008

weekend roundup

Haven't had much time for reading or blogging, as I've been trying to put as much of my free time as possible into studying for the GRE. This weekend I've been getting caught up with some recent posts on languagehat.com, one of my favorite blogs on language. Here are a couple good ones.

Peter K Austin's top 10 endangered languages (The Guardian, via LH)

Here's Anggarrgoon's take on the same subject.

Ha Eli - on a particularly elusive particle in Armenian (Eudæmonist, via LH). I noted over at LH that the Armenian էլի (eli) bears striking resemblance in use to the Persian دیگر (digar), most especially in its colloquial form دیگه (digeh).

Barriers That Are Steep and Linguistic - decent piece on linguistic diversity in the Caucasus (NY Times, again via LH). Though it's a decently-informed article, there is one loathsomely ignorant, racist remark quoted in the article that really gets me. This dynamic continued after the breakup of the Soviet Union, and she recalled her horror at hearing Dzhokhar Dudayev, the Chechen leader, cite work from her institute in support of Chechen independence, during the build up to a bloody war with Russia. “At those moments, you feel like the inventor of the atom bomb,” Dr. Dybo said. The racism dripping from that quote is just disgusting. I wonder if Dybo would feel like "the inventor of the atom bomb" if her institute's work was used to justify the Civil Rights movement in the United States, or the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa. God forbid those uppity negroes Chechens should demand basic human rights!

And lastly, here's a fascinating piece posted in Far Outliers. Armenian Merchant Information Networks, 1600s-1800s - containing a juicy excerpt from “The Salt in a Merchant’s Letter”: The Culture of Julfan Correspondence in the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean. If an article on 200-400 year old Armenian trade routes doesn't interest you, then get off my blog. Your life is meaningless.

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