The universal grindr

(1a) Nigel likes cock.
(1b) ?Nigel likes a cock.

Do you know about grinding? I know about grinding.

Grinding is taking a count noun, say, “chicken” or “fir”, and instead of saying “two chickens” or “three firs” saying “some chicken” or “some fir”, referring to meat or wood. A good example of this in a slightly different context is (1a). (1b) is perfectly grammatical but looks like an example sentence and I doubt if it’s attested anywhere.

Do you think this is what the makers of Grindr had in mind when they named their app? A universal grindr would alert you to nearby things which you’d normally describe with a count noun that also has a mass reading.

It would be particularly good at Horse.

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Maybe we could start seeing France again?

I saw the headline for this post and briefly thought “Infidelity Plus” was a new option on the independence referendum. Continue reading

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At last the Go-on show

呉音, (goon in Japanese, two syllables) or if you’re reading this without the correct fonts installed, ⬜⬜, is usually glossed on the web as “Wu dynasty reading”. The background here is that there isn’t just a difference in written Japanese between the native vocabulary and the Sino-Japanese vocabulary, but that Chinese words borrowed at different times and hence with different pronunciations, might be written with the same character.

I knew roughly when the Tang Dynasty were, and the Song. But what about the Wu? They must have been the ones before the Tang.

Except they weren’t. That was the Sui (隋). And going back further, all we find is the state of Wu, which was conquered about a millennium before the first signs of Japanese writing with Chinese characters.

What seems to be the case is that the 呉音 borrowings are named after the state of Wu, and someone somewhere has inadvertently written “Wu dynasty reading” by analogy with 唐宋音, which is usually translated as “Tang dynasty reading”, even though there is yet another set of borrowings elsewhen during the Tang and the second character, 宋, stands for the Song dynasty.

Han readings (漢音) aren’t from the Han dynasty either.

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Remote censoring

I don’t want to watch much of the stuff the BBFC classifies, and nor, I suspect, do the people who work for the BBFC. Surely, I thought, we could get a machine to do this?

There won’t be much chance of getting a machine to look at the pictures and work out what’s going on for some time. But what if there were transcripts? Train up a classifier on previously-classified transcripts of films, run the new transcript through the classifier and James Ferman’s your uncle.

Except where do we get the transcripts from? We can’t necessarily rely on the filmmakers, though the scripts might be a good starting point. Having to watch the film and painstakingly note down everything that happens would negate the point of the whole exercise, so we’re left with either crowdsourcing or offshoring.

I don’t want to see eyewatering stills from a potentially R18 film as a CAPTCHA, so the only remaining option is to send the films overseas.

This isn’t going to work, is it?

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Norfolk. Norfolk.

I have been contemplating the difference between dressing like Margaret Thatcher, dressing as Margaret Thatcher, and dressing up as Margaret Thatcher, all thanks to a letter in the Evening Standard from Liz Truss MP.

I didn’t want to do that, and nor, I suspect, did you.

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A lost decade is nothing to fear

There’s not a lot of point in more economic growth; it’ll just end up going to a few thousand or so people. What we really need is redistribution. But who’s offering that?

Note that the Eurozone countries most under threat aren’t the ones with generous welfare states or effective social contracts; to call the current crisis a threat to democracy rather assumes that democracy is about what you do with a stubby pencil once every few years rather than about values.

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Unless the duck is actually part of his body

Il s’a frappé le canard.

Not only is that not how you would say that in French, I also seem to think that the verb is se frapper and not frapper.

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First recorded example of hip-hop

From Sumeria.

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and drunk with milk

I woke up the other morning with the words Milch und leise going round my head. Milch, fair enough, but leise what?

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Also Imelda May and Theresa May.

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