Every time I see mention of Michael Ignatieff or Michael Ondaatje I need to stop and think which one is meant.

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honkadori

This is written 本歌取, not ホンカドリ. Literary, not ornithological. And certainly not usually a goose. Except them as bring letters.

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鳰: types

That looks as if it should mean λBIRD, but really it means dabchick, or grebe. In Japanese the dabchick is the species from which the entire order of grebes, カイツブリ科 (kaitsuburika), takes its name. This is odd, because it’s not a typical grebe. It’s tiny. I suppose there isn’t a typical grebe, though.

If you’re a speaker of English from the British Isles you probably have type species in mind for the crows, the herons and the thrushes (that last possibly ambiguous but probably the song thrust). In Japanese we have カラス属 (karasuzoku) “the crows”, サギ科 (sagika) “the herons”, and ツグミ科 (tsugumika) “the thrushes”. However, there doesn’t seem to be bird that’s just called a sagi, just as there isn’t a bird that’s just called a grebe in English.

As for duck typing, I think the story for カモ (kamo) is the same as the story for “duck” in English.

Bonus: Japanese thrush archetype.

To do: investigate whether the 鳰 in Haruki Murakami’s “Dabchick” really is a dabchick.

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Entartage

Some people might say this is an unprovoked assault on an old man.

Other people might say that when you enter public life, you give up your right not to be hit in the face with a custard pie.

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鴎 VOTE FOR BIRDS

鴎 looks as if it should mean a sort of urban district that sounds like chō, at least in Japanese. But it’s really kamome, a seagull.

In Chinese, a 燕鸥 is, as you would expect, a tern.

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Schrei nach Liebe

Now, the TUC and Unite Against Fascism are planning a countermarch against the EDF. I don’t mean the EDF, they’re an electricity company. Anyway, I was wondering whether a more effective countermarch to neo-Nazis might not be a Sealed Knot-style reenactment of a Nazi march from the 1930s with period costumes, period haircuts, period typography, but obviously not period violence, period intimidation or period anti-semitism. Just as the Sealed Knot don’t go around murdering monarchists. I don’t know how the GFDL would react to being yelled at in German. I don’t mean the GFDL.

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Wittgenstein in Sri Lanka

—If a lion could speak, we would be unable to understand him.
—Even though many of us speak Sinhala?

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Doing introspection properly

If you had asked me before yesterday, I’d have said that the ending -herd, as in shepherd or goatherd, was no longer productive in English.

But today I see that a Girl Aloud wrote “BOTHERD!” on an item of clothing. I assume this is someone working for a botnet, or possibly even the master bit of code that controls the bots.

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H
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M
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I typed shimoya, intending to mean “a frosty night” (shimoyo) but actually meaning “a shop selling frost”.

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