Your web-browser is very outdated, and as such, this website may not display properly. Please consider upgrading to a modern, faster and more secure browser. Click here to do so.
Languages animate objects by giving them names, making them noticeable when we might not otherwise be aware of them. Tuvan has a word iy (pronounced like the letter e), which indicates the short side of a hill.
I had never noticed that hills had a short side. But once I learned the word, I began to study the contours of hills, trying to identify the iy. It turns out that hills are asymmetrical, never perfectly conical, and indeed one of their sides tends to be steeper and shorter than the others.
If you are riding a horse, carrying firewood, or herding goats on foot, this is a highly salient concept. You never want to mount a hill from the iy side, as it takes more energy to ascend, and an iy descent is more treacherous as well. Once you know about the iy, you see it in every hill and identify it automatically, directing your horse, sheep, or footsteps accordingly.
This is a perfect example of how language adapts to local environment, by packaging knowledge into ecologically relevant bits. Once you know that there is an iy, you don’t really have to be told to notice it or avoid it. You just do. The language has taught you useful information in a covert fashion, without explicit instruction."
K. David Harrison, The Last Speakers (via containslanguage)
This is often (but by no means always) because of glaciation, as is the case with many hills in Edinburgh: if you look at a topographic map of the city, you’ll notice that the iy sides of the major hills in the city almost always faces towards the east or northeast. This is because during the last glacial period, the glaciers came from that direction and flowed around the hard rock points such as the basalt plug on which the Castle perches, scraping softer rock along into a tail behind the iy side.
Excuse me while I derail a post about linguistics into talking about geography.
- Eat way too much bread.
- Drive through a small rural town while blasting first the theme to Pacific Rim and then B*Witched’s C’est La Vie at full volume.
- Use my belt as a leash.
- Wrench a pectoral climbing over a fence.
- Take a picture of a dog.
- Completely forget that the Oscars were happening (which I was quite happy about, because I’m still pissed off that Pacific Rim wasn’t even nominated for Best Visual Effects).
RUSSIA HAS DECLARED THAT THEY’RE INVADING UKRAINE OFFICIALLY. NOT EVEN HIDING BEHIND OLD AGREEMENTS. Britain has to aid the Ukrainians against the Russians now, America warned Russia not to, with consequences if they did, so now they’re involved, Canada was looking into what Russia was doing to see how bad it was and they to have to get involved even more.
WHAT PEOPLE DON’T UNDERSTAND IS THAT IT COULD ACTUALLY DRASTICALLY ESCALTED INTO SOMETHING RESEMBLING A WORLD WAR.
Page 1 of 128