dreamer_easy: (*writing 7)
I've read a chapter and a short story recently with Japanese settings (one modern, one mediaeval), both written by Westerners, both of which struck me having a stiff and artificial style which I want to avoid in my own fiction. I don't know Japanese culture well enough to nitpick the research, but in the case of the modern one in particular the details seemed intrusive and anachronistic. I've just realised now, typing this, the possible problem with both narratives: they're told by non-Japanese writers from the POV of Japanese characters. I have read enough to know that an actual mediaeval story in translation, or a chapter written by a modern Japanese writer, would sound quite different. It's another reason to stick to (for example) non-Korean characters' POVs in stories where I use Korean characters or setting: as a monoglot with a very limited experience of the world, I cannot write authentically from inside another living culture. (I may eventually be able to get across the flavour of a historical Korean narrative, but I have an awful lot of reading to do first.)

(I've just been reading a dirty manga to which I decline to link you, but it comes with wonderful notes by a fan translator, who explains the extra meanings conveyed by the author's choice of kanji. It made me think of sign language, which can pack in so much more information in the same amount of time it takes to speak the equivalent sentence in English. I suppose the only way English can compete at all is with its gargantuan vocabulary.)
dreamer_easy: (*feminism)
Reproductive Freedom

I made it to the pro-choice rally yesterday, late as usual, but in time to join the march to Parliament House. (In fact, I'm briefly visible in the video from it here. :) The speakers really put into context for me the need for women, for any person with a uterus, to be able to control this most basic aspect of our lives: sexual assault, domestic violence, homelessness, poverty, homophobia and transphobia, the denial of sex education, the constant attacks on services - to Women's Legal Service Victoria. Illegal and/or inaccessible terminations, and harassment at clinics and hospitals, are just part of the continual assault on our well-being. Or to put it another way: Never mind America, access to abortion is a 'nightmare' for many Australians.

The Greens are introducing a Bill to remove abortion from the criminal law in NSW, where it's still technically illegal, which means that women's reproductive freedom is always in danger, perhaps more so now than ever. Read about the Bill and email your representative at http://www.end12.org.au/.

Abortion is also illegal in Queensland. QLD Coalition MPs oppose reform, so a proposed Bill decriminalising abortion was withdrawn earlier this year, but has been sent to the Law Reform Commission in the meantime.

The Northern Territory has just decriminalised abortion and legalised RU486, as well as providing safe access zones around clinics and hospitals. RU486 still can't be legally used by women in South Australia and the ACT (as you may imagine, this isn't stopping its use).

Medical abortion access restricted by cost, distance and knowledge (SMH, 23 January 2017). "The study recommends policy attention is put toward preventing unwanted pregnancies and advocates for increasing medicare rebates to lessen financial burden, particularly for women beyond their first trimester."

Women going without food to pay for abortions: study (SMH, 23 January 2017). About a third of the women surveyed experienced financial difficulties.

Sexual and Domestic Violence

Fact file: Domestic violence in Australia (ABC FactCheck, 15 April 2017) | Australian police handle 5,000 domestic violence matters a week, up 7 per cent (ABC, 22 April 2016) - that's over a quarter of a million every year. | National Legal Aid calls for more funding after new figures reveal domestic violence a factor in 79pc of family law cases (ABC, 18 April 2017)

More than third of sexual assaults, homicides linked to domestic violence, ABS data shows (ABC, 13 July 2016) | Half the men who kill partners have history of domestic violence (SMH 29 April 2017)

Aboriginal mothers 17 times more likely to die from homicide, WA study finds (ABC, 13 July 2016). Indigenous mothers in WA are 6.5 times more likely to die from all preventable causes, including car crashes and suicide.

Hidden victims: Women on visas feeling trapped after domestic violence abuse (ABC, 5 April 2017)

Family violence a bigger health risk for women than smoking, drinking, obesity: study (ABC, 1 November 2016). "The burden of disease is a calculation of the impact of particular diseases and risk factors on an entire population. It is a measure of both fatal and non-fatal health impacts, which take into account the severity and duration of health conditions. The study found partner violence was among the top ten risk factors contributing to disease burden among all adult women... Among women 18 to 44 years, it was the biggest single risk factor when violence in all intimate relationships was included, bigger than smoking, alcohol use or being overweight or obese. When considering only violence by live-in partners, in this age group, partner violence ranked second only to alcohol use."

Sexual assault on Australian campus is a serious problem. Compounding it: University sexual assault policies are often 'inconsistent' and 'confusing' (ABC, 2 March 2017). In fact, the group End Rape on Campus Australia accuses unis of active cover-ups of rape. An opinion piece asks: Sexual assault: What is your university doing to prevent it? (ABC, 25 February 2017)

In NSW, accused domestic violence perpetrators are allowed to cross-examine their alleged victims, a deeply traumatising experience.

'Life-saving' Victorian domestic violence pet shelter program struggling to meet high demand (ABC, 28 February 2017) Safe Steps has a list of temporary pet care for Australians fleeing domestic violence.

Explainer: What happens when someone applies for a domestic violence protection order (SMH, 1 February 2017)

Female domestic violence victims being punished for acting in self defence, say advocates (ABC, 6 July 2016)

How 'Disney dads' are making life hell for their partners (SMH, 23 October 2017): how financial abuse can worsen after separation.

Direct link between sexual objectification of girls and aggression towards them (Medical Xpress, 24 January 2017)

Men who kill female partners, as opposed to strangers, get lighter sentences, Canadian study finds (CBC News, 22 November 2015) "'This may mean that women killed by male partners are still seen as property,' researcher says".

ETA: Technology-facilitated abuse: The new breed of domestic violence (ABC, 27 March 2017)


Women using IVF to choose the sex of their children break silence on 'gender disappointment' (Lateline, 27 February 2017).

Compare and contrast: 'We don't know if your baby's a boy or a girl': growing up intersex (GA, 2 July 2017). "'My entire pregnancy, I'd worried that I wasn't going to be able to love my baby because it wasn't a he and it wasn't a she,” she recalls. But when Jack was born, he was blue and floppy. 'Although it was awful at the time, it was the best thing that could have happened: I would have done anything to have made sure he was breathing again.' Her eyes fill with tears. 'Quite quickly, he was crying. The relief was unbelievable. He was a baby and he needed feeding. Making sure that he was cared for was my priority, not poking around in his nappy.'

Report on new estimates of the size of the lesbian, gay and bisexual population of England (Medixal Xpress, 3 February 2017): somewhere between 2.5% and about 6%.

Sexual Orientation, Controversy, and Science (Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 25 April 2016). "The most contentious scientific issues have concerned the causes of sexual orientation—that is, why are some people heterosexual, others bisexual, and others homosexual? The actual relevance of these issues to social, political, and ethical decisions is often poorly justified, however."

Photos: Two-spirit people throughout history (NPR, 25 October 2014)

ETA: How AP tallied the cost of North Carolina's "bathroom bill" (Washington Post, 27 March 2017). The state's pointless bathroom fascism will cost it "more than $3.76 billion in lost business over a dozen years".

More stuff:

From the recent debate over "Obamacare": Male GOP lawmaker asks why men should pay for prenatal coverage. The same reason women pay for cover for prostate surgery. Follow the link for the simple explanation.

Also from Up Over: 4chan: The Skeleton Key to the Rise of Trump. A blogger's analysis of 4chan, gender, and Trump, "the loser who has won".

Unconscious bias is keeping women out of senior roles — can we get around it? (ABC, 8 March 2017). The vicious cycle of affinity bias and how it helps maintain the glass ceiling.

Unpaid work contributes $345 billion a year to Australia's economy. Women perform about three-quarters of that work, including child care and domestic work. Paid work in Australia is still about as gender-segregated as it was twenty years ago.

Sex differences in cognition are small (Mind Hacks, 14 February 2017). Or, to put it another way, there are no male and female brain types.

Remembering Nüshu, the 19th-Century Chinese Script Only Women Could Write (Atlas Obscura, 16 February 2017)
dreamer_easy: (*cosmic code authority)
The Hidden Bias of Science's Universal Language (The Atlantic, August 2015). Talks about some of the problems for scientists worldwide caused by the hegemony of English. I would have liked more specifically about how this affects scientists' thinking - for example, more about why it matters that many languages just transliterate English terms like "quark" and "chromosome" instead of creating their own words: eg Korean 쿼크 kweokeu "quark" but 염색체 yeomsaekche "chromosome" (literally, dye colour body, which is what "chromosome means, of course).

Why There's No 'Right' Way To Speak English (Atlas Obscura, April 2016): "The English language is the ultimate code-switcher, gaining multiple personalities when it travels." Still on Korean (as is my wont), "Konglish" is not the local variety of English, but rather English loan-words. Often these have changed meanings ("I couldn't come because I had a schedule") or are just used with Korean grammar ("I asked one of the staffs.")

The code that took America to the moon (QZ, July 2016) Includes that epic photo of Margaret Hamilton, director of software engineering, standing next to a print-out of the code which is slightly taller than she is. Also many amusing comments by the programmers (and an excellent punchline to the whole piece).

100 Most Essential Words in Anime. (Anime fans, what do you think of this list?)

Why Do Most Languages Have So Few Words for Smells? (The Atlantic, November 2015). "And why do these two hunter-gatherer groups have so many?" IIRC Korean has an adjective - a verb, really, meaning "to smell like roasting sesame oil".

What's the Plural of Emoji? "There is a correct answer, but no one has agreed on it yet." More accurately, there will eventually be a standard plural. Or standard plurals. More interestingly, though, this discusses how loanwords settle into the grammar of their new language (like that singular Korean "staff").

Dolphins recorded having a conversation 'just like two people' for first time (Telegraph, September 2016) The dolphins took turns creating "sentences" of distinct words or phonemes.
dreamer_easy: (snow kate)
Watching Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart: Ryeo, a Web drama set in ancient Korea - around the start of the Goryeo kingdom, in 942 CE. ("Goryeo" is where the word "Korea" comes from.) The good boy prince slew an assassin, saving our twenty-first century heroine, who then worried he might get post-traumatic stress. "What is this 'seutresseu'?" he asked. At which point I realised with a little shock that, while modern Korean is full of English loanwords, in 918 English hasn't even been invented yet. People are still speaking Old English / Anglo-Saxon: "nu scylun hergan hefaenricaes uard", etc.

Mind you, IIUC in the Goryeo period, they spoke Middle Korean, which was tonal. The modern Korean our heroine would know, and which I'm struggling to learn, doesn't rock up until some time in the 1600s. (ETA: Apparently she can speak Middle Korean - but she can't read Chinese characters, lol.)

All of which is tbh loads more interesting than the idiot heroine's exploits. She's such a wet blanket it's difficult to understand why princes keep falling in love with her. In fact, the bad boy prince keeps threatening to kill her. Any time you're ready, mate!

ETA: OK, I'll pay this: the kid prince has fallen for her because she stood up to him (actually, she beat him up).

She thinks: "Has he possibly fallen for me? 'You were the first girl to ever treat me in that way.'"
He says: "You were the first girl to ever treat me in that way."
She says: "I didn't know they've been using that line for over a thousand years."
dreamer_easy: (snow kate)
Language practice time. Thought I'd have a peek at a Kdrama called "Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart: Ryeo" (really). Our feckless heroine has travelled back in time to the Goryeo kingdom, where the dark romantic hero*, with his long hair and eyepatch, has just arrived on his horse, no doubt ready to be tamed by her bumbling virtue... *facepalm* Even the bevy of bathing beauties who have abruptly burst onto the screen (ie the crown princes) are unlikely to keep me watching this for long.

There's a drama coming up at the end of the year, "Hwarang", about the "flower knights" of the Silla kingdom. So far I haven't managed to find out much about these guys, so it'll be a kind of research. Actually, I realised that the Chinese Web drama I've been watching on and off, "Mystic Nine", is set at roughly the same time as one the novels in my queue, currently code-named "Lee Jumps Ship", so now that counts as research as well, and not merely as dicking around looking at boys. Hooray!

* The trembling villagers call him the "Wolf-Dog". I'm picking out the odd word here and there - happily I knew the word 늑대 neukttae "Wolf" thanks to EXO's celebrated song of the same name. ETA: Holy cow, he punched a wolf!
dreamer_easy: (snow kate)
I've been watching a Chinese Web drama (老九门 "The Mystic Nine"). There must be countless places where an important piece of information, something that would be obvious to a Chinese viewer, goes right over my head. I think this is one of them: a character wears red at a funeral. I knew that white was the colour for mourning, so it struck me as a little odd, but I've only just found out (from Wikipedia) that red is a celebratory colour which is forbidden at funerals. So the character's outfit is actually huge deal.

SPOILERS for The Mystic Nine )

Big whoop

Aug. 12th, 2016 04:07 pm
dreamer_easy: (snow kate)
Hi, I'm hypomanic. Really interested by the "history behind Game of Thrones" DVD doco in which a historian described King Jeoffrey's loose historical inspiration (whose identity I have forgotten) as "drunk on his own majesty". Usually "majesty" has a positive connotation - "greatness" - but here it just means "bigness", the same root and sense as "major". Jeoffrey is literally puffed up.

I thought of similar words in other languages which can mean both "large" or "great". In Sumerian, the king is literally a "big man" and a lion is a "big dog". In Korean, the word is 대 dae (probably borrowed from Chinese 大 dà) - eg daehakgyo, "big school", a university; Sejong Daewang, "Great King Sejong"; and an early phrase I learned from a reality show, "dae silpae", literally "large failure" ie - "epic fail". :)


Jul. 19th, 2016 03:23 pm
dreamer_easy: (snow kate)
Watched a silly bowling competition between some of my Kpop boys. One was chosen to be the 깍두기 "kkakdugi" - a neutral player who could be called on by either team. Naturally, whenever there was some ridiculous penalty like having to bowl with ice down your shirt or a hot pepper in your mouth, he was the chosen victim. Anyway, I looked up "kkakdugi", and it literally means "radish kimchi". I have no idea why. Perhaps a distant cousin to "chopped liver"?
dreamer_easy: (snow kate)
Dreamed last night that I left my shoes in a Korean restaurant. I ran back to claim them but couldn't think of the word 구두 gudu "shoes" so shouted out :"내 신발!" "My footwear!" Woke worried I had missed 신발 and landed on 씨발, which means, erm, something else.
dreamer_easy: (*ZOMG!!)
I can just about get my mouth around the Korean consonant ㄹ, which is somewhere between an "l" and an "r", and is sometimes pronounced more like "r" and sometimes more like "l". IIUC there's a similar sound in Japanese. My difficulty with ㄹ is of course the converse of the difficulty of Korean and Japanese speakers with "l" and "r".

Now, I am also interested in learning Mandarin one of these days, and was thinking that getting the hang of ㄹ would be helpful (as would the bits and pieces of Chinese which have made their way into Korean). Only, as it turns out, Standard Mandarin Chinese doesn't have a sound equivalent to ㄹ. It has "l", and this motherfucker: "ɻ". OTZ

Also, the "th" at the start of "this" and "that" is slightly different in American and British English. Which I had never consciously known until today.
dreamer_easy: (snow kate)
1. We've been watching loads of Animaniacs, which means getting the theme song horribly lodged inside one's skull. Look at the alliteration and assonance in "Just for fun we run around the Warner movie lot." I weep with envy at lyricists in general. I'll never write a line as good as "That's why it's better / where it is wetter." But then I'll never write a line as good as "I'm the cool cat (meow) / Check me out."

2. Only in American English do Dot, lot, caught, and plot rhyme.

3. I can't pronounce the Korean consonant 'ㅈ' properly; it's an unaspirated 'j', which doesn't occur in English. Conversely, the English consonant 'z' doesn't occur in Korean, so is substituted with either 'ㅈ' ("Rijing Star") or "s" ("We'll be the lucky once."). This amuses me, but it comes with a lesson: it doesn't matter a damn how well Kpop idols pronounce English, because they make an absolute fortune in Asia, without having to cater to English-speaking markets at all. (By contrast there are plenty of Japanese and Mandarin singles and versions of songs.) The West, and English, are not the centre of the universe after all.

4. Here's a bilingual dad joke for you.
dreamer_easy: (*ZOMG!!)
In case I have to do it again!

To restore the Language Bar:

In regedit, go to:


Right-click in the blank space beneath the entries, and select New String Value. Name it ctfmon.

Right-click on the newly created value and select modify. Change the Value Data to CTFMON.EXE.

(Here I restarted, and the old Language Bar returned, but didn't allow me to actually type Korean characters.)

Under Control Panel, search for Notification Area Icons. Click Turn system icons on or off. Scroll down to Input Indicator and make sure it is set to On.

Might need some refining (can I disappear the Language Bar and keep just the Input Indicator), but this is the first and only thing that has restored my ability to type in 한글!

ETA: Set the Language Bar to "Hidden" (Language > Advanced Settings > Options) but the Input Indicator is still in place. 대박.


Sep. 27th, 2015 11:24 am
dreamer_easy: (snow kate)
Why have I bookmarked all this stuff about language? Oh well, now it's your problem!

People of secrets: The slave sanctuary anti-language

Languages are dying, but is the internet to blame?

How societies learn to count to 10

Want to influence the world? Map reveals the best languages to speak

New signs of language surface in mystery Voynich text - this darn thing is a riot. Statistics and entropy and such suggest it's not just a hoax, but contains a coded message.

Real Talk - "For decades, the idea of a language instinct has dominated linguistics. It is simple, powerful and completely wrong."

Babbler birds use primitive language to communicate with meaning, study shows

Music a universal language? Not quite

How to learn thirty languages - ye gods! I'll settle for one. (Welll, maybe two.)
dreamer_easy: (snow kate)

1. Just as Red Velvet sang ecstatically "Shine on me, let it shine on me!", I saw my first jacaranda in bloom for the year. :) (Would that I had felt the presence of the Divine, but that's why I'm seeing the shrink tomorrow about reducing my meds if possible.)

2. I am now the proud owner of a copy of 곰돌이 푸우는 아무도 못 말려, a translation of A.A. Milne's most famous work, the title of which I believe means "Nothing Stops Winnie the Pooh". :) (I'm sorry to report that the heffalump, instead of turning into a hepaleompu, has become a mere elephant.)

3. Many moons ago in this very lj or its predecessor, I puzzled over a line from the theme song Nightmare from the anime Death Note: "孤独も知らぬ Trickster". Online translations put this in English as "I'm a trickster who knows no solitude". What I wondered was how the line could end in the word "trickster". I now know exactly how you'd do it in Korean, and since K shares some of its grammar with J, I wonder if it's the same trick - turning a whole phrase into a single noun. An only-knowing-solitude trickster.

4. I also wonder if the Korean requirement for a boy to address an elder brother or older man as "hyeong" has a Japanese equivalent, and if so, that's the reason Alphonse Elric always addresses his brother as "brother" but not vice versa. (Similarly Rom and Quark in Deep Space Nine.)
dreamer_easy: (*books 3)
The listening comprehension section of the Beginner's TOPIK exam does not fuck around.

(And I'm only doing practice questions.)


Jun. 17th, 2014 12:37 pm
dreamer_easy: (snow kate)
Second last class of Level 2 Korean last night. We tried a few pages from a past year's Test of Proficiency in Korean (TOPIK) exam, which was confronting, to say the least. The sheer amount of vocabulary needed to make any sense of the questions is way beyond my small and rather random collection of words. I can't even busk it from Latin roots (I could do the equivalent if I knew any Chinese, which I don't). Luckily, there's a prep course for the exam, but it's not until the end of the year and I may be in New Zealand at the time. Not too sure of the future of this whole crazy Hankgukeo thing right now - I'll probably end up doing online study for a while.
dreamer_easy: (snow kate)
Ideally I'd like to finish a first draft of the novel by the end of the year, but with one thing and another I think there's little realistic chance of that. I shall continue to plug away at the bastard, but I mean to attend the Macquarie Ancient Languages Summer School for further punishment in January - Classical Greek or Classical Hebrew??? - and then make assaults on French, German, and Korean. The former two are crucial for seriously studying the ancient world, since so much of the scholarly literature is written in them (guess which colonial powers squabbled over Egypt and the Middle East), notably the two major books about the goddess Sekhmet. German and Korean will require actual classes - I'm going to try to translate the Français stuff I have with the help of a dictionary, some teach yourself books, and the scattered remains of my high school French.

This is something I've wanted to do for a long, long time. Korean is the "just for fun" language here, obviously; I'd love to be able to do fan translations of Kpop stuff, and stumble along in Korean in shops and cafes. Though of course, the more languages you learn, the easier it is to pick up new ones - although Korean has no known relatives, it shares characteristics with other languages, like subject markers and formal and informal modes (I'm looking at you, Japanese). Anyway, let's see what comes of these grand plans.
dreamer_easy: (snow kate)

dreamer_easy: (snow kate)

At the twelve minute mark of this video - the link should take you there directly - you can see an example of English being used to straighten out a little communication difficulty (caused by a cheeky Chinese-speaking band member deliberately feeding a mistranslation to his Korean colleague :).

It's a goofy variety show taking place in, as best I can work out, four languages - Mandarin Chinese, the Changsha topolect (or dialect), Korean, and a small but recurring smattering of English - typical stuff, as is the raising of laughs by playing around with language. You'll see two sets of subtitles - the large, colourful Chinese characters are from the original show, and the English translation at the bottom has been added by a fan, bless them.

(I do believe Mandarin has absorbed the word "romantic" from English, rendering it as làngmàn. That's come a long way from Latin.)


May. 13th, 2013 09:45 pm
dreamer_easy: (snow kate)
Korean puns - and there are a lot of them - blow my mind. Not that I can make sense of them without plenty of translators' notes. Here's a good one: with poor Jonghyun still recovering from his car accident, SHINee have been promoting as a foursome. Now, in Korean, the English word "shiny" is spelled out like this: 샤 이 니, "syah-ee-nee". "Four" is 사, "sah", and people is 인사 "een-sah". So leader Onew referred to the current lineup as 사인이 - "sah-een-ee" - "four people". If I'm understanding it correctly, the wordplay isn't just changing the beginning of the band's name to mean "four", but involves reversing the syllables of the word for "people" as well. (But this is strictly guesswork. Imagine how dangerous I'm going to be when I actually know what I'm talking about!)


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