Questions and Negatives

Negatives are easy; prepend “nen-” to the verb, before the argument prefix.  So nenpéergòl, he doesn’t see her.

Yes/no questions use the interrogative particle “ash”: Ash péergòl?, does he see her?  Note that negative yes/no questions are not handled quite the same way as in English; if you didn’t go, the correct answer to Ash kall nensúebwàt?, Didn’t you go? is “Edh”–Yes, you’re correct, I did not go.  Conversely, if you did go, the right answer would be “Nen”, meaning “No, I did go.”  It’s probably easier if you think of the question as meaning “Did you not go?”.

(There’s also “kall”, the second-person pronoun.  Like the first-person “doz”, it indicates that the subject of the sentence is not in the default third person.)

Informational questions also begin with the interrogative ash.  The part you want to know is replaced by an appropriate word and assumed to be the object of the sentence. Ash monid péergòl? is “Who (feminine, singular) does he see?” (or perhaps “He sees who?”); if you want “Who sees her?” you’ve got to phrase it as Ash monid záathergal?.  Note that with “za” the being doing the seeing is assumed to be epicene and singular, and that the literal translation is closer to “She is being seen by who?”

monid: who; thokis: what (animals); poliy: what (things); wodhiv: where; zofill: when; gozhib: why; lorin: how

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Names

Reading Steve Stirling’s The Protector’s War again, and I don’t know why I didn’t notice this last time through.

On page 93, Eilir’s horse, a mare, is Celebroch and Astrid’s is Asfaloth–logical, these two are Tolkien freaks.  On page 95, the horses are respectively Undomiel and Elessar–presumedly meaning that Astrid’s is a stallion or gelding, as I can’t see her naming her animal with the wrong gender, except that in Dies the Fire, where the horses are introduced, they’re both mares.  Page 97, Astrid’s horse is back to being Asfaloth.  Grn.

I’m fine with him having issues with horse gender; it’s the kind of detail that can easily slip through.  But given such distinctive words as Celebroch, Asfaloth, Undomiel and Elessar, would not a global search-and-replace have made sense?

Stockings

I turned the heel and did a few rounds of gusset, then tried it on; it was clear that it was too small (well, too short) and the problem was only going to get worse as I made more foot.  So it’s back to the big needles I go, and just pray to have enough yarn.  If worse comes to worst, I suppose I could do the sole in some sock yarn remnants–those that haven’t fallen to baby booties, that is…

Gauge

Note to self: stitch gauge and row gauge are not the same thing. Getting one does not guarantee getting the other.

I swatched for the stockings. I was a good 8 stitches off gauge, so I bought needles 1.25 mm smaller. I swatched again (OK, I started knitting the stockinette rolled top, on the theory that if I was getting gauge I could just keep going), and there I was, bang on 7 stitches to the inch, 28 over 4 inches. Problem is, I’m not getting 32 rows to 4 inches, more like 40.

I’m now most of the way to the ankle on stocking one.  I’m going to finish it and try it on.  If it fits, I’ll do the other one on the small needles.  If it doesn’t, I’m going to go back to the larger needles and pray–basically, hoping that the extra width will turn into extra length when worn.

On the upside, the fabric produced by the merino/linen blend is almost worth the wait it took to get it.

Inverted Heel Flap

Over at String or Nothing, Kim’s talking about making a heel-flap heel (as opposed to i.e. a short-row heel) on toe-up socks.  She’s having issues with it, and has posted at length.  This makes me wonder whether it can possibly be as simple as I’m imagining it.

Make your toe as usual, knit to about where the arch of the instep starts rising, increase two every other round on either “edge” of the foot till you’ve done 1/4 your base number of stitches (64 for me, usually, so 16) on each side.  Start knitting back and forth, centered over the back heel on 1/4+2 of your base, increasing one stitch at each end of each row and catching one of your live stitches likewise, till you have 1/2 your base number on the heel needles.  Then knit back and forth, still catching a live stitch on each row, till the instep needle has 1/2 your base number on it and switch back to working in the round.

It’s pretty much an exact reversal of the Dutch heel that many people learn for top-down socks.  Am I oversimplifying?

Argument Prefixes

So the way this works is, the verb has to have a prefix indicating the gender and number of the subject and object (this is a nom/acc language, by the way).  Basic word order is SOV, leading to rather more prefixes than suffixes.  There are four grammatical genders: neuter, epicene, masculine and feminine.  These pretty much follow the natural gender of the referent: a generic animal is epicene, a tree is neuter (unless it’s a ginkgo), a mare is feminine, a father is masculine, etc.  People insisting on referring to cars and boats as feminine are to be humored.

Here are the tables of argument prefixes:

singular object

  none masc. fem. epi. neut.

singular subject

none

ve

shi

go

wed

dhu

masc.

mis

dhi

pe

yu

da

fem.

lla

te

with

za

ni

epi.

su

bin

zha

mo

li

neut.

ya

no

thu

lle

sa

plural object

 

none

masc.

fem.

epi.

neut.

singular subject

none

ve

fal

thi

sho

ru

masc.

mis

ze

fu

ro

zhi

fem.

lla

shi

ven

tha

na

epi.

su

la

ri

fe

mip

neut.

ya

so

ma

bet

vi

 

singular object

 

none

masc.

fem.

epi.

neut.

plural subject

none

ve

shi

go

wed

dhu

masc.

dizh

re

the

me

fa

fem.

zu

wa

fo

si

kag

epi.

le

lo

llag

mu

ri

neut.

ka

fer

za

zho

lli

plural object

 

none

masc.

fem.

epi.

neut.

plural subject

none

ve

fal

thi

sho

ru

masc.

dizh

llu

zha

se

yi

fem.

zu

ra

ne

zi

llod

epi.

le

lu

sha

way

zhu

neut.

ka

tu

sut

va

fi

 

So you decide on the gender and number of your subject and object, and attach the appropriate prefix to the verb:

John Mary péergòl: John sees Mary.
Dómìll yodis waergòl: Women see a man.

If you do this without any nouns, you get the implication of pronouns:
Péergòl: He sees her.
John péergòl: John sees her.
Mary péergòl: He sees Mary. (“Mary sees him” would be “Mary téergòl”)

More notes on the specialness of the null subject-null object “ve-” later.

200 Best Books

The BBC’s list of the 200 best books of all time, with titles in italic if I have read them and occasional commentary.

1. The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien
2. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
3. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman
4. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, JK Rowling
6. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
7. Winnie the Pooh, AA Milne
8. Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell
9. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, CS Lewis
10. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte

11. Catch-22, Joseph Heller (Tried to read it, got three chapers in and stopped)
12. Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte
13. Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks
14. Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier
15. The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger
16. The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame
17. Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
18. Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
19. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, Louis de Bernieres
20. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy – The man desperately needed an editor.
21. Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell (You’re kidding, right?  S-U-C-K-S sucks)
22. Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone, JK Rowling
23. Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, JK Rowling
24. Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, JK Rowling
25. The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien

26. Tess Of The D’Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy
27. Middlemarch, George Eliot
28. A Prayer For Owen Meany, John Irving
29. The Grapes Of Wrath, John Steinbeck (Might be a good book, but I read it only because of school and didn’t like it)
30. Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
31. The Story Of Tracy Beaker, Jacqueline Wilson
32. One Hundred Years Of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
33. The Pillars Of The Earth, Ken Follett
34. David Copperfield, Charles Dickens
35. Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl
36. Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson
37. A Town Like Alice, Nevil Shute
38. Persuasion, Jane Austen
39. Dune, Frank Herbert
40. Emma, Jane Austen
41. Anne Of Green Gables, LM Montgomery
42. Watership Down, Richard Adams
43. The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald
44. The Count Of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas
45. Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh
46. Animal Farm, George Orwell (Orwell rocks.)
47. A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
48. Far From The Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy
49. Goodnight Mister Tom, Michelle Magorian
50. The Shell Seekers, Rosamunde Pilcher
51. The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett
52. Of Mice And Men, John Steinbeck
53. The Stand, Stephen King (Er, OK.  I like it, does that make it good?)
54. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
55. A Suitable Boy, Vikram Seth
56. The BFG, Roald Dahl (Somehow I suspect this doesn’t stand for “Big Fucking Gun”)
57. Swallows And Amazons, Arthur Ransome
58. Black Beauty, Anna Sewell
59. Artemis Fowl, Eoin Colfer
60. Crime And Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
61. Noughts And Crosses, Malorie Blackman
62. Memoirs Of A Geisha, Arthur Golden
63. A Tale Of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
64. The Thorn Birds, Colleen McCollough
(Bad, bad, bad depressing and nasty.)
65. Mort, Terry Pratchett
66. The Magic Faraway Tree, Enid Blyton
67. The Magus, John Fowles
68. Good Omens, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
69. Guards! Guards!, Terry Pratchett
70. Lord Of The Flies, William Golding
71. Perfume, Patrick Suskind
72. The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Robert Tressell
73. Night Watch, Terry Pratchett
74. Matilda, Roald Dahl
75. Bridget Jones’s Diary, Helen Fielding
76. The Secret History, Donna Tartt
77. The Woman In White, Wilkie Collins
78. Ulysses, James Joyce (If three chapters counts–I did a report on one)
79. Bleak House, Charles Dickens
80. Double Act, Jacqueline Wilson
81. The Twits, Roald Dahl
82. I Capture The Castle, Dodie Smith
83. Holes, Louis Sachar
84. Gormenghast, Mervyn Peake
85. The God Of Small Things, Arundhati Roy
86. Vicky Angel, Jacqueline Wilson
87. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
88. Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons
89. Magician, Raymond E Feist
90. On The Road, Jack Kerouac
91. The Godfather, Mario Puzo
92. The Clan Of The Cave Bear, Jean M Auel (Joke, I hope.  Then again, at least this one doesn’t have stupid sex and Ayla inventing everything)
93. The Colour Of Magic, Terry Pratchett
94. The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
95. Katherine, Anya Seton
96. Kane And Abel, Jeffrey Archer
97. Love In The Time Of Cholera, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
98. Girls In Love, Jacqueline Wilson
99. The Princess Diaries, Meg Cabot
100. Midnight’s Children, Salman Rushdie
101. Three Men In A Boat, Jerome K. Jerome
102. Small Gods, Terry Pratchett
103. The Beach, Alex Garland
104. Dracula, Bram Stoker
105. Point Blanc, Anthony Horowitz
106. The Pickwick Papers, Charles Dickens
107. Stormbreaker, Anthony Horowitz
108. The Wasp Factory, Iain Banks
109. The Day Of The Jackal, Frederick Forsyth
110. The Illustrated Mum, Jacqueline Wilson
111. Jude The Obscure, Thomas Hardy (Another school assignment)
112. The Secret Diary Of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4, Sue Townsend
113. The Cruel Sea, Nicholas Monsarrat
114. Les Miserables, Victor Hugo (Teen girls do weird things for musicals)
115. The Mayor Of Casterbridge, Thomas Hardy
116. The Dare Game, Jacqueline Wilson
117. Bad Girls, Jacqueline Wilson
118. The Picture Of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde
119. Shogun, James Clavell
120. The Day Of The Triffids, John Wyndham
121. Lola Rose, Jacqueline Wilson
122. Vanity Fair, William Makepeace Thackeray
123. The Forsyte Saga, John Galsworthy
124. House Of Leaves, Mark Z. Danielewski
125. The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver
126. Reaper Man, Terry Pratchett
127. Angus, Thongs And Full-Frontal Snogging, Louise Rennison
128. The Hound Of The Baskervilles, Arthur Conan Doyle
129. Possession, A. S. Byatt
130. The Master And Margarita, Mikhail Bulgakov
131. The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood
132. Danny The Champion Of The World, Roald Dahl
133. East Of Eden, John Steinbeck
134. George’s Marvellous Medicine, Roald Dahl
135. Wyrd Sisters, Terry Pratchett
136. The Color Purple, Alice Walker
137. Hogfather, Terry Pratchett
138. The Thirty-Nine Steps, John Buchan
139. Girls In Tears, Jacqueline Wilson
140. Sleepovers, Jacqueline Wilson
141. All Quiet On The Western Front, Erich Maria Remarque
142. Behind The Scenes At The Museum, Kate Atkinson
143. High Fidelity, Nick Hornby
144. It, Stephen King

145. James And The Giant Peach, Roald Dahl
146. The Green Mile, Stephen King
147. Papillon, Henri Charriere
148. Men At Arms, Terry Pratchett
149. Master And Commander, Patrick O’Brian
150. Skeleton Key, Anthony Horowitz
151. Soul Music, Terry Pratchett
152. Thief Of Time, Terry Pratchett
153. The Fifth Elephant, Terry Pratchett
154. Atonement, Ian McEwan
155. Secrets, Jacqueline Wilson
156. The Silver Sword, Ian Serraillier
157. One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey
158. Heart Of Darkness, Joseph Conrad
159. Kim, Rudyard Kipling
160. Cross Stitch, Diana Gabaldon
161. Moby Dick, Herman Melville (School)
162. River God, Wilbur Smith
163. Sunset Song, Lewis Grassic Gibbon
164. The Shipping News, Annie Proulx
165. The World According To Garp, John Irving
166. Lorna Doone, R. D. Blackmore
167. Girls Out Late, Jacqueline Wilson
168. The Far Pavilions, M. M. Kaye
169. The Witches, Roald Dahl
170. Charlotte’s Web, E. B. White
171. Frankenstein, Mary Shelley
172. They Used To Play On Grass, Terry Venables and Gordon Williams
173. The Old Man And The Sea, Ernest Hemingway
174. The Name Of The Rose, Umberto Eco
175. Sophie’s World, Jostein Gaarder
176. Dustbin Baby, Jacqueline Wilson
177. Fantastic Mr Fox, Roald Dahl
178. Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov
179. Jonathan Livingstone Seagull, Richard Bach
180. The Little Prince, Antoine De Saint-Exupery

181. The Suitcase Kid, Jacqueline Wilson
182. Oliver Twist, Charles Dickens
183. The Power Of One, Bryce Courtenay
184. Silas Marner, George Eliot
185. American Psycho, Bret Easton Ellis
186. The Diary Of A Nobody, George and Weedon Grossmith
187. Trainspotting, Irvine Welsh
188. Goosebumps, R. L. Stine
189. Heidi, Johanna Spyri
190. Sons And Lovers, D. H. Lawrence
191. The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Milan Kundera
192. Man And Boy, Tony Parsons
193. The Truth, Terry Pratchett
194. The War Of The Worlds, H. G. Wells
195. The Horse Whisperer, Nicholas Evans
196. A Fine Balance, Rohinton Mistry
197. Witches Abroad, Terry Pratchett
198. The Once And Future King, T. H. White
199. The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Eric Carle
200. Flowers In The Attic, Virginia Andrews  (OK, this is where they go off the deep end.  I loved this book, but that doesn’t make it good, and in fact it wasn’t)

I can’t help but note that seemingly every book Terry Pratchet ever wrote (except Where’s My Cow) is on here.  Guys, pick one.  Or even three.  There’s lots of author duplication, which strikes me as kind of cheating.