Saturday, April 25, 2009

This and That

21 comments:

  1. And I won't be getting into Waterloo for another few months... Hopefully, Barcamp will be in the area again in the future.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Za-been-na, (is that accurate, that pronounciation hasn't been rated, unlike that for Shte-faan, which has a 4.5/5 ) - long ago, the summer holidays in which I taught myself calculus from my mom's old textbook was one of the happiest I've had. Thinking about it, it might even be before the inventors of google were born (well, maybe not).

    ReplyDelete
  3. Which reminds me of something that still amuses me, Gell-Mann trying to tell some visitor to the Institute how to pronounce a woman's name (I forget the name, and the visitor). Gell-Mann was saying, this is how it is pronounced, and the visitor said, no, this is how I pronounce it. This was going on while waiting for the seminar room to fill up. Finally, the visitor, told Gell-Mann, "But she's my wife!"

    ReplyDelete
  4. I guess "Za-been-na" is as close as you can get without using pronunciation symbols. The last letter 'e' though is not pronounced 'a' but several years overseas have taught me the average English native speaker doesn't even hear the difference, so resistance is futile (Sabina is also a German name though, so is Sabrina). Also, the 'S' is a soft 'S' and not a 'Z', but the English language doesn't seem to make this distinction. It's the same sound, but with less pressure behind it. Somewhat like the difference between the sound of a wasp and a bee. There is a sharp 'S' also in German, it used to be denoted ß, but is now just 'ss'. It however never appears on the beginning of a word.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Oh yes, and I've heard a very similar story about Gell-Mann. When I gave my first seminars ever there used to be a prof present who had a knack for languages. He spoke like dozens languages. First seminar I ever gave was interrupted by a lengthy discussion on how to pronounce Eötvös, second seminar weather Kaluza should be pronounced German or Polish. I stayed with the German version though, even if the Polish one might have been correct nobody would have recognized who I was talking about.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi Bee,

    Despite the pronunciation problems the name Sabine is quite old and of a rich heritage, that stems back to very early Roman history , as it was the women of Sabine who while at first became the focus of conflict, turned to be in the end arbitrators of peace between rival ancient tribes. The legend down through the ages has also inspired much art and literature. So I find your name quite fitting, since you often find yourself caught between warring parties, particularly male :-)

    Best,

    Phil

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hi Arun,

    Oh yes, Murray Gell-Mann is reported to be quite an expert when it comes to languages including pronunciation and further is one of those that professes to know about just about everything about anything. One thing though is be careful not to trust his mechanical knowledge if you have car trouble In reading his book the “Quark and The Jaguar” I found his genius only exceeded by his arrogance. One thing I was certain of is that the Jaguar he spoke of was this one and not the other :-)

    Best,

    Phil

    ReplyDelete
  8. Zza-bee-neh -- is that better?

    Phil, 'twould have been nice to have been so bright. I guess only those who can bear the burden of it are born so :) :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Much better :-) How is Arun pronounced?

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hi Arun,

    “I guess only those who can bear the burden of it are born so :) :) “

    Was that those born brilliant or arrogant? I must admit I prefer the Faraday type rather than the Newton variety, although they all get the job done. I just worry that such types are so sure of themselves at times that they consider they know better than nature:-)

    Best,

    Phil

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hi Phil,

    "I found his genius only exceeded by his arrogance."

    Well, I met Gell-Mann not to long ago and though we only had a brief chat about a seminar I gave, I actually found him to be very nice and not as unpleasant as I had been warned he might be. Best,

    B.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hi Bee,

    Well I guess many mellow with age and therefore perhaps Gell-Mann is no exception in this. Still from what others have said and in reading his book I’ve been lead to think otherwise. You on the other hand are certainly more modest, for he may have been so cordial resultant of agreeing with you and perhaps so charmed :-) Anyway seeing his contributions to physics are undeniably significant, as long as he hasn’t kicked any little old ladies or thrown orphans into the street, who am I do judge anyway:-)


    Best,

    Phil

    ReplyDelete
  13. If bright light causes blinking and more tear production and excess tears then drain to the nose via the tear duct, could that be a/the trigger for sneezing?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tear_duct

    If the urge to sneeze is near instant, then that doesn't work as an explanation. If there is enough time for a few blinks, and only then does the urge to sneeze come on, then it could be.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hi Bee,

    The "n" in Arun is a Retroflex consonant with no equivalent in English.

    But leaving that aside,

    A (e.g., as in alone)
    +
    Ru (e.g., rhyming with the "ruthless" on Forvo.com, but with r slightly different, if you've heard Indian English you might know)
    +
    n (as the terminating "n" in run)

    ReplyDelete
  15. Standing beside a jouster like Feynman, what would you expect Phil:)

    Pronouncing Arun, even for an Englishman would be more to the point of "historical Greek pronunciation," when considered more as a "mythic figure" then a total sound requirement? :)

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hi Plato,

    “Standing beside a jouster like Feynman, what would you expect.|

    Shouldn’t that be jester rather than jouster. That is when Gell-Mann would mention “quarks” Feynman would respond “parton” me Murray you just have to get things up to speed. Yet truly it was George Zweig who had “aced” them both. Just goes to show there is a difference between noble and nobel :-)

    Best,

    Phil

    ReplyDelete
  17. I got 15/15. Easy enough, since their idea of a difficult word is one of Latin origin. OTOH, I think that in the reverse exercise I would get at most 50%.

    With German it's usually the opposite. Especially since the Rechtschreibreform deprived me of the few certainties I had. Luckily, it also left most of the Germans I know quite confused.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Hi Eastraven,

    Well, since that reform took place after I left Germany, it kind of passed me by. As far as I am concerned, spelling is completely overrated anyway. Language is there to pass on information. If it fulfills that purpose it's fine with me. Grammar is a different thing, for a false grammar can completely change the meaning of a sentence. The German language is in this regard much better structured than English, but for this reason also more complicated. Best,

    B.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Hu Phil,

    "Shouldn’t that be jester rather than jouster."

    Well, maybe both then. I am sure they bounced off each other?

    Feynman was to his toy model, what Gell-mann was to his plectics.

    Almost like Wheeler to his Geon, in their thinking as to origins of thought.

    Best,

    ReplyDelete
  20. Hey bee, time to update your link to my blog!

    Cheers,
    T.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Thank you for doing it :) It did not make much sense to have cosmic variance there and not my new site just because of the ads.

    Cheers,
    T.

    ReplyDelete

Comment moderation on this blog is turned on.
Submitted comments will only appear after manual approval, which can take up to 24 hours.