Friday, 22 May 2015

Some Vocab

Poul Anderson, Starfarers (New York, 1999).

(i) "...en..." (p. 273) is the personal pronoun invented by the human explorers for use between themselves when referring to one of the single-sex Tahirians. I do not know whether it had any previous significance.

(ii) "...Cambiante..." (p. 240), the artificial language invented for human-Tahirian communication, is not spoken but displayed on the screens of hand-held "parleurs," also specially invented for this purpose (ibid.)

(iii) "...a sort of ramada where parties could gather..." (p. 281)

(iv) "He flicked a thumb at the culinator." (p. 289)

(v) Ruszek addresses a Tahirian as "'...baratom.'" (p. 282)

(vi) "'...what can I say that has not been said among us a lakh of times?'" (p. 299)

(vii) Years ago, the Admissions Tutor at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST) told a group of Careers Advisers, including myself, that potential students had to speak the language of mathematics and obey the laws of physics. The Tahirians obey these laws but express them differently:

"'The basic quantities of their dynamics are not mass, length, and time, but energy, electric charge, and space-time interval.'" (p. 272)

It sounds as if they have proceeded more directly to a theoretical understanding that human beings have had to discover.

(You thought that I was going to end May with a round number of posts, 80, and the first five months of 2015 with 500, didn't you?)

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