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Language Log

Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2010 - 8:14 a.m.

Today we expect the final move in the negotiations that will decide for us whether we move or don't move. The suspense is terrible! But I think we'll be pretty happy either way. Fortunate that it's worked out like that. Well, good fortune, and lots of hard work by J all these years.

Been reading more of that ginormous tome on writing systems. So far, aesthetically, I like the Turkic scripts the best. Someday I'm going to read up on Central European history. They always were right at the faultline of some interesting historical/cultural forces, fascinating stuff as a result. Not to mention their tense/aspect systems! But anyway. Their historical scripts were mostly based on Aramaic (as was Arabic), but vertical, and cooler looking. Oh, most interesting thing I've learned-- you know, Turkic languages have all that vowel harmony going on-- well, one of the scripts has a different set of consonant symbols depending on whether the vowels in the word are front or back! How cool is that?! Also, there was another one that read vertically, bottom-to-top, right-to left. You don't get a whole lot of that in the scripts of the world. It's like OSV word order or something. A rare beast.

I admit to being a bit frustrated, though-- I'd like to do make a body of work, calligraphy, with these long-gone scripts as central. But I'm having problems finding the right angle. I guess I'd be happy just doing studies of different letters, but that seems a little unambitious.

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