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Swahili [Dec. 26th, 2011|03:49 pm]
lipman_


Leo put some letter magnets on the board and told me he had written mummy.

I told him it also looked like a Swahili word, or a South African family name. Funnily I was right, it's both. Anyway, interesting that he correctly picked the m and the u and placed them approximately where they belong, and in general put the letters in the right position, not upside down or the like, though a zero has less options, and the m is actually an upside-down W.

In other news, for those who haven't heard it yet, he made a pun: on the changing table, he dropped himself, didn't move, grinned and said "Look! I fell asleep!"
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(no subject) [Dec. 16th, 2011|12:26 pm]
lipman_

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Customer service [Dec. 8th, 2011|09:59 am]
lipman_
Sehr geehrter Herr,

Ihre Anfrage mit der Ticketnummer [#20111207-0311] ist gelöst.

Ihre Anfrage lautete:

Aaargh.

Unsere Lösung lautet:

Ihr Passwort wurde zurückgesetzt. Sie erhalten ein provisorisches Passwort in einer separaten E-Mail.

Wir hoffen, Ihnen mit diesen Angaben zu dienen und wünschen Ihnen weiterhin viel Glück!

Freundliche Grüsse
Kundendienstcenter
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Richter plays Schubert [May. 31st, 2011|06:15 pm]
lipman_
The second movement - no, if you haven't the time, skip these words and watch the video


- the second movement of Schubert's posthumous sonata D. 960 is strange. It's in C-sharp minor, which is about the most unexpected you can think of after the first movement's B-flat major, so the listener and even the pianist are startled and confused. There are some more sudden changes of key. Still, those aren't really startling otherwise, it's all slow and calm and very beautiful. Richter has the perfect lyric way, unobsessive.

The next level is the slightly haunting bass. Here, Richter makes the suspenseful staccato, always subdued, into something merciless.

The movement ends in a major key, which usually gives you a feeling of liberation, sometimes even triumph. Here, there's certainly a kind of serenity, but I feel the threat is still there, so it appears more like an acceptance of one's fate.

Other pianists I hold in high regard have recorded this nicely enough, to be sure, such as Schnabel in his delicate sovereignty, or Horowitz in his effortless elegance, but nobody surpasses Richter in his hermitic, sad beauty.

The sheet music and recordings of the full movement are on the net, though I couldn't find this particular recording, I'm afraid. It's from 1976, and the interview was made a short time before Richter died in 1997.
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Richter [Apr. 7th, 2011|02:55 pm]
lipman_
You know how shop assistants and friends tend to persuade you to buy a stereo that's much too powerful for the room you want to put it in. "Ah, but it's not about turning the volume all the way up. Nobody does that. Point is, with these 5700W the sound is much better for the quieter parts, too. It's not louder, but you'd never get that delicacy with your laptop speakers." That's how Sviatoslav Richter with his giant stature and paws played the piano.

Also, you know how sometimes you don't care about the neighbours and do blast the thing.
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History of Art [Mar. 8th, 2011|09:09 am]
lipman_
Art was about making people ah and oh, then it changed to huh and ugh, then people changed to hehe and meh.
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Language of Truth [Feb. 13th, 2011|03:44 pm]
lipman_
Mesheck Athanasius Johnson had always appreciated the expressionistic translation of the Bible by Buber and Rosenzweig, who had created new German words to emulate the structure of the Hebrew. Still, he understood they had shied away from the last step on the right way to render the Truth, that is acknowledging that all attempts at literal translations are futile and blasphemous. Only the exact abstract-impressionistic reproduction of the Holy Tongue in English would inspire those who understand. Many of the elders lauded his project, and only few couldn't warm to his reproduction of ayLEE, AYlee by More tea, Morty!.
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Leo's vocabulary at two [Nov. 30th, 2010|04:42 pm]
lipman_

I don't differentiate between [a] and [ʌ] here. Both occur, but the difference isn't always between German and English. (According to the current IPA rules, the German sound is actually written [ä] or [a̠], or unofficially [ᴀ] (small capital A). Especially the umlaut spelling is misleading and fits much better to more recent British English [a], while the German one, as opposed to orthographic ä in German, Slovak &c., is more central between front and back, in other words, less on the E side.)

The English back [ɑ] as in 'father' occurs, but rarely, even more rarely as a variant of the first two. The back rounded [ɒ] is rather rare, too; usually he doesn't make a difference between [ɒ] as in "lot" and [ɔ] as in "thought". By these and the other signs I actually mean the sounds traditionally associated; British English has more or less shifted them to [ɔ] and [o:], but phoneticians still mostly write [ɒ] and [ɔ:].

Most vowels, even close ones in stressed open syllables, are short. Most consonants aren't aspirated. I think he doesn't have a [z] (fortis vs lenis is hard to hear, though). There's quite a bandwidth of variation for all of those anyway.

No [ç] as in "ich", it's all [x] or even [χ].

The words in italics are rare, or he used to speak them but hasn't for a while.

No order. 

List of about 100 words.Collapse )

Leo's not an early talker, but that might be because he doesn't only hear English from me and German from his mother, but French, Spanish, Ivrit, several forms of Swiss German and the like at the creche, and a variety of non-native accents, eg Standard German with a Swiss accent, or Ivrit with a Spanish one. I don't worry much, frankly.

Not counting phrases like "More milk!", his first sentence was spoken in Yola. He told me to sit on one mini chair, then took the second to the other side of the table and declared "iːx ˈsɪtðɛə̯", that is "Ich sit there." Never mind the lack of rhoticity, which was hardly typical of Yola.

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Films [Jul. 31st, 2010|10:36 pm]
lipman_
A. Saw Primer - good one. We actually understood it, ie at the level of the Wikipedia plot summary, but the claim that you're either a savant or a liar if you understand it the first time probably refers to more. For this (after you've seen it!), here's a nice graphical attempt. Never mind the idiosyncratic language.

B. Sherlock - good one, looking forward to the other two and possible further seasons. This is not the umptieth filming of the Conan Doyle stories or some of the usual pastiches. It takes place today, so it's both Sherlock Holmes and Watson (smoothly having him come back from Afghanistan) and one of those well-made British police series with DCI Something and security tape around the crime scene. Only rarely cheap modernised allusions ("this is a three-patch problem" - well, well…). The plot wasn't great, frankly, but tolerable.
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Flashmob was yesterday [Jul. 9th, 2010|02:42 pm]
lipman_


www.youtube.com/v/eNqosHRbWog
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Video proofs [Jun. 28th, 2010|09:34 am]
lipman_
It seems everybody saw that the ball was in and that television recordings confirm this very clearly, but somehow the referee hadn't seen it well and decided it wasn't a goal.

The fact that video proofs aren't admitted in football is another sign that it is a religion.
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Dubbing [Apr. 30th, 2010|02:24 pm]
lipman_
I wonder if neo-Nazis would still find Hitler-and-chums videos as awe-inspiring if we'd secretly replace the "Heil Hitler" greetings with a casual exchange of "Gimme five!" - "High five!"
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Good point [Apr. 12th, 2010|07:32 pm]
lipman_
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Kitsch [Mar. 29th, 2010|11:06 am]
lipman_
but only if it wasn't real.

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How to get an infant to eat his food [Mar. 26th, 2010|02:51 pm]
lipman_
Classic method 1

You(r in-laws) take, say, a pre-cut piece of bread and cheese, bring it in front of their mouths and make eating and nyomnyom sounds without actually eating it.

Effect: Leo takes a piece, brings it in front of his mouth and makes eating and nyomnyom sounds without actually eating it. Then laughs.


Classic method 2

You look for a non-pre-slobbered piece and actually eat it with visible enjoyment.

Effect: Leo sees how you enjoy the bread, takes one piece after the other and tries to feed you.
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Magnetism [Jan. 14th, 2010|11:41 am]
lipman_
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Mellifluous nature [Jan. 8th, 2010|12:13 pm]
lipman_
Especially now in summer, we try to be at home at our house in Basleshire as much as possible and avoid the heat and bustle of the city.

Here are some views of the estate, taken from Viviane's dressing room in the east wing:


Stables and grounds to the south; horizon barely visible.



To the north, with gardener's lodge and forests.



Lake (detail).
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Hanukkah Harry [Dec. 17th, 2009|07:39 pm]
lipman_
Viviane was at the office party. The company's one of those international corporations, lots of Indians, Jews and whatnot, so they didn't call it a Christmas party but something year-endy. First I thought that was only the usual empty PC thing, but they had traditional Ultra-Orthodox Hanukkah Harry beards! She brought one:


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Coincidence [Dec. 3rd, 2009|09:51 am]
lipman_
Today is Leo's first birthday according to the solar calendar. His Jewish birthday had been on Monday last week already.

But isn't it amazing that last year, his birthdays, the 3rd of December and the 6th of Kislev, coincided? That happens only once in 19 years! And right when he was born!


(If you get this as a feed, click the entry, there's a picture.)

The sound to the five pictures was groan, groan, pant, giggle, giggle.
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Holmes [Nov. 26th, 2009|10:05 pm]
lipman_
They should make more Holmes films with Rupert Everett and they should use Skryabin for the soundtrack.

The Granada series in the 80s and 90s was really well made, Edward Hardwicke as Watson was excellent, but the protagonist was terrible. The problem was probably that he was a normal bloke who had to play a superbrain, and so this resulted in lots of arrogance and conceitedness, sometimes even ponciness without being gay. Also he overacted like a 1920s theatre actor confronted with the camera for the first time.

The film with Everett, directed by Simon Cellan-Jones and written by Alan Cubitt, was the first I know that saw Holmes's side as a décadent. Pity the pastiche plot was a bit weak and one of the cast was insultingly bad.


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Adult-talk [Nov. 19th, 2009|08:52 am]
lipman_
Until some decades ago, people used to talk baby-talk to small children. Then they finally understood this wasn't useful, the children wouldn't talk baby-talk later on in life. So they changed and talked in a normal way, mocking regular grown-up talk. This is why most adults talk mock-grown-up talk.
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Advertising [Oct. 30th, 2009|08:38 am]
lipman_
A German publishing house that have a fly in their sign used actual flies for advertising. Most interesting point is that the banner changes them from icky to cute.



Hat-tip: Gabriel
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Hidden codes [Oct. 22nd, 2009|10:10 am]
lipman_
Among Yiddish linguists, there's a convention of referring to the vowels by numbers. The reason, not entirely convincing, is that for most of the Early Yiddish vowels, you have quite a variety in today's dialects, sometimes overlapping or otherwise confusing.

Vowel 42 of all numbers is the classic Jewish Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything, namely "oy".
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I know, all babies do all of that. [Oct. 20th, 2009|10:16 am]
lipman_
And there's nothing new under the sun. Still funny.













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Tea [Oct. 20th, 2009|08:08 am]
lipman_
Google hits for

"put on the kettle": about 2,010,000
"ket on the puttle": 0
"cat on the poodle": 2
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Ditty [Oct. 12th, 2009|03:12 pm]
lipman_
What a charmer.


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(no subject) [Oct. 5th, 2009|02:21 pm]
lipman_
Has he put some doll's house pieces in his computer case, as he claims, or has he really simply built a giant papier-mâché motherboard on his drawing room wall?




(more pictures)
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Election fraud [Sep. 10th, 2009|02:29 pm]
lipman_
Don't quite understand why it's OK if they cheated, provided they would have got the majority even without fraud.
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Ah, syntax [Aug. 20th, 2009|10:45 am]
lipman_
Leo didn't get any of the plum dumplings made after the recipe of his great-great-great-grandmother I grew up with.
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Nearly forgot [Jul. 31st, 2009|07:38 pm]
lipman_
Don't forget this.
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Baby talk [Jul. 3rd, 2009|10:03 am]
lipman_
Talking to a seven-months-old baby is the first step to talking to oneself. (Did I just say that aloud?!)


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Football [May. 12th, 2009|07:57 pm]
lipman_
Some genius took a video of the Pupa rebbe and hasidists and replaced the sound with fans of the Łódź football club. I tend to be scared by drunken masses in uniforms.

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Dream [Apr. 29th, 2009|10:19 am]
lipman_
I dreamt we were at an event somewhere outside. In the background, a C-list celebrity girl was interviewed, maybe 16, dressed like a 25-year old who wants to look like a 16-year old. She explained Beethoven wasn't an artist, because he was only a musician and didn't also dance.
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Leo discovers a cat [Apr. 24th, 2009|06:25 pm]
lipman_
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Faith and superstition [Apr. 20th, 2009|01:07 pm]
lipman_
The difference between faith and superstition isn't easy. Some people consider it witty to say one's own religion is faith, and the others are superstitious, but that's not only lame, it's wrong. An Orthodox Jew typically won't claim Catholicism isn't a religion and a faith, merely that they're mistaken, and vice versa.

One technical difference might be that a faith or a religion is a whole system, while superstitions are single items, but that's not always so if you take a closer look at chosen samples. The same is true for the question of clergy.

Anyway, what occurred to me is that the notion of blasphemy is a point of difference! If you mock a superstition, strong believers might just think this is bad for you, and you'll see for yourself before long what happens if you don't take it seriously.

That's different with a faith, where believers will be deeply and personally offended, in fact even non-believers often seem to think one shouldn't touch anything too near the beliefs and values.

There's a tradition of dinners on Friday 13, starting with coffee and going back to the first course, in a room with broken mirrors, open stepladders &c. Funny, but probably nobody much cares. But look what happens every time an artist again thinks it's new to pee on a cross in public or the like, let alone to pencil a caricature of Mahomet. Or, like the socialist Jewish Bund, go for a public pork picnic on Yom kipper.
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Internet [Apr. 3rd, 2009|05:58 pm]
lipman_
Leo is addicted to the internet, I'm afraid. The, er, words he says most are [guˈgɯ] and [øʁø], ie Google and heureux.

(Seriously, I wonder why mama, baba, dada and the like are usually explained to be the easiest and first words children utter, so that in many languages, they mean "mother" or "father", when other sounds are there before. The typical bleh, dlöh, öghö, I mean.)
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Soup [Apr. 3rd, 2009|05:50 pm]
lipman_
Had a yummy tortilla soup, basically a kind of gazpacho, but not cold. (Sorry in case this is common knowledge to Americans.) Do you know that, when it's so warm and so spicy at the same time that after half the bowl you have no idea if it's cooled down? Just can't tell?
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New Yorker [Mar. 30th, 2009|01:36 pm]
lipman_
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Droppin by these days [Mar. 19th, 2009|10:48 am]
lipman_
What do we have to pack for a trip to NY?

- A pound of tea,
- two little pots of Marmite,
- some rolls of non-see-through loo paper,
- powder from the chemist's to disinfect the water,
- my umbrella (in case it rains and we need something to hail a taxi) and
- a phrase book ("Good morning!" -> "Yo, guys!").

That is from the usual arrogant European perspective, of course; from an American one the list would be something like:

- no toothbrush and
- a phrase book ("What-ho, my good man!" -> "Good morning!")
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"No batteries required" [Feb. 5th, 2009|10:48 am]
lipman_


Operating instructions:
1. Point remote at subject
2. Push any button on remote
3. Hope for the best

(ThinkGeek)
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