Sunday: Hili dialogue (with bonus Gus)

March 26, 2017 • 6:30 am

by Grania

Good morning!

Among the many celebrating birthdays today are Steve Tyler (1948) and Diana Ross (1944). It’s not easy to choose just one song for either of them as they are prolific and have had long-lasting careers. It is also the birthday of Richard Dawkins (1941), Nancy Pelosi (1940), Watergate-busting journalist Bob Woodward (1943) and actor Leonard Nimoy (1931).

This song was a hit for Diana Ross in 1980 and referenced her leaving Motown where she had been since her days with The Supremes. [JAC curmudgeonly addendum: Not her greatest song by a long shot!]

I chose this song by Steve’s group Aerosmith because it always makes me smile. It’s an antidote to all those sappy love songs. (Trigger warning: loud and unpretty).

In 1484 William Caxton, thought to be the person who introduced the printing press to England, printed his English translation of Aesop’s Fables. His work is largely credited for beginning to standardise the various dialects of the English language.

Here begynneth the book of the subtyl historyes and Fables of Esope whiche were translated out of Frensshe in to Englysshe by Wylliam Caxton

In Poland Hili is being deliberately obtuse. However, I think that is part of the definition of Catness, and also gives rise to behavior such as sitting in doorways with the intention of going out and staying in at the same time.

Hili: Something is catching on me.
A: You don’t have to climb there.
Hili: What do you mean, I don’t have to climb there?

In Polish:

Hili: Coś mi tu przeszkadza.
Ja: Nie musisz tam wchodzić.
Hili: Jak to, nie muszę?

And finally, Gus in silhouette.

Live long and prosper!

26 thoughts on “Sunday: Hili dialogue (with bonus Gus)

  1. Caxton tells a little story in the Introduction to ‘Eneydos’ (1490) to explain his problem with lexical variants:

    Their boat becalmed in the Thames, some English merchants landed in Kent to buy supplies. One of them “axyd after eggys. And the good wyf answerde that she coude speke no frenshe. And the marchaunt was angry for he also coude speke no frenshe but wolde have hadde egges and she understode hym not. And thenne at laste a nother sayd that he wolde have eyren. Then the good wyf sayd that she understod hym wel.”

    Caxton went on to lament: “Loo what sholde a man in thyse dayes now wryte, egges or eyren? Certaynly it is harde to playse every man by cause of dyversite and chaunge of langage”.

      1. Yes he’ll soon be firing off that old ‘Aprille with his shoures soote’ again while we all get soaked

    1. Speakers of Standard English sometimes snarkily observe that some African Americans say “ax(e)” instead of “ask” and regard this as a humorous example of their inability to grasp SE. Some Southern whites also say “ax(e),” but nobody calls attention to their usage. Well, I’d call the “axers” linguistic originalists. One finds this form of “ask” documented in the OED as a variant.

      Caxton’s own words — the last paragraph of yr. comment constitute an admirable res ipsa loquitur (if I’m using that term correctly):
      ‘Caxton went on to lament: “Loo what sholde a man in thyse dayes now wryte, egges or eyren? Certaynly it is harde to playse every man by cause of dyversite and chaunge of langage”.’ And I like my egges.

  2. Caxton’s introduction of the printing press to England from the Low Countries (Belgium and the Netherlands) was instrumental in helping to standardize written English, but it should be noted that he chose to adopt the standard that had developed in the King’s Chancery office over the previous decades. Note that he opened his shop in Westminster rather than in London 🙂

  3. I find the history of technologies fascinating. Remember James Burke’s BBC program, “Connections”?

    Claxton introduced the press to England in 1484, but of course Gutenberg is known for the key improvements to the printing press in 1440. It allowed printing 3,600 pages per day. Certainly a key to cultural advancement.

    “By 1500 over 1,000 Gutenberg presses were operating in Europe, and by 1600 they had created over 200 million new books. The printing press not only made books affordable for the lower classes, but it helped spark the Age of Enlightenment and facilitated the spread of new and often controversial ideas.”

    Other big ideas:

    Magnetic compass – China
    Paper money – late 1600s
    Domestication of the horse – 5,500 years ago
    Microscope and telescope – 16th and early 17th centuries

    1. And from the age we live in today, the number one invention that drives so much more is electricity. What would we have without it?

    2. Paper money, like paper itself, originated in China. First recorded use was during the Tang Dynasty (618-907 CE). And of course printing with movable type also began in China, first recorded using wooden type around 1040 but this was soon superseded by clay type and then by bronze type in the 12th century. And horses were certainly in use as you say, but it was not until c.100 BCE that the efficient breast harness was developed – in China 🙂

      1. Yes, as was harnessing generally. This occurred considerably later, I believe, than initial domestication…
        Which reminds me of Monty Python’s Holy Grail. The budget did not allow for horses so all the riders just jerked along with a follower using coconut shells for sound effects. Carts were pulled by humans. This would have been the conditions before domestication of horses. 😎

  4. Caxton’s well known, but sadly overlooked is the man with the most charming and apropos name for anybody associated with printing, literature, and language, Wynkyn de Worde, who worked with Caxton and who, according to Wikipedia is “recognized as the first to popularize the products of the printing press in England…De Worde is generally credited for moving English printing away from its late-medieval beginnings and toward a “modern” model of functioning…he shifted his emphasis to the creation of relatively inexpensive books for a commercial audience and the beginnings of a mass market.”

  5. Happy birthday, Richard! (to the others, too, in case they are secretly reading along). I’m glad you didn’t get on with gardening, though your Twitter account got boring ever since you gave in to the “criticism”.

  6. “Aerosmith – Falling in Love (is hard on your knees)” – from the same song-writing stable as The Jam’s “Eton Rifles (Hurts your Teeth)”?

    In 1484 William Caxton, thought to be the person who introduced the printing press to England, printed his English translation of Aesop’s Fables.

    I’m moderately surprised that it wasn’t the BuyBull, but since Gutenberg had played that hand already, maybe it’s not so surprising.

  7. When it comes to The Supremes, Ms. Ross had the looks and the ambition, but Flo Ballard had the pipes.

  8. There is some kind of institution named Onyx Translations which is butchering books with automatic translation. “Aesop’s Fables” included. If you search ‘onyx translation aesop’ from amazon among books then there is ~50 different language versions. And its awful.

  9. Ah, Aerosmith. What a tale. Their first four albums are arguably among the best rock albums ever made. When they jump started their career after Run-DMC’s “Walk This Way” they tried to pick up where they left off, with excellent rock, and while they came close they could never quite match their younger brilliance. Too much heart was missing, I suppose, a normal condition of aging. After a time they quit trying to remaster the artform of rock brilliance and instead learned how to play to the masses with mediocrity. It paid off handsomely.

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