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10 April 2005 @ 12:01 pm
And thus the cycle continues, a.k.a. infinite recursion  
1. Leave a comment requesting an interview.
2. I'll respond by asking you five questions. I get to pick the questions.
3. Update your corner of the net with the answers to the questions and leave notification in the comments to this entry.
4. Include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, ask them five questions. And thus the cycle continues.

Interview by moorekittie

1) What is your ultimate job?

I'll start by being a total pedantic prick and point out that "ultimate" actually means "final" and not "best", so I have no way of knowing what my last job will be before I die. However, since I'm assuming you actually mean "best", my dream job would be screenwriter for successful feature films.

2) What's the best thing you've ever done and why was it so good?

Since, "nicest" is covered below, I'm going to assume you mean "most fun" or "most fulfilling" or whatever. I've received one or two blow-jobs that rank pretty high, but I'm pretty sure you don't want to hear about that. I'll have to say travelling through Europe, even though I was only 9 years old at the time. And if I had to pick a country, it would be Italy, because it is the most jam-packed with art, history and culture. Disneyland pales in comparison.

3) What's your favourite ice-cream flavour?

Morello cherry gelato, which I've only ever seen at the gelati shop on Lygon street.

4) What's the nicest thing you've ever done for someone else (OR the nicest thing someone else has ever done for you)?

Now, that's a tough one. Well, since I apparently save up to three lives each time, I'll have to go with donating blood. It's a small inconveniance to my day, that makes a big difference to someone's life. As for the nicest thing anyone's ever done for me, I reckon my mother has that covered, what with the raising and the taking to Europe and all that.

5) If you had to pick a pet, what animal would you choose, why and what would you name it?

Well, I already have a cat named Lucy. The only other animal I would consider would be a rat, not particularly compatible with a cat, but once I have my own study I think I could keep the rat's cage in there. I also wouldn't mind having some tropical fish, but I consider them an ornament rather than a pet. As for names, I prefer nice simple names, particularly for cats, since you want them to learn it and come when you call. No offence, musosian, but I think I'd go nuts calling out a name like "Heidegger" at feeding time.

Oh, I missed the "why".

I like cats because they are more or less independant creatures, they aren't high maintenance like dogs are. Cats are good for nice, quiet cuddles and fit neatly in your lap. And I know that dog lovers are going to jump all over this comment, but I think cats have real personality and a modicum of intelligence, something that I think dogs sorely lack.

I like rats because they are highly intelligent and a lot more affectionate than you might think. They are actually very clean and, unlike mice, don't smell bad.

I like tropical fish because they are pretty.
Jacobyak_boy on April 10th, 2005 04:31 am (UTC)
Well, I don't think we should hold ourselves to either just encourage or discourage the evolution of language.

I agree, but I also maintain a strong stance against evolution for evolution's sake.

However, I only believe that language should be preserved in its current state where it maintains clarity and assists communication.

Just because it's becoming increasingly common to spell light as "lite", doesn't mean it's a good idea to make that the "official" spelling. Even though spelling the word that way is not to the detriment of clarity or meaning.

In fact, the entire reason that the English language is so awful for spelling is that hundreds of years ago, when creating a standard for the English language, a bunch of people chose option two, in order to preserve the original, foreign spellings. They even went a step further and made a lot of changes to other words to make them look like the foreign words (with no apparent reasoning behind it).

Um, hate to burst your bubble there, but there was no Great English Language Convention of 1563 or whatever. There was never any "bunch of people" who "created a standard for the English language". Standards simply arose by themselves, through the increasing use of the written language.

Let's turn back the clock to a time when writing in English was only just becoming fashionable, around the time of Shakespeare (before Shakespeare English was considered the language of the peasants and pretty much nothing was written in it, beyond simple things like town records and what-not, the preferred languages were French and Latin).

Back then there was certainly not any standard for things like spelling, and Shakespeare even spelt his own name about a dozen different ways.

It was only with the proliferation of books that things started to settle on a standard: spelling, punctuation and grammar were all formalised, not by some treaty or whatever, but simply because publishers settled on house styles that became standards simply through increased use.

Anyway, I seem to be arguing for evolution, but the point is that in this modern age we have come to a point where we actually do have formalised standards, that are spread through formal education.

So, times have changed.
And whilst I do see a place for the natural evolution of language, that's no reason to allow inaccuracies of the language to go unchallenged.

Oh, and the reason we have "foreign" spellings, is because English is made up of a hodge-podge of words that have evolved from various foreign languages. The most direct influence of course, being French, as a direct result of the Norman invasion of 1066. No-one decided to use french spellings, that's just how the words were spelt when they entered the language.
Robet Éivaayvah on April 10th, 2005 05:21 am (UTC)
Um, hate to burst your bubble there, but there was no Great English Language Convention of 1563 or whatever. There was never any "bunch of people" who "created a standard for the English language". Standards simply arose by themselves, through the increasing use of the written language.

Actually, there was. I'm only going to summarise based on my memory here, because I'm too lazy today to find links for you (maybe I'll do it later).

Up until one point in England's history, all official documents were written in French. At the time there was no official English language. Spellings varied considerably depending on where in England you went. What was "church" in one place, could be "kirk" in another. It was all over the place.

Then one king decided that he'd start making all official documents in English. The government followed, but they faced a major problem. With spelling so varied, official documents risked becoming gibberish. So, they started to set up a standardised English language.

When choosing the spelling for traditionally English words, they (usually) chose the spellings that were most widely understood.

Controversy arose when they were choosing the spellings for the millions of words of foreign origin. Battles waged between group who wanted to keep the original foreign spellings, and the group who wanted the English phonetic spellings.

Of course, it was the English fundamentalists who won. (Although, it should be noted that they went above and beyond the call of duty, giving some words Norse spellings even though the changes were etymologically incorrect.)
Robet Éivaayvah on April 10th, 2005 05:22 am (UTC)
I meant to say, "Actually, there was something much like that."
Jacobyak_boy on April 10th, 2005 06:09 am (UTC)
Well, I have looked and have found no evidence of such a thing.

It is true that a law was passed making english the official language of England, but I can't find anything to support a systematic attempt to reform the language (apart from in the United States, but I don't think that's what we're talking about).

What I have found is support for what I said, that the printing press is the main cause of language standardisation.

From this brief history of the English language:

The last major factor in the development of Modern English was the advent of the printing press. William Caxton brought the printing press to England in 1476. Books became cheaper and as a result, literacy became more common. Publishing for the masses became a profitable enterprise, and works in English, as opposed to Latin, became more common. Finally, the printing press brought standardization to English. The dialect of London, where most publishing houses were located, became the standard. Spelling and grammar became fixed, and the first English dictionary was published in 1604.
Robet Éivaayvah on April 10th, 2005 07:45 am (UTC)
I'm not quite ready to give up on the documentary I watched just yet...

Damn, if only I could remember the name of that king, I'm sure it'd be much easier to prove or disprove.
Robet Éivaayvah on April 10th, 2005 08:22 am (UTC)
Okay. I've read from several sources that parliament switched to the usage of English in 1362 (by Edward III's lead). I'm having difficulty finding further information, but it does support what I've been told (it's definitely true that this would require a standardised English).

The thing you have to remember is merely a parliamentary standardisation (thus, was only relevent for official documents). Also, parliament is generally based around London. I believe that the printing press just turned it into a nation-wide language...

Of course, I doubt my conclusions will be enough for you, so I'll see if I can find something more definitive.

Damn. It's not happening. But the documentary I watched (on ABC a couple weeks ago) is what gave me this information. The 1362 date alone is enough confirmation for me.

(Chronology: History of English
Wikipedia - Edward III
Yorkist - Edward III)
Jacobyak_boy on April 10th, 2005 12:53 pm (UTC)
"Standardisation" meaning English became the standard language, means a very different thing to "standardisation" meaning correct spelling and grammar was formalised.

Frankly, if there was such a movement, to standardise spelling and grammar, I think it would be important enough to warrant a mention in a History of English, particularly one thorough enough to include:

978 Aethelred "the Unready" becomes king at 11 years of age.

Sorry, but I'm more convinced than ever that no such movement ever existed.