owlfish: (Fishy Circumstances)
posted by [personal profile] owlfish at 01:31pm on 31/07/2014 under
I encountered a new-to-me use of "weaning" this week from a neighbor.

"weaning-in" = visiting/settling in days at a nursery or pre-school, a few hours' visit in preparation for the full experience.
owlfish: (Fishy Circumstances)
posted by [personal profile] owlfish at 05:33pm on 10/06/2014 under , ,
owlfish: (Fishy Circumstances)
posted by [personal profile] owlfish at 01:06am on 21/11/2013 under ,
When Grouting became proto-verbal, we belatedly started signing with her. Belatedly because she'd been spending so much time in our arms and it takes two hands to do much communication by hand. Also, because from the start it was learn as we go.

I started thoughtlessly, with a friend's recommendation of catchy song videos with signs on YouTube. Only Baby Sign Time is an American show and, as it occurred to me only a few weeks later, I'd just signed up for a baby signing class in the UK. Grouting still signs "more" and "boat" the ASL way.

Take two. I download a fantastic British Sign Language video dictionary app, free, from the University of Bristol. It's still my default go-to reference when I want a sign to use with Grouting.

Take three. The class begins. I'd signed up for the only one locally available... and it turns out it's teaching Makaton, not BSL. Mostly there's not too much conflict; but thinking we were learning the rudiments of a language was one of the appeals of taking a class.

I am deeply ambivalent about Makaton. It's a commercial product, a language learning framework, with English (not BSL) grammar, simplified signs, standardized, and is (at least in the UK) derived from BSL. There are no free dictionaries. Everything is for sale. It's aimed at children with physical communication difficulties to surmount which have nothing to do with hearing. Down's syndrome. Babies.

Part of the appeal of this project was the idea that I'd learn a bit of another language. The other part was that we'd communicate more easily with Grouting. The communication bit is absolutely a success. Her signs are a fusion of those first few ASL ones, lots of BSL, some Makaton ones, and, occasionally, ones Grouting has figured out or made up herself (keys, fireworks). So it's not a consistent vocabulary since I never introduced it as one. I do still pick and choose signs sometimes on the basis of how easily Grouting could distinguish them from other signs.

Today in class, we were given a sign for Christmas. The North American in me rebels at using a sign based on "putting a turkey on the table" for Christmas. Especially in the same week that we celebrated an early Thanksgiving. BSL recommends a quick bit of beard stroking to achieve the same concept. One ASL version involves outlining a wreath. Either way, I prefer the options given to me by the full-fledged languages to that from the commercial language product.
owlfish: (Fishy Circumstances)
posted by [personal profile] owlfish at 01:45am on 11/09/2013 under
Phonics is the basis for a national exam in the UK assessing reading competency among the young; fail, and students are remedial readers, regardless of their actual competency in reading.

Thinking about the sounds letters make, I started to wonder if there are any letters of the alphabet which are *never* silent, or if the entire alphabet could be "said" by saying nothing at all....

I'm hardly the first person to try making an alphabet out of this online. I don't pronounce all the words the same as some of those who've tried this exercise, so am not convinced by those in brackets, although they're starting places. * mark words disagreed with by commenters.

A *logically
B thumb
C *chthonic, muscle
D *Wednesday, bridge
E are
F halfpenny
G thorough
H shepherd
I maize
J marijuana
K knight
L half
M mnemonic
N Autumn
O colonel
P receipt
Q lacquer
R [February]
S island
T subtle often
U tongue
V
W write
X faux
Y [mayor]
Z rendezvous

In short: the phonics alphabet *could* be largely pronounced through silence, with just a couple of letters left to say any other way....

Done with some insights from this site, this one and this one.
owlfish: (Fishy Circumstances)
posted by [personal profile] owlfish at 11:46pm on 03/01/2013 under ,
Yesterday, walking down Euston Road, I was surprised to see a man juggling fire, even though it was morning. I'm not sure why fire-juggling does not strike me as a morning activity. It seems a thing of afternoons or evenings.

*

C. has a question for you: how does one differentiate between pirate and zombie "arr"s?

I postulate that zombie ones have more "gh"s in them.
owlfish: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] owlfish at 03:58pm on 25/11/2012 under
Watching the news on the BBC frequently in the last few months means that - strangely enough - I regularly see British politicians interviewed. And this has led me to an increasing dislike of the adverb "clearly".

Inevitably, it's used in situations such as "as I have clearly said".

Firstly, we are none of us best-placed to judge the clarity of our own language use to others.

Secondly, if you have to tell other people you were being clear, you're being condescending. It's telling them they're too stupid or inattentive to have realized on their own how effective your communication was.

Until now, I'd never realized how insulting nominal clarity could be.
owlfish: (Default)
I was always a bit hazy on the circumstances under which "to wean" meant what. It's a good thing I've figured this out early and avoided confusing too many people as a result.

In Britain, one weans on to solids by introducing them.
In the US, one weans from any residual breastmilk or formula consumption, eliminating them from diet.

Two very different ends of the same spectrum.

P.S. Here's a headline from the BBC that only makes sense if one is focusing on the introduction of solids end of the spectrum: Weaning before six months 'may help breastfed babies'
owlfish: (Vanitas desk)
posted by [personal profile] owlfish at 06:05pm on 24/08/2012 under ,
owlfish: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] owlfish at 11:29pm on 06/05/2012 under
It was a good day. Among other things, we had dinner at Wahaca, coincidentally ran into [livejournal.com profile] ewtikins on the Underground and briefly caught up, and saw the very entertaining Marvel's Avengers Assembled. (Speaking of which, I am certain my f'list promised me *two* scenes during the credits, and there was only the one.)

But the highlight of my day that I really want to tell you about is this word: drumbledairy.

The "drumbledairy" is a sixteenth-century spelling of the word which would eventually settle itself on "dromedary".
1570 P. Levens Manipulus Vocabulorum sig. Iiv/1, A Drumbledarie, Dromedarius.
owlfish: (Labyrinth - Maze)
posted by [personal profile] owlfish at 12:52pm on 18/04/2012 under
[Poll #1834514]

To keep this poll simpler: take as read that whether or not it needs a definite article for this year, it'll be "an Eastercon" speaking more generally.

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