2015 — 2 September: Wednesday

I've never needed1 to know much more about ol' Ludwig Wittgenstein beyond things like "If a lion could talk, we wouldn't be able to understand it" and the simple fact (discovered while browsing in a bookshop many years ago) that a university chap named HO Mounce (possibly then at Exeter) wrote at least one of the (many) books about him. Of course, I may have been missing out.

My linguistic troubles (during earlier multilingual states of the household) with trivial words like "bring" and "take" — as in "Please bring it with you when you come" or "Why don't you take it with you when you go?" — always seemed to get a whole lot trickier on their way into or out of German... It seems French, too, is similarly afflicted with such potholes and minefields:

The French equivalents for here and there are ici and respectively. But if I point to a pen and say, "The pen is here," the French equivalent is not "Le stylo est ici," but "Le stylo est là." In French, is always used to refer to a specific place or position, while in English here or there can both work. This rule is so obscure I never learned it in French classes, but obviously all native speakers learn it because no one ever uses it differently.
It could just as easily be the other way round, but it's not. The situation is not arbitrary, but the way in which language carves up the interaction between mind and world varies in such a way that French speakers recognize certain practices as right or wrong in a different way than English speakers do. This may seem a trivial point, until you have to program a computer to translate "I pointed to Paris on the map and said, She is here" into French — at which point it becomes a nightmare.

David Auerbach in Slate

I'm glad it's not just me.

The sun is...

... blazing away up there, which should make today's walk a more pleasant affair. The glass crate is once again empty. I also need to replenish the food supplies hereabouts, though that can wait until tomorrow. I had every intention of eating yesterday evening's stale crust and cheese rind in the newly-available dining room. Indeed, I'd even left a book open on the dining table (from the previous evening) in readiness. Of course, having got completely out of the habit of eating in there during the last five years or more, I completely forgot about this new domestic luxury feature; I was probably playing with the SHIELD Tablet PC.

Yesterday's cafetiere continues to delight. I also took a crack at yesterday's DVD, and may yet revisit it. But now it's time to stew another fruit topping for my breakfast cereal.

Time for a...

... mid-afternoon date with a scanner while I attempt to re-assemble some artwork. Who knows? I may even take that network colour printer out for a stroll (assuming Linux can both find it and "talk the talk" needed to drive its little ink-jets). That will doubtless be a learning experience for the pair of us.

I made the mistake...

... of watching some of the so-called "World News" on BBC TV with my evening meal. Not conducive to good digestion. This was after skimming up through channels numbered between 101 and about 150 without finding much sign of intelligent life anywhere. I hung around just long enough for a weather forecast and then scampered back to the Prom concert that was just starting.



1  Even needed is probably overstating it.