"Demoralised" = "without morals"?

Marilynne Robinson, "Is poverty necessary?", Harpers 5/16/2019:

Margaret Thatcher said that the redundant—those on the dole—were “demoralized.” In her dialect group this word doesn’t mean disheartened. It means without morals. An American might put the matter differently, but the attitude is familiar enough.

An American might wonder whether that sense was actually dominant — or even prevalent — in Margaret Thatcher's "dialect group".

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Voynich code cracked?

Since high school, the Voynich manuscript is something that I have puzzled over from time to time.  What language and script is it written in?  What's it about?  Although no one has been able to read the manuscript since Wilfrid Voynich, the PolishSamogitian bibliophile and book dealer first brought it to light more than a century ago, the evocative illustrations and mysteries swirling around it have led to many fruitless attempts at decipherment.

Now a British academic (in Journal of Romance Studies) declares that it was a manual for nuns written in unencrypted proto-Romance:

"Bristol academic cracks Voynich code, solving century-old mystery of medieval text", University of Bristol (May 15, 2019).

A University of Bristol academic has succeeded where countless cryptographers, linguistics scholars and computer programs have failed—by cracking the code of the 'world's most mysterious text', the Voynich manuscript.

Although the purpose and meaning of the manuscript had eluded scholars for over a century, it took Research Associate Dr. Gerard Cheshire two weeks, using a combination of lateral thinking and ingenuity, to identify the language and writing system of the famously inscrutable document.

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Illegal dog names

This odd headline caught my eye:

"Man in China detained after giving dogs 'illegal' names," by Travis Fedschun | Fox News (5/15/19)

And what were the offending names?  Not what you might have thought:

Chéngguǎn 城管 ("Urban Management")

Xiéguǎn 协管 ("Assistant Management")

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Odevity or parity

[This is a guest post by Jeffrey Shallit]

A Chinese student here at Waterloo used the term "odevity" for what English-speaking computer scientists typically call "parity" — the property of an integer being odd or even.

I had never heard this term before, so I used Google Scholar to look at where it is being used.  It is used almost exclusively by Chinese engineers, mathematicians, and computer scientists.  The first usage I was able to find with Google Book Search was in 1972, obtained with this search.

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Chinese restaurant shorthand, part 5

Subtitle:  Phoneticization on an order from a Macanese restaurant in Vancouver.

Bruce Rusk sent in this prime example of extreme Sinographic shorthand, adding, "The geographic origin of the cuisine is a big hint to the document’s meaning…".

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Prakritic "Kroraina" and Old Sinitic reconstructions of "Loulan"

Inquiry from Doug Adams:

As you know I’m working on a review for JIES [Journal of Indo-European Studies] on KT Schmidt’s Nachlass [VHM:  see here].  I need to say something about the name Loulan itself and, not unusually, I’m sinking uncontrollably into the quicksand of reconstructed Chinese. The question arises concerning the first syllable, represented by Karlgren’s character 123b. The modern pronunciation is lóu. Because it is assumed to be the Chinese transcription of the first syllable of the native word Kroraina, one finds, in discussions of Loulan, reconstructions like *gləu or *γləu, with the (unstated) assumption that the *l stands for a yet earlier *r. But, when the name Loulan is not part of the discussion, i.e., in general reconstruction, the initial is just *l– or, earlier, *r– (Schuessler gives OCM * or roʔ [and Late Han (about the turn of the millennium) *lo or lioB]) The Khotanese word referring to Loulan/Kroraina is raurana– and is obviously the same word as the Chinese and, indeed, very probably a borrowing therefrom.         So where does the *gl-/*γl– come from? Or is the Chinese Loulan not a transcription of Kroraina but merely an accidental (partial) look alike?

Any elucidation you can give would be appreciated.

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Mandarin morphosyllabic annotation of a Taiwanese sign

Public notice in a ward in Tainan, Taiwan:


(Source)

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Intentionally ambiguous headline

"The Lost Harvest of Chinese Food Plants in Venezuela", By José González Vargas, Caracas Chronicles (May 11, 2019)

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Trolling

Following up on the previous post, see Emma Grey Ellis, "Nobody knows what 'troll' means anymore — least of all Mueller", Wired 4/26/2019:

GREETINGS, TROLLS OF Reddit! Tell me: What’s a troll?

“Memester that hates normies,” says suicideposter.

“Someone who only interacts for reactions,” says _logic_victim.

“Lives under a bridge, votes Republican,” says TW1971. (“no u,” replies Popcap101z, taking the bait, baiting the hook, or both. I can’t be sure.)

“I prefer not to apply labels to myself,” says MyFriend_BobSacamano. (Lulz.)

Asking a troll to define trolling is a bit like asking a terrorist to define terrorism. The question backfires; it invites prevarication and propaganda. But in the past few years, an answer has become increasingly necessary—and elusive. Without one, can we clearly distinguish teasing from hate speech?

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The Notion of "Trolling" in Ancient Sanskrit

[This is a guest post by Varun Khanna]

In the Nyāya Sūtra by Akṣapāda Gautama (composed sometime between the sixth century BCE and the second century CE), a three-fold conception of dialogue is discussed. It appears that at the time this was written, dialectic culture was strong in the Sanskritic world. Thus, the rules of dialogue and debate started being codified by several authors, such as Gautama in his Nyāya Sūtra and Caraka (third century BCE) in his seminal Ayurveda work Caraka Saṁhitā. In Gautama's work, he defines three types of dialogue.

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Losing the battle

Elizabeth Wydra, "Chief Justice John Roberts is under tremendous pressure", CNN 5/10/2019:

As the Supreme Court strives to finish its work by the end of June — deciding on issues from the future of the census to the ability of politicians to draw their own legislative districts — the justices labor in their chambers at a particularly fraught moment in our country's history. The pressure may be greatest on Chief Justice John Roberts.

Try as he might — and some might question whether he is trying hard enough lately — Roberts is in danger of losing his battle to keep most Americans from seeing the court he leads as divorced from politics.

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Icebachi

From Tomo's Twitter:

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Mandarin with a German accent

Christian Lindner opened his speech in Chinese at the 70th Federal Party Congress of the FDP:

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