Sumomomomomomomomo

That's the name of a three-year-old filly who had a maiden win at a Tokyo racecourse on November 1, 2021, as described in "Japanese Tongue Twisters", by Richard Medhurst, nippon.com (Nov 17, 2021).

The horse takes her name from the following Japanese tongue twister: Sumomo mo momo mo momo no uchi (スモモも、モモも、モモのうち), meaning “Both sumomo and peaches are kinds of peaches.”

A sumomo is a kind of plum (Prunus salicina), sometimes called the “Japanese plum,” although not to be confused with the famous ume. Botanically, it cannot really said to be a kind of peach (momo), which is only a close relation (Prunus persica). Still, the linguistic connection might be enough; at the word level, at least, we could say a sumomo is a kind of momo.

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More pronoun confusion

…but this time it's the second person, in an outtake from the Laura Ingraham show that's been widely discussed in the media, posted several times on YouTube, and apparently viewed millions of times on TikTok:

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Educated (and not so educated) guesses about how to read Sinographs

Here is a painting that is being exhibited in Taipei now:

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Chinese attack / barrage

[This is a guest post by Mark Swofford]

I recently stumbled upon a slang term from World War I: "Chinese attack," or sometimes "Chinese barrage." Perhaps LL readers would be interested in this and might even have some info on its origins.

One website on the war gives the following definition of "Chinese attack":

"a faked attack. When a preliminary bombardment ceased, the defending troops would return to their trenches to meet the presumed attack, whereupon the artillery would start firing again and catch the defenders out of their shelters."

The term appears to have been adopted primarily by the British.

I haven't been able to discern, though, why "Chinese" was used, and if this was meant as a compliment or a slur to the Chinese — or perhaps was simply considered neutral.

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AI cat and mouse robot censorship war

Now it's getting interesting:

"China’s internet police losing man-versus-machine duel on social media"

Stephen Chen, SCMP (11/14/21)

    Hordes of bot accounts using clever dodging tactics are causing burnout among human censors, police investigative paper finds
    Authorities may respond by raising a counter-army of automated accounts or even an AI-driven public opinion leader

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Data, information, knowledge, insight, wisdom, and Conspiracy Theory

The relationships among these different types of knowing has always been something that intrigued me.  Now it's all spelled out diagrammatically:

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Towards a grammar of rhythm

Hassan Munshi has been working on text setting in Arabic music. An important piece of the problem is how to represent the musical rhythms involved, and it's worth noting that (as with classical Greek, Latin, and Persian meters) the musical and poetic meters are founded on the same principles and have the same names. Hassan pointed me to an overview at MaqamWorld, which explains "Arabic Rhythmic Cycles":

Arabic music is composed over rhythmic cycles called iqa‘at (singular iqa‘), which are patterns of beats that repeat every measure. A composition can switch back and forth between many different iqa‘at. Each iqa‘ is defined using a prototypal measure and the two basic sounds: dum (bassy and sustained) and tak (dry and sharp).

The notated iqa‘ is meant to be a skeleton or a prototype for how to perform it. In practice, percussionists ornament an iqa‘ (flesh it out) with additional beats: dum-s, tak-s and whatever other sounds the instrument is able to produce. That ornamentation depends a lot on the genre of Arabic music, the desired arrangement aesthetic, the instrument itself, the size of the rhythm section, and on the percussionist’s personal style.

For each iqa', MaqsumWorld provides a notation of the basic pattern, some musical examples, and a "tabla demonstration" in which a drummer illustrates the process of "ornamentation". For Iqa' Maqsum, this is the basic pattern:

And this is the tabla demonstration by Faisal Zedan:

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The linguistic origins and affiliations of Zen

In the fifth comment to "Artistic Sinograph: Buddha" (11/11/21), stephen reeves says he'd like to hear about the origins of Zen.  This has always been one of my favorite topics, so I'm more than happy to tell it.

"Zen" entered the English lexicon already by 1727.  Here's a succinct, serviceable, popular explanation of its derivation:

[Japanese zen, from Early Middle Chinese dʑian, meditation; also the source of Mandarin chán), from Pali jhānaṃ, from Sanskrit dhyānam, from dhyāti, he meditates.]
 
Word History: Zen, a word that evokes the most characteristic and appealing aspects of Japanese culture for many English speakers, is ultimately of Indo-European origin. The Japanese word zen is a borrowing of a medieval Chinese word (now pronounced chán, in modern Mandarin Chinese) meaning "meditation, contemplation." Chán is one of the many Buddhist terms in Chinese that originate in India, the homeland of Buddhism. A monk named Bodhidharma, said to be of Indian origin, introduced Buddhist traditions emphasizing the practice of meditation to China in the 5th century and established Chan Buddhism. From the 7th century onward, elements of Chan Buddhism began to reach Japan, where chán came to be pronounced zen. The Chinese word chán is a shortening* of chán'nǎ "meditation, contemplation" a borrowing [VHM:  transcription] of the Sanskrit term dhyānam. The Sanskrit word is derived from the Sanskrit root dhyā-, dhī-, "to see, observe," and the Indo-European root behind the Sanskrit is *dheiə-, *dhyā-, "to see, look at." This root also shows up in Greek, where *dhyā- developed into sā-, as in the Common Greek noun *sāma, "sign, distinguishing mark." This noun became sēma in Attic Greek and is the source of English semantic.

Source:  American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition.

*The same thing happened with the Chinese transcription of "Buddha", as we saw in the previous post.  The Chinese have a low tolerance for maintaining the full transcriptions of words from other languages, usually shortening them by one or more syllables.]

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Artistic Sinograph: Buddha

On the wall of an apartment complex in Dali, Yunnan, southwestern China:

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Bizarre anime adaptation

Congressman Paul Gosar (R-Arizona) recently posted a strange "anime" video on Twitter. The tweet has since been deleted after widespread criticism of the violence it depicts (including attacks on President Biden and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez), but the video is still available on YouTube.

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Womanless

Photograph of a work of art in a Berlin gallery, taken by Johan Elverskog:

Jia. One Hundred Women, 2016. Acrylic on canvas, 78 3/4 x 78 3/4 inches

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Pull!

From an anonymous colleague:

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Nominations for Japanese words of the year

Mezurashii / めずらしい / 珍しい ("amazing; wonderful; rare").  Love 'em!  Such creativity!  Such imagination!

"Japan’s Words of 2021: Nominees Announced for Annual List"
Language Nov 4, 2021

On November 4, the publisher Jiyū Kokumin Sha announced its list of nominees for the words and phrases best representing the year 2021. Our complete list of the nominees with explanations.
New Words for a Pandemic Year

Each year Jiyū Kokumin Sha, the publisher of Gendai yōgo no kiso chishiki (Basic Knowledge on Contemporary Terminology), an annual guide to the latest terms in use in the Japanese language, holds its contest to decide the Words of the Year. For 2021, the nominating committee selected a list of 30 terms that have made themselves a part of the spoken and written landscape in Japan this year.

….

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