Monday, March 28, 2011

Spelling Bee: Goddammit

1. burglar
2. cultivator (I spelled it wrong)

Short List: Pink Songs

1. Pretty Pink Ribbon - Cake

2. Pink Moon - Nick Drake

3. Hot Pink Hot Sex ft. Gonzales - Peaches

4. Pink Panther Theme - Henry Mancini

5. Geek in the Pink - Jason Mraz

6. Pink Triangle - Weezer

7. Pretty in Pink - The Psychaedelic Furs

8. Pink Sabbath - Dananananakroyd

#13 2011

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Rumble Bee Returns: New Norton

There was a charity spelling bee tonight at Comedy Sportz for SOSSA. It was FUN. I wish I could have been in for longer, they had cool inventive rounds after I got out... :(

1. advantage
2. accommodate
3. brisage (I spelled it wrong)

Brisage has to do with explosives. It is a very technical word not used outside of the firearm and explosives nerd world. F it.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Short List: OK Songs

Today is being declared as OK Day by the author of a new book about the word OK. The word OK was first published on March 23, 1839. It is a fanciful acronym for the intentionally misspelled 'oll korrect.' Really. You can learn about OK Day suggested activities at the Facebook page.

1. Oh Well, Okay - Elliot Smith
2. Is This Sound Okay? - Coconut Records
3. Is It Okay if I Call You Mine? - Sondre Lerche
4. Pony (It's OK) - Erin McCarley
5. It's Ok - Dead Moon
6. Luna Lovegood is OK - Harry and the Potters
7. Oklahoma - Oklahoma!
8. Everything's Okay - Hank Williams
9. It's OK - Cee-Lo Green
10. Ok/No Way - Mission of Burma
11. (OK Go)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Spelling Bee Report: Oh the Huge Manatee

1. auburn
2. decanter (I spelled it wrong)

Shameful. Unacceptable. Thankfully, the gods sent a trivia quiz about Portland, and backlit with a halo, Joe the Portland Tour Guide smashed that shit up. I ended up $6 richer, and that's pretty good for a terrible night, spelling-wise. Thanks, Joe.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The History of Spanish in 10 Words

I have written or presented about this topic at least 3 times in school, and it still amuses the hell out of me. I have distilled it down to 5 words, but I just found a paper that lists the whole 10, and I think it's worth recording these down while the information still bubbles and frolicks around for me when I talk about it.

1. Fabular

-Spanish is one of the Romance languages which means it comes from Latin. Other Romance languages include French, Italian, Romanian, Catalan, and Portuguese, unfortunately.
-Fabular means to tell a tale which has morphed over the years to become the verb hablar, to speak. There are many words which begin with 'f' in Latin that changed to 'h' in modern Spanish. Exceptions are words with a diphthong after the 'f' like fuente (fountain), fuerza (force), and fuego (fire).

2. Sistema

-Greek preceded Latin, which means the terms are older, but most likely filtered through Latin to become part of Spanish. Besides being used in technical and scientific words, many words from Greek are related to Church like católico, bautizar (baptize), cátedra, diablo, himno (hymn), and iglesia, meaning church.
-Sistema is a specific type of Spanish word which is from Greek, is a cognate with the English word, and appears to be female (ends in -a) but is actually masculine and uses 'el' in front of the word. Other words include mapa, dia, tema (theme), and clima (weather).

3. Guerra

-After the Romans, Goths came to Spain and ruled for a while. They conquered by battle, and once they were in charge, they settled into the Roman lifestyle, and did not add many words to the language. The words they did contribute were mostly about war, like guardian, tambór (drum), guante (glove), armadura (armor), arma (weapon) and the word for war itself, guerra.

4. Rodriguez

-The Goths also left behind their names, so pervasive in modern Latino names that it's breath-taking. In Scandanavian languages, "Olofson" means son of Olof, and in Scottish, MacDonald means 'son of Donald.' Since the names are in reference to their family or father, they are called patronyms. In Germanic Goth tradition, this is denoted by adding -ez or -oz to the end of the name, so 'son of Rodrigo' turns into Rodriguez. Other names include: Marquez, Gutierrez, Estevez, Lopez, Ramirez, Vasquez, Alvarez, Sanchez, Velasquez, and Ruiz (also meaning son of Rodrigo).

5. Alcohol

-From 711 to 1492, the Moors ruled Spain. They advanced all fields including science, math, architecture, and gardening. Arabic vocabulary came into every aspect of Spanish, but since the Spaniards had no context for Arabic language, many of the words were learned incorrectly. In Arabic 'al' is a definite article meaning 'the.' When a word like 'ah-kuhul' was spoken, Spanish speakers assumed the 'al' part was integral, and so Spanish has many words beginning with 'al.' Alcatraz (pelican) alameda, almendra (almond), ajedrez (chess), the Alambra (the red, referring to the color of the building).
-Algodon means cotton. If you take off the 'al,' you can see that godon and cotton are the same, but godon is voiced and cotton is voiceless.

6. Guadalfeo

-Another Arabic addition to Spanish was the word guadal (wadi in Arabic), meaning river. For some reason, many rivers have 'guadal' in the front, and then a Spanish word describing the river. Rivers with this pattern include Guadalcanal (channel river), Guadalajara (river of stones) and Guadalupe (wolf river.) Feo means ugly so Guadalfeo means Ugly River. I actually saw a sign for this river driving with my housemadre in Andalucia.

7. Doña

-In 1492, Ferdinand and Isabella finally finished their Reconquista (reconquering) of Spain back from the Moors, which freed up their money to fund an expedition to the new world. Cervantes had not published Don Quixote, and Shakespeare had not published his plays, but imagine that sailors leaving Spain spoke in that style with 'thou' and 'mighteth' called Early Modern Spanish. Whatever 'natural' path the evolution of Spanish may have taken after they left Spain, Spanish in the New World stopped moving forward in many ways because it had to blend with the native languages it was encountering.
-In Spain, the informal second person (tú, you) is used all the time with friends or strangers. In Mexico, my host parents were Don Amando and Doña Epifanía, which is the equivalent of calling modern day people Lord and Lady. The formal third person (usted, he, she) is used to conjugate with everyone except for very small children, where tú is acceptable. When I mentioned this, the people in Spain said the old-timey formality sounds very silly to them.

8. Popocateptl

-When the ships arrived in the Americas, the sailors were assaulted with new smells, animals and foods. Although they became the ruling class, Spaniards adopted many words for unfamiliar objects adopted from the native languages. The umbrella term Nahuatl is used to describe Aztecan languages found in Mexico, and many terms are recognizable from this family of languages. Tomate, aguacate (avocado), cacahuete (peanut), chicle, coyote, chile, and chocolate are all from Nahuatl.
-Many place names in Mexico are also fiercely Nahuatl, like Teotihuacan, Michoacan, Oaxaca, Tlaquepaque, Mazatlan, and Tenochtitlan. My favorites are Popocateptl and Ixtaccihuatl, which are volcanoes.

9. Espíderman

-English has become the global language. With technological advancements being created and popularized in English-speaking places, this phenomenon has exploded, but many modern terms have been borrowed by other languages rather than using equivalents from their own lexicons for a long time. Shoppers can buy 'los bluejeans' and stores advertize 'el look.'
-All languages have rules which are called phonological constraints. In English, tpeek and sbar are not acceptable, but many consonant sounds can be smooshed together, as in the word strengths (/streŋθs/). In Spanish, one of the constraints does not allow words to begin with 2 consonant sounds, like 'sp.' Spain itself is called España for this very reason. Living in Mexico, I saw ads on TV for toys based on Espíderman 2. A friend of mine once did a presentation on Esnówboarding.

10. 62 (Sesenta)

As previously mentioned, Nahuatl is an umbrella term for the native languages of Mexico. In reality, Mexico has sixty-two official languages including Zapotec and Mixtec. When rebel groups like the EZLN (Zapatista Army of National Liberation) sit down at talks with the government, trying to represent the concerns of all the small indigenous groups, language is a huge obstacle.

*Bonus Words* Zurda & Izquierda

-Basque is a weird language. It existed before Latin, it is not related to the Romance languages. It is a pre-Indo-European language, which is OLD.
-Like a neighbor borrowing sugar from the north, Spanish has borrowed words from Basque twice, both for the same reason. Sometimes in a language, a word gets too many connotations, or a previously neutral word gets mixed up with slang insults, and sullies the normal use of the word. In English, everybody giggles at old songs with the word 'gay' in them, for example. Spanish had this problem with its basic words for left and right. In Latin, dexter means right, and sinister means left. Over time, dexter developed the sense of righteousness and good, while sinister, in contrast, became untrustworthy and evil. To avoid giving ominous directions, Spanish borrowed the Basque word 'izquierda' to mean the left direction, which is why it looks all crazy pants compared to derecha, which is derived from the Latin dexter.
-The second borrowing from Basque comes from the dubious delegation of distinguishing the right hand from the left. On Earth, 11% of population is consistently left-handed. In order to avoid implying that left-handers are evil (but you know they think it anyway), the word zurda was added to Spanish to describe southpaws. I love that word. It makes me want to lead a revolution with that as my nom de guerre. ¡VIVA ZURDA! Like that.

There you have it, a lovely little conquest, reconquest, boat trip and movie-going experience of the Spanish language.

#12 2011

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Elsewhere on the Internet: Secret Word Game!


Every Wednesday morning starting around 9:30am, @Wordnik gives out clues for a secret word on that has a pronounciation by "hap_e_wordnik" (see screen shot below). They give out 3 or 4 clues, each of which describes a different definition that the uncommon or obsolete word has. As soon as someone gets the right word, the game ends. If no one gets it by the end of the clues, they give a *BONUS CLUE* which usually has quotations around letters, meaning the word is an anagram of those letters.

Today's bonus clue included the quoted letters "new lid" which I anagrammed into the correct answer! I've been able to do the final sudden-death anagram part before, but always sent my response after one or more people had already figured it out. This week, I was the first! I won! YAYYYYYYYYYYYYY!

They will be mailing a prize to me which was previously secret and unknown to me, but now I will reveal it! (I hope that's okay)

It's a notebook with and other words on the cover! It's so cute. It's going to be so cute I won't feel worthy to put my little lists in it, but I will do it anyway.

Thanks, Wordnik! I feel so nifty now. <3

Monday, March 14, 2011

#11 2011

Spelling Bee: Cupcakes on Pi Day

1. marzipan
2. quorum
3. hierarchy
4. farrago (I spelled it wrong)

My Favorite Video Games to Play

Fennel's Figure Math (CD-ROM)
The Neverhood (CD-ROM)
The Lost Mind of Dr. Brain (CD-ROM)
The Time Warp of Dr. Brain (CD-ROM)
Secret of Monkey Island series (CD-ROM)
You Don't Know Jack series (CD-ROM)
MarioKart (N64)
Super Smash Bros (N64)
Pokemon Snap (N64)
Pokemon Stadium Kids Games (N64)
Twisted Metal series (PlayStation)
Tony Hawk Pro Skater (PlayStation)
Maelstrom (OS)
Roll'em (OS)
Barrack (OS)
Peggle (OSX)
Snood (OSX)
Super Smash Bros Melee (Gamecube)
Mario Party 5 (Gamecube)
Portal (Steam)
Sam and Max episodes (Steam)
Nelson Tethers: Puzzle Agent (Steam)
Katamari Damacy series (PS2)
Elebits (Wii)
Raving Rabbids series (Wii)
SuperMario Galaxy series (Wii)
LittleBig Planet (PS3)
Lego Harry Potter (XBox 360)
Pinball FX 2 (XBox360)
Words with Friends (iToca)
Flood It 2 (iToca)
Cut the Rope (iToca)
JetBall (iToca)
QRANK (iToca)
Fruit Ninja (iToca)
Touch Detective series (DS)
Professor Layton series (DS)
Phoenix Wright series (DS)

Short List: Favorite Public Art

1. Cupid's Span by Claes Oldenburg & Coosje van Bruggen. San Francisco, CA.

2. Stravinsky Fountain by Jean Tingueley & Niki de Saint Phalle. Paris, France.

3. "Defenestration" by Brian Goggin. San Francisco, CA.

4. Book Burning Monument by Micha Ullman. Berlin, Germany.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Short List: Coughing Songs

1. Punches - World Leader Pretend

2. Cough Drops - Terry Scott Taylor (Neverhood soundtrack)

3. Skat Radio - Terry Scott Taylor (Neverhood soundtrack)

4. Let Me Clear My Throat - DJ Kool

5. We Trying To Stay Alive - Wyclef Jean

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Someday Bee: March

1. surreal
2. boomslang
3. pibroch

I had a lot of banter with excellent host Adam about my name. They give you a free beer, which I didn't take. Host: "But Bri is an anagram of Beer!" Me: "Not the way I spell it, it's just B-R-I." Host: "Bri is an anagram of... IRB!" Someone else "Rib."

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Spelling Bee: Best Table Ever

1. Haiti
2. repertoire
3. edelweiss
4. endophthalmitis
5. xebec

Robert, Leila, Andy and I sat eating pizza before the bee, and Andy, Leila and I tied for 3rd, knowlingly leaving the stage at the same time when the other two spellers got their words right. Ah well, it was a good exit.