Homœopathic A&E

When I first watched this great sketch by Mitchell & Webb, I thought it was just a fun way to demonstrate how ludicrous homœopathy is:

However, now that David Cameron has appointed Jeremy Hunt — who believes in homœopathy — to Health Secretary for England, I’m somewhat worried that a typical England A&E will look like this soon.

I must say I’m delighted the Scottish NHS is completely separate, and that the Scottish reshuffle put a safe pair of hands in charge of the Scottish NHS.

Scandinavian language found in Tibet



Tibetan Armor
Originally uploaded by IslesPunkFan

It has just been accounced today that a Scandinavian (or North Germanic) language (i.e., a language descended from Old Norse, the language of the Vikings) has been found in Tibet.

The language, called Lünmòn by its speakers, is spoken in some remote Tibetan valleys by a tribe calling themselves the Lünp?n.

At a first glance, the language looks superficially like any other language in the region, but a large part of the vocabulary has clearly been derived from Old Norse in ways similar to the processes that created Modern Tibetan from Classical Tibetan. In particular, consonant clusters and syllable-final consonants have been simplified radically, producing tones in the process.

The phonology of Lünmòn is similar to that of modern Chinese, and it is therefore written in a notation similar to Pinyin:

Labial Alveolar Retroflex Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal m n ny ng
Plosive aspirated p t ch q k
unaspirated b d zh j g
Fricative s sh x h
Approximant r y w
Lateral voiceless hl
voiced l

Lünmòn has six vowels: a, e, i, o, u, ü.

There are four tones: Low plain (unmarked), high plain (á), low creaky (à) and high creaky (?). The high tones are generally used when the vowel in Old Norse was preceded by a voiceless consonant. For instance, chü “to break” comes from Old Norse brjóta, while ch? “joy” comes from Old Norse frygð. The creaky tones are used when the word in Old Norse was monosyllabic. For instance, singular s?o “sheep” comes from Old Norse sauð(r), so it has creaky voice, but the plural sáo comes from Old Norse sauði(r), so it has plain voice.

In general, the distinction between voiced and voiceless consonants in Old Norse is only surviving in the tones. The distinction between the plain and aspirated consonants in Lünmòn goes back to whether the consonant was preceded by another consonant. For instance, q?n “cheek” is derived from Old Norse kinn, but j?n “skin” comes from Old Norse skinn.

As an example of the language, here’s a ritual song: p? t? // ch?n tü // x?n t? sán // ya wèi yèn // son anzhi t?: // w?n tao tòn. Literally, this means: “cattle die.SG // friends die.PL // self die.SG likewise // I know.PRES one // that never die.SG // every dead judgment”, or “The cattle dies, the friends die, you yourself will also die; I know one thing that will never die: That every dead person will be judged.”

This is clearly derived from a verse from the Hávamál: Deyr fé // deyja frændr // deyr sjálfr et sama; // ek veit einn, // at aldri deyr: // dómr of dauðan hvern.

It is currently not known how a Scandinavian language could end up in Tibet, but researchers surmise that it must have been a Viking ship that got blown severely out of course, after which the survivors married local women in Tibet.

Update (2/4): As many people have spotted, this was of course an April Fool’s joke. 🙂

An English-Zarkakulli dictionary

(Update: The latest version now resides here).

After a thorough phonological analysis of the existing Zarkakulli texts, I today wrote a Perl program to restore the basic vocabulary:

all adj ganka
alternative noun kull
animal noun görn
ashes noun bif
back noun denk
bad adj wanka
bark noun zörn
belly noun wunk
big adj smöflö
bird noun barn
bite verb ban
black adj wirki
blood noun smir
blow verb döj
bone noun smank
breast noun bef
breathe verb smen
burn noun smef
child noun burn
cloud noun er
cold adj garka
come verb zun
correct adj zirki
count verb kej
cut verb smej
day noun guf
die verb win
dig verb gen
dirty adj kirki
dog noun bir
drink verb wej
dry adj zerje
dull adj gamfla
dust noun gönk
ear noun wern
earth noun gink
eat verb wan
egg noun smur
eight adj wöllö
extra adj emfle
eye noun zank
fall verb waj
far adj dullu
fat noun wöll
father noun gall
fear verb wöj
feather noun ar
few adj demfle
fight verb den
fingernail noun enk
fire noun göll
fish noun ger
five adj wörjö
float verb smin
flow verb uj
flower noun smern
fly verb dun
fog noun zill
foot noun dar
forest noun zell
four adj smörnö
freeze noun kurn
fruit noun zöf
full adj gurju
give verb bön
good adj zinki
grass noun kunk
green adj zurnu
guts noun smer
hair noun uf
hand noun warn
happiness noun smör
happy adj zarka
he pron da
head noun smörn
hear verb zön
heart noun girn
heavy adj bumflu
hit verb sman
hold verb wuj
horn noun gef
human being noun wur
hunt verb ben
husband noun smenk
I pron we
ice noun zef
kill verb an
knee noun small
know verb wun
lake noun buf
laugh verb göj
leaf noun dör
left adj smurju
leg noun öll
lie verb duj
live verb zuj
liver noun dell
long adj dimfli
louse noun gar
man (adult male) noun will
many adj kunku
meat noun ank
moon noun gunk
mother noun karn
mountain noun zirn
mouth noun dörn
name noun darn
narrow adj görkö
near adj garna
neck noun kell
new adj durku
night noun gern
nine adj wullu
nose noun ker
not neg waffli
old adj gönkö
one adj bamfla
other adj könkö
play verb kaj
pull verb wen
push verb guj
rain noun kink
red adj örjö
right adj durju
river noun ef
road noun if
root noun dönk
rope noun irn
rotten adj ginki
round adj burku
rub verb öj
salt noun wef
sand noun zarn
say verb ej
scratch verb dön
sea noun kank
see verb in
seed noun dill
seven adj gerje
sew verb dej
sharp adj dirki
short adj zemfle
sing verb aj
sit verb baj
six adj berke
skin noun bunk
sky noun wör
sleep verb gin
small adj zömflö
smell verb bin
smoke noun zer
smooth adj örkö
snake noun zur
snow noun ball
some adj anka
spit verb zin
split verb wön
squeeze verb zan
stab verb zen
stand verb gaj
star noun ern
stick noun kenk
stone noun kif
straight adj dömflö
suck verb buj
sun noun kaf
swell verb smuj
swim verb köj
tail noun dall
ten adj börjö
they pron ke
thick adj görjö
thin adj smerke
think verb zaj
three adj sminki
throw verb bej
tie verb kin
time noun dunk
tongue noun gör
tooth noun af
tree noun ill
turn verb gej
two adj smarja
vomit verb smaj
walk verb daj
warm adj darna
wash verb zöj
waste verb smöj
water noun önk
we pron
wet adj smimfli
what pron waf
white adj wumflu
who pron smunk
wide adj köflö
wife noun smuf
wind noun gir
wing noun war
wipe verb dan
with prep -an
woman noun döll
worm noun wenk
year noun birn
yellow adj garja
you (plural) pron wu
you (singular) pron wi

A Zarkakulli-English dictionary

(Update: The latest version now resides here).

After a thorough phonological analysis of the existing Zarkakulli texts, I today wrote a Perl program to restore the basic vocabulary:

-a suf (perf.part.)
af noun tooth
aj verb sing
-an suf with
an verb kill
ank noun meat
anka adj some
ar noun feather
baj verb sit
ball noun snow
bamfla adj one
ban verb bite
barn noun bird
bef noun breast
bej verb throw
ben verb hunt
berke adj six
bif noun ashes
bin verb smell
bir noun dog
birn noun year
buf noun lake
buj verb suck
bumflu adj heavy
bunk noun skin
burku adj round
burn noun child
bön verb give
börjö adj ten
da pron he
daj verb walk
dall noun tail
dan verb wipe
dar noun foot
darn noun name
darna adj warm
dej verb sew
dell noun liver
demfle adj few
den verb fight
denk noun back
dill noun seed
dimfli adj long
dirki adj sharp
duj verb lie
dullu adj far
dun verb fly
dunk noun time
durju adj right
durku adj new
döj verb blow
döll noun woman
dömflö adj straight
dön verb scratch
dönk noun root
dör noun leaf
dörn noun mouth
ef noun river
ej verb say
emfle adj extra
enk noun fingernail
er noun cloud
ern noun star
gaj verb stand
gall noun father
gamfla adj dull
ganka adj all
gar noun louse
garja adj yellow
garka adj cold
garna adj near
gef noun horn
gej verb turn
gen verb dig
ger noun fish
gerje adj seven
gern noun night
gin verb sleep
gink noun earth
ginki adj rotten
gir noun wind
girn noun heart
guf noun day
guj verb push
gunk noun moon
gurju adj full
göj verb laugh
göll noun fire
gönk noun dust
gönkö adj old
gör noun tongue
görjö adj thick
görkö adj narrow
görn noun animal
-i suf (nominative)
if noun road
ill noun tree
in verb see
irn noun rope
-ja suf (genitive)
kaf noun sun
kaj verb play
kank noun sea
karn noun mother
ke pron they
kej verb count
kell noun neck
kenk noun stick
ker noun nose
kif noun stone
kin verb tie
kink noun rain
kirki adj dirty
-ku suf (present)
kull noun alternative
kunk noun grass
kunku adj many
kurn noun freeze
pron we
köflö adj wide
köj verb swim
könkö adj other
smaj verb vomit
small noun knee
sman verb hit
smank noun bone
smarja adj two
smef noun burn
smej verb cut
smen verb breathe
smenk noun husband
smer noun guts
smerke adj thin
smern noun flower
smimfli adj wet
smin verb float
sminki adj three
smir noun blood
smunk pron who
smuf noun wife
smuj verb swell
smur noun egg
smurju adj left
smöflö adj big
smöj verb waste
smör noun happiness
smörn noun head
smörnö adj four
-u suf (accusative)
uf noun hair
uj verb flow
waf pron what
waffli neg not
waj verb fall
wan verb eat
wanka adj bad
war noun wing
warn noun hand
we pron I
wef noun salt
wej verb drink
wen verb pull
wenk noun worm
wern noun ear
wi pron you (singular)
will noun man (adult male)
win verb die
wirki adj black
wu pron you (plural)
wuj verb hold
wullu adj nine
wumflu adj white
wun verb know
wunk noun belly
wur noun human being
wöj verb fear
wöll noun fat
wöllö adj eight
wön verb split
wör noun sky
wörjö adj five
zaj verb think
zan verb squeeze
zank noun eye
zarka adj happy
zarn noun sand
zef noun ice
zell noun forest
zemfle adj short
zen verb stab
zer noun smoke
zerje adj dry
zill noun fog
zin verb spit
zinki adj good
zirki adj correct
zirn noun mountain
zuj verb live
zun verb come
zur noun snake
zurnu adj green
zöf noun fruit
zöj verb wash
zömflö adj small
zön verb hear
zörn noun bark
öj verb rub
öll noun leg
önk noun water
örjö adj red
örkö adj smooth

En analyse af zarka-kulli-sproget

(Opdatering: Den seneste version findes nu her).

I anledning af min fødselsdag i går sås flg. dialog på Facebook:

Lars Ræder Clausen: Emfle birnan smörja dunku! “Tillykke med det ekstra år!”
Simon Kristensen: Kulli waflu? “Hvad ville alternativet være?”
Thomas Widmann: Zarka gunku, zarka gunku! “Mange tak, mange tak!”

Dette sprog er også kendt fra vers 11 i sang nummer 57 i TÅGEKAMMERETs Jubilæumssangbog (PDF):

Vi kan ikke lide folk fra lingvistik. . .
Kulli waf?i zarka gunku
em?e birnan smöja dunku.

Betydningen af dette vers har længe været ukendt, men der er jo et stort overlap her. Læg dog mærke til de subtile forskelle: Lars sagde “smörja”, hvor sangen har “smöja”, og Simon sagde “waflu”, hvor sangen har “waffli”. Vi må antage, at dette ikke er slåfejl, men sprogligt signifikante forskelle.

Hvis vi antager, at sangen har flg. betydning, falder alt på plads: “Alternativet gør os ikke glade, det er tidsspilde med det ekstra år” (sangen refererer her til det ikke-indoeuropæiske propædeutiske sprog, der indtil for nylig forlængede lingvisters studium med op til et år).

Her er analysen af vores korpus:

(1)
emfle
ekstra
birn-an
år-med
smör-ja
lykke-GEN
dunk-u
tid-AKK
“Tillykke med det ekstra år.”
(2)
kull-i
alternativ-NOM
waf-lu
hvad-ville.være
“Hvad ville alternativet være?”
(3)
zarka
glad
gun-ku
gøre-PRÆS
“(Det) gør (mig) glad.” (Den normale måde at sige “tak” på.)
(4)
kull-i
alternativ-NOM
waffli
ikke
zarka
glad
gunku
gøre-PRÆS
“Alternativet gør ikke glad.”
(5)
emfle
ekstra
birn-an
år-med
smöj-a
spilde-PART
dunk-u
tid-AKK
“(De har) spildt tiden med det ekstra år.”

Gloseliste:
-a suf (danner perf. part.)
-an suf med
birn sb år
dunk sb tid
emfle adj ekstra
gun- vb at gøre
-i suf (markerer nominativ)
-ja suf af (markerer genitiv)
-ku suf (præsens)
kull sb alternativ
-lu suf ville være (copula subj.)
smöj- vb at spilde
smör sb lykke
-u suf (markerer akkusativ)
waffli adv ikke
waf interrog. pron. hvad
zarka adj glad

Vi kan nu skrive nye nyttige ting på dette smukke sprog, fx:

Smöri wafku? “Hvad er lykke?”
Zarka kullian birni “Et år med glade alternativer”
Waffli dunku smöjku! “Du spilder ikke tiden!”

(2. reviderede udgave – nu med nominativ og akkusativ.)

Animerede robotter reciterer dansk poesi

For et års tid siden legede jeg lidt med et website, Xtranormal, der lader en lave små animerede videoer med syntetisk tale.

Jeg lavede to små film, hvor robotter reciterer to danske klassikere, Smeden og Bageren og Guldhornene.

Desværre var dansk talesyntese ikke tilgængelig, så jeg brugte tysk til den første og italiensk til den sidste.

Her er først Wessels Smeden og Bageren:

Og her er Oehlenschlägers Guldhornene: