Catford has died

John Wells blogged today that the Scottish phonetician Ian Catford has died. There’s a detailed obituary here.

I never met the man, but I love his Practical Introduction to Phonetics, which is a great introduction to articulatory phonetics, teaching you how to produce all sorts of speech sounds.

All high schools should teach all their students phonetics like this – I’m sure it would improve the pronunciation of foreign languages immensely!

Dönererfinder gestorben



Shawarma
Originally uploaded by cyclone bill

Der Erfinder des Dönerkebaps, Mahmut Aygün, ist gestorben.

Er hat nicht das Dönerfleisch erfunden, nur das Fleisch mit der Joghurtsoße in eine Pita gefüllt, aber das allein ist ja auch eine hervorragende Erfindung!

Ich finde es übrigens interessant, wie der Döner verschiedene Namen in verschieden Sprachen hat: Deutsch Döner, französisch kebab (und es gilt da als griechisch, nicht türkisch), dänisch shawarma (arabisch statt türkisch).

Famous for the wrong books

I forgot to blog last week that Michael Crichton has died.

Most people probably know him for Jurassic Park, or for the older generation The Andromeda Strain.

However, his first work that made an impression on me was The First Great Train Robbery, and I consider his best book Eaters of the Dead.

His ideas got progressively worse, I’m sorry to say.

Timeline is based on a flawed understanding of the Multiverse, and Prey demonstrates a lack of understanding of basic evolutionary principles.

In spite of this, his books were always a good read.