Rough Book

random musings of just another computer nerd

Category: Linguistics

Malayalam linguistics question

This is a question in linguistics. Or something. I am hoping that the 3.5 readers of this blog will have some input regarding this.

There I was, on Wikipedia, as usual. On a slightly related tangent, let me just say that Wikipedia provides me an excellent outlet for all this useless knowledge that I have stored up in my head. I mean, there are people there who find comparative linguistics as interesting as I do. Also, where else can I use this absolute gem that I have:

Romulan Disruptor fire is characterized by a high level of residual antiprotons.

On Wikipedia, that is! All those hours of watching Star Trek: The Next Generation totally paid off! Woohoo! (+5 Nerd points. -5 Cool points). Well, anyway, onto my linguistics question. So I was checking out the Malayalam language article on Wikipedia, and noticed this:

A very few people whose Sanskrit names end in “a” are given the plural suffix “-r” rather than normal “n” because they are revered, but this is extremely inconsistent – for example, Shankaracharya becomes Shankaracharyar but Agastya becomes Agastyan.

This sentence has since been removed, because it has no citation. I know the statement to be true, since I am a native speaker of the language, but I have not been able to find any linguistic basis as to why this is so. All I know is that it is extremely inconsistent. One other example I have is Bhishma, which becomes Bishmar in Malayalam. What is even more interesting is that the -r ending on nouns is usually used to pluralize common-gendered nouns. For example, the Malayalam word manushyan (man) is manushyar (men) in the plural. The -r ending might also be a remnant from Tamil, where it is more common.

So anybody have any information (citations would be nice) regarding this?

Things I would like to do

Sometimes I wish I had time to do the many things I would like to do.

First, I would like to code a lot – no surprise there. Then, I want to do some linguistic stuff. Read up on all sorts of languages; try to make inferences as to their relationships and their derivations. I want to be able to decipher languages that have not been deciphered – like the Linear A script and the Harappan Script. Oh yeah, talking about scripts – I would even like to go on an archaeological dig to these sites (Crete, Harappa). That would be awesome. Oh hell, I wouldn’t mind just any old archaeological dig.

I want to learn Indian classical music completely. I wish I hadn’t been such a brat when I was little. My mom tried to teach it to me. I learnt a little bit, but I was never happy about learning it it. I was such a brat. I really regret it. I’ve been trying to read up on it as much as I can, and I find it very intriguing. There seems to be intricate mathematical relationships between the different scales. Compositions seem to follow certain rules. That is something I would really like to understand.

I want to come up with a way to describe dancing – and I mean stuff like the Salsa, Cha-Cha or Rhumba. Yeah, that sounds strange – but I have noticed that these dances have a strict set of rules and transitions from one step to another are clearly defined. There has to be a mathematical relationship involved!

There is so much to learn in this world and not enouch time. I know that is one thing I will always have – the urge to learn more and more…

Noun Form

Does anyone know the noun form of pathetic? If the noun form of apathetic is apathy, would the noun form of pathetic be pathy? But English is far from logical… If anybody knows, email me.

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