Rough Book

random musings of just another computer nerd

Tag: 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…

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