Having been studying Welsh for a while, this video about how it informed J.R.R. Tolkien’s creation of Elvish languages for his fiction was fascinating.

The fact that he uses the word Nazgûl [~““35:51] from the Irish (nasc) and Scots Gaelic (nasg) words meaning “ring” to take a linguistic dig at Irish is notable. He was probably motivated by his political views of the time rather than celebrating (as one should) the value and diversity of all languages.

Tolkien once termed Welsh ‘the elder language of the men of Britain’; this talk explores how the sounds and grammar of Welsh captured Tolkien’s imagination and are reflected in Sindarin, one of the two major Elvish languages which he created.

Via https://podcasts.ox.ac.uk/medieval-welsh. For those interested on Tolkien, they’ve got a huge list of other scholarly content on his work: https://podcasts.ox.ac.uk/keywords/tolkien.

Orality was the original tool for thought. Western culture has forgotten this. 

I’m curious what the magnitude of order difference there is between the Twitter reaction to this book cancellation & those who actually dig back in and read Norman Mailer’s essay or James Baldwin’s reply?

Is it no longer the case that “any publicity is good publicity”?

Am I wrong in thinking that the reason they’re calling it Web3 instead of Web 3.0 for parallelism with Web 2.0 is that hashtagging it on Twitter just doesn’t work with the period in there? (i.e. #⁠Web3.0 doesn’t link properly on Twitter the way it does on my website.) And if I’m right, is this a problem that we can expect the blockchain to fix? #⁠HistoricalLinguistics

Mandrake Illustration from Herbal illustrated in Italy, ca. 1520 (LJS 46)

From this morning’s Coffee with a Codex, we ran across an illustration of a mandrake—yes! the very same plant you’ve probably heard of from the Harry Potter books and movies. Complete with a man covering his hears for fear of dying from the cries.

page 16r of a manuscript with a colored illustration of a naked man representing the roots of a plant. The man's feet are tied together and attached to a dog which is pulling the plant from the ground as nearby a man covers his ears with his hands.
page 16r of Herbal illustrated in Italy, ca. 1520 (f. 2r-53v)

In one superstition, people who pull up this root will be condemned to hell, and the mandrake root would scream and cry as it was pulled from the ground, killing anyone who heard it. Therefore, in the past, people have tied the roots to the bodies of animals and then used these animals to pull the roots from the soil.[2]
Wikipedia citing John Gerard (1597). “Herball, Generall Historie of Plants”. Claude Moore Health Sciences Library. Archived from the original on 2012-09-01.

 

Dot Porter did a more thorough tour of MS Codex 1248 today compared to our prior glimpse.

Today I learned that the phrase “run the gamut” comes from Γ ut or gamma ut, which is the lowest note of the hexachord system on the Guidonian hand and is also used to describe all the possible notes.


And for some somewhat related musical fun via John Carlos Baez:

Guillaume Dufay (1397 – 1474) is the most famous of the first generation of the Franco-Flemish school. (This first generation is also called the Burgundian School.) He is often considered a transitional figure from the medieval to the Renaissance. His isorhythmic motets illustrate that—their tonality is dissonant and dramatic compared to typical Renaissance polyphony.