Monday, 28 July 2014

A linguistic theory I'm working on

 This was me when I was actually in school. So. Yeah. 


Get ready for some extreme nerdishness. I've been thinking about this one on and off for years, and I really think I'm right. I believe I've figured out where certain nicknames come from, and it's all about word association.

The same thing happens over and over to me, regardless of where I am or with whom I am speaking. People, once they get to know me well enough, call me Novarella.

I never ever ever tell people that was my nickname when I was a small child. Ever. And none of the people who come up with it know that I go by that as my online persona either.  But they end up calling me Novarella eventually every time.

Of course first comes Super Nova, then Novocaine or Chevy Nova, and the origins of those ones are obvious. But Novarella? Why?


Having taken years of linguistics courses at university, I have the tools to think about this from a more scientific point of view than the average Joe. And I believe I've figured it out. It's actually pretty simple.

It's just because the phonemes in Novarella are similar to the phonemes in another familiar word, Mozzarella.

I know, I know, it sounds stupid, but hear me out. I have done the same thing to Tank, completely subconsciously. I call him "Tankaroo" all the time. Why that?

Because it's very very similar to the word kangaroo. 

Here's the breakdown as I see it:

This is a chart featuring the consonants of the International Phonetic Alphabet

Novarella - Mozzarella

Okay so you can see that the \n\ and the \m\ are both voiced nasals, the only difference is the place of articulation, with the \m\ being bilabial and the N being alveolar.

The o sound in both words is more or less pronounced the same way.

Then the \v\ and the \z\ are both voiced fricatives, the only difference, again is the place of articulation, with the \v\ being labiodental and the \z\ being alveolar. 

And then the "arella" is the same at the end of both of them.

I think that when a person is searching for a cute nickname for somebody, the brain scans its vocabulary for a word that is similar enough that the name will fit in nicely and have a nice ring to the ear.

Tankaroo - Kangaroo

The same thing goes with Tankaroo and Kangaroo. The \t\ and the \k\ are both voiceless stops (plosives), the only difference is, you guessed it, the place of articulation. The \t\ is an alveolar stop and the \k\ is a velar stop.

Then there's the "ang/ank". This one, as you can see on the chart is a little different from the last three examples, but sort of the same. The only difference between the \g\ and the \k\ is the voicing. They're both velar plosives, but the \g\ is voiced, the \k\ is not.

So there you have it, folks. My word-nerdery of the day.

What do you think? Am I onto something here? Can you think of any other examples like this?

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Reading in 2014 - Book 24 - My Name is Memory by Ann Brashares

Oh hey, I just found out the lady who wrote this is the author of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants! I can totally see that, looking back.

Long story short, it's a romantic take on what would happen if reincarnation was real and if some people could remember every single life they'd lived. And then if one of those people totally fell in love with someone and kept finding them in each life and trying to be with them but they didn't remember and it kind of weirded them out.

This book was good. I enjoyed the story, the writing was good, the little historical details were interesting. Buuuut I'm not totally into reading romance tales. So for me it was a 7/10. Nothing against the author, I just wasn't that into all the "I love you forever" stuff. Still, if you get a chance to read this book, I say go for it.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Friday, 25 July 2014

How many tattoos do you have? Part Six - Let It Rain, Let It Shine

Still bleeding in these photos. 

I got this on kind of a whim from my boss, mister Gerry Kramer. He had done a painting that was pretty similar to the tattoo and I just loved the banner, I had never seen one done like that, with the words showing through on the back and thought it was cool. So I asked if I could have it in a tattoo and he said yes.

I think in the original painting the banner is wrapped around an umbrella but it wouldn't fit properly into the space so we just made it a cloud, he ended up just drawing it on with a sharpie. Aaaand voila. A lot of my tattoos have very similar stories...basically I liked the picture so I got a tattoo of it. The end.

 Link up here!! 

Write your own tattoo post and add the link to this widget. All the cool kids are doing it.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

July Links 7





KellyAlycia - Sarah Von - Rookie - Danielle

Monday, 21 July 2014

Hot tunes. But seriously. My cousin is a babe.

This is my cousin Sam and she is awesome. When she was a little kid, and I mean LITTLE, she found out that meat is made of dead animals and then and there became vegetarian for life. Her parents, of course, were also cool for respecting that decision, but to me having that much conviction at that young of an age is impressive.

She has always been just a straight up nice person and has always gotten along with my gang of siblings really well. You know how sometimes your cousins are weird and you don't like family gatherings because of it? Well it's the opposite with Sam, we always look forward to hanging out with her.

Lately she's become a woman. Big time. She introduced me to Kopi Luwak, the cat-poop coffee, last year. She started wearing lipstick and hats, she formed a band and has been singing and playing guitar around Calgary. She's just ... a really cool chick. And her band's album just dropped today.

I've never heard her sing before, so let me tell you, my jaw dropped when I gave this a listen.

Anyway I know everyone online is always like "check out my friend's band" and you're like "yeah yeah whatever" and skip away into the sunset (or click away to Facebook) but really, if you're into experimental rock, pretty girl voice singing, synth sounds, guitar sounds, nice music, something you could paint to or just want to hear what Nova's cousin sounds like while singing, PLEASE go give 'er a listen for a sec. And if you like it buy it!!

I'll totally be your best friend if you buy it. I promise. Or like them on Facebook here. That'll also get you a ticket to the best friend show.

And if you literally only  have 30 seconds, my favorite track is the second one, Advent. So try that one out. Omega's super cool too. And then come back and tell me how much you loved it.

Just look at this girl, tell me you don't love her already!! 

I really honestly wish her and her band huge success, they're great people and deserve everything they get.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Books I couldn't finish for various reasons.

If you follow me on Instagram you've definitely seen some serious stacks of library books come and go lately. I don't know why I got back on borrowing physical library books, I guess just because I take so much pleasure in browsing the stacks. It's like shopping for ideas.

Anyway I've read some good and I've read some bad. Sometimes I'll just straight up judge a book by its cover. Sometimes I'll choose a book because the title sounds good or I'll remember hearing something about it somewhere, or I liked something else the author has written. It's very hit and miss.

And this post is about the misses.

Here are some books I've started and totally hated, and quit, recently:

The Burnt Out Town of Miracles by Roy Jacobsen

In nearly every summary of this book I've read it's described as "poetic", which is probably why I didn't care for it. I guess it was translated from Norwegian, which could also be part of the problem. Anyway I found it extremely slow paced and boring, and quit after only two chapters.


Death With Interruptions by Jose Saramago

This one was the biggest disappointment of the bunch, because I really liked the story. But the writing style is CRAZY. There are hardly any paragraph breaks and the punctuation is all wrong, practically nonexistant.

Here's a small excerpt so you can understand what I'm talking about. 

He could have left the matter there, which, considering the difficulties of the situation, would have been a cause for gratitude, but the well- known impulse to urge people to keep calm about everything and nothing and to remain quietly in the fold whatever happens, this tropism which, among politicians, especially if they’re in government, has become second nature, not to say automatic or mechanical, led him to conclude the conversation in the worst possible way, As minister responsible for health, I can assure everyone listening that there is absolutely no reason for alarm, If I understand you correctly, remarked the journalist in a tone that tried hard not to appear too ironic, the fact that no one is dying is, in your view, not in the least alarming, Exactly, well, those may not have been my precise words, but, yes, that, essentially, is what I said, May I remind you, minister, that people were dying even yesterday and it would never have occurred to anyone to think that alarming, Of course not, it’s normal to die, and dying only becomes alarming when deaths multiply, during a war or an epidemic, for example, When things depart from the norm, You could put it like that, yes, But in the current situation, when, apparently, no one is prepared to die, you call on us not to be alarmed, would you not agree with me, minister, that such an appeal is, at the very least, somewhat paradoxical, It was mere force of habit, and I recognize that I shouldn’t have applied the word alarm to the current situation, So what word would you use, minister, I only ask because, as the conscientious journalist I hope I am, I always try, where possible, to use the exact term. Slightly irritated by the journalist’s insistence, the minister replied abruptly, I would use not one word, but six, And what would those be, minister, Let us not foster false hopes. This would doubtless have provided a good, honest headline for the newspaper the following day, but the editor- in- chief, having consulted his managing editor, thought it inadvisable, from the business point of view as well, to throw this bucket of icy water over the prevailing mood of enthusiasm, Let’s go for the usual headline, New Year, New Life, he said.

Yeah, that was a conversation you just read. Um. No. Like I said, disappointing. I made it around halfway through this book but had to stop, I could only do like a page and a half at a time before I got frustrated. 


Irma Voth my Miriam Toews

Holy moly this was a snoozer. I liked A Complicated Kindness by Toews, plus she's a Canadian writer which means I should have just soldiered on through because of a sense of solidarity with my canuck brethren buuuut no. I couldn't. I quit after three chapters, and was just forcing myself to read that third one. Pass.  


The Orphan Master's Son by Adam Johnson

Another one I just couldn't get into. I feel like this one was also translated from another language because the cadence was choppy and the references and cultural jargon felt strange. Oh wait, I just Googled it and he's an American author. So ... what the hell, man?
Anyway there was too much action per page for me, and not enough description. I didn't care at all about any character and got lost in the "Wait, but ... why?? Where is he??? What's going on??" too many times. I quit after a couple chapters. I give it a meh out of five. 


The limit of books you can take out of the library is incredibly high and my eyes are always bigger than my reading prowess. I take out an armload when I know I realistically can only read maybe three novels in the two weeks I have before they have to be returned.
Over the past couple months I have taken out and then returned six freaking novels (Sorority Sisters by Claudia Welsh, Sacre Bleu by Christopher Moore, Frog Music by Emma Donogue, Inside by Alex Ohlin, The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer and The Uninvited Guests by Sadie Jones) completely untouched, just because I ran out of time.

I will probably try and find e-pub versions to read on my Kobo Mini. It's WAY more convenient to borrow e-copies and return them on my home computer rather than actually walking down to a library location to drop off the book...I've accrued some late fees due to sheer laziness.

Are there any books you've read recently and totally hated?
Tell me in the comments so I don't waste my time.