Book Reviews

Arrival: Film tie-in book by Ted Chiang

I have had this book in my bookcase to show that I’m not at all small-minded after hating on the Arrival movie that came out a few years ago. I carried an unpopular opinion that the alien encounter movie designed after the short novella by Ted Chiang called Stories of Your Life and Others was actually a big pile of poo. It should not have been released with a strong teaser trailer indicating a possible invasion when the actual subject matter was the use of linguistics in order to communicate with the alien species.



A Brief History of the Russian Language

“Where do you come from?” was a question I heard often during the nearly two years I spent living in Russia. “I’m from America,” I would always answer, but this reply rarely satisfied the innate “Russian curiosity” of the inquirer. “Yes,” they would say, “but where are your roots?” I would then explain that my ancestors came from various countries of Northern Europe. For most Russians, this was enough: “So you are a Northern European,” they would say knowingly, “now we can talk.”

Just as many Russians felt that they could not understand me as a person until they knew where I came from, we also cannot fully understand a language until we learn about its history and origin. I would like to examine the roots of the Russian language in order to gain a better understanding of this beautiful and complex system of communication. Much that seems confusing, arbitrary, or strange in the modern Russian language becomes clearer as we become familiar with the processes of change throughout the historical development of Russian.

In this paper I will give a brief overview of the origins of Russian as well as summarize some of the major areas of change in the history of the language. I will focus on the areas of the writing system, the phonological and phonetic systems, and historical reflexes in the modern lexicon. Although I will be able to give only a concise overview of some of the basic processes of change, I hope that this paper will offer a solid basis on which an interested reader may build in further study of Russian.


Introduction to Dutch Language


Dutch is a Germanic language spoken in the Netherlands, the northern part of Belgium (also called Flemish there) and parts of Suriname. It is the ancestor language of the Afrikaans spoken in South Africa, which is still quite similar to Dutch.

Since many Dutch and Flemish people like to practice their foreign languages it is very difficult to learn more than the basics. You will notice that even after having reached a reasonable level people continue to respond in English after having started the conversation in Dutch.


Introduction to French Language

Whether you’re going on a vacation, or just living in an area of the country with a high French speaking population, this little ‘MiniBook’ can help you to understand some things you couldn’t before and actually have small conversations with other ‘French-speakers’


English/Japanese Basic Terms Translation

Ever wanted to learn how to say daily stuff in Japan? Here are a few tips

Since only few of you are speaking and reading Japanese fluently, I thought it would be a good idea to give you some basic translation of the main Japanese terms that you may found in some of the stories on this website.
Boku ni Natta Watashi v05 ex1 p099Aaa (Aa) = General sound of agreement. Say, well, er, oh, ah
Ahou = “Moron”
Ai = “love”
Ai Shiteiru = I love you
Aisuru = “beloved”
Anata = “You”, usually used between close relationships, meaning ‘dear’
Aniki = older sibling, usually used for a brother, particularly for the older of a set of twins.
Anou = hesitation sound, basically “Ummm…”
Ano = Say, well, er
Arigato = “Thank you”
Asahi = Morning sun
Atashi = female “I”, equivalent to ‘boku’
Baka = “idiot”
Bishonen or bishounen = literally, beautiful man
Boku = male “I”, equivalent to ‘atashi’
-chan = an affectionate honorific, used on very young children, or a significant other.
Che = essentially the same level of swearing as “shit”
Ch’kushou = “God damn it”
Chotto = a little bit
Daijobu or daijoubu = “It’s/I’m alright”
Daijouba desu ka? Ah. Daijoubu = Are you Ok? Yes, I’m OK
Dai suki = I love you
Dare (Dare da) = “who”
Demo = “but”
Doitashimashite = “It was nothing”
Doushite = “why”
Doushio = “What now?” or “What do I do now?”
Ecchi = “pervert”
Egao = Smile, smiling face
Eto = Er, let me see
Ganbatte = “Good luck!” or “Do your best!”
Gi = traditional outfit for fighting.
Gomen = “I’m sorry”
Gozaimasu = Uh.. not sure about this one. It comes at the end of sentences.
Hai = “Yes”
Hanaste = “Let go!” Forceful.
Hansei = Reflection, meditation
Heika = “Your Highness”
Hentai = “pervert”, stronger than ‘ecchi’
Hidoi = Cruel, terrible
Higure = Dusk, sunset, twilight
Hime = “Princess”, usually followed by ‘san’ or ‘sama’
Hontou = “really”
Iie (Iya) = No
Irasshaimase = Welcome
Itai (Ite) = Painful (ouch)
Itsumo = Always
Iya da, dame, yamete, hanase = No, no, stop, let me go
Ji = “grandfather” or “uncle”, usually preceded by ‘o’ and followed by ‘san’
Jo=chan = something you might call a younger girl you don’t know
Kaa = “mother”, usually preceded by ‘o’ and followed by ‘san’
Kagayaku = To shine
Kawaii = “cute”
Ki = life force, internal energy
Kisama = “bastard” or You (vulgar)
Kitto = Surely
Koi = Love
Koibito = Lover, sweetheart
Kokoro = “heart”, “mind” or “soul”
Kore kara zutto itsumademo = Always and forever
Korosu = To kill
Kowai = “scary”
Kudasai = “Please”
-kun = honorific for a young boy or inferior worker
Kuso (K’so) = Shit
Kyoudai = “brother”
Mahou = “magic”
Masaka = “Impossible” or Never
Matte = “wait”, imperative form
Minna = “everyone”
Nanase = Be sensible
Nanda = What is it
Nani = “what”
Nasai = adds formality, ex. “Gomen nasai”
Ne = at the end of a sentence, “isn’t it?”. At the beginning of a sentence, a general attention=getting noise.
Nee = older sister, usually preceded by ‘o’ and followed by ‘san’
Nii = older brother, usually preceded by ‘o’ and followed by ‘san’
Ningen = “human”
Ninmu = “mission”
Ohayou (Ohayo) = “Good morning”
Oi = Hey
Ojii = “Prince”, usually followed by ‘san’ or ‘sama’
Ojou = “Queen” usually followed by ‘san’ or ‘sama’
Okaeri = Welcome home
Omae = “You”, very rough
Omae wa ore no mono da = You belong to me
Onegai = “Please”
Onna = “woman”
Oou = “King”, usually followed by ‘san’ or ‘sama’
Ore = male “I”, rough.
Oyasumi = “Good night”
Owari = “The End”
-sama = high honorific, reserved for gods, emperors, etc.
-san = general honorific, equivalent to “Mr.” or “Ms.”
-sensei = honorific used for teachers and doctors.
Saru = Singe
Shimatta = equivalent of “damn”
Soka = “Is that so?”
Sugoi = Amazing, wonderful, Cool, Excellent, etc.
Sumimasen = “Excuse me”
Tabidatsu = Depart/departure
Teme = very rude “you”
Tou = “father”, usually preceded by ‘o’ and followed by ‘san’
Tooi Yoake = Far off Dawn
Tsuki = “Moon”
Wai = “Yay!”
Wakarenai, wakarimasen = “I don’t know” or “I don’t understand”
Watashi = polite “I”, either sex
Watakushi = very polite “I”, either sex
Yamete = “Stop!” Imperative form
Yaoi = male/male relationships
Yare yare = “Well, well”
Yaro = Rascal, i.e Bakayaro
Yoroshiku = literally, “Please look favorably upon me”. Tradition when greeting someone for the first time
Yoshe or yoshi = “All right!”
Yume = Dream
Zutto = Forever