fredag 6 maj 2022

Serafrecension

Kul att folk fortfarande recenserar Serafers drömmar, så här tio år efteråt - se här!

 

 Wikander, O - Serafers drömmar - 13029900 - Norstedts

Och kommer tredje boken? Jodå, den är närapå färdigskriven, men det är en del ... administrativa komplikationer. Hoppas kunna komma med klarare besked vad det lider.

 

För fler recensionsklipp, se här!

tisdag 15 mars 2022

The Carps of March

 

Ok, in honor of the day (March 15), here’s my funny post on the Ides of March. And carps. And Swedish 90s tv. And Monty Python.

In order to understand this, we must go back to the mid-90s, a dark time before Monty Python started being reshown basically everywhere. The only channel in Sweden that showed Monty at that time was the rather fringy one called Z-TV. Z-TV bought up relatively (at the time) cheap old stuff and showed it over and over – and one such case was Monty Python. Me and dad – avowed Python fans for years – had the VHS recorder on high alert, recording every episode they broadcast (dad has the tapes to this day).
 
That is the scene. AND: there is a certain episode of Python in which (it makes sense in context!) Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar is performed – on Aldis lamps. We get to see the scene in which the Etruscan soothsayer Spurinna warns Caesar to “Beware the Ides of March” (i.e., the 15th of March).
And here lies the problem. Z-TV was a “young and hip” channel, apparently with a distinct lack in classicists. So, when creating the Swedish closed captioning for the scene, they ran into trouble. They just didn’t know what “Ides” meant. So, they apparently ran for the dictionary. 
 
And what they found was the FISH called “ide”:
 
The name of that fish, btw, is originally from Swedish (in Swedish, it is “id”). Anyway, an “ide” is part of the family called Cyprinidae, the family of carps. The good folks at Z-TV seem to have thought that “id” was a rather obscure word even in Swedish (and yes, dear reader, it most certainly is). So they threw the audience a line, and we ended up with the immortal Shakespearian quotation:
 
“AKTA DIG FÖR KARPARNA I MARS”, i.e., “BEWARE OF THE CARPS OF MARCH”.
 
So, now we know. Julius Caesar was, in fact, murdered… by a conspiracy of carp.
I recounted this story many years ago here on my blog (in Swedish), here.
 
But, yeah: carp.
 
LeuciscusIdusWindeIde56cm 21-4-2009 16-46-58.JPG 
 
(image from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ide_(fish)#/media/File:LeuciscusIdusWindeIde56cm_21-4-2009_16-46-58.JPG , by user Viridiflavus.

måndag 14 mars 2022

Go West!

 

Luwian word of the day:
 
ipatarmayan (probably meaning "westward").
 
 
 
Bild
 
Probably from the root *(h₃)ye-, which originally meant "enter" (here in reference to the sun, entering in the west) but received... a more specific (and sexual) meaning in the Indo-European branches outside Anatolian and Tocharian. This change in meaning is, btw, one of the arguments often adduced for Anatolian and Tocharian being the two earliest to leave the common IE fold (among numerous others).
 
Also, this happens to be a photo from West Road in Cambridge!
I guess that could be something like iparwaššiš ḫar(u)waš ("western road") in Cuneiform Luwian (in the nominative singular)!

söndag 13 mars 2022

Then Swänska rollspelshobbyn lefwer

 En sak som är väldigt kul för en gammal rollspelare från 80- och 90-talen är att den svenska rollspelsutgivningen under de senaste åren kommit in i ett slags tredje andning. Åter ges det ut mängder av rollspel, och hobbyn har fått kickstarter som ny finansiär, så att säga. Till och med KULT har återuppstått. Har själv just en spelgrupp som spelar den gamla klassikern Den svarta Madonnan (av Gunilla Jonsson och Michael Petersén), som nu nyutgivits i vacker engelsk utgåva, fast omstöpt till spelet Anima: Beyond Fantasy (alltså mer japanskt stuk än dystert Europa). Hur kul som helst, i alla fall. Har alltid älskat det äventyret. Mina egna fantastikböcker är starkt påverkade av min rollspelsuppväxt, om någon läsare nu skulle ha missat den saken.


Lefwe then Swänska rollspelshobbyn! Här är förresten en krönika om rollspelshobbyn jag skrev för ett antal år sedan.

onsdag 26 januari 2022

Radioaktiv

 Skall hastigt och lustigt vara med i dagens Studio Ett i radio och diskutera frågan om långttidsbevarande av språklig information kring kränbränsleavfall (vilket jag hade ett forskningsprojekt kring för några år sedan, vilket ledde till två artiklar).


I samma ämne deltar jag i podden Studio Anekdot, som kan höras här!

 

UPPDATERING: Radioinslaget ställdes in i sista stund, på grund av tal från statsministern.

fredag 10 december 2021

Cantabrigian

 Now, I've spent my first two months (and a bit) in Cambridge, as a visiting fellow at the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (with the wonderful abbreviation CRASSH). On Saturday, I return to Sweden for the Christmas break. It's been two quite intense months, and I've done a lot of writing, especially on my new monograph. Some other stuff has been going on, too:

I've published a new article in Svensk exegetisk årbok, on "L's and S's in the Land of Israel" - which can be read here.

There's been a Q & A published with yours truly on the CRASSH website on the scholarship I'm doing while here in Cambridge - see here!

I've also started doing a few readings of ancient languages on Youtube -

here's one in Old Babylonian Akkadian (with Swedish introduction) from the OB Gilgamesh. With ejectives and everything!

And here's one in Classical Hebrew, with my classicized Mizrahi-style pronunciation: Isaiah 1:1-10.

 And here's a bit of Ugaritic, Baal's cosmic message for Anat (translation in the description). 

And here's me doing an impromptu Vedic recital (with accents and stuff) at the inauguration of the Stockholm University Indo-European Languages Center in September.


Oh, and there's some Hittite, too!

 

 

And here's a beautiful picture from Wolfson College, where I'm staying:

 

Bild






lördag 23 oktober 2021

Fables and Serpents!

 Two new things with yours truly - one in English, one in Swedish! Let's start with the Swedish one - a radio essay for OBS/P1 on animal fables (including Fablernas Värld, the Indian Pañcatantra, the Hurrian Epic of Liberation and my own scholarship on Genesis 32. Listen here!

 

The English thing is a Youtube version of a lecture/presentation I held at the PIER (Proto-Indo-European Reconstruction) conference in Cambridge - funnily enough, one day before leaving for actual Cambridge, where I am now! It's a bit technical, but there may be some interesting stuff in there. The title is The Sound of Serpents and Serpent-Slayers in Indo-European and Northwest Semitic, and it's on snake monsters and heroes killing them - a topic to which I tend to return. Here, it's on borrowing of poetic phrases from early Indo-European into Semitic, and into the world of the Hebrew Bible. Watch it here!

fredag 15 oktober 2021

Undeep morphology

Just saw a book online, which shall remain nameless. It had a big argument about the Vedic word for sky, dyāvā, which is dual, and how this fact (the dual number) implied a very special type of integration or union.


Nope.


It is dual because it is normally part of a standard compound, dyāvā-pṛthivī (“heaven and earth”), which has two members (thus dual), and the dual number is kept when only one of the two is used (on this, see here:  ). So, the dual number means…. Nothing at all. Except for heaven and earth being, you know, two. It can elliptically mean "heaven and earth" (subtextually implying the second part of the compound), but there is no union, integration of other "special" meaning here.


Please stop believing normal features of ancient languages are somehow more mystical! I did a little rant on this in my latest book Ett hav i mäktig rörelse: om de semitiska språken (2019), on the subject of Hebrew. For those who can read Swedish, here it is:

 

BildBild



tisdag 29 juni 2021

No, not serious

A Twitter interaction, started by this account and carried on by yours truly :-)




And, adding to the fun (if you know a certain Swedish tongue-twister):




lördag 27 mars 2021

Old Darius

 Current events make me think of old King Darius of Persia, who famously wrote:

Adam niyaštāyam imām yauviyām katanaiy
hacā Pirāva nāma rauta
tya Mudrāyaiy danuvatiy
abiy draya tya hacā Pārsā aitiy
pasāva iyam yauviyā akaniya
avaΘā yaΘā adam niyaštāyam
utā nāva āyatā hacā Mudrāyā
tara imām yauviyām abiy Pārsam
avaΘā yaΘā mām kāma āha.

- Darius


("I ordered that this canal should be dug
from the river called "Nile"
which flows through Egypt
to the sea which goes from Persia.
And so, this canal was dug
as I had ordered,
and ships went from Egypt
through this canal to Persia,
just as my wish had been.")

Yeah. That.