“A word bearing the acute upon the ultima is known as an oxytone, one with the acute upon the penult as a paroxytone, one with the acute upon the antepenult as a proparoxytone. One which bears the circumflex upon the ultima is called a perispomenon, one with the circumflex upon the penult is a properispomenon. These terms, though formidable, will save much laborious periphrasis.”
- A New Introduction to Greek, Chase & Phillips, 1941
Needless to say, we never did master the terms, and laborious periphrasis has been our lot ever since.
Laborious Brit. /ləˈbɔːrɪəs/, U.S. /ləˈbɔriəs/
Characterized by or involving hard work or exertion; requiring much time or effort; arduous, tiring; painstaking, tiresomely difficult. Also of a physical action: performed with great effort or difficulty; slow or deliberate; heavy.
Periphrasis Brit. /pᵻˈrɪfrəsɪs/ , U.S. /pəˈrɪfrəsəz/
Chiefly Rhetoric. A figure of speech in which a meaning is expressed by several words instead of by few or one; a roundabout way of speaking, circumlocution.
- OED Online, accessed 9/1/12
Saturday, October 13, 2012
Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Tuesday, October 2, 2012
On the subject of small pleasures, I've found vegetables. The little chain grocery markets all offer a rather pitiable selection of produce, and while there are plenty of middle eastern shops in the squares beyond the University, I wasn't previously aware of anything closer to the flat. Luckily, I dedicated part of the weekend to exploring a little more thoroughly my side of the Meadows, and found a fruit and veg market just half a block down from the Scotmid. As a result, the dinner for this week is crepes piled with sharp cheddar and sauteed peppers, zucchini, and mushrooms, with a few daubs of thai green curry sauce. International, make-it-up-as-you-go-along cuisine is the only way to live. Anyone that thinks that being a penniless university student means that you have to live off pot noodle is lazy, an idiot, an individual with time management issues, or some combination of the three.
Also, either the the recipe that Twinings uses for English Breakfast in America is different from what they sell here, or that yogurt that I had earlier has gone off to a hallucination-inducing degree, because the cup of tea that I'm drinking while I type this is almost suspiciously good.
Sunday, September 23, 2012
My groceries have been rather a sad scene. I'm on a rather strict weekly budget (one which will certainly not accommodate my newfound appreciation for chocolate hobnobs), and my food has been rather basic to start. Every time I conjure up some more complicated dish, I'm impeded by my scanty tool collection and unstocked cupboards. There simply hasn't been time to accrue the sort of thing that most people have in their kitchen, the little things - baking soda, chocolate powder, red pepper, a whisk, a potato masher. Each week I pick up something new to flesh out our sad, spacious cabinets. One of my flatmates purchased some small plastic wine glasses - 8 for a pound - for some offensively acidic novelty fruit wines that she had picked up, with the very exciting result that we now have more than mugs and coffee pots to drink out of. However, when I contemplated picking up some gin or whisky, I found the idea of drinking cocktails out of such receptacles on a regular basis a bit too pathetic to bear. My alternative, three tumblers for a pound at Poundland, wasn't precisely a classier option, but I derive some satisfaction from drinking out of an actual glass. It's a small creature comfort, like silverware that has decent heft to it.
Poundland has turned out to be overflowing with curiosities, as good dollar stores are wont to do. It has all of the usual suspects, as well as a surprising amount of food - I don't trust poundstore eggs and milk, and I don't suppose I ever will. The seasonal section included 'celebrity masks,' with one's options being either Justin Bieber or... some blonde fellow with a handlebar mustache that I don't believe I've ever seen before. It's true that my curiosity is piqued when I spot foods that I have heard mention of in British media, no matter how uninspiring they probably are to eat. I'm tempted to explore things like jaffa cakes, hobnobs, whatsits, angel delight, bovril, minstrels, etc., but I must keep in mind that neither myself nor Sainsburys are going anywhere fast. I'm sure plenty of it will be utterly disgusting, but I won't know until I try, now will I? Well, custard in a can pretty much speaks for itself, and I'm pretty dubious of the merits of beef tea, and I have it on good authority that Irn Bru is nigh undrinkable, but what is travel without a sense of inadvisable adventure?
Friday, September 14, 2012
Nicole asked me about pub quizzes, but there's not much to explain. On designated nights, some pubs hold quizzes. Sometimes they are themed (films, sports, etc.), but most of them have different rounds on different topics. People go to the pub, declare their table a team, and try to beat the other patrons of the pub at trivia. Prizes optional. It appears to be quite a popular thing around here, second only to pub crawls. I've never quite understood the appeal of these. I can think of a few motivations - you're so drunk that you keep getting kicked out of pubs, there are some pubs that are open later that you head to later in the evening, there are different events (like parties or pub quizzes) that you want to go to at different pubs, etc. - but none of these seem to justify the prevalence of this activity. The method of most of the societies appears to be, "Let's get together because we have a mutual interest in ___ - okay, now let's go drinking together." The Classics Society even throws toga parties. Perhaps slightly inadvisable in this region's climate, but go for it. I'm told by people who study such things that the only women in Ancient Rome who wore full togas were prostitutes. Observation from Wednesday night suggests that little has changed. It's not a complaint, simply an observation.
However, it does mean that the social scene is essentially the drinking scene, and drinking in pubs is awfy expensive. Probably not any more than in any other large city, but I certainly can't afford to do it four nights a week on any kind of regular basis. I can get a bit neurotic about money, but I'm trying to cut myself some slack in this first week. Just last night, for example, I had the most fun I've had on any night out here so far going on a pub crawl with the Linguistics Society. Finally, people with whom I have more in common than simply being in the same place at the same time, people who can argue language politics and policy and geek out about dialectology after five pints. We spanned a good range of levels - second years to postgrads - and we bonded over the difficulty of course choice, the stupid questions we get asked about our home countries, and the frustration we feel around people who are nearly apologetic about their desire to learn. (Unless you're studying for a trade, accounting or some such thing, you had better be damn enthusiastic to be spending this kind of money on your education. Who goes, "Oh yeah, I'll spend tens of thousands of dollars on getting a degree in psychology/sociology/whatever, but I don't really give a shit"? Madness.) Best of all, we had a wug. Rather, we had a foam costume of a wug that we all wore at one point in the night, in which it was ruddy impossible to see forwards. Something of a challenge when all of the people wearing it are a: pissed and b: wandering the town at night, searching out the next venue. If you don't know what a wug is, you wouldn't have found last night half as entertaining as I did. It's a linguistics thing. Don't worry, you're not alone. Also occurring last night was a photographic treasure hunt - groups of students had lists of things to find, and needed to take pictures of themselves with the listed objects - and evidently one of the items was "an animal," because we were approached several times by people asking, "Is that an animal? A bird or a dolphin of some kind? ... Can you take a picture of us with it?" And because we were drunk linguists, we insisted on performing the elicitation test on every single person who asked us. Pissed academics are my favorite.
Monday, September 10, 2012
Sunday, September 9, 2012
I'm currently in my flat, on the top floor of a building about a 15-minute walk from the main campus. I'm eating jam on toast, drinking tea out of a turkish coffee pot, for lack of a better vessel, and watching the new episode of The Thick of It (expect a tirade on this subject in the near future), which in the typical fashion of British television, is just nearly too awkward to watch. It is 1:30 am now, and there's much to do tomorrow, like buy a blanket for starters. The University is putting on a hell of a lot of events, frankly more than I could possibly work up the energy to attend, but I shall endeavor to socialize. I spent today meeting two of my flatmates (young ladies from Virginia and Oregon, respectively), doing a paltry grocery shop at Scotmid, and just generally getting lost in the city to learn my way around - and in doing so, tripping over a number of landmarks, including the National Library, Deacon Brodie's Tavern, and the Surgeons' Halls Museum. All places that will have to wait for another day.
Buying an alarm clock. Another chore for tomorrow.