Back to previous post: Open thread 39

Go to Making Light's front page.

Forward to next post: Spring

Subscribe (via RSS) to this post's comment thread. (What does this mean? Here's a quick introduction.)

April 14, 2005

A seedweight of strong old speech
Posted by Teresa at 01:49 PM * 51 comments

Greer Gilman has written a lovely piece, Inscape and Outlandishness, which starts with some quotations:

“-er (an ending). It means outeked in size or time:—Chatter, to chat much; clamber, to climb much; wander, to wind about.” “-sh (an ending). It means quickness and smartness; as, clang, clash; crack, crash; fly, flash; go, gush; hack, hash.” (…)
Who is this madman? you ask. And what is this stuff? William Barnes’s An Outline of English Speech-Craft (1878), his grammar for the common folk, written “towards the upholding of our own strong old Anglo-Saxon speech, and the ready teaching of it to purely English minds by their own tongue.” And English, he upheld, should be of good English roots, without outlandish borrowings. “So the forlessening names, leveret for a hareling, and cygnet for a swanling, are unwontsome, as being words of another speech.” What the sturdy Saxon peasantry made of his grammar is a riddle.
A bit more on William Barnes.

Finally, I have an explanation for Poul Anderson’s Uncleftish Beholdings.

Comments on A seedweight of strong old speech:
#1 ::: Kevin Marks ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2005, 03:05 PM:

There's a splendid word book called "I always look up the word egregious" that has one section on Latin/Greek/Anglo-Saxon where you have to fill in the equivalent words with the other roots, eg:
Anglo-saxon: thralldom
Latin: serfdom
Greek: helotry

#2 ::: Lawrence Watt-Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2005, 03:47 PM:

Ever hear of a book called Lotos Leaves, published in the late 19th century? (My copy says 1875, I've seen it listed as "1st edition 1875," but the copyright notice says it was registered in 1874 and I've also seen an ad offering an 1872 edition for sale, though that may have been a typo.) It's a collection of very assorted writings by the members of the Lotos Club, a literary society that included Samuel Clemens, Wilkie Collins, Alfred Tennyson, etc.

And one piece in the book, "A Fragmentary Hint on a Fault of the English Language," by Champion Bissell, argues that English is a second-rate language because it's adulterated its strong Anglo-Saxon root vocabulary with all this namby-pamby Greek and Latin. Bissell thinks English would have been better off taking Latin grammar and not vocabulary, so that those good Saxon roots could be inflected and compounded to produce an efficient and subtle expression.

I'd already noticed the similarity to "Uncleftish Beholding." I wonder whether this was a fad of the time, one that Barnes pursued -- Bissell doesn't seem to be claiming any originality in his argument.

(Incidentally, Clemens' piece in Lotos Leaves is absolutely the worst Mark Twain I've ever read. Even Jove nods.)

#3 ::: Lawrence Watt-Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2005, 03:51 PM:

And having followed the link, I now see that yes, it was a fad. Interesting.

#4 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2005, 04:13 PM:

Now, I remember the Poul Anderson piece as being titled "Uncleftish Truethinking". Perhaps that was a different version.

I think there's a lot to be said for simplified, highly-ordered dialects; they can be much more direct and, er, "thinker friendly" than the vast chaos which is English (and I wonder if this point also applies to Chinese.)

#5 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2005, 04:18 PM:

Not a new fad, however. Layamon's Brut (a story of Arthur and other kings) was written in the early 13th c. and deliberately used words of Anglo-Saxon derivation, scorning those of French, Latin, or Greek origin.

#6 ::: Dena Shunra ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2005, 04:57 PM:

Advocating for only a subset of English feels like advocating for only a limited color-depth: you get cartoons and perhaps more control, but your palette is so much more limited.

One of the great charms of English is its inability and unwillingness to creat a central artbiter of correctes, such as those hampering the development of French, Spanish and Hebrew.

The Hebrew one (with which I am professionally familiar, since that's the language I translate from and into) votes on the best word to describe those concepts that were not mentioned in the Old Testament (trains, computers, legal concepts beyond those discussed about 2000 years ago) and accepts the ones that have the lowest common denominator.

People - you know, regular people, the ones who write in the newspapers and talk to each other and such - ignore those words blithely and speak *real* Hebrew.

I think that a top-down, centralized mode of linguistic insistence is as foolish (and unsustainable) as a top-down centralized mode of government.

#7 ::: Andrew Gray ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2005, 05:25 PM:

Lawrence: for what it's worth, COPAC has six entries for Lotos Leaves, all 1875 printings; three in Boston and three in London.

The interesting thing is how little we understand what some of those Anglo-Saxon roots meant. I've just finished reading an old essay on pre-Conquest England; it devoted literally dozens of pages to trying to understand what a burh actually was, in a strict legal sense. I wonder if this was one of the things that made the fad so tempting; you could imprint a lot of your own assumptions on the language.

#8 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2005, 05:26 PM:

Don't worry, Dena. I can imagine someone trying to ride herd on the English language, but I can't imagine them succeeding.

#9 ::: Eric Sadoyama ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2005, 05:36 PM:

The Japanese language uses two different syllabary scripts of about 50 characters each, thousands of imported Chinese characters, and these days the Roman alphabet too. You often can't tell how to pronounce a word just by seeing it in writing, although you can usually guess its meaning. People complain about this all the time, and the Japanese media regularly bemoans the dumbing-down of the language among young people. However, on the other hand I have heard it argued that the complexity of written Japanese is a strength for writers, as you have access to a wide spectrum of nuances of meaning, much as modern English offers.

#10 ::: Aconite ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2005, 05:39 PM:

Randolph Fritz: I think there's a lot to be said for simplified, highly-ordered dialects

Yes, if you believe efficiency a greater virtue in language than elegance and charm. *g*

One of my Latin professors pointed out there were excellent reasons Latin was not the language of diplomacy: It was too blunt, and its relatively limited vocabulary meant too many of its words could mean too many different things.

#11 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2005, 05:51 PM:

Randolph Fritz:

"I think there's a lot to be said for simplified, highly-ordered dialects" -- that's what Mathematics and computer languages are for.

"rather than the vast chaos which is English" -- that's exactly the power of English: it is a vast chaotic language which thereby matches the vast chaos of human beings in a vast chaotic cosmos.

#12 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2005, 06:08 PM:

I remember reading Poul's essay as "Uncleavish Truethinking," but I'm pretty sure he revised it at some point, (As an observation more guess than gnosis, a subtle difference between "cleave" and "cleft" may be involved in that particular word being modified.)

Now warfare be bitter, but cheese it, we're Danish,
And big damn poleaxes will make for tough sledding;
Our rifles be blue-bored, our big stuff uncleftish,
A paddehat cloud will grow over your stedding.

#13 ::: Jimcat Kasprzak ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2005, 06:42 PM:

Some Anglish also showed up in Sprague deCamp's "The Wheels of If" and Harry Turtledove's sequel "The Pugnacious Peacemaker". The original was written in the 1940s and the sequel was set in the same era, so we got to see such words as "pipe" for gun, "folkwain" for passenger car, and "wirecaller" for telephone.

I'd always wanted to see a sequel set a few decades later that dealt with "reckoners" (computers) and "worldroomsailors" (astronauts).

#14 ::: Lois Fundis ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2005, 07:49 PM:

I can imagine someone trying to ride herd on the English language, but I can't imagine them succeeding.

Eight score and seventeen years ago today, Noah Webster brought tried to do just that: American Dictionary of the English Language, published April 14, 1828. He had considerable success, too, at least where he intended it to be successful, which is why Americans spell some words differently from other English-speaking folk.

#15 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2005, 08:02 PM:

Folks, I wrote "dialects"; I didn't say chop the whole language to fit! I think the idea of inventing a dialect and actually using it has some real value. After all, it worked for old JRR...

"Uncleavish Truethinking", yes, that's right--when I was writing my note, I remember rejecting the alternate wording. The web to the rescue: "Uncleavish Truethinking, Amra 1963. (Revisione in Uncleftish Beholding, Analog 1989.)"

And Dena, you'll find plenty of artists to speak for monochrome drawings.

#16 ::: Dena Shunra ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2005, 08:27 PM:

Fritz, artists who choose monochrome do exactly that - choose. To complete an analogy with the Anglo-Saxon-only position, you'd have to have an artist who paints only in monochrome and insists that everyone else do the same.

And Lois, Webster standardized a piece of English. But it keeps growing, evolving, changing, and slipping out of the grasp of lexicographers. English is a lively weasel of a language - and that constant change ensures the lexicographers' employment forever. Who's riding whom?

#17 ::: Janice in GA ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2005, 08:37 PM:

I think "unwontsome" is a lovely word. It just says so much.

#18 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2005, 09:07 PM:

Oh, I see, Dena. No, I was thinking that, if one, instead of claiming this particular dialect was The One True English, treated it as a valuable thing in itself, one would have something worthwhile.

#19 ::: Dena Shunra ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2005, 09:10 PM:

Ah, then we're in agreement.

It is a thing of beauty and value, indeed.

#20 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2005, 11:14 PM:

And then there's the One True English Thing (not to be confused with a Skraeling Althing, or just any old Thing) treated as part of the genetic purity of the speaker, which is one of those Things that can't possibly make any sense even by the usual philosophies of racism, but like the similar Things is perennially popular anyway. And by no means confined to Northern European languages or germ plasm.

#21 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2005, 11:47 PM:

John, I still remember how stunned I was (many years ago), to encounter a caucasian woman with a black accent; she'd grown up in a black neighborhood, of course. The intuition that appearance is related to all kinds of other attributes is a powerful and unreliable thing. I wonder, though, if there might be sounds that actually would be easier for some genetic groups to produce--things that would fit particular forms of mouth, vocal chords, and so on. Be a really interesting question, if one could get past the racism.

#22 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2005, 11:56 PM:

Ahh, but is the One True English Thing the thing your aunt gave you that you don't know what it is?

#23 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2005, 01:33 AM:

Dena, are you aware that artists often choose to work with limited palettes? Like this, done in just three paints: yellow ochre, burnt sienna, and ultramarine blue.

#24 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2005, 01:37 AM:

I could've sworn it was this thread where I saw a link to Mad Ape Den. If not, it probably belongs here.

#25 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2005, 04:14 AM:

Avram, I think you meant this link.

#26 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2005, 08:21 AM:

I think what's so delightful about them is that they are living root-words. They're like raw poetry.

#27 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2005, 09:22 AM:

<jumps up & down excitedly> Miss! Miss! Percy Grainger, Miss! <lands awkwardly, twisting ankle; limps off>

#28 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2005, 09:49 AM:

Avram, after that you have to click to "primary triad" to see the astonishing paintings. Or at least to see some astonishing paintings; maybe you meant some other ones.

Aconite: "One of my Latin professors pointed out there were excellent reasons Latin was not the language of diplomacy: It was too blunt, and its relatively limited vocabulary meant too many of its words could mean too many different things." I would have thought, based on things my old linguistics teacher said, among others, that a language in which a few words do duty for many meanings allows for more ambiguity and subtlety than one in which so many words exist for a concept that you can pick a very precise and unmistakeable one for what you mean.

But that's just based on the axis of how many words are in a language. Short as your comment was, I don't really know what exactly is meant by the bluntness of Latin, for instance.

#29 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2005, 09:51 AM:

...I mean "an" astonishing painting. For some reason, I was thinking if I scrolled down I'd see more. This wasn't the case. Duh, ass-you-me, and all that.

#30 ::: David Moles ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2005, 11:16 AM:

Something about that Barnes article makes me wonder if it was translated from Norwegian.

#31 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2005, 02:10 PM:

Arg, fucking frames.

#32 ::: Jon Sobel ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2005, 02:38 PM:

The issue of when to use Anglo-Saxon vs. Latinate words is critical in writing song lyrics (and English poetry, of course). Lyrics on common topics like love (or angst) tend to be almost entirely Anglo-Saxon. I don't think there's a single Latinate word in "Nowhere Man," and I believe there's only one in "Blackbird," to name a couple. Too many Latinate words tends to make a lyric seem intellectual, although contrasting them with Anglo-Saxon words can contribute to humor, as in John Hiatt's "Perfectly Good Guitar":

Oh it breaks my heart to see those stars
Smashing a perfectly good guitar
I don’t know who they think they are
Smashing a perfectly good guitar

"Guitar" aside (the subject of the verse doesn't count), "perfectly" is the only Latinate word. The cliched phrase "perfectly good" itself is a Latin-Anglo construct that uses a "sophisticated" sort of word to shade the meaning of a blunt one.

#33 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2005, 03:01 PM:

Whenn Macbeth is alone, he says

"What hands are here? Ha! they pluck out mine eyes. Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood clean from my hand? No: this my hand will rather the multitudinous seas incarnadine, making the green one red." [2:2 L62-66].

The literary effect, in the midst of the superb visualization of the reification of guilt, is in the shocking transition from the polysyllabic Latinate "multitudinous" and "incarnadine" to the blunt Saxon "making the green one red."

Contrast knob turned high, in the hands of a Master.

Again, that's the power of English. In chaos, to be drawn into attractors, to cross sharp boundaries unexpectedly.

#34 ::: Laura Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2005, 04:07 PM:

Oxygen is sour?

#35 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2005, 04:23 PM:

Laura Roberts:

Sauerstoff (Oxygenium; von griech. oxýs = scharf, spitz, sauer und griech. genese = erzeugen) ist ein chemisches Element im Periodensystem der Elemente mit dem Symbol O und der Ordnungszahl 8. Atomarer Sauerstoff, das heißt Sauerstoff in Form freier, einzelner Sauerstoffatome, kommt in der Natur nicht vor.

You know, it's in acids, like Nitric and Sulfuric, that taste sour... But not, to be sure, in HCl.

#36 ::: Aconite ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2005, 04:32 PM:

Kip W: I would have thought, based on things my old linguistics teacher said, among others, that a language in which a few words do duty for many meanings allows for more ambiguity and subtlety than one in which so many words exist for a concept that you can pick a very precise and unmistakeable one for what you mean.

N.B. I Am Not A Linguist. Nor A Diplomat. I can only tell you what I believe he meant, based on my (limited) experience with diplomatic language. In addition to the times when you want to be a little vague, there are times when it is very important to have all parties pinned down as to the exact nature of an agreement, or to convey a piece of information exactly and without ambiguity. You do not want a trade agreement allowing the importation of one million head scarves to result in the mass influx of grandmothers for sale.*

*Not actually an example from Latin, and the Russian words are pronounced differently, but you get the idea. I said I wasn't a linguist.

#37 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2005, 05:41 PM:

Jimcat, why not just starsailors?

Lois, IIRC, aren't some American spellings the result of keeping earlier spellings while the British were fiddling with theirs?

Mike, it makes me feel slightly oxymoronified to have "purity" and "English" occur in the same sentence.

Avram, I'm not surprised by what that guy can do with yellow ochre, burnt sienna, and ultramarine blue (btw). Some years back I picked up a book of recipes for getting certain effects in painting: nacreous seashells, polished pewter, various textile surfaces, all that sort of thing. What struck me, reading through it, was that what we see as "color" is what remains after you subtract the ochre and gray underpainting.

Epacris: Percy Grainger, aye. I'm a little suspicious of that "blue-eyed" business, but he was moved by the same impulse.

David, it may have been translated from Norwegian, but I know that thinking about William Barnes' theories will alter my languge for a little while. He's not as catching as Jane Austen or Samuel Johnson, but there's a definite transference.

JVP, Shakespeare does that a lot: uses a seventy-five-cent word, then immediately gives a much simpler equivalent. Not that that explains everything that's going on in that passage; the phrase "will rather the multitudinous seas incarnadine" stretches out to take up a lot of mental space (especially with "incarnadine" acting as the verb), so that "green one red" hits with the force of three splotches of colored ink falling from a great height into a bowl of milk.

Aconite, would that be the combination of a small vocabulary with inadequately redundant grammar?

#38 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2005, 06:35 PM:

Laura/JvP: IIRC, it was believed during the earlier days of chemistry that acids all contained oxygen. (Possibly because there are many common substances -- sulfur, phosphorus, carbon -- that make an acid when burned (combined with oxygen) and dissolved in water?). dictionary.com tells me that "oxy" means "sharp, sour", so the belief was not just in Germanic areas. The understanding that acids gave up protons (H+) came later; even later was the Lewis definition involving electrons.

#39 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2005, 08:29 PM:

Teresa:

Of course, "Shakespeare does that a lot: uses a seventy-five-cent word, then immediately gives a much simpler equivalent" is the conversion from shillings to euros to cents, right?

WHAT'S A GUINEA? Money and Coinage in Victorian Britain.

"If you are under the age of 35 or didn't live in the United Kingdom or one of the Commonwealth countries which shared its strange currency before 1971, then you need this page...."

"... In the early 1850s, before he worked for Dickens, Wilkie Collins was paid five-eighths of a guinea a page for his work in Bentley's Miscellany. That odd amount was worked out from the rate of ten guineas for a printed sheet of sixteen pages. Per word, both amounts were similar...."

#40 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2005, 04:35 AM:

I don't think there's a single Latinate word in "Nowhere Man,"

"Nowhere Man, the world is at your command."

#41 ::: language hat ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2005, 02:19 PM:

I just want to put in a plug for Travels in Arabia Deserta, by Charles M. Doughty, which I was glad to see Gilman mention; its stern but lush prose style is an acquired taste, but once you acquire it you can get sucked in for weeks (which is a good thing, because it takes weeks to read). There's a brief sample available here:

"The Derb el-Haj is no made road, but here a multitude of cattle-paths beaten hollow by the camels' tread, in the marching thus once in the year, of so many generations of the motley pilgrimage over this waste. Such many equal paths lying together one of the ancient Arabian poets has compared to the bars of the rayed Arabic mantle. Commonly a shot is heard near mid-day, the signal to halt; we have then a short resting-while, but the beasts are not unloaded and remain standing. Men alight and the more devout bow down their faces to say the canonical prayer towards Mecca. Our halt is twenty minutes; some days it is less or even omitted, as the Pasha has deemed expedient, and in easy marches may be lengthened to forty minutes. 'The Pasha (say the caravaners) is our Sooltan'..."

#42 ::: Aconite ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2005, 04:22 PM:

Teresa: Aconite, would that be the combination of a small vocabulary with inadequately redundant grammar?

Very possibly. More went over my head in that class than I realized, it seems. And I Am Most Definitely Not A Linguist.

#43 ::: James ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2005, 08:38 PM:

The third (or fourth, depending on how you count it) word of Nowhere Man is Latinate: "real" is derived from res.

#44 ::: Stephan Zielinski ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2005, 09:50 PM:

Going back to top-down language reform and the like: there's actually a good reason the French, historically, have seen the need for such a thing. One major problem with the French Revolution was dialect variations within France were massive enough to hinder a sense of nation, and even mere communication. Hence, post-Revolution France set out to make sure things never got that bad again-- one people, one state, one language. (It doesn't help that the region in question has more than one mutually incomprehensible tongue. Breton and Alsatian aren't even Romance languages.) In particular, note that Napoleon was the one who actually revived the old Académie française in the form of the Institut de France-- we're talking about a guy who was REALLY INTO centralization of power and authority.

Hence, well publicized things like the flap over "Le Big Mac" totally missed the point. The issue wasn't that American culture was appearing in France-- it was the worry that there would be a linguistic split on class lines and/or urban/rural lines. One solution would be to find an equvalent that (A) was obviously French, and (B) could be contemplated by any French speaker such that the original meaning-- "specific brand of fried ground beef sandwich"-- could be inferred. Unfortunately, that's a lot of meaning to be conveyed, so all the proposals sounded massively overblown and pretentious (even to the French,) and actual people were already using "Le Big Mac," so they gave up.

(Nota bene: whether top-down language control is a good idea, or even possible, is a separate question. I, personally, advocate fixing the English language to a 1988 standard. The goal, of course, is to make sure all the slang I use will be considered Proper English, while the slang the kids are using today that I find opaque will be punished with public horsewhippings. Bling THAT up your schizzles, punks.)

#45 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2005, 12:31 AM:

Nailing the common tongue would indeed be a gay occupation.

#46 ::: language hat ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2005, 07:58 AM:

there's actually a good reason the French, historically, have seen the need for such a thing

For "the French" read "the French government." And yes, I know most people buy into the equation of themselves with their government; it's the tragedy of humanity.

#47 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2005, 01:38 PM:

Beatles songs from what someone dubbed their early "Pronoun Era" tend to use the fewest Latinate (or even polysyllabic) words. The best example is probably "Love Me Do" -- minimal lyrics, but ah that medievalesque harmony and haunting harmonica solo! (And now I'm really showing my age....)

#48 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2005, 03:39 PM:

Reflecting on language hat's comment we can soon expect the US government, with its fixation on making the world safe for heiresses, to declare an official US English based on the speech and usage of Paris Hilton.

#49 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2005, 10:56 AM:

Larry: But Paris would have to change her first name to Dallas.

#50 ::: Owlmirror ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2005, 03:25 PM:

IRC, it was believed during the earlier days of chemistry that acids all contained oxygen.


The early days, of course, means back when nearly everyone thought phlogiston was a real substance.

"Oxygen" (and its German translation "Sauerstoff") is simply the linguistic continuation of an early scientific mistake.

There's an interesting page on early alchemical names for substances here:

http://zompist.com/chemical.htm

He mentions that one suggested name for oxygen was "fire air", since it is of course necessary for combustion. In Ander-Saxon, I think "Burnstuff" would have been an appropriate name, but I assume Anderson had his reasons for going with translations of the German terms.

"Hydrogen" might just as easily be called "Protonium"; in Ander-Saxon, "Firstbitstuff".

#51 ::: Lexica sees a dead link in the post ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2009, 10:26 PM:

Just found that the link to "More on William Barnes" no longer works. The Wayback Machine archive is here.

(It's so nice to be reminded of a topic and instead of thinking "I know I read something about that somewhere... blast it, where was that?" it's a matter of "Making Light. Must've been." And indeed, it was. Heh.)

Welcome to Making Light's comment section. The moderators are Avram Grumer, Jim Macdonald, Teresa & Patrick Nielsen Hayden, and Abi Sutherland. Abi is the moderator most frequently onsite. She's also the kindest. Teresa is the theoretician. Are you feeling lucky?

If you are a spammer, your fate is in the hands of Jim Macdonald, and your foot shall slide in due time.

Comments containing more than seven URLs will be held for approval. If you want to comment on a thread that's been closed, please post to the most recent "Open Thread" discussion.

You can subscribe (via RSS) to this particular comment thread. (If this option is baffling, here's a quick introduction.)

Post a comment.
(Real e-mail addresses and URLs only, please.)

HTML Tags:
<strong>Strong</strong> = Strong
<em>Emphasized</em> = Emphasized
<a href="http://www.url.com">Linked text</a> = Linked text

Spelling reference:
Tolkien. Minuscule. Gandhi. Millennium. Delany. Embarrassment. Publishers Weekly. Occurrence. Asimov. Weird. Connoisseur. Accommodate. Hierarchy. Deity. Etiquette. Pharaoh. Teresa. Its. Macdonald. Nielsen Hayden. It's. Fluorosphere. Barack. More here.















(You must preview before posting.)

Dire legal notice
Making Light copyright 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 by Patrick & Teresa Nielsen Hayden. All rights reserved.