Friday, 31 August 2012

Zarathushtra Spitaama: His Life and Works

Around this time last year, I purchased a copy of M. L. West's translations of The Hymns of Zoroaster (2010, London: I. B. Tauris).  West (no relation) is an emeritus classicist at All Souls College, and he wrote one of my favourite books on the Indo-Europeans (Indo-European Poetry and Myth, 2007, OUP), as well as some of the standard texts on the Iliad, amongst many others on classic topics.  He wrote a book on the influence of Near Eastern literature and thought on the Hellenic world, The East Face of the Helicon, and you can find his translations of Hesiod in most major bookshops.  As a result of his Indo-European work, for which he learnt several languages including Iranian ones, West developed an interest in Zoroastrianism and Zoroaster himself.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

South America: A Post

Travelling on the bus/train to and from work, I tend to spend my time reading.  This is probably the most productive portion of my reading day; I have forty minutes or so each way in which to make progress on whatever book I happen to be reading, and I tend to read about fifty or sixty pages each trip depending on the book.  I want to read at other times, sat on the sofa or maybe even in the garden, but I don't maximise usage of time as well as when I'm on the way to work.  Paradoxically, this means that I read more when I'm working than when I'm not.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

The Nature of Language and Historical Linguistics, redux

 Historical linguistics often seems to rely on the assumption that languages are not very creative, and that words are confined to particular meanings.  This isn't necessarily so, but it is nonetheless generally the case that languages are not very creative.  Here I'll try to explain a few of my thoughts on how one can reconcile the fact that words change in meaning and form with the way in which we can find out more about the past using reconstructed languages.  I discussed the same things in my post the other day, but I believe this is a better explanation of the position.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Thoughts on Language

 I apologise for not having updated with anything recently.  I have been extraordinarily busy.  I have also been unable to follow the comments on blogs I read, and so I've unfortunately left some hit-and-run comments on some of them in the spare time I've had.  Anyway, here is a post on some thoughts I've been having about meaning and language.*