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Re: [O] OT: collage of scripts

From: Thomas S. Dye
Subject: Re: [O] OT: collage of scripts
Date: Sun, 30 Oct 2011 07:48:25 -1000

Nick Dokos <address@hidden> writes:

> [I hope you'll forgive me the off-topic ruminations]
> Jambunathan K <address@hidden> wrote:
>> If you do a 
>> C-h C-\ RET tamil-itrans RET 
>> you will see a nicely aligned table which gives translation table for
>> tamil characters - (OK, Tamil is the language I speak) - which look like
>> http://debbugs.gnu.org/cgi/bugreport.cgi?msg=56;filename=temp.png;att=1;bug=9336
> Jambunathan's mention of Tamil brought to mind a picture that
> I had seen long ago and found mysterious, beautiful and fascinating.
> It is Fig. 40, p. 168, in Hofstadter's "Gödel, Escher, Bach": I looked
> for a copy on the web, but I only found the complete book.
> The picture is a collage of scripts, from the undeciphered (at least
> in 1980, the time of publication) script of Easter Island to Tamil
> to Assyrian cuneiform.
> I have no idea what each snippet says - yet there are people around
> today (and in some cases, perhaps, there *were* people some time ago,
> but no longer) who can (or could) extract meaning from each of these
> snippets. Conversely, there are scripts that I can extract meaning from,
> that other people find mysterious. I can't help the feeling that there
> is something deep going on here, I just don't know *what*!
> Nick

Hi Nick,

A book by David Bellos, Is That a Fish in Your Ear? Translation and the
Meaning of Everything, got a good review in the NYT Book Review this
week.  I'm not sure from the review if it gets to the heart of your
rumination, but the author's proposal that translation "provides for
some community an acceptable match for an utterance made in a foreign
language" made me think of your post.

All the best,
Thomas S. Dye

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