Monthly Archives: July 2011

John Ford

Currently reading The 50th Law, by Robert Greene, and felt this anecdote was too good not to share.

About director John Ford:

Once, when the famous producer Samuel Goldwyn visited the set, he told Ford he just wanted to watch him work (a producer’s way of spying and applying pressure). Ford didn’t say a word. The next day, however, he visited Goldwyn in his office and just sat silently in the chair by Goldwyn’s desk, glaring at him. After a while Goldwyn, exasperated, asked him what he was doing. He just wanted to watch Goldwyn work, Ford answered. Goldwyn never visited him again on the set and quickly learned to give him his space.

Orkhono-Yeniseyan: A language of ancient Asia

What led you here? A school assignment? Let me know.

Here’s an advanced puzzle straight from the Linguistics Challenege Puzzles website. My answers are in bold, my notes below the blockquote.

The following sentences are from the Orkhono-Yeniseyan language, an ancient language of Western Asia. Scrolls containing passages in this language were found between the Orkhon and Yenisey rivers.

1. Oghuling baliqigh alti. ‘Your son conquered the city.’

2. Baz oghuligh yangilti. ‘The vassal betrayed the son.’

3. Siz baliqimizin buzdingiz. ‘You all destroyed our city.’

4. Qaghanimiz oghulingin yangilti. ‘Our king betrayed your son.’

5. Oghulim barqingin buzdi. ‘My son destroyed your house.’

6. Siz qaghanigh yangiltingiz. ‘You all betrayed the king.’

7. Biz baliqigh altimiz. ‘We conquered the city.’

8. Bazim qaghanimizin yangilti . ‘My vassal betrayed our king.’

Translate the following into English:

Qaghan baliqigh alti The King conquered the city.

Men barqigh buzdim. I destroyed the house.*

Translate into the Orkhono-Yeniseyan language:

The son conquered your city. Oghul baliqingin alti.

The king betrayed the vassal. Qaghan bazigh yangilti.

Your vassal destroyed my house.Bazing barqimin buzdi.

A few notes:

As sentences 2 and 4 reveal, this is a SOV (Subject-Object-Verb) language.

Suffixes attached to the nouns indicate possession and case. Here they are:

Your -ing

My -im

Our -imiz

The suffix for our appears to be just an extension of the suffix for my.

When possessed nouns are used as a direct object, you add -in to the existing suffix. For example:

Oghuling baliqigh alti. Your son conquered the city.

Qaghanimiz oghulingin yangilti. Our king betrayed your son.

Strip away the suffixes, and let’s look at the root nouns:

Son – Oghul

King – Qaghan

House – Barq

City – Baliq

And of course, our suffix fun doesn’t end here. When used as a direct object, and with no possession, our root nouns take the suffix -igh. For example:

Qaghan baliqigh alti. The king conquered the city.

Siz qaghanigh yangiltingiz. You all betrayed the king.

Verbs are only inflected with personal pronouns. Siz is You all, and in sentence 6 the verb yangalti, to betray, becomes yangaltingiz.

-ing for you, and -iz for plural, since you all is the second person plural personal pronoun.

How about the second translation into English? Men barqigh buzdim. Well, we know that the verb is inflected with -im, and where have we seen -im before? That’s right: indicated my.

With no iz, we know it’s not plural. So, I believe Men means I, giving us the translation I destroyed the house.

Lastly, I have found no answer key for this puzzle, so I could be wrong. Have different ideas? Let me know in the comments!

New LoveLoveChina article: East Lake Pear Garden

New one up over at LoveLoveChina:

If Wuhan is a lesser known city than, say, Hangzhou, then Wuhan’s East Lake is a lesser known lake than Hangzhou’s West Lake.

That’s not to say the East Lake lacks is charm. It is a beautiful place, and somewhere among the carnival games, the haunted boat ride, and the little boats you can take on the lake for 15 an hour or that special laowai price of 70 RMB, you’ll find the personal ads section.

In Chinese, it’s called 东湖梨园 dong1 hu2 li2 yuan2, or East Lake Pear Garden.

To read the rest, just head on over to LoveLoveChina.