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Summer Solstice, 2021

There aren't many wild flowers to look at in summer, in these parts. Mainly thorns.


Having based this blog back in territory, I'm gradually moving on from Hubzilla. After this post I will stop sending links to the public stream of my hub (which counts for nothing) as well as the public stream of Disroot (where it is cloned). I will rely on Mastodon and Twitter for blog post announcements. I will, continue to cross-post for friends, of which there are maybe half-a-dozen. I don't think there is sufficient interest in these posts to broadcast them to those who didn't sign up for them. Indeed, to follow a Hubzilla public stream demands more patience than to follow a character-limiting Twitter clone, where talk is cheap. Unfortunately, WordPress's cross-post plugin mucks up the my posts to Hubzilla - removing paragraphs and what-not; so I'm not sure whether to send just the excerpt or the whole thing. I basically want to automate the cross-posting/linking.


I spent a little while yesterday looking at online materials for learning Hindi. I don't know when I will next travel to India, and, when I do go there, it is usually to regions that are not Hindi speaking. Tamil Nadu, for example, is Tamil speaking. That's a much harder language to learn for several reasons:

  • It's a diglossic language, like Arabic, and each town has its regional dialect.
  • Its sounds are strange and difficult for Europeans to master. Even following speakers while viewing the text transliterated is hard (I tried yesterday).
  • Unlike Hindi, it has no relationdhip with European languages (except for Sanskrit loan words), meaning that every single word has to be learned, with no easy mnemonic reminders.
  • Tamil has its own unique alphabet.

Most of the above is true of other south Indian languages, like Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada, which are all related to one-another, though each has a unique alphabet. Malayalam has more Sanskrit loan words, as I understand.

If one wishes to learn at least one language of India, Hindi is the natural choice, despite the natural reluctance of southerners to adopt it. It is closely related to many other north Indian languages like Marathi, Gujarati and Bengali. Hindi is based on Sanskrit, Persian and, at a further remove, Arabic. With its origins in the Indo-European family of languages, it is a little easier for Europeans. Just as people pick up Spanish from telenovellas, one can learn a lot from the world's largest film industry. I am familiar with the alphabet (except for some of the conjuncts), having learned the rudiments of Sanskrit, and Hindi does not sound completely strange to me. In addition, I like the sound of the language. The only problem: I'm basically terrible at languages, but even the attempt to learn them seems to keep the brain young.

Links blog

The harassment of the BBC’s Nicholas Watt was all too predictable - The Guardian

Attack on Muslim man: India police charge journalists for tweets - Al Jazeera

The implications of this case go beyond those who have been accused here: the Uttar Pradesh Police is holding out a threat to those who report the voices of victims of crimes. It is attempting to create an atmosphere in which all journalists and news organisations will be dissuaded from reporting anything but the official version,” the Digipub statement said.

The Wire’s founding editor Siddharth Varadarajan told Al Jazeera the case against his portal was “an attempt to deter journalists and reporters from doing their jobs.

If you are making it a crime to report what the victim of a crime said on record about what happened to them, it means you want media to only carry what the police says or what the official version is, and that every other version, if you report, you are at risk of being prosecuted,” he said.

If such an approach is being allowed, then journalism will become impossible in India.”

Woman to stand trial in France for killing stepfather after years of abuse - The Guardian

Bacot, who had four children with her alleged abuser, will say how she was convinced Polette would kill them all and how everyone knew he was a violent sexual predator but nobody said or did anything. And she will tell how when the children went to the gendarmes – twice – to report the abuse, they were told to go away and tell their terrified mother to come in herself.

Apparently there's a book with her story called "Everyone knew".