Sunday, September 29, 2013

Vizsla Flashback - 17 Limericks about Orthography

Back on July 11th, 2013, I accidentally typed 'Limericks' when I really meant 'Haikus'

But once it was typed I felt obligated to roll with it.

This was the result

(Side note - Writing 17 Limericks takes longer than you expect it will...)

Today, because I am totally willing to discuss the subject at the drop of a hat and because I have the vaguest of feelings like I'm supposed to be celebrating something today but have forgotten what, I hereby declare today to be that most important holiday on the Vizsla calendar -

Celebration of Orthography through Limericks day!

 It's the study of the systems by which a spoken language is represented in written form, 
me laddies and lassies!  Ta loo rah loo rah loorah!

There once was a study of writin'
into which your teeth really could bite in
It's Ortheographic
How words move like traffic
And I for one find it delightin'

Poetry's long been around
As a story form it's main renown
-you can eas'ly relate
 Keeping all your facts straight
Without writing anything down

The Egyptians, they took some papyrus
they said 'One day all folk will admire us
Our Cuneiform 
will take off like a storm
And then spread through the world like a virus!'

One day the Romans invaded
Into Britain, but found themselves jaded
The Saxons could speak
But their contracts were weak
without having writing like they did.

For the spoken to written transition
every language must take a position
if your language's just oral
you're certain to quarrel
and have no way to take a petition

I can hear what you're saying, it's true
But I feel that I'm certain to rue
Without getting it written
I'm telling you, Kitten
You'll forget it by quarter to two.

Slavic Language is wrote in cyrillic
An alphabet not quite idylic
cause when I write a 'P'
it's an 'R' that they see
And that makes me feel like quite a pillock

Our alphabet's root are phoenecian
But Cyrillic's are found to be grecian
The differences lie
to be found by and by
in the width of the Caspian Sea-shin.

(I apologize for that one.  I really do.  I'm sorry you had to read that)

Our relationship, you must agree
Can be compared linguistically
In Voiced/Voiceless despair
of our consonant pair
I'm am clearly the P to your B

(OK - you probably have to be a huge linguistics geek to appreciate that one, but trust me - It is some funny shit.  I swear)

Our system of writing is Roman
But when looked at, might make you say 'Whoa, man,
The H and the T
In no way line up to be
The 'th' sound that we use it it show, man!'

(This has bothered me for some time.)

Contracts once were recorded on clay
To be kiln dried and stored for the day
That the terms had been gleaned
then the pot could be cleaned
and then used to store Oil of Olay

(Ok - this one is in no way true.  Outside of the fact that such clay pot contracts did, in point of fact, predate the este lauder company by some three thousand years, they simply wouldn't have done such a thing.  Fun fact though - they did actually write the contract out on two clay pots and seal one inside the other, so that if there was any accusation of it being changed they could crack open the outside pot and double check it on the inner one.  Suck it, Dan Brown!)

Of all of the forms of linguistics
to have fascinated fakirs and mystics
Orthographical study
Is my favorite buddy
And I'm sorry, but that sounded too sad to even continue on with a last line, even if I had come up with a second rhyme for 'Linguistics'

There once was a scribe from Nantucket...

uhm... never mind that one...

To write was once just for the priesthood
It allowed them to document feasts good (ouch... sorry about that...)
Now we're all out of joint
But there once was a point
when our high school graduates at least could.

(Note: I didn't say they were 17 good Limericks about Orthography.)

Fricative, labial, or glottal
They could all drive a man to the bottle
But at least I can say
at the end of the day
that I totally got away with a legitimate use of the term 'labial' a few lines ago.  

Boom.  That just happened.

Though it might make you say 'la di dah'
I've a keyboard fact stuck in my craw
I could sit here all day
but would still have no way
to correctly type in a nice Schwa

(it's the the upside down 'e' thing.  It's derived from a Hebrew notation and refers to the vowel sound you make when you just don't care anymore.)

Orthographic variations are neat
Modern language is, with them, replete
there's still much more to show
but my British fans know
that this limerick list is compleat.

(And today we learned that 17 limericks is too many to try to write on any particular topic.)

Tomorrow, one hopes, sanity returns.

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