46 Comments
Feb 18Liked by Michael Marshall Smith

oooooh, language nerdery, I am here for it!

Hopping off on your examples, German seems somewhere inbetween, because you can say I have hunger and I am hungry, but the more frequently used one is definitely the one with "have". You can have hunger and thirst in German, but you cannot have tiredness, you are tired. I won't go on now, but I will be thinking about this stuff again, thanks to your post. (native language German, working as a translator from English, a few years of French in school, and a few phrases in some other languages. I LOVE comparing how different languages do things. So thanks for that :)

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Feb 18Liked by Michael Marshall Smith

Do you know of the Whorf hypothesis? (It has nothing to do with Klingons.) It theorizes that a language's structure shapes the speaker's world view. Jack Vance based a novel on it called "The Languages of Pao".

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linguistic_relativity

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Feb 18·edited Feb 19Liked by Michael Marshall Smith

As Shania Twain might say, "So... you're Sora and you can take stock photography, take already (flawed) digitally-rendered AI amalgams of preexisting imagery, take film footage, take cartoons, take anything and everything once created by a person, take only what you are able to take (ie. take only what is available online, which is such a limited and one-dimensional resource with so much unfiltered, crude and inaccurate content as to make it irresponsible to use as a resource in the first place), take it all and cobble it together, with complementary glitches and mistakes of perspective, from a prompt given to you by someone who isn't driven by an impulse to create or communicate or care, but by someone who is easily impressed by novelty and new and shiny things, that feels secure when they interact with new and shiny things, who feels smug when they feel they are able to do something with a simple prompt that used to take years of dedication, learning, money and talent to accomplish, who feels like a god, or at the very least has a kind of blind faith that novelty equals progress and that they are part of some kind of great digital transcendence and will eventually become a god, someone who might also be addicted to dopamine hits from the use of such technology, someone who is unconsciously looking for meaning and love but is too afraid to really look for it and is therefore susceptible to the marketing of said technologies, someone who does nothing of worth with their AI-generated films or images, other than to allow them to exist within the finite databanks of the internet, allowed to feed back into the eventual outcomes of more prompts, creating an inbred gene swamp of wretched inhuman content, that, well... just don't impress me much."

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Feb 18Liked by Michael Marshall Smith

The way to improve is to keep talking. I find speaking French difficult, not because I don't have the words, but I am hard on myself and lack confidence, after relaxing somewhat the flow is surprising and a revelation to me. I so want it all to be perfect, but sometimes even though I may not always be able to say it all grammatically correctly, I make myself understood.

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Feb 19Liked by Michael Marshall Smith

Book and music recommendations, recipes, wry observations, rants...the more content I can read on Substack, the less time I spend on Twitter.

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Feb 19Liked by Michael Marshall Smith

In Irish, you say tá ocras orm, hunger is upon me, rather than I am hungry; this goes for emotions as well as physical conditions (tá athas orm, happiness is upon me, for example). I've spent years pondering how the different constructions affect one's worldview, so I thoroughly enjoyed this post!

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Feb 20Liked by Michael Marshall Smith

I still have a lot of the Italian I grew up with in our bilingual home, and Italian is very like French. (it it NOT like Spanish!) Linguistics was my Thing, and it still is, and Spoken Here is on my book wishlist.

Sora, and AI? NO. Just ugh and wtf with the uncanny valleyness. Perhaps in a few years, when the bugs are de'd. Or never.

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Feb 21Liked by Michael Marshall Smith

In Welsh we say "I am hungry for" as in

"Rwy'n newynog am reis" Try saying that after a glass or two, or even before 😂

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Feb 21Liked by Michael Marshall Smith

Interesting comparisons of languages. I love how people think differently. If you just want a refresher in French, rather than something deeper, DuoLingo may help. It's been teaching me Spanish.

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—For me it's a pleasant chat, where it's nice to meet and discuss topics in common. In my case real cultural exchange (of different cultures)…

Kind of an Exclusive Club.

Pleasant chat... except in cases when the answer requires more in-depth and careful preparation.

P.S As in the case of the strike of Hollywood actors and writers….Who better could clarify and explain the situation…..

Well… that's fine with me….

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founding
Feb 23Liked by Michael Marshall Smith

SO – WHAT?

Suddenly, in maybe just a couple of years, whenever Today Programme interviewees are asked a question, their answers always seem to begin: “So…”

I admit to a tendency to tetchiness before my coffee has fully revitalised my system but I find myself getting increasingly irritated by what strikes me as meaningless sloppiness. Today I can stand it no more. Research is required.

I heft the second volume of my trusty Compact OED onto my knee and find 40 distinct ways to use “so” as adverb or conjunction. Each way is amplified by numerous sub-categories illustrated with Old English and more recent citations ranging from the twelfth century to the present. But none suggests it as a prefix to answering a question. (Pepys figures twice in the citations, but not for his customary diary sign-off “and so to bed.”)

So (used here in the sense of OED definition II.10.a: “For that reason, on that account, accordingly, consequently, therefore”), as my heavy hard copy is the 1971 edition, I turned to the internet version of the OED. I scrolled down and down to the very end of the 40 options https://www.oed.com/dictionary/so_adv?tab=meaning_and_use&tl=true#1374364030, where I found:

"Additional sense (2022) colloquial (originally U.S.). Used to introduce a statement, explanation, etc., typically in response to a question or inferred question. So in this sense functions as a discourse marker, often used to suggest that one is explaining, summarizing, or elaborating on a topic which has been raised, but also when simply pausing to consider one's next words. For other earlier uses of so as an introductory word, cf. senses I.5c and II.10b.

- 1999 ABC News Nightline: Can we now create a machine as fast and as powerful as our own brain and if so, would it be alive? 1st scientist: So I believe that if you ever got a machine that you could talk with and have a conversation with and ask it how it felt, I think it would probably have something that I would call consciousness.

- 2021 Fair Disclosure Wire: Give us a sense of what kind of dynamics you're seeing across your businesses so far this spring. [Interviewee] So our research team is one of the best in the business, if not the best [etc.]"

It is as I suspected all along, this “so” is no more than a filler, used by politicians while working out how to answer or, more usually, to avoid answering the questioner. I suspect it’s intended to sound more portentous than “er …” but it is utterly devoid of meaning in anybody’s dictionary.

So what? you may reasonably ask.

So, I’ve got that off my chest.

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founding

And another thing: Why do the French have a masculine world (le monde) and the Germans a feminine one (die Welt), while the French moon is feminine (la lune) and the Germans have der Mond?

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Feb 24Liked by Michael Marshall Smith

Late, but since you asked. I subscribed because I like the way you write. And I like Substack because it gives me a break from my health writing and pharmacy work. I like the randomness of topics. And if I like a writer's work, almost any topic is interesting. Which posts have I liked the most? I like when you share your insight as a writer. And I especially like it when you've written on personal topics too. Sharing feelings and vulnerability often seems harder for men I know. But of course, it's all part of the human experience.

And about the frequency, I don't pay attention to how often a writer posts. There's enough forced writing out there, so I'd rather read something you want to write whenever you're inspired.

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