The TARDIS – Universal Translator Extraordinaire


The amazing thing about the TARDIS isn’t the fact that it can move between spaces, and times and space-time. No, it really isn’t, because things like that pop up in almost every classic sci-fi from the 60’s forward. It isn’t the fact that there’s bigger-on-the-inside technology. Pokémon fans can argue that they’ve been exposed to that concept for years. Well, the older, more physics inclined fans can anyway. Maybe.

Nope. What I find most amazing is that no matter what year or planet or country or region or family you’re from, the TARDIS has a built in neural transmitter that automatically gives you literal universal language interpretation and translation.

So, as a perpetual language student and the fact that linguistics seem to stick itself in in every facet of my life, I often wonder Does this universal translator work for Sign Languages?

Does the translator work on signed languages? Can it make unrelated sign languages mutually understandable even for a short period of time? Does it make older versions of a particular sign language understandable to newer versions of that language? Is it possible for a deaf person and a hearing person to communicate just by using their own native languages – can I as a speaker of Trinidad Standard English/Trinidad English Creole communicate with a non-verbal user of TTSL? And does it work with pidgins- signed or spoken? I imagine it works with different dialects as well, and I’ll need proof of that as well. Ooh so much to know, so many questions that spin off!

I think that’s what my first question will be – Does this universal translator work for Sign Languages? And I know when and where my first moment of awestruck wonder and excitement will hit – Managua, Nicaragua, at the exact moment when Idioma de Signos de Nicaragua  (ISN/NSL) was first developed. Of course after I get these questions answered, I’ll be wheedling the Doctor to take off the controls on the translator so I can see it in action too.

Another interesting question – the Doctor claims to be able to communicate in every language, everywhere, and everywhen. But does he sign, though? I mean, if he could speak Horse (blugghhhhhh) he surely could sign, right?

– K. ~




Baby Sign Language- What’s the Deal?

being frankenfield

When I was pregnant with Ian, I did a lot of reading about baby sign language.  I had friends who had done sign language with their kids and swore that it was an extremely useful tool for aiding in communication.  It made sense to me- babies and young toddlers can’t talk, but they still have needs to be met.  If you don’t have to guess at their needs, the frustration level all around should go down.  Makes sense in theory, but does it really work?

The short answer… yes.

So you might be wondering- how?!  How do I go about teaching this little baby (who can barely sit upright) how to sign?  And is it worth it?

I’ll start with answering the “is it worth it?” question.  Yes, yes, a thousand times yes!  I won’t say that our ability to communicate with sign language eliminated all of our melt downs…

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A history of Hebrew, told one word at a time

If it’s one thing I like, it’s languages – learning histories of languages I already know, elements of languages I don’t, their histories, their etymologies, whatever. This has lots!

the world in words

Ben and Jerry's ice cream in Israel is labeled "glida," the Aramaic word for frost. In modern Hebrew, it means ice cream. (Photo: Daniel Estrin) Ben and Jerry’s ice cream in Israel is labeled “glida,” the Aramaic word for frost. In modern Hebrew, it means ice cream. (Photo: Daniel Estrin) Here’s a guest post from Daniel Estrin, who lives in Jerusalem.

The Oxford English Dictionary traces the history of words over centuries.

In Israel, linguists are still compiling a similar dictionary for the ancient Hebrew language.

English as we know it has been around about 860 years.

“Without bragging, the history of Hebrew is much older,” said Gabriel Birnbaum, a senior researcher at Israel’s official Academy of the Hebrew Language. About three times older.

Birnbaum’s job is to write the entries for the Hebrew Historical Dictionary. Four days a week, seven hours a day, he sits alone in his small office, surrounded by dusty volumes of ancient Hebrew texts, and types out definitions.

“The ideal is to have all the words with all their history…

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Percy Jackson and the Fandom


In this world today that is so influenced by movies, TV, young adult novels, videogames, and the like, it’s easier than ever for everyone (not just teenagers as random Tumblr posts would have you believe) to get involved with fandoms. Parents and children alike argue about Game of Thrones, book vs TV, house against house, blabbity blah blah, and then there are the Sherlock vs Sherlock Holmes vs Holmes, the Potterheads, the Dragon Trainers ( what do you can the fans of HTTYD?), the Hunters, the Bros, the Whovians, the Olympians- it just goes on.

It all goes past the page/screen. It enters our lives otherwise. My brother and I do mini RPGs pretending to be Deadpool and Bob, the Doctor and his Companions, Sam and Dean… It’s odd,  but it’s fun and it draws us together. So really, you can’t say that there isn’t at least one good thing to come out of fandoms. Because that’s what fandoms do, amiright? It draws us together by that one thing that we like (actors and fans alike). It gives people a sense of belonging that society would otherwise fail to do. So yeah, it’s always been important to society and people have a reason to be glad that the fandom culture had exploded the way it has.

But as a Christian, it can prove to be problematic, if you know you want to grow in your faith and you know that you’re still not quite there yet. Which is why I applaud Vic Mignogna, for being such a fanboy while still maintaining his faith, sure of himself in God, and is more than proud to say it.

I have no idea where this revelation came from or why it did, but it’s been in my head for a while now.

I was reading Sea of Monsters in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. I’m a fan of it, and I loved the spinoffs and found that the movies didn’t do it justice. Just as an aside. But yeah, like I said, I was reading the book, and after I’m, of course, acting it out as I always do, pretending to be one of the characters. Thing is, to do that I have to have a Godly Parent. Depending on my mood it could be anyone really, I have at least 12 to choose from. (Hurrdihurrhurr). But this time, and a few times after it bothered me, and the words thou shall have no other gods before Me kept popping into my head.

Look, it’s just a game, right?

Maybe not. Another time, couldn’t bring myself to act it out; again thou shall have no other gods before Me. One time after I managed to act it out (Iris, communication goddess, lahdidah) it felt wrong – not because I thought once more of that command. Nope. More like, I had thought nothing of it, and I understood how easy it is to break, and how easy I was breaking it, without a second thought.

And then, and now, I’m wondering just how many false gods we’ve – read “I’ve” – picked up because of fandoms. Quite a bit. Quite a bit. Huh…

It’s something we, as Christians, have to consider. The world is around us, and we will see something we like in it. We may strive to be Christ-like, but we are still human. This is one of those times where we have to be in the world, not of it. We may like something, but we have to be careful not to let it become a god in our lives.

You shall have no other Gods before Me
– Exodus 20:3

You shall have no other Gods before Me
– Deuteronomy 5:7 (Bible gateway has or besides as a footnote for both verses in the NIV)

It’s there, twice. Has to be way important for it to be mentioned more than once

(Edit: For more check out what Mark Slick has to say about False Gods )

– K. ~

When Disney Villains hit home – A Look at Mother Gothel

No doubt, Disney villains have a special place in our hearts,  with their ambition, desires, grace, even their ideals – despite these being contrary to that of the protagonist and therefore doomed to fail -alongside their bumbling henchmen, or their cunning colleagues. Some we understand. Scar, Jafar, Frollo, Ursula, Cruella, Maleficent. Others not so much, but we love them anyway, and love them more when we do get what’s in their twisted heads.

But what’s even more appreciative about them is that they are fiction. Or their origins are so far away from us, socially (Frollo) historically (Jafar and Frollo) geographically (Jafar, Frollo – well you get the idea) or any mix of many factors.

But I think I understand Mother Gothel, but there is no love there. Nope. More like fear. We know the story of Rapunzel. The original one. Poor man steals from a witch’s garden and payment when he got caught was his firstborn child.

In the original, the witch was cast as evil, and locking Rapunzel in the tower with no escape, and then blinding the one person she came in contact with besides the witch… Yeah, proves it. But we understood where she came from.

The child was payment and punishment for her father’s actions. I… Don’t know how to analyse her other actions though. Maybe she was just evil.

But as I said, the story is so removed. Or maybe because the story is a children’s story, the characters aren’t that deep, which is a fault,  really. Getting off topic here

Now, Disney is a wonderful company, giving more to a tale than what was originally there. They take a story, romanticise it and stretch it, or even twist it to fit another way – Hamlet and the Lion King; The Snow Queen and Frozen (although it’s far from the original tale, but so much better); Tangled and Rapunzel.

For the last that’s what happened. They did twist the origins of Rapunzel, but it did make for a better storyline and have them more to work with to meet the 90min limit. The character development was great, from the main characters, to the silent ones, to the villains, to those on screen for 5 mins and less.

And here we get to see the character of Gothel, both while she’s interacting with the characters and even when she’s not on screen. Look at Rapunzel’s attitude in the tower. Look at her rebellion/guilt trip after she leaves. Look at Gothel’s treatment of innocents and brutes alike in order to get what she wants. She’s more than the witch in the original story

And she’s more realistic compared to the other villains.

Ambitious yes. Goes for what she wants yes. Gains trust easily, oh yes. A hell of a manipulator- makes her more than qualified as a villainess.

But she’s not above kidnapping. She’s not above subtle abuse. She’s not above making Rapunzel feel that once Gothel feels she’s threatened, it’s the girl’s fault. She does everything to stifle Rapunzel, even getting her to stay away from the outside world “willingly”, just so Gothel and Gothel alone could get the magic that Rapunzel got from that flower.  Gothel does give Rapunzel what she wants, yes, but it’s to placate her, and to hide the fact that she actually isn’t Mother. If a child asks for bread, a mother wouldn’t give her a stone. Not Gothel surely. More like encircle her in stones while she eats the bread D:

And once Rapunzel is out of Gothel’s reach, it explains why she fell into that rebellion/guilt trip. It’s not so much a teenage rebellion deal. She’s been a willful prisoner all this time. She’s been a child in an abusive environment, even if Gothel didn’t raise her hand at her. She’s been selectively neglecting Rapunzel, going away for days at a time, coming back only when Rapunzel’s hair/flower magic had run out. And when she was home in the tower, Rapunzel’s wishes were superficially acknowledged, only to be fulfilled, if it ensures Gothel’s own desires.

I know people like Gothel, with their own Rapunzel. I think that’s why when I first saw Tangled – and since then – Gothel bothers me. It reaches home. And it’s scary.

– K. ~