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What are the haps my friends

March 10th, 2011: Yesterday's comic was all about gendered nouns in Indo-European languages. So here it is in German, courtesy of Kim!

And here it is in French with a special focus on dogs, as requested here yesterday, courtesy of Julie!

I told her I'd post it here in case I offended any speakers of the noble French language yesterday! I suspect Julie assumed that I do not speak French. SECRETLY I DO, JULIE, AND DOLLAR SIGNS GO AT THE FRONT IN ENGLISH TO LET US KNOW THE TYPE OF NUMBER WE'RE DEALING WITH WHILE THE FRENCH ARE STILL WONDERING AND SAYING "ZUT ALORS, JE NE SAIS PAS CE QUE JE LIS", AND WE CAPITALIZE "I" BECAUSE EVERY ENGLISH SPEAKER IS SUPER IMPORTANT WITHOUT EXCEPTION. There! Language debates: smoothed over forever??

And finally, here it yesterday's comic in Sanskrit.

Arun made this, and I loved the email he sent along with the comic so much that I'm posting it here!

Ryan, here is today's Dinosaur Comic in Sanskrit, because if you're going to talk smack about IE gender, you'd best do it in the first IE language to show it.

(Hittite is thought to be older, but it makes an animate/inanimate distinction instead. Sanskrit morphology indicates, too, that the feminine gender was a secondary development.)

The first time Sanskrit has been used to describe dinosaurs discussing gay French moons? I hope so!

Some brief notes on the translation: Even though India is well-known in the west as the "land of the Kama Sutra" and is thus often romanticized as a sexually exploratory culture, Sanskrit doesn't have specific words like "lesbian" that would facilitate a translation. In ancient India, outside of heterosexual manhood/womanhood was said to belong to a "third gender" full of eunuchs etc., who often had some sort of special or magic powers. For that reason, the translation has to use a lot of words that usually mean "eunuch," e.g. "sarvathatipandah" in panel 5 means something like "a super eunuch in every way." The word I chose for "lesbian" was "svairini," which usually means "self-willed (i.e. unchaste) woman" but, according to some, can be stretched to refer to sexual orientation.

(The Kama Sutra itself is sexually conservative actually, in that it focuses on regular genitals-to-genitals monogamous sex; the text was written by a religious scholar, as if the fact that Sanskrit was used didn't heavily imply that already. Oral sex is something reserved for eunuchs, as this quaint Victorian translation shows.)

Otherwise it's an accurate translation that uses normal Sanskrit idiom [compounds, abstract nouns, passive participle constructions] to express the same ideas. The term for "French language" that I used (frans-bhasa) is hyphenated because the "nsb" consonant combination is phonetically impossible in Sanskrit. ("f" itself, incidentally, is a non-Sanskrit sound.) More correctly it should be "franbhasa," but nobody would be able to recognize that.


Anyway it occurs to me that if you're an English/French/German/Sanskrit polyglot, today is the perfect day for you to read my comic! Man! I pretty much NAILED IT for you today, huh?

One year ago today: it's 8 am and joey comeau of is asleep upstairs, i'd like to dedicate this comic to joey comeau of's sleepy sleepy ways

– Ryan

big ups and shouts out