Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Language and Linguistics

The development of writing

Pictograms and ideograms
Cave drawings may serve to record some event (e.g. Humans 3, Buffaloes 1), but they are not usually thought of as any type of specifically linguistic message. They are usually treated as part of a tradition of pictorial art. When some of the ‘pictures’ came to represent particular images in a consistent way, we can begin to describe the product as a form of picture-writing, orpictograms. In this way, a form such as  might come to be used for the sun. An essential part of this use of a representative symbol is that everyone should use a similar form to convey a roughly similar meaning. That is, a conventional relationship must exist between the symbol and its interpretation.
In time, this picture might develop into a more fixed symbolic form, such as , and come to be used for ‘heat’ and ‘daytime’, as well as for ‘sun’. Note that as the symbol extends from ‘sun’ to ‘heat’, it is moving from something visible to something conceptual (and no longer a picture). This type of symbol is then considered to be part of a system of idea-writing, orideograms. The distinction between pictograms and ideograms is essentially a difference in the relationship between the symbol and the entity it represents. The more ‘picture-like’ forms are pictograms and the more abstract derived forms are ideograms.
A key property of both pictograms and ideograms is that they do not represent words or sounds in a particular language. Modern pictograms, such as those represented in the accompanying illustration, are language- independent and can be understood with much the same basic conventional meaning in a lot of different places where a number of different languages are spoken.
It is generally thought that there were pictographic or ideographic origins for a large number of symbols that turn up in later writing systems. For example, in Egyptian hieroglyphics, the symbol  was used to refer to a house and derived from the diagrammatic representation of the floor-plan of a house. In Chinese writing, the character  was used for a river, and had its origins in the pictorial representation of a stream flowing between two banks. However, it is important to note that neither the Egyptian nor the Chinese written symbols are actually ‘pictures’ of a house or a river. They are more abstract. When we create symbols in a writing system, there is always an abstraction away from the physical world.
When the relationship between the symbol and the entity or idea becomes sufficiently abstract, we can be more confident that the symbol is probably being used to represent words in a language. In early Egyptian writing, the ideogram for water was . Much later, the derived symbol came to be used for the actual word meaning ‘water’. When symbols are used to repre- sent words in a language, they are described as examples of word-writing, or ‘logograms’.


Logographic systems, or logographies, include the earliest true writing systems; the first historical civilizations of the Near East, Africa, China, and Central America used some form of logographic writing.
A purely logographic script would be impractical for most languages, and none is known apart from one devised for the artificial language Toki Pona, a purposely limited language with only 120 morphemes. A more recent attempt is Zlango, intended for use in text messaging, currently including around 300 "icons." All logographic scripts ever used for natural languagesrely on the rebus principle to extend a relatively limited set of logograms: A subset of characters is used for their phonetic values, either consonantal or syllabic. The termlogosyllabary is used to emphasize the partially phonetic nature of these scripts when the phonetic domain is the syllable. In both Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs and in Chinese, there has been the additional development of fusing such phonetic elements with determinatives; such "radical and phonetic" characters make up the bulk of the script, and both languages relegated simple rebuses to the spelling of foreign loan words and words from non-standard dialects.
Wedge shaped writing
Cuneiform Writing

Sunday, 24 March 2013

IV Sem (Shakespeare) Henry IV and As you like it..

Henry IV, Part 1
William Shakespeare

Plot Overview

When the play opens, military news interrupts the aging King Henry’s plans to lead a crusade. The Welsh rebel Glyndwr has defeated King Henry’s army in the South, and the young Harry Percy (nicknamed Hotspur), who is supposedly loyal to King Henry, is refusing to send to the king the soldiers whom he has captured in the North. King Henry summons Hotspur back to the royal court so that he can explain his actions. Meanwhile, King Henry’s son, Prince Harry, sits drinking in a bar with criminals and highwaymen. King Henry is very disappointed in his son; it is common knowledge that Harry, the heir to the throne, conducts himself in a manner unbefitting royalty. He spends most of his time in taverns on the seedy side of London, hanging around with vagrants and other shady characters. Harry’s closest friend among the crew of rascals is Falstaff, a sort of substitute father figure. Falstaff is a worldly and fat old man who steals and lies for a living. Falstaff is also an extraordinarily witty person who lives with great gusto. Harry claims that his spending time with these men is actually part of a scheme on his part to impress the public when he eventually changes his ways and adopts a more noble personality.
Falstaff’s friend Poins arrives at the inn and announces that he has plotted the robbery of a group of wealthy travelers. Although Harry initially refuses to participate, Poins explains to him in private that he is actually playing a practical joke on Falstaff. Poins’s plan is to hide before the robbery occurs, pretending to ditch Falstaff. After the robbery, Poins and Harry will rob Falstaff and then make fun of him when he tells the story of being robbed, which he will almost certainly fabricate.
Hotspur arrives at King Henry’s court and details the reasons that his family is frustrated with the king: the Percys were instrumental in helping Henry overthrow his predecessor, but Henry has failed to repay the favor. After King Henry leaves, Hotspur’s family members explain to Hotspur their plan to build an alliance to overthrow the king.
Harry and Poins, meanwhile, successfully carry out their plan to dupe Falstaff and have a great deal of fun at his expense. As they are all drinking back at the tavern, however, a messenger arrives for Harry. Harry’s father has received news of the civil war that is brewing and has sent for his son; Harry is to return to the royal court the next day.
Although the Percys have gathered a formidable group of allies around them—leaders of large rebel armies from Scotland and Wales as well as powerful English nobles and clergymen who have grievances against King Henry—the alliance has begun to falter. Several key figures announce that they will not join in the effort to overthrow the king, and the danger that these defectors might alert King Henry of the rebellion necessitates going to war at once.
Heeding his father’s request, Harry returns to the palace. King Henry expresses his deep sorrow and anger at his son’s behavior and implies that Hotspur’s valor might actually give him more right to the throne than Prince Harry’s royal birth. Harry decides that it is time to reform, and he vows that he will abandon his wild ways and vanquish Hotspur in battle in order to reclaim his good name. Drafting his tavern friends to fight in King Henry’s army, Harry accompanies his father to the battlefront.
The civil war is decided in a great battle at Shrewsbury. Harry boldly saves his father’s life in battle and finally wins back his father’s approval and affection. Harry also challenges and defeats Hotspur in single combat. King Henry’s forces win, and most of the leaders of the Percy family are put to death. Falstaff manages to survive the battle by avoiding any actual fighting.
Powerful rebel forces remain in Britain, however, so King Henry must send his sons and his forces to the far reaches of his kingdom to deal with them. When the play ends, the ultimate outcome of the war has not yet been determined; one battle has been won, but another remains to be fought (Shakespeare’s sequel to this play, 2 Henry IV, begins where 1 Henry IVleaves off).

Act II, scene iv [Play out of Play]


At his family home (Warkworth Castle, in the far north of England), Hotspur reads a letter that has just arrived from a nobleman. Hotspur has asked the nobleman for support in the rebellion that the Percy family is planning against Henry. But the letter relays a refusal, saying that the Percy plot is not planned out well enough and that its allies are not strong or reliable enough to face so great a foe as Henry. Hotspur becomes very angry at the letter writer and disdains the writer’s cowardice. He is concerned, however, that the writer will decide to reveal the plot to Henry, so he decides that he must set out that night to join his allies and start the rebellion.
Hotspur’s wife, Lady Percy (also called Kate), comes in to speak to her husband. When Hotspur tells her that he will be leaving the castle within two hours, she becomes upset. She points out that for the past two weeks Hotspur has not eaten properly, slept well, or made love to her. Furthermore, he keeps on breaking out into a sweat in the middle of the night and crying out, babbling in his sleep about guns, cannons, prisoners, and soldiers. Lady Percy thinks that it is time Hotspur explained exactly what he’s been planning.
Hotspur, however, ignores Lady Percy, instead instructing his servant to get his horse ready. Enraged, Lady Percy stops pleading and starts demanding answers. She suspects that Hotspur’s machinations all have something to do with her brother, Lord Mortimer, and his claim to the throne. She threatens to break Hotspur’s “little finger” (a euphemism for his penis) if he does not tell her what is going on (II.iv.79).
Hotspur abruptly turns on Lady Percy and angrily insults her, saying that he does not love her and that this is no world for womanly thoughts or for love. Instead, he declares, there must be war and fighting. He will not tell her what he is doing because he believes that women cannot be trusted, and she won’t be able to reveal what she does not know. He concedes only that he will send for her, and that she may follow him on horseback the next day. Though -dissatisfied, Lady Percy cannot get any more information from her belligerent husband.
As You Like It
William Shakespeare

Plot Overview

Sir Rowland de Bois has recently died, and, according to the custom of primogeniture, the vast majority of his estate has passed into the possession of his eldest son, Oliver. Although Sir Rowland has instructed Oliver to take good care of his brother, Orlando, Oliver refuses to do so. Out of pure spite, he denies Orlando the education, training, and property befitting a gentleman. Charles, a wrestler from the court of Duke Frederick, arrives to warn Oliver of a rumor that Orlando will challenge Charles to a fight on the following day. Fearing censure if he should beat a nobleman, Charles begs Oliver to intervene, but Oliver convinces the wrestler that Orlando is a dishonorable sportsman who will take whatever dastardly means necessary to win. Charles vows to pummel Orlando, which delights Oliver.
Duke Senior has been usurped of his throne by his brother, Duke Frederick, and has fled to the Forest of Ardenne, where he lives like Robin Hood with a band of loyal followers. Duke Frederick allows Senior’s daughter, Rosalind, to remain at court because of her inseparable friendship with his own daughter, Celia. The day arrives when Orlando is scheduled to fight Charles, and the women witness Orlando’s defeat of the court wrestler. Orlando and Rosalind instantly fall in love with one another, though Rosalind keeps this fact a secret from everyone but Celia. Orlando returns home from the wrestling match, only to have his faithful servant Adam warn him about Oliver’s plot against Orlando’s life. Orlando decides to leave for the safety of Ardenne. Without warning, Duke Frederick has a change of heart regarding Rosalind and banishes her from court. She, too, decides to flee to the Forest of Ardenne and leaves with Celia, who cannot bear to be without Rosalind, and Touchstone, the court jester. To ensure the safety of their journey, Rosalind assumes the dress of a young man and takes the name Ganymede, while Celia dresses as a common shepherdess and calls herself Aliena.
Duke Frederick is furious at his daughter’s disappearance. When he learns that the flight of his daughter and niece coincides with the disappearance of Orlando, the duke orders Oliver to lead the manhunt, threatening to confiscate Oliver’s lands and property should he fail. Frederick also decides it is time to destroy his brother once and for all and begins to raise an army.
Duke Senior lives in the Forest of Ardenne with a band of lords who have gone into voluntary exile. He praises the simple life among the trees, happy to be absent from the machinations of court life. Orlando, exhausted by travel and desperate to find food for his starving companion, Adam, barges in on the duke’s camp and rudely demands that they not eat until he is given food. Duke Senior calms Orlando and, when he learns that the young man is the son of his dear former friend, accepts him into his company. Meanwhile, Rosalind and Celia, disguised as Ganymede and Aliena, arrive in the forest and meet a lovesick young shepherd named Silvius who pines away for the disdainful Phoebe. The two women purchase a modest cottage, and soon enough Rosalind runs into the equally lovesick Orlando. Taking her to be a young man, Orlando confides in Rosalind that his affections are overpowering him. Rosalind, as Ganymede, claims to be an expert in exorcising such emotions and promises to cure Orlando of lovesickness if he agrees to pretend that Ganymede is Rosalind and promises to come woo her every day. Orlando agrees, and the love lessons begin.
Meanwhile, Phoebe becomes increasingly cruel in her rejection of Silvius. When Rosalind intervenes, disguised as Ganymede, Phoebe falls hopelessly in love with Ganymede. One day, Orlando fails to show up for his tutorial with Ganymede. Rosalind, reacting to her infatuation with Orlando, is distraught until Oliver appears. Oliver describes how Orlando stumbled upon him in the forest and saved him from being devoured by a hungry lioness. Oliver and Celia, still disguised as the shepherdess Aliena, fall instantly in love and agree to marry. As time passes, Phoebe becomes increasingly insistent in her pursuit of Ganymede, and Orlando grows tired of pretending that a boy is his dear Rosalind. Rosalind decides to end the charade. She promises that Ganymede will wed Phoebe, if Ganymede will ever marry a woman, and she makes everyone pledge to meet the next day at the wedding. They all agree.
The day of the wedding arrives, and Rosalind gathers the various couples: Phoebe and Silvius; Celia and Oliver; Touchstone and Audrey, a goatherd he intends to marry; and Orlando. The group congregates before Duke Senior and his men. Rosalind, still disguised as Ganymede, reminds the lovers of their various vows, then secures a promise from Phoebe that if for some reason she refuses to marry Ganymede she will marry Silvius, and a promise from the duke that he would allow his daughter to marry Orlando if she were available. Rosalind leaves with the disguised Celia, and the two soon return as themselves, accompanied by Hymen, the god of marriage. Hymen officiates at the ceremony and marries Rosalind and Orlando, Celia and Oliver, Phoebe and Silvius, and Audrey and Touchstone. The festive wedding celebration is interrupted by even more festive news: while marching with his army to attack Duke Senior, Duke Frederick came upon a holy man who convinced him to put aside his worldly concerns and assume a monastic life. -Frederick changes his ways and returns the throne to Duke Senior. The guests continue dancing, happy in the knowledge that they will soon return to the royal court.

Act IV, scenes i–ii

Summary: Act IV, scene i

Men have died from time to time, and worms have eaten them, but not for love.
Jaques approaches Rosalind, who is still in her disguise as Ganymede, wishing to become better acquainted. Rosalind criticizes Jaques for the extremity of his melancholy. When Jaques claims that “’tis good to be sad and say nothing,” Rosalind compares such activity to being “a post” (IV.i.89). Jaques defends himself, outlining for Rosalind the unique composition of his sadness, but Rosalind gets the better of him and he departs. Orlando arrives an hour late for his lesson in love. As agreed, he addresses Ganymede as if the young man were his beloved Rosalind and asks her to forgive his tardiness. Rosalind refuses, insisting that a true lover could not bear to squander “a part of the thousand part of a minute in the affairs of love” (IV.i.4041). She goes on to suggest that Orlando’s love is worse than a snail’s, for though a snail comes slowly, he carries his house on his back. Eventually, though, Rosalind relents and invites Orlando to woo her. The lesson begins: when he says that he desires to kiss her before speaking, she suggests that he save his kiss for the moment when conversation lags. What, Orlando worries, should he do if his kiss is denied? Rosalind reassures him that a denied kiss would only give him “new matter” to discuss with his lover (IV.i.6970). When Rosalind refuses his affections, Orlando claims he will die. She responds that, despite the poet’s romantic imagination, no man in the entire history of the world has died from a love-related cause.
Rosalind then changes her mood, assuming a “more coming-on disposition” (IV.i.96). She accepts and returns Orlando’s declarations of love and urges Celia to play the part of a priest and marry them. Rosalind reminds Orlando that women often become disagreeable after marriage, but Orlando does not believe this truism of his love. He begs leave in order to dine with Duke Senior, promising to return within two hours. Rosalind teasingly chastises him for parting with her but warns him not to be a minute late in keeping his promise. After Orlando departs, Celia berates Rosalind for so badly characterizing the female sex. Rosalind responds by exclaiming how vast her love for Orlando has grown. Only Cupid, she says, can fathom the depth of her affection.

Patterns (III B.A English)

I walk down the garden paths,
And all the daffodils
Are blowing, and the bright blue squills.   
I walk down the patterned garden paths   
In my stiff, brocaded gown.
With my powdered hair and jewelled fan,   
I too am a rare
Pattern. As I wander down
The garden paths.

My dress is richly figured,   
And the train
Makes a pink and silver stain   
On the gravel, and the thrift   
Of the borders.
Just a plate of current fashion,
Tripping by in high-heeled, ribboned shoes.
Not a softness anywhere about me,   
Only whale-bone and brocade.   
And I sink on a seat in the shade   
Of a lime tree. For my passion   
Wars against the stiff brocade.   
The daffodils and squills
Flutter in the breeze
As they please.
And I weep;
For the lime tree is in blossom
And one small flower has dropped upon my bosom.

And the splashing of waterdrops   
In the marble fountain
Comes down the garden paths.   
The dripping never stops.   
Underneath my stiffened gown
Is the softness of a woman bathing in a marble basin,
A basin in the midst of hedges grown
So thick, she cannot see her lover hiding,
But she guesses he is near,
And the sliding of the water
Seems the stroking of a dear
Hand upon her.
What is Summer in a fine brocaded gown!
I should like to see it lying in a heap upon the ground.   
All the pink and silver crumpled up on the ground.

I would be the pink and silver as I ran along the paths,   
And he would stumble after,
Bewildered by my laughter.
I should see the sun flashing from his sword-hilt and the buckles on his shoes.
I would choose
To lead him in a maze along the patterned paths,
A bright and laughing maze for my heavy-booted lover,   
Till he caught me in the shade,
And the buttons of his waistcoat bruised my body as he clasped me,
Aching, melting, unafraid.
With the shadows of the leaves and the sundrops,   
And the plopping of the waterdrops,
All about us in the open afternoon
I am very like to swoon
With the weight of this brocade,
For the sun sifts through the shade.

Underneath the fallen blossom
In my bosom,
Is a letter I have hid.
It was brought to me this morning by a rider from the Duke.   
“Madam, we regret to inform you that Lord Hartwell   
Died in action Thursday sen’night.”
As I read it in the white, morning sunlight,
The letters squirmed like snakes.
“Any answer, Madam,” said my footman.
“No,” l told him.
“See that the messenger takes some refreshment.
No, no answer.”
And I walked into the garden,
Up and down the patterned paths,
In my stiff, correct brocade.
The blue and yellow flowers stood up proudly in the sun,   
Each one.
I stood upright too,
Held rigid to the pattern
By the stiffness of my gown.   
Up and down I walked,   
Up and down.

In a month he would have been my husband.   
In a month, here, underneath this lime,   
We would have broke the pattern;
He for me, and I for him,
He as Colonel, I as Lady,
On this shady seat.
He had a whim
That sunlight carried blessing.
And I answered, “It shall be as you have said.”   
Now he is dead.

In Summer and in Winter I shall walk
Up and down
The patterned garden paths   
In my stiff, brocaded gown.   
The squills and daffodils
Will give place to pillared roses, and to asters, and to snow.   
I shall go
Up and down,
In my gown.
Gorgeously arrayed,
Boned and stayed.
And the softness of my body will be guarded from embrace   
By each button, hook, and lace.
For the man who should loose me is dead,
Fighting with the Duke in Flanders,
In a pattern called a war.
Christ! What are patterns for?

Critical Analysis of Amy Lowell's "Patterns"

Breaking the "Patterned" Mold

When one hears the words, " I sink on a seat in the shade," they will most likely form a visual image in their head, such as a person sitting under a tree. Amy Lowell, an imagist, uses sharp images, precise wording, and figurative speech as a means of poetic expression to arouse the senses of the reader. In "Patterns," Amy Lowell explores the hopeful liberty of women in the early 20th century through a central theme. A woman’s dream of escaping the boundaries that society has placed on her dissipates when she learns of her lover’s untimely death. Of the many images in this poem, the constant motions of the flowers and water drops, the dress the woman is wearing, and her daydreams of her lover are most crucial in developing this theme of freedom.

In the beginning of the poem, as well as throughout the work, the speaker describes daffodils and other types of flowers moving freely in the wind. Using imagery to appeal to the reader’s sense of sight, these flowers are given motion, and they are described as, "…blowing," and "Flutter[ing] in the breeze,". This creates a sense of freedom and flexibility. The woman in the poem, presumably Amy, wishes to be like the moving flowers, carefree and jaunty. In the second stanza of the poem, the woman begins to describe the water in the marble fountain. The, "…plashing of water drops," and, "…plopping of the water drops," describe liquid in motion. The fact that she notices such little details in a fountain shows how intent the woman is on being free and able to move about as she pleases. The unconstrained movement of the flowers and the water manifest a way of life that the woman would like to live. What is keeping her from the liberation that she longs for?

The images in the poem name the binding dress as the culprit, but upon reading deeper into the signs of the imagery, one will find that there is a more complicated reason for her misery. The "…stiff, brocaded gown" is mentioned many times throughout the poem. Of course, back in that time, the woman was not only in a rigid, uncomfortable dress in the heat of summer, but she was also most likely wearing a corset. The Random House Webster’s College Dictionary gives the definition of brocaded as, "a fabric woven with an elaborate raised design, often using gold or silver thread." This stiff, imprisoning piece of clothing symbolizes the boundaries that society has placed on women during their time. They had to act properly, look nice, and uphold all standards—especially if they were to be courted and married to a respectable man. The description of the train on the woman’s dress also has specific imagery. The woman talks about how, "…the train/ Makes a pink and silver stain/ On the gravel," The first image a person gets in their head is one of a train on a dress dragging across the gravel and leaving behind colours of pink and silver. This metaphor, however, has some underlying meaning, and symbolizes the "training" that she received to act properly as a lady. This training leaves behind a blemish, or stain, of high order (pink) and eloquence (silver) that she merely knows how to uphold, and does not want to be a part of her true self. She feels that learning the way the public wants her to act and look has somehow hindered her true being. Although it was torturous for the woman to stay within all of society’s stan-dards, she complied only because she knew that her lover held the key to the lock on her liberation. In marrying him, she felt as though she would be set free to make her own decisions. The woman thought that he would allow her to lead him down the many paths in their lives. 

Next, she talks about how it will be when her lover returns to her. She would, "… run along the paths/ And he would stumble after," and also, "…choose/ To lead him in a maze along the patterned paths". These lines show how the presence of her lover allows her to lead him, thereby breaking free from the boundaries held on her. She is also running through a maze, not walking along the paths. This shows that she is no longer doing what others have done and have told her to do, but she is creating her own path and displaying free will. This imagery is used to show that in her future with this man, she will not have to live her life the way others have patterned it out for her. Through his love for her, she will be allowed to break the mold and be her own person. Unfortunately, her lover dies at war and she is back to where she began, wearing a stiff dress, following the paths already made, and waiting for another man to come along to rescue her from this prison cell.

I wonder what became of this woman in the poem. I hope that she finally found another love to rescue her from the confines of tradition. I am truly grateful that I live in a world today where people aren’t oppressed as they were back in the 1800s- early 1900s. It must have been discouraging to know that a woman’s happiness and freedom in life depends on what a man will allow you to have, and it really took a strong woman to overcome the injustice shown to them. From Amy Lowell’s poetry, I can tell that she had a passion to change women’s lives. The way she describes the free movement of flowers blowing in the wind and contrasting it with an image of a stiff, brocaded gown really helps you to understand how she is feeling. Unfortunately, she had to continue with her "patterned" way of life for longer than she hoped. I, on the other hand, am free to chose my own path, or make up a new one.