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New covers for Alice!

OK, it's cosmetic, but the front and back covers of my editions of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland are being updated (that'll be Cornish, English, Esperanto, and Irish)

The new ones are the two to the top; the old ones are below.


The Nursery “Alice”

Evertype is pleased to announce the publication of a new edition of Lewis Carroll's The Nursery “Alice” . The book is not a facsimile, but a has been re-set in the style of Evertype's other Alice books, and containing, illustrations in full colour, taken from an original first edition copy of the book.

From the introduction:

Lewis Carroll published Alice's Adventures in Wonderland in 1865 and Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There in 1872. In the entry in his diary for 15 February 1881 he records: "I wrote to Macmillan to suggest a new idea: a 'Nursery Edition' of Alice with pictures printed in." On 20th February 1889, some eight years later, after much preparation and negotiation with both publisher and illustrator, the text was at last ready. The illustrator was John Tenniel, who coloured twenty of his original illustrations in "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" for this "Nursery Edition". The front and back cover (reprinted here as the frontispiece and on page xiv) were designed by Carroll's friend Emily Gertrude Thomson.

The story itself is intended for pre-school children “aged from Nought to Five”. Running to just under 7,000 words, it is considerably shorter than both Alice’s Adventures under Ground (15,500 words) and Alice’s Adventures in Wonder­land (27,500 words). Much of the narrative consists of the author’s addressing the young listener, explaining the story by reference to the illustrations. The effect is rather charming, particularly where Carroll pokes fun at features in Tenniel’s illustrations. These were quite skilfully and attractively coloured. Interestingly, Tenniel coloured Alice’s dress yellow with a blue trim and white apron, whereas nowadays most artists colour the dress in blue and white only. (In Nick Willing’s 1999 film Alice in Wonderland, Tina Majorino’s Alice wore a yellow dress.)

In order to produce this volume, the original edition was scanned; the paper, being more than 120 years old, has darkened somewhat. The images below have not been doctored, however, except that the border surrounding the illustrations has been removed.

Here, as in my other editions of Alice books, I have kept to the book design inspired by Martin Gardiner’s Annotated Alice. Since Carrollians are often interested in such details, I will note a few editorial changes which I have made to the text. I have normalized the text for consistency with Carroll’s preferred spellings “ca’n’t” and “wo’n’t”. I have preferred the more modern “wagon” to “waggon” and “stayed” to “staid”. I have added the phrase “on page 8” and changed “this leaf” to “page 40” to guide the reader to two illustrations. In places, Carroll’s punctua­tion has been altered to conform to modern practice.
This edition also contains Carroll’s introductory poem “A Nursery Darling”, his 1890 Preface, and, as appendices, his “Easter Greetings” and “Christmas Greet­ings” to children. These were also published in the 1868 printed edition of Alice’s Adventures under Ground.

Once upon a time, there was a little girl called Alice: and she had a very curious dream.
Would you like to hear what it was that she dreamed about?


Henry Jenner’s Handbook of the Cornish Language (2010)

Evertype is pleased to announce the publication of a new edition of Henry Jenner’s Handbook of the Cornish Language.

From the preface:
This new edition of Jenner’s classic Handbook of the Cornish Language appears more than a century after the book’s first publication. Now that the Cornish Revival has weathered many storms, it is well worth making Jenner’s ground-breaking work available again, copies of the 1904 edition having become rare and expensive.

A useful way to have another look at Jenner’s place in the Revival is to compare the contents of the 1904 Handbook with the three articles Jenner published between 1873 and 1877, near the begin­ning of his researches into Cornish. These articles are reproduced below as appendices to the main text. The orthographic system which Jenner used in 1904 was the culmination of many years of work, but it is important to notice that Jenner was aware three decades earlier of Alexander Melville Bell’s 1865 “Visible Speech”, and of Alexander John Ellis’ 1867 “Palæotype” and 1871 “Glossic”. Jenner’s familiarity with these pre­cursors of the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is significant. It shows him to have had real phonetic training. It places his work in the context of modern linguistics.

And linguist is certainly the word which one must apply to Jenner.  His achievement was truly remarkable. Synthesizing the texts, the description in Edward Lhuyd’s 1707 Archaeologia Britannica, Edwin Norris’ 1859 Sketch of Cornish Grammar, Robert Williams’ 1865 Lexicon Cornu-Britannicum, and Frederick Jago’s 1882 English-Cornish Dictionary, Jenner sorted it all out: he devised a system which was practical enough to use to begin to revive the language. He uses an orthography that supports Late Cornish while still retaining a connection to the orthographic forms of the Middle Cornish scribal tradition. Jenner’s Cornish looks Cornish. I wager that the scribes of Glasney could have read it, and that Jordan and Tregear and the author of Bewnans Ke would likewise have found it to be familiar. And his spelling partakes of tota Cornicitas: it can write Middle and Late Cornish without linguistic compromise.

Jenner’s orthography provides a good, clear relationship between sound and spelling without diverging drastically from that of the traditional texts. He used diacritical marks for precision where necessary. His phonology is for the most part sound; he recognized the earlier phonemes /y/ and /ø/ by the way they had unrounded to /i/ and /e/ in Late Cornish. He endeavoured to describe the reduction of unstressed syllables to schwa using the symbols ŏ and ŭ. His section on grammar is wide-ranging and largely reliable. Jenner appears to regard the differences between Middle Cornish and Late Cornish as being more apparent than real; his work is generally free of the unwarranted purism of some later Revivalists. Of particular interest is his belief that it was undesirable to try to reconstruct a “foreign” accent based on “scientific affectation”. He recognized that the contact between Cornish and English must have led to similarities in phonology, and held that the sound and intonation of the English spoken in Cornwall should have a proper and positive influence on the pronunciation of Revived Cornish.

This re-edition is not a mere facsimile. I have added phonetic transcriptions in the IPA, to assist the modern reader in under­standing exactly which sounds Jenner was recommending. (Two characters used here, [ᵻ] and [ᵿ], are not used in the IPA proper; the Oxford English Dictionary uses them for reduced [ɪ] (schwi) and reduced [ʊ] (schwu). See Note 31 on page 52.) Jenner’s Cornish spellings have been kept as he wrote them, except where a typographical error or omission had rendered his intention obscure. Breton spellings, however, have been updated to modern orthography.

The book being newly typeset has benefited from some changes for the modern reader. Chapter headings and subsections within chapters have been numbered as sections for ease of citation. It will be seen that some of the numbers are rather long, but in fact they do reflect the complex net of nested, numbered, and lettered para­graphs with which Jenner structured his work. Biblical references use European digits rather than Roman, and standard references (“Matthew 2:1–20” rather than “St Matthew ii. 1–20”). Hypo­thetical forms are prefixed with an *asterisk as is now standard practice. Editorial comments of my own are given in {curly brackets}.

From time to time one encounters negative assessments by modern readers who have criticized Jenner for some of his social comments. It is true: today’s reader will find some of Jenner’s remarks to be what we now consider to be politically incorrect, indeed rather embarrassing. It must be remembered that the book was published at a time when such ideas were commonplace. This does not make them accurate or admirable; it is a reason, not an excuse. The most extreme of such comments have been moved to footnotes—where they can be safely ignored by the reader whose interests are merely linguistic.

I would like to give my thanks to Mary Beazley for encouraging me so wholeheartedly to re-publish the work of her Uncle Harry. I am most grateful to my colleagues Eddie Climo, Owen Cook, Thomas Leigh, Christian Semmens, Craig Weatherhill, and Nicholas Williams for their proof­reading, and for many useful comments on Jenner’s text and on my editorial additions. The responsibility for any lurking typographical or interpretative errors remains mine.


What thou wilt: Traditional and Innovative trends in Post-Gardnerian Witchcraft

Evertype is pleased to announce the publication of Jon Hanna's trenchant look into the sociology of modern witchcraft, What thou wilt: Traditional and Innovative trends in Post-Gardnerian Witchcraft.

From the back cover:

The publication from 1954 of Gerald Gardner’s non-fiction works on witchcraft has led to the current public existence of two different trends of religious and magical belief and practice, both which identify themselves as Wicca. One form places a strong emphasis upon the transmission of traditional practices and a form of initiatory lineage similar to that practised by Gardner himself. The other covers a wider range of views on each of these aspects, but with the most common position being a strong distance between the traditional practices—giving a greater importance to innovation—and a complete or near-complete abandon ment of the concept of initiatory lineage.

Both trends often see themselves and each other as being within a wider religio-magical stream of Post-Gardnerian Pagan Witchcraft of which the innovative form is a larger part, though in different ways. The traditional view of the innovative form typically labels that form Eclectic even in cases where the practitioners would understand Eclectic differently, and considers it to be something outside of what it terms Wicca. The innovative form generally labels all Post-Gardnerian Pagan Witchcraft, or beyond, as Wicca, and as such recognizes all traditional practitioners as Wiccan but does not generally make more signi fi cant distinctions between the various schools.

The traditional stream considers the differences between the two streams as significant to the point of typicality while the innovative stream considers the differences as much less important. This book examines the differences and offers insights into both.


The Cult of Relics: Devocyon an Greryow

Evertype is pleased to announce the publication of a bilingual novel, written in English by Alan M. Kent and faced with a Cornish translation by Nicholas Williams: The Cult of Relics: Devocyon an Greryow.

From the back cover:

The Cult of Relics is a new novel by Alan M. Kent (author of Proper Job, Charlie Curnow! and Electric Pastyland), presented in a bilingual format, with a Cornish-language translation, Devocyon dhe Greryow, by Nicholas Williams. The story is set in Western Britain in the mid-1990s just after the Gulf War, and tells of three extraordinary people: of the New-Age Traveller Jude Fox, of the American photojournalist Eddie Hopkins, and of the Cornish-born archaeologist Robert Bolitho. The three characters discover a set of connections between them, stretching back to the early seventeenth century. Kent’s intriguing story weaves together their disparate lives with that of the mysterious “Stranger”, whose preservation of a curious holy relic becomes a focus for their collective need for communion and hope.

The Cult of Relics yw novel nowyth dhyworth Alan M. Kent (auctour a Proper Job, Charlie Curnow! hag a Electric Pastyland), hag yma va dyllys gans trailyans Kernowek Nicholas Williams, Devoycyon dhe Greryow. An whedhel-ma a gebmer le i’n West a Vreten Veur in cres an bledhydnyow mil, naw cans, peswar ugans ha deg, termyn cot warlergh Bresel an Morbleg. Yth eson ny ow metya ino gans try ferson, meur a les: Jûd Fox, Viajyores a’n Oos Nowyth; Eddie Hopkins, an fôtojornalyst Amerycan; ha’n hendhyscansyth dhia Gernow, Robert Bolitho. Ymowns y aga thry ow dyscudha bos kescolm intredhans dhyworth bledhydnyow avarr an seytegves cansvledhen. I’n whedhel hudol-ma yma Kent ow qwia warbarth bêwnans kenyver onen anodhans gans an “Stranjer” kevrînek. Crer sans ha stranj re beu gwethys ganso ev, ha’n dra-na yw an crespoynt a’n othem a’n jeves kettep onen a gowethyans ha govenek.


The Hunting of the Snark

The Hunting of the Snark, Lewis Carroll's magnificent 1890 nonsense poem, is now available from Evertype.

From the Foreword:

The Hunting of the Snark was first published in 1876, eleven years after Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and four years after Through the Looking-Glass. It is a master piece of nonsense and is connected to Through the Looking-Glass by its use of vocabulary from the poem “Jabberwocky”.

The Hunting of the Snark is a strangely dark poem, and some critics believe that its themes—insanity and death—are rather too adult in nature for children’s literature. We know, nonetheless, that Lewis Carroll intended the poem to be enjoyed by children: he dedicated the book in acrostic verse to his young friend Gertrude Chataway, and signed some 80 presentation copies to other young readers. Many of those inscriptions were in the form of an acrostic based upon the name of the child to whom the book was presented.

Part of the pleasure of reading this book is in the inevitable musing about what it means. Its author, often asked to explain his work, invariably replies that he does not know. In his splendid book The Annotated Hunting of the Snark, Martin Gardner cites several such replies by Carroll:

  • For all such questions I have but one answer: “I don’t know!”

  • Of course you know what a Snark is? If you do, please tell me: for I haven’t an idea what it is like.

  • “Why don’t you explain the Snark?” … Let me answer it now—“because I ca’n’t.” Are you able to explain things which you don’t yourself understand?

  • As to the meaning of the Snark? I’m very much afraid I didn’t mean anything but nonsense!

  • I was walking on a hillside, alone, one bright summer day, when suddenly there came into my head one line of verse—one solitary line—“For the Snark was a Boojum, you see.” I knew not what it meant, then: I know not what it means, now; but I wrote it down: and, sometime afterwards, the rest of the stanza occurred to me, that being its last line: and so by degrees, at odd moments during the next year or two, the rest of the poem pieced itself together, that being its last stanza.

Well… the author has told us more than thrice. So it must be true. It is therefore open to readers of the poem to decide the question for themselves…


A New Alice in the Old Wonderland

A New Alice in the Old Wonderland, Anna Matlack Richards' 1895 novel in sequel to Lewis Carroll’s Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, is now available from Evertype.

From the back cover:

First published in 1895 in Philadelphia, thirty years after the initial publication of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Anna Matlack Richards’ A New Alice in the Old Wonderland is a splendid and worthy successor to Lewis Carroll’s original tales. Instead of Alice Liddell, it is Alice Lee who makes her way to Wonderland...

Richly illustrated in the style of John Tenniel by the author’s daughter, this book will delight any reader thirsting for a new adventure in Carroll’s wondrous world.

“I’m delighted to learn that A New Alice is in print again… I’ve read dozens of ‘Alice imitations’ in the course of my work, but Richards’ remains my favorite.” —Carolyn Sigler

From the Foreword:

Anna Matlack Richards (1835–1900) was a poet, playwright, and author, a Pennsylvania Quaker whose reputation as a poet had been established by the time she was twenty. At twenty-one, she married William Trost Richards, and both he and their daughter, Anna Richards Brewster, were American artists of some renown. Richards was fifty-five when she published her children’s fantasy, A New Alice in the Old Wonderland. Although an imitation of Lewis Carroll’s Alice books, it is also subtly critical of them, and its gentle satire is reflected in the sensitive illustrations in the style of Tenniel drawn by Anna Brewster. Carolyn Sigler has written on this aspect of A New Alice, which she considers outstanding among Alice imitations.

The judgement of critics, of course, does not affect the story. It is a pleasant task to edit a century-old book for re-publication and a new generation of readers. Here, as in my other editions of Alice books, I have kept to the book design inspired by Martin Gardiner’s Annotated Alice. I have edited certain features in Anna Richards’ text of 1895, in order to bring it closer to modern tastes in format and language. I have normalized “Your Majesty” to “your Majesty” and followed Carroll’s example in similar cases. I have preferred the more modern “eh?” to “hey?”, “recipe” to “receipt”, “curtsey” to “courtesy”, and “Jew’s harp” to “jewsharp”. I have regularized the capitalization of nouns in “Der leedle Johann Schmaus”. Where Richards follows Websterian spelling, I have altered to Oxford orthography. In places, Anna Richards’ 19th-century punctuation has been altered to conform to modern practice.

I have also edited out two notable features of the author’s dialect: Humpty Dumpty’s “should ’a’ been” for “should have been” and “hadn’t ’a’ had” for “hadn’t had” (neither warranted by Through the Looking-Glass); and the third-person present singular use of “don’t” for “doesn’t” through out. These dialect features are distinctively American (my mother’s mother, born in Eastern Pennsylvania in 1915, also used “don’t” for “doesn’t”) and seemed out of place in Lewis Carroll’s very English Wonderland. On the other hand, I have retained Richards’ use of Irish dialect by the workers (p. 102) and by the King of Clubs (p. 138); Irish immigrant dialect would have been well-known to Richards, though is unclear whether Richards’ use of Irish English is intended to convey positive or negative connotations, or if it’s just there for flavour.

Finally, since people are sure to ask… I felt that Carroll’s preference in writing “ca’n’t”, “sha’n’t”, and “wo’n’t” would be good for the conceit.

Michael Everson
Westport, 22 November 2009


Nautilus: A sequel to Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues under the Seas

Nautilus, a new novel in sequel to Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Seas and The Mysterious Island, by Craig Weatherhill, is now available from Evertype.

From the back cover:

On a doomed volcanic island in the southern Pacific, a group of American castaways commit the body of an enigmatic genius to the deep, along with the secrets of an extraordinary life…
the Deep Watch environmental ship Aurora mysteriously sinks with all hands in remote Antarctic waters and a subsequent oceanic sequence of strange sightings, antique gold bars and damaged ships blazes a trail around the world. Separate investigations by journalist Barrington Hobbes and Naval Intelligence officer Donall Lindsay lead both towards extreme danger on land and sea, a worldwide ecological conspiracy… … and an avenging legend!


Alice’s Adventures under Ground

Alice’s Adventures under Ground by Lewis Carroll now available from Evertype. The book has been newly-typeset and contains the original illustrations by Lewis Caroll.

From the introduction:

Lewis Carroll, the pen-name of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, was tutor in Mathematics in Christ Church, Oxford. He took a trip on 4 July 1862 in a rowing boat on the Thames in Oxford with the Reverend Robinson Duckworth, Alice Liddell, the daughter of the Dean of Christ Church (she was ten years old), and with her two sisters, Lorina (thirteen), and Edith (eight). The three sisters asked Dodgson to tell them a story, and, reluctantly at first, he related the earliest version of this tale to them.

In 1865 the story in its finished form was published as Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Two years before that, however, on 26 November 1864, Dodgson gave Alice the handwritten manuscript of Alice’s Adventures under Ground, illustrated by Dodgson himself. At Christmas 1886 a facsimile edition of the manuscript was published. Several further facsimile editions have since appeared, and in them all, Dodgson’s careful handwriting can be seen.
This edition sets the text in type, thus making it easier to read than in facsimile. It is certainly well worth reading, although it is shorter than the final form of the story—Alice’s Adventures under Ground is just over 15,500 words in length, whereas Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is nearly twice as long, containing about 27,500 words. Here, as in my other editions of Alice books, I have kept to the book design inspired by Martin Gardiner’s Annotated Alice. Since this is a typeset edition, capital letters are used regularly at the beginning of quoted speech even though they are often omitted in the manu script; some other punctuation has been normalized. Many of these changes are also found in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

This edition also contains Carroll’s introductory essay “Who will Riddle me the How and the Why?” and, as appendices, his “Easter Greetings” and “Christmas Greet ings” to children. These were also published in the 1868 printed edition.

In the original manuscript, a photograph of Alice Liddell had been pasted in at the end of the story. It was discovered recently that beneath this photograph was a portrait of Alice, drawn by Lewis Carroll himself. Both photograph and hand-drawn picture are reproduced here opposite each other on pages 63 and 64.

“It must be a very pretty dance,” said Alice timidly.
“Would you like to see a little of it?” said the Mock Turtle.
“Very much indeed,” said Alice.
“Come, let’s try the first figure!” said the Mock Turtle to the Gryphon, “We can do it without lobsters, you know. Which shall sing?”
“Oh! You sing!” said the Gryphon, “I’ve forgotten the words.” So they began solemnly dancing round and round Alice, every now and then treading on her toes when they came too close, and waving their fore-paws to mark the time, while the Mock Turtle sang, slowly and sadly…


Wonderland Revisited and the Games Alice Played There

Wonderland Revisited and the Games Alice Played There by Keith Sheppard now available from Evertype. The book has been illustrated by Cynthia Brownell.

From the back cover:

“Excuse me,” said Alice to a small white Mouse in red shorts. “What precisely is a custard race?”

Did Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass leave you yearning for more? Join Alice on her new journey and meet the extraordinary inhabitants of Wonderland, both familiar and new.

If your bed turned into a boat and you found yourself “drifting off” in an entirely unexpected manner how would you find your way home? The Jack of Diamonds says it’s Alice’s own fault for being fast asleep—had she slept more slowly she wouldn’t be so far from home.

The Red Queen, the Mah-jong Dragons, even the Red King’s Gamekeeper, all seem helpful enough at first—but things never quite turn out the way Alice hopes!

Brimming with wordplay, nonsense verse, and a cast of eccentric characters each with their own peculiar logic, this adventure is faithful to the style of the originals, picking up the pen where Lewis Carroll put it down. Be swept away on a torrent of humour and madness. Alice is back!

Sciorrfhocail: Scéalta agus úrscéal

Tá an leabhar Sciorrfhocail: Scéalta agus úrscéal le Panu Petteri Höglund le fáil ó Evertype anois. Otso Höglund, deartháir an údair, a mhaisigh an leabhar.

From the back cover:

Trí ghearrscéal agus úrscéal amháin le scríbhneoir Fionlannach a d’fhoghlaim a chuid Gaeilge ó scéalaithe agus ó scríbhneoirí móra na Gaeltachta sular tháinig sé go hÉirinn den chéad uair. Seo iad na scéalta Gaeilge a chum sé ina fhear óg dó, agus iad ar fáil faoi chlúdach leabhair anois. Scéalta iad faoi dhaoine uaigneacha a chaitheann slabhraí an uaignis díobh agus iad ag tóraíocht an ghrá.

“Ainmhian na Máistreása Óige”: Cailín cráifeach í Pia nár thuig bealaí an ghrá riamh. Ach anois, chuaigh an grá féin i luíochán roimpi.

“Craiceann”: Tháinig mac léinn óg ar cuairt chuig a thuismitheoirí le súil a chaitheamh ar na seanbhólaí. Céard a chasfar air cois an locha i gcroí na coille, meas tú? Céard eile ach an grá féin!

“Béarlóir Deireanach an Domhain”: Chuaigh an Ghaeilge ar fud an domhain. Níl ach Gaeilge Uladh ag na Meiriceánaigh, agus fágadh an Béarla in áit na leathphingine i Sasana féin. Cén cineál saoil atá ag an mBéarlóir deireanach ar an saol seo?

Tachtaimis an Grá Sin: Fear óg cúthail é Somhairle nach bhfuil de chairde aige ach ógánach uaigneach eile agus nach bhfuil de chaitheamh aimsire aige ach a bheith ag amharc ar na físghránnáin. Ach lá amháin, castar cailín air nach bhfacthas a leithéid riamh roimhe sin i Narkkaus, baile beag in Oirthear na Fionlainne.

Jowal Lethesow: Whedhel a’n West a Gernow

Evertype is pleased to announce the publication of a Cornish version, translated by Nicholas Williams, of a book by Craig Weatherhill, Jowal Lethesow: Whedhel a’n West a GernowThe Lyonesse Stone.

From the back cover:

Termyn pòr hir alebma pow Lethesow inter Pedn an Wlas ha Syllan a wrug sedhy rag nefra in dadn an todnow. Ny dhienkys marnas Arlùth Trevelyan. Lies bledhen awosa yma whedhel coth an pow kellys ow tewheles dhe dropla Peny ha Jowan, whor ha broder, neb yw skydnys dhyworth Arlùth Trevelyan y honen. Destnys yns dhe gollenwel profecy coth, hag y degys aberth in gwlascor gudh a’n West a Gernow. Ena y a vÿdh maglednys i’n whilas auncyent rag power hag anvarwoleth. “Wàr an tu aral a’n park, dhyrag an magoryow overdevys, a sevy seyth marhak; linen gasadow a skeusow cosel. Tewl o aga mergh, tewl aga mentylly hir, ha down o an cùgollow ow keles aga fysmant.” Yma Arlùth Pengersek ow cresy y hyll ev spedya dre weres an drognerthow-ma. Saw kynth usy an whedhlow coth ow tasvewa, yma Peny ha Jowan Trevelyan a’ga sav intredho ev ha... Jowal Lethesow.

Long ago, the land of Lyonesse between Land’s End and the Isles of Scilly sank forever beneath the waves. Only the Lord Trevelyan escaped to tell the tale. Countless years later the legend of the Lost Land returns to haunt his descendants, who find themselves transported to the hidden realms of West Cornwall. Bound to fulfil an ancient prophecy, Penny and John Trevelyan are caught up in a centuries-old quest for power and immortality: “On the far side of the field, in front of the old, overgrown ruin, stood seven horsemen: a sinister line of motionless shadows. Dark were the horses on which they sat, dark their flowing robes and deep the cowls which hid their faces.” With the help of these evil forces, the Lord Pengersek believes he will win. But while ancient legends spring to life, it is Penny and John Trevelyan who stand between him and… The Lyonesse Stone.


Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There

Evertype is pleased to announce the publication of an edition of Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There.

From the introduction:

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is a tale of summer which Lewis Carroll (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson) published for the first time in July 1865. Many of the characters in the book belong to a pack of cards. This story is a winter's tale, which Carroll first published in December 1871. Much of this second story is based on the game of chess.

The heroine of the two books is Alice Liddell, daughter of the Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, where Dodgson taught mathematics. Although Alice Liddell was born in 1852, twenty years later then Dodgson, she is kept in the two books as a little girl of seven years of age, the age she was when she Dodgson met her for the first time. It is clear from the pieces of poetry at the beginning and the end of this book that Carroll was very fond of Alice Liddell. One must remember, however, that Alice's parents and Carroll fell out in 1864 and that he saw her very rarely after that date.


Lastall den Scáthán agus a bhFuair Eilís Ann Roimpi

Evertype is pleased to announce the publication of a translation by Nicholas Williams of Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There in Irish.

From the back cover:

Scéal samhraidh atá in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland a d’fhoilsigh Lewis Carroll (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson) den chéad uair i mí Iúil 1865. D’fhoilsigh Nicholas Williams leagan Gaeilge de sin sa bhliain 2003 faoin teideal Eachtraí Eilíse i dTír na nIontas. Is le paca cártaí a bhaineann roinnt mhaith de charachtair agus d’eachtraí an leabhair. Scéal geimhridh is ea an scéal seo Lastall den Scáthán agus a bhFuair Eilís Ann Roimpi agus is aistriúchán Gaeilge é ar Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There a d’fhoilsigh Carroll den chéad uair i mí na Nollag 1871. Ar chluiche fichille a bunaíodh formhór dá bhfuil sa dara scéal seo.

Is í banlaoch an dá leabhar Alice Liddell, iníon le Déan Christ Church, Oxford, áit a raibh Dodgson ina oide matamaitice. Cé gur sa bhliain 1852 a rugadh Alice Liddell, fiche bliain níos déanaí ná Dodgson, samhlaítear sa dá leabhar í mar chailín beag seacht mbliana d’aois, an aois a bhí aici nuair a casadh Dodgson den chéad uair uirthi. Is léir ó na píosaí filíochta ag tús agus ag deireadh an leabhair seo go raibh an-chion ag Carroll ar Alice Liddell. Ní mór cuimhneamh, áfach, gur éirigh idir tuismitheoirí Alice agus Carroll sa bhliain 1864 agus nach bhfaca sé ach go fíorannamh i ndiaidh an dáta sin í.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is a tale of summer which Lewis Carroll (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson) published for the first time in July 1865. Nicholas Williams published an Irish version of it in 2003 under the title Eachtraí Eilíse i dTír na nIontas. Many of the characters in the book belong to a pack of cards. This story, Lastall den Scáthán agus a bhFuair Eilís Ann Roimpi, is a winter's tale, an is a translation of Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There which Carroll first published in December 1871. Much of this second story is based on the game of chess.

The heroine of the two books is Alice Liddell, daughter of the Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, where Dodgson taught mathematics. Although Alice Liddell was born in 1852, twenty years later then Dodgson, she is kept in the two books as a little girl of seven years of age, the age she was when she Dodgson met her for the first time. It is clear from the pieces of poetry at the beginning and the end of this book that Carroll was very fond of Alice Liddell. One must remember, however, that Alice’s parents and Carroll fell out in 1864 and that he saw her very rarely after that date.


Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Seas

I am delighted to announce the publication of F. P. Walter's translation of Vingt mille lieues sous les mers: Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Seas: An Underwater Tour of the World .

The book, available now in hardcover, was typeset by me using two Fournier fonts which were designed during Verne's lifetime, and the book sports the original 1871 illustrations by Alphonse-Marie de Neuville agus Édouard Riou. The two maps have been (rather painstakingly) re-set in English.

From the back cover:

Jules Verne (1828–1905) was born in the Breton river town of Nantes, and had a lifelong passion for the sea. First as a Paris stockbroker, later as a celebrated author and yachtsman, he went on frequent voyages—to Britain, America, the Mediterranean. But the specific stimulus for this novel was an 1865 fan letter from a fellow writer, Madame George Sand. She praised Verne ’s two early novels Five Weeks in a Balloon (1863) and Journey to the Centre of the Earth (1864), then added: “Soon I hope you’ll take us into the ocean depths, your characters travelling in diving equipment perfected by your science and your imagination.” Thus inspired, Verne created one of literature’s great rebels, a freedom fighter who plunged beneath the waves to wage a unique form of guerilla warfare.

This translation is a faithful yet communicative rendering of the original French texts published in Paris by J. Hetzel et Cie.—the hardcover first edition issued in the autumn of 1871, collated with the softcover editions of the First and Second Parts issued separately in the autumn of 1869 and the summer of 1870. Although prior English versions have often been heavily abridged, this new translation is complete to the smallest substantive detail.

The translator, F. P. Walter, is a long-standing member of the North American Jules Verne Society. He currently lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.


Getting Your Goat: The Gourmet Guide

Evertype is pleased to announce the publication of a new cookbook by Patricia A. Moore with Jill Charlotte Stanford, with illustrations by Susan Koch.

From the back cover:

Goats have been a major source of food since time immemorial. Ancient cave paintings show the hunting of goats. They are also one of the oldest domesticated animals on earth. Goat meat can be stewed, curried, baked, grilled, barbecued, minced, canned, or made into sausage.

Goat milk and the cheese made from it has remained popular throughout history and still is consumed on a more extensive basis worldwide than cow’s milk.

In addition to food, goats provided early man with skins to make into clothing, with hair to spin into yarn and weave into cloth, and were then—as they are now—a symbol of wealth. To own many goats meant you were well-off and would never face starvation.

This book contains recipes from all over the world. They are easy, many of them quick to prepare, and all are absolutely delicious.

About the Authors
Patricia A. Moore spent 25 years in horticulture, running a land­scape maintenance business in the San Francisco Bay area before moving to Central Oregon in 1988. She raises Boer goats, serves on the State Board of the Oregon Meat Goat Producers and is involved with her local chapter of the OMGP. Cooking is Patricia’s passion. This book contains many wonderful recipes from her own kitchen, as well as recipes from other goat gourmets.

Jill Charlotte Stanford has been a writer, editor, and author since 1978. She is the author of Lamb Country Cooking (Culinary Arts 1994), The Cowgirl’s Cookbook (Globe Pequot 2008), and Going It Alone (Evertype 2008). As a Restaurant Reviewer as well as a Lamb Cook-Off Judge, she has a highly developed sense of good food. Jill lives and writes in Sisters, Oregon, with her faithful Australian Shepherd Elsa.

About the Illustrator
Susan Koch studied life drawing and watercolor at the American Academy of Art in Chicago, Illinois. Over the past thirty-five years her paintings have won many awards, including “Best of Show” and “People’s Choice” several years running in the Watercolor Society of Oregon annual shows.

Kensa Lyver Redya

Evertype is pleased to announce the publication of a Cornish edition of Harriette Taylor Treadwell and Margaret Free’s Primer, translated by Eddie Foirbeis Climo.

From the back cover:

Yma an kensa lyver redya-ma têwlys rag an descor avar, be va flogh bò den leundevys. Nyns eus lies ger dyvers i’n lyver, nebes moy ès 200 warbarth. Y fÿdh kefys ino naw whedhel classyk: An Yar Vian Rudh, An Maw a Vara Jynjyber, An Venyn Goth ha’n Porhel, An Maw ha’n Avar, An Grampethen, Ÿdhnyk Lÿdhnyk, An Try Bogh Bewek, Trednar Bian, ha Kensa Gwias an Gefnysen Vian.

This first reader is aimed at early learners of Cornish, whether children or adults. It has a relatively small vocabulary of just over 200 words, and presents nine classic stories: The Little Red Hen, The Gingerbread Boy, The Old Woman and the Pig, The Boy and the Goat, The Pancake, Chicken Licken, The Three Billy Goats Gruff, Little Tuppens, and Little Spider’s First Web.


The Primer by Treadwell and Free

Harriette Taylor Treadwell and Margaret Free’s Primer, first published in 1910, is intended for early readers, and for those who teach them.

It has a relatively small vocabulary of just over 200 words, and presents nine classic stories: The Little Red Hen, The Gingerbread Boy, The Old Woman and the Pig, The Boy and the Goat, The Pancake, Chicken Little, The Three Billy Goats Gruff, Little Tuppens, and Little Spider’s First Web.


Lyver Pejadow rag Kenyver Jorna: Cornish Daily Prayer

As the Christian Easter approaches, Evertype is pleased to announce the publication of the second edition of Lyver Pejadow rag Kenyver Jorna: Cornish Daily Prayer by the Rev. Andy Phillips.

From the back cover:

Yma lies huny i’n tor’-ma owth assaya desky Kernowek, hag ow whelas fordhow rag ûsya an tavas i’ga bêwnans pùb dëdh oll. Onen a’n fordhow-na yw an ûsadow coth a bejadow kenyver jorna. Yma dew dowl gans an lyver-ma—gul gweres dhe dus ow tesky Kernowek ha’ga dry nessa dhe Dhuw kefrÿs. Yma Pejadow Myttyn ha Pejadow Gordhuwher i’n lyver-ma ow sewya an ordyr tradycyonal, hag y feu formys a bejadow coth dhia an Eglos Keltek gorrys aberveth pan o hedna possybyl. Udn salm yn udnek re beu appoyntys rag pùb dëdh a’n seythen, may fe taclow sempel— rag gwell yw an pejadow mars yw sempel. Yma Collectys dhe ûsya dre vledhen an Eglos i’n lyver inwedh, ha rol a dhegolyow nebes sens Keltek.

There are a great many people now seeking to learn Cornish, and all are looking for ways to use it in their daily lives. One is through the age-old practice of daily prayer. This book has been compiled with two aims—to help you to learn Cornish, and to bring you closer to God in the process. Morning and Evening Prayer in this book follow a traditional format, and ancient prayers from the Celtic Church have been included whenever possible. A fixed psalm for Morning and Evening Prayer is used each day to make things simple, because that’s how prayer should be. Collects have been included for use during the Church year, as well as a list of Celtic saints’ days.


Adro dhe’n Bÿs in Peswar Ugans Dëdh

Evertype is pleased to announce the publication of a translation by Kaspar Hocking of Around the World in Eighty Days in Cornish.

This book is written in the orthography called Kernowek Standard, and contains the many of the illustrations of Alphonse-Marie de Neuville and Léon Bennett, which first appeared in the original French edition.

The translator, Kaspar Hocking, was born in January 1913 in London, where his father worked in the Admiralty, after leaving Falmouth for work at the beginning of the twentieth century. Kaspar studied biology at Imperial College in London and worked for 30 years as an entomologist in East Africa (Tanganyika, Uganda, and Kenya), retiring in Polwheveral in 1969. He has taken in interst in the Cornish language since 1989, when his daughter, Vanessa Beeman, persuaded him to classes with her to learn the language. Both Kaspar and Vanessa were made Bards of the Cornish Gorseth in 1993, with Vanessa eventually becoming Deputy Grand Bard in 2003 and Grand Bard in 2006. Kaspar has also been involved with the Cornwall Wildlife Trust both as Chairman of the Council, then President. He was also Chairman of Agan Tavas from 1996 to 1998.


La Aventuroj de Alicio en Mirlando

Evertype is pleased to announce the publication of a translation by Elfric Leofwine Kearney of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland in Esperanto.

This translation into Esperanto by Elfric Leofwine Kearney was first published in 1910. This new edition contains the famous illustrations of Sir John Tenniel, which first appeared in the original English edition.

Alys in Pow an Anethow

Evertype is pleased to announce the publication of a translation by Nicholas Williams of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland in Cornish.

This book is written in the orthography called Kernowek Standard. It is very close to the orthography of the Single Written Form (Traditional Graphs), except that some small errors in the Single Written Form have been amended in this spelling, and diacritical marks are also used to show the differences between homonyms or to indicate vowels which are pronounced in different ways. Anyone who can read the Single Written Form will be able to read this version without any difficulty. This new book contains the famous illustrations of Sir John Tenniel, which first appeared in the original English edition.


The Samaritan Torah

Evertype is pleased to announce the publication of an edition by Mark Shoulson of The Torah: Jewish and Samaritan versions compared.

This splendid volume compares the Hebrew text of the Torah with the Samaritan text. The book is in Hebrew (of course), with an appendix at the end giving the Babel story in the original Samaritan script with transliteration and transcription.

tlhIngan Hol yIghItlh!

My 1997 proposal to encode Klingon in the UCS still gets attention these days. I found a mention from 2006, for instance. A bit more impenetrable is a post from 2001 in Lojban mentioning me and Klingon together. I can't even begin to wonder what I'm doing on somebody's twitter though.

But it was certainly interesting to see a hardware manufacturer test the market by manufacturing a genuine Klingon keyboard!

I wonder if they are including keyboard layout software that accesses the PUA code positions.

As for Klingon in Latin, I really wish they would have a spelling reform. In particular the use of q for [qʰ] and Q for [q͡χ] is problematic, given a serious potential for trouble in text searching, or the possibility of data loss if a casing operation occurs.

The Klingon alphabet is:

a b ch D e gh H I j l m n ng o p q Q r S t tlh u v w y ’

It seems to me that the following would be preferable:

a b c d e g h i j l m n ŋ o p q ꝗ r s t ł u v w y ’
A B C D E G H I J L M N Ŋ O P Q Ꝗ R S T Ł U V W Y ’

Here eng ŋ and q with stroke through descender ꝗ and l with stroke ł are used, and the orthography is free to use capital and small letters as normal.

bortaS bIr jablu’DI’reH QaQqu’ nay’. qaStaHvIS wa’ ram loS SaD Hugh SIjlaH qetbogh loD.

Bortas bir jablu’di’reh ꝗaꝗqu’ nay’. Qastahvis wa’ ram los sad hug sijlah qetbog lod.

Translation: ‘Revenge is a dish best served cold. Four thousand throats can be cut in one night by a running man.’


Praise for Everson Mono

Samuel Klein discovered my font Everson Mono recently and likes it very much! Indeed he likes its lower-case g, which some people have been less enthusiastic about....


Tom Hanks likes typewriters...

I've been interested in Gaelic typewriters for a long time, and as many of you know, have made digital versions available.

An article in the Belfast Telegraph as well as this follow-up are interesting. I wonder if Mr McIlwaine managed to get one for Mr Hanks.

You can see a part of Hanks' typewriter collection in this endorsement for Barack Obama made round about May 2008.


Post in haste, repent at leisure....

How splendid is it that President-Elect Obama's team has already created change.gov. Looks as though the "new" technology is going to be a part of things to come.

Alas, creating the page so quickly didn't preclude an amusing error. I decided to subscribe to the site to see what they'd be sending out. I put in my e-mail address, but no zip code as we have no postcodes in Ireland. That causes an error, and a page comes up asking you to put in some more data. (On that page you can change the country of residence for instance.)

The error involves placeholder text which is still visible... I'm sure it will be gone soon, but here's a screen shot:

Lorem ipsum.

One friend to whom I pointed this out wondered if the page had been attacked. But no: it's just place-holder text.

All hail President-Elect Obama!

On a quick trip to Vienna to work on encoding the Teuthonista phonetic alphabet as well as Old Hungarian, I went to bed at about 01:00 on the night of the U.S. Election. At 06:30 I woke and pretty much rushed to the TV to turn on BBC World News.

And lo! But the election had been called for Barack Obama!

I'm pretty much a bellwether myself, but the President-Elect's leadership really does inspire.

Indeed, for the first time, I understand what all the fuss about Kennedy was about.


Spoofing with Unicode

This eBay seller enjoys leaving humorous or semi-humorous quips in his feedback for others.

Note his use of Unicode spoofing in his feedback for the item dated 30-Jun-08:

ʞɔɐqpǝǝɟ uʍop ǝpısdn
• +++++++ɐ ¡uoıʇɔɐsuɐɹʇ ʇɐǝɹƃ
¡ʇuǝɯʎɐd ʇsɐɟ ǝɥʇ ɹoɟ noʎ ʞuɐɥʇ 'ppɐ oʇ pǝʇuɐʍ osןɐ ı

Impressive, eh?

In follow-up: David Faden offers a web converter for turning your text, based on Philip Newton's question: ¿ʇı̣ əsnqɐ ʇ,uɐɔ noʎ ɟı̣ əpoɔı̣un sı̣ pooɓ ʇɐɥʍ


Musha Everson, 1992-05-04 – 2008-05-07

Alas, my cat of 16 years has passed on. It really was time for Musha. I knew it, and I believe Musha knew it, and the vet was very good about it. He pointed out that Musha's thyroid gland had got very large, something I had also noticed while petting him. He had many of the signs of the final hours of Chronic Renal Failure: no urination, severe oral ulcers, inability to walk, fairly dull eyes, and hiding.

We might have tried massive antibiotics to try to heal his mouth ulcers (which were pretty acute) and an IV drip, but there'd be no guarantee of success even in the short term and eventually we would be back again for more of the same. My partner and I pet him as he went to sleep after the first injection, and then as he passed on after the second.

So at 18:00 on Wednesday 7 May, we helped him on his way. We were home by 18:30 and I stopped the clock, to symbolize that time had stopped for Musha. Then on Thursday 8 May at about the same time we brought him down to our friend and neighbour Rosey's garden. On his grave Rosey planted blue forget-me-nots and some other white flowers. Later on we will plant a tree there. At 18:35 on Thursday I started the clock again.

Musha was just over 16, his birthday being 4 May 1992. I miss him very much, and though I have no regrets about our choice, I find the early grieving to be relentless.


Oregon Democratic Primary

I filled out my Oregon absentee ballot today for the Democratic Primary. I voted for Obama, because I like him more than Clinton, though I would be happy to vote for either in November. (Why do I like him more? Because he belongs to my own generation, not to the previous one. It's time.)

Personally I hope the Super Delegates draft Gore for President and Obama for VP. Then we could have 16 years of Democrats in the White House.

But then I read a lot of science fiction.


Bottling sloe gin

We had a very good crop of sloes this year so I am laying down a number of bottles. I'm trying different proportions to see what I like. Laid down so far:

1/2 litre gin
250g sloes
200g sugar

1/2 litre gin
250g sloes
150g sugar

1/2 litre gin
250g sloes
100g sugar

1/2 litre gin
300g sloes
150g sugar

Method: Sugar is weighed and funnelled into the 75ml swing-top capped botle. Frozen berries are weighed out in a bowl, zapped 40 seconds in the microwave, and each is sliced with a scissors before putting into the bottle. Then gin (Cork Dry Gin in this case, which was cheap enough per litre in the 1.5 litre size used upside-down in pubs). I've labelled each bottle with the recipe and date of bottling.


Counting preservation in West Virginia

While it would be nice if fortune went more hand-in-hand with fame, fame sometimes brings one a nice surprise. I often get inquiries from people looking into languages and writing systems, and sometimes those queries are really very interesting. Last night, I received a very nice request from a charming person from West Virginia whose initials are V.E.L., who was born in 1927ː
Good evening to you, sir. This may sound very stupid to you but I'm willing to take that chance to ask you a question; I'm 80 years old and, as a young kid, I remember my Mother telling me and my siblings that she could count to 20 in Cherokee. We, of course, memorized that stuff and still have most of it stored in the old noggin. It went like this; teen, tain, tether, fether, fimps, matha, latha, catha, doublo, beaudix, teendix, taindix, tetherdix, fetherdix, bumpus, teenbump, tainbump, tetherbump, fetherbump, jenkus. (1 to 20)

It turns out that the numbers one to ten in Cherokee really don't have anything to do with the list which V.E.L. gave.


So it's not Cherokee.
Is there any possibility that there was any merit at all in this, or was she simply kidding with us? I have been under the impression that dix was possibly French for 10 and that, coupled with teen for 11, makes a little bit of sense to me. The spelling is just my idea of how the words sounded and I am not a linguist at all. If you can find time to respond, it will greatly appreciated.

I think there's a good chance it's Welsh. At least some of it is. It's five and the shift after fifteen that clinch it for me.

11teendixˈtiːndɪksun ar ddegiːn ɑr ðeg
13tetherdixˈtɛðərdɪkstri ar ddegtriː ɑr ðeg
14fetherdixˈfɛðərdɪkspedwar ar ddegˈpɛdwɑr ɑr ðeg
16teenbumpˈtiːnbʌmpun ar bymthegiːn ɑr ˈbɪmθeg
17tainbumpˈtɑɪnbʌmpdau ar bymthegdɑɪ ɑr ˈbɪmθeg
19fetherbumpˈfɛðərbʌmppedwar ar bymthegˈpɛdwɑr ɑr ˈbɪmθeg


Internet back on in Burma

20:30, 2007-10-05: I've just spent two and a half hours talking with my friends now that the internet is (at least for now) up and running.

17:30, 2007-10-06: My friends tell me that unofficially the internet is up from 22:00 to 05:00 local time.


My experience with telecoms in Iran

2007-06-09 (Yes, I know, I wrote it four months ago and should have posted it then.)

One difference between my trip to Iran in November 2004 and June 2007 is that my phone worked! Well... sometimes.

My mobile service provider is O2, and it was a big surprise to me at Tehran airport when I turned it on for its clock and it delivered a text message. "IR-TCI" appeared and I was able to phone Roozbeh who was a bit late to meet me at the airport. Of course I sent a few text messages. Some odd loops occurred. A message sent me from a friend in California kept being delivered every half hour or so. The next day when we began our journey, coverage continued until either before Zanjan or between Zanjan and Qazvin. The error given by my Nokia E70 was "SIM card registration failed". Where was the failure? I am not sure.

Non-coverage continued in Qazvin, and in Tabriz, but in Jolfa it returned... But this time from ACell, a company in Azerbaijan. Driving along the Iranian border with Azerbaijan coverage shifted from ACell to Iran TELECOMMunication and Information. When we got to a spot near Meghri, I got a welcome message from the Armenian provider, ArmenTel I think it was. Then back to IR-TCI which later cut out again as we travelled to Kaleybar. high on the mountain pass on the way to K coverage returned. Then gone again through to Ardabil, until ACell woke the phone again in Astara. A switch there to IR-TCI, which then broke off. Whoops! IR-TCI started up again somewhere before we hit Rasht. I presume it will work from here on in to Tehran. But will there be coverage on our weekend trip to Yazd in the centre of the country? Well, we will see about that tonight but the Tehran service cut out after a metro ride this morning. Why am I so obsessed with mobile telephony? The apparent randomeness of coverage bugs me. Is it O2? Or IR-TCI? Or some middleman between the two?


Our friends in Burma

I said when I started that I'm not much of a diarist, and lots has happened that I might have blogged but haven't. Maybe later I'll file the exciting tale of My Experience with Telecoms in Iran.

But for now I am thinking of Burma and all that is happening there. One of my friends there has not been online since internet access was cut off on the 28th. He promised to stay safe... Another friend there happens to be in Bangkok right now, and another is in Chiangmai.

One source of news, translated from Burmese to English, is this blog. Read it. Share the URL. The people who are responsible for it are heroes and patriots.


Grave and acute

My friend John Cowan just asked me "Do you know the history of Gaelic grave vs. Irish acute?"

Of course Irish uses áéíóú. And Scottish Gaelic uses àèìòù. I've never thought about this. I'll have to look into it.

The earliest printed book in Irish uses the acute. To me that seems a natural choice. I don't know why people setting Scottish Gaelic chose the grave though. I'll look into it.


Tiger on my XP

I have a nice little Sony Vaio TX which I use from time to time for font development or to run Unibook. I find Windows to be unintuitive and generally icky. But the good folks at FlyAKiteOSX.com have a splendid and wonderful OS X skin which takes much of the pain and alienation away. And it really does make it easier for me to get things done under XP!


A medieval helpdesk

This Norwegian comedy sketch came as a breath of fresh air to me today. I needed a laugh! The sketch is by "KLM", Kirkevaag, Lystad, Mjøen, three very well-known Norwegian actors.

I haven't been very good about keeping up my blog, but so far this year I have been away from home for four weeks! It's hard to find time. So in the meantime, enjoy the YouTube offering. :-)


A test of music memory and tonedeafness

I ran across Jake Mandell's online test of your musical skills. I've often wondered about the relation between musical and linguistic ability. My ear must be pretty good, because I scored 89.9% when I took the test. So I'm not tone deaf and I have pretty good short term music memory. As I have a good ear for languages (and a good accent in general when speaking them) this doesn't surprise me. I've never been able to read music, though. Since I'm not good at maths either, I wonder if those skills are related.


Rehabilitating two Cyrillic characters

The other week I worked on a project to “rehabilitate” two already-encoded letters that are badly specified, and which cause problems to people using Cyrillic in the UCS. Not problems just for the end user, but problems for implementers as well. The characters in question are U+0478 CYRILLIC CAPITAL LETTER UK, U+0479 CYRILLIC SMALL LETTER UK, U+047C CYRILLIC CAPITAL LETTER OMEGA WITH TITLO, U+047D CYRILLIC SMALL LETTER OMEGA WITH TITLO. The exciting story is found in this document.

My idea was to come up with practical solutions that will avoid ambiguity. On the other hand, theoretical perfection is something we don’t have the luxury for. We are doing damage control on bad choices made more than a decade ago! I am sure we would not have made those mistakes were we encoding Cyrillic for the first time today.

Today, I think we would have encoded a BROAD OMEGA and used diacritics for the beautiful omega or other things, and we would have encoded MONOGRAPH UK and left digraph UK to be encoded as a string of characters, Cyrillic о and у. Solution 2b and 3b in my document were attempts to achieve that situation, which would have been ideal, in my view.

The UTC was conservative on the side of stability, and more or less chose solutions 2a and 3a. (It's not done till it's published of course.) I had a concern that if they choose 2a, it will be possible to represent beautiful omega both as 047D and as BROAD OMEGA with two diacritics, and those will not be equivalent, which would cause ambiguity in text representation. (Of course, we have this now with OMEGA WITH TITLO, so the situation would not be worse than it is today.)

I thought that the case against 3a is a good deal stronger. A number of vendors are happy shipping monograph glyphs for 0479, and this poses no security issues. Looking at the Cyrillic fonts shipping with Windows XP, however, I found that all but one of them avoids encoding this character at all. My guess is that this is a question of security. So... we still have a problem here, since digraph UK can be represented by two letters, or (in principle) by this UK. I am thinking that the best solution for security's sake is to recommend that the reference glyphs for 0479 are drawn with half-width letters, to distinguish it and make it unappealing to use the character at all. This is tantamount to deprecation—if everyone does this in their fonts, it would be a real solution.


Snow on Croagh Patrick and Ben Goram

We have snow today! Here is Croagh Patrick seen from the back porch:

Snowy Croagh Patrick

And here is Ben Goram, just to the west of Croagh Patrick in the same range.
Snowy Ben Goram


A journey to Cornwall

I recently published three books by Nicholas Williams about Revived Cornish, and we discovered a small but irritating typographical error on the title page of one of them. Normally correction of typos is left for an errata sheet, but in this case we decided it would be best to print a correction on an adhesive sticker and paste it down on the title page. This gave me the chance to visit Cornwall for the first time in some years.

And what a splendid trip it was! I flew to Heathrow and took the Heathrow Express to Paddington—what a pleasure such a quick train is—and then took the train down to Truro. It was bright sunny November day, and the four-and-a-half hour journey passed very quickly. I spent some of it correcting an edition of Nicholas Boson’s story “Jowan Chy an Hor" as transcribed by Edward Lhuyd as “Dzhûan Tshei an Hɐr” in his 1707 Archaeologia Britannica. Quite a pleasure it was correcting it, too, as I recently acquired a copy of the original 1707 publication, rebound in red morocco in 1955 by “Nanquelsek”, an American bard of the Cornish Gorsedd. (I have a photo of the book's original binding and am thinking of having it rebound again in that more authentic style.)

At Truro I was met by Neil Kennedy, who has been living in Brittany for the past few years, but who is one of the people who have been using a form of Richard Gendall’s Revived Late Cornish orthography for the past 18 years or so. Neil and I spent several hours over dinner discussing the varieties of Revived Cornish orthography and our thoughts about how the current work towards a Single Written Form for Cornish is going. Later we drove to Portreath on the northwest coast to meet with Ray and Denise Chubb, proprietors of Spyrys a Gernow and members of Agan Tavas. Ray and Neil and I retired to Ray’s local for a few pints of real ale and more talk of orthography. There’s nothing like writing out comparisons of long and short vowels in different orthographies on beer mats with good company and tasty ale! Much has been written about the animosity between different factions of the Cornish Revival. The road ahead looks hopeful to me, though. Certainly seems to me to be nothing but growing mutual respect and friendly regards on the side of those who prefer authentic Cornish orthography for Revived Cornish.


Avestan, Bopomofo, Arabic

Last week I finalized the proposal to encode the Avestan script which I had a lot of fun working with Roozbeh on. I also helped put together a proposal for a Bopomofo character (with Andrew West) and a proposal for eight more Arabic characters with Roozbeh again and with his wife Elnaz.

This week, I’m wrestling with Old Cyrillic and Meitei Mayek.


Eeek! I’m in other people’s blogs!

Trying to figure out how all this blogging works, I’ve found myself to figure in other people’s blogs.... James Seng, for instance, blogged about having dinner with me in January 2005! In fairness, it was a splendid Thai dinner, and it was a pleasure to spend some time with James... and get driven a bit around Singapore in James’ rather nice car.

Nice memories, though. I’m grateful to him for putting me in touch with the UNDP about the Afghanistan project. In many ways, that opened the door to some other interesting work I’ve done.

Evertype: a blog

Some people have said I should blog. Well. Let’s see. I don't know if I am much of a diarist. But let’s see.