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Cèid Donn
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Re: Cèid's Super Happy Fun Language Log

Postby Cèid Donn » Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:43 pm

Oh boy, is this a bad day to be reading French news and social media. This particular song comes to mind:



I don't doubt there are people genuinely devastated by the Notre-Dame de Paris fire, but there's something utterly laughable and kind of gross about people flocking to buy a Hugo novel from Amazon.fr as some act of performative, collective grief while English-language news outlets post some pseudo-philosophical dreck about how this is a sign that Notre-Dame will be rebuilt, as if its reconstruction will be materialized out of our collective determination to not give into despair. In case you haven't noticed, we live in a depressingly absurd time in human history.

By the way, the current suspected cause for the fire is accidental and possibly linked to the renovations that had been underway at the time of the fire. Literally no one should be shocked if this turns out to be true, especially given the fragility of some portions of the cathedral.

Honestly, my feelings about all this are a mix of indifference and irritation. We lose beloved things and people in this life all the time and grief is an inescapable factor of being human. As a trained jazz musician, I still grieve over what was lost in New Orleans to Hurricane Katrina--it's just something that has blended into my overall experience and understanding of jazz music, as sad as that is. And it's not that I don't understand the historical significance of Notre-Dame--one of my required courses for my music degree required me to know far more about gothic cathedrals than anyone who's never set foot on European soil should have to (because I went to a Catholic uni). But truth is, if this world lost one of the surviving gothic cathedrals of Europe, human civilization would be OK, really. There are other more precious, irreplaceable things we as a species are at grave risk of losing--something I'm reminded of every April when my city's water restrictions kick in while the daily high temps start hitting over 85F. But if I were to say if anything about this fire makes me feel a loss, it's that we don't really don't have a complete understanding of how the cathedral was built, despite all our present-day technology, and that a lot of the knowledge of the craftsmanship that went into building it has been lost to history. It's OK if we have to rebuild an old building. It's not OK that we've lost the knowledge to do so because we as a society decided centuries ago those skills and knowledge weren't worth preserving. There is a huge parallel here to how I feel about endangered languages.

Another story that surfaced today was about a historian, who had passed away last year at the alarming young age of 49, whose work included laser scans of surviving medieval buildings, including Notre-Dame, which might be vital to the reconstruction. Knowledge and understanding are very good things and should be cherished and preserved.

Anyhow, Macron says he wants the cathedral rebuilt within five years. Oh lordy. Thanks, Emmanuel, I needed a good laugh today.
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DaveAgain
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Re: Cèid's Super Happy Fun Language Log

Postby DaveAgain » Wed Apr 17, 2019 7:45 am

Cèid Donn wrote:Another story that surfaced today was about a historian, who had passed away last year at the alarming young age of 49, whose work included laser scans of surviving medieval buildings, including Notre-Dame, which might be vital to the reconstruction. Knowledge and understanding are very good things and should be cherished and preserved.
I watched a documentary on Florence the other day (Italy's invisible cities). Scanning equipment built into a backpack was the starting point, I wonder if Mr Tallon designed the kit?
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Cèid Donn
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Re: Cèid's Super Happy Fun Language Log

Postby Cèid Donn » Sat Apr 20, 2019 4:47 am

It's been a grueling, depressing week for me. A lot of stuff going on in the world--some far away, some literally within a few miles of my house--has really been taking its toll on my mental and physical health. Add to that, my cardiac issues have returned, although it's not as bad as they were in January. It's hard to know if my heart problems are feeding my despair or vice versa at this point. I try to minimize the amount of awful news i take in daily, but it's hard to avoid a lot of this when they are connected to the communities and cultures of my TLs as well as the place where I live.

I won't talk about all the things upsetting me right now but there is one I want to mention. Just 3 days ago, I was reading some articles online on the Troubles, relating to the recent book, Say Nothing by Patrick Radden Keefe, and one article I came across stood out to me because of the journalist's compassionate framing of the deep trauma and need for healing still felt in N Ireland. Today I learned that journalist was killed amid rioting in Derry.

I personally struggle with my own Irish heritage, which carries over into various degrees of anxiety and self-sabotage with studying Irish, that relate to having my first impressions of what it means to be Irish shaped by unkind, bigoted and uninformed American reactions to the Troubles when I was younger and knowing that the reason I am an "Irish American" has to do with how my Catholic gaeilgeoir great-grandfather was chased out of Ireland by the British because of the political climate would led to the Easter Rising, the War of Independence and the Troubles. There is still a lot about the Troubles I am trying to understand, but it's so painful. There's so many layers of trauma and woundedness that one has to dig through and it often feels endless and hopeless. We need people like Lyra McKee who are brave enough to wade into that and help us find the truth amid all the pain. She was exactly the kind of voice we need in this world, and now she's gone for no justifiable reason and it's terrible beyond words.



***

Anyhow, it should be no surprise that I haven't gotten a lot of studying done beyond Clozemaster, Memrise and watching French Twitch streams. Despite my listless mood towards studying this week, I do have one small victory to report. With watching Twitch streams daily, I feel I'm getting much better at following casual banter and when people talk over one another--one Twitch channel I watch is LeStream and while they sometimes stream someone playing a game, they also stream talk shows and panels about pop culture and games as well as tabletop games where there an be 2-6 players (also there's no small amount of random silliness) so there's quite a variety. These aren't exactly the sort of skills you get taught formally but they are so important for just being able to follow a regular conversation. I can do this with Gaelic, usually, so it feels pretty awesome that I am getting better at in French.
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