ranoj ran rano

In my philosophy of language course, we’ve been looking at coreference. For example, Bruce Wayne and Batman are different expressions, with different senses, but they refer to the same person. It’s interesting, because this semester it seems that everywhere I’m looking at the reverse.  Two objects that will share a name.

Sometimes it’s a matter of switching between languages.  I’m (struggling through) studying Polish, but I have a really lazy brain.  I tell it to think up a way to express that green little amphibian we call a frog in English.  My brain thinks “okay, she wants to say ‘frog’ but in foreign-speak. Well, ‘rano’ is just sitting here all convenient like, and it’s not English.  Sounds good, we’ll go with that.” Yeah, “rano” is a word I use on occasion to refer to that object, but it’s also one I use in Polish.  When I want to talk about something happening “in the morning.” (It’s great when I do this in reverse and instead of doing something “matene,” I claim to do it “rane”)

It happens when I stick to English too.  Up until this semester–and if I’m being totally honest with when I’m doing my reading, up until today–an asterisk preceding a word (at least in a linguistic context) has meant “ungrammatical.” Now, I’ve been able to understand that it meant that, but I’m pretty sure nobody told me that, so I’m a little peeved.  Honestly, it’s kind of a dumb system.  I hope that I had just happened to have a few professors who liked using dumb systems, but today I learned that I’ll have to exit the field of linguistics to avoid this one.  I learned that gem while learning the alternate meaning of *word that I’ll use only in historical linguistics (diachronic linguistics, if you want a fancier sounding word than historical).  *word means that it’s a reconstructed form.  In that class I’m also getting used to > being neither a crocodile mouth nor “greater than.”  But that one isn’t so bad. It looks like an arrow, which is what I would naturally use for “changed into,” and I suppose logically then < would be the opposite.

Heading back to the philosophy of language course that started this series of thought, I get to play around with some familiar terms there too.  Philosophy, like language, can apparently be synthetic or analytic and is either a priori or a posteriori. Yeah, I know, we’re working with the same English language here, there’s going to be some overlap.  There’s just a moment of disconnect when you see a word and think “yeah, I completely know what that means” but then realize that in this context, you’re completely lost.  But hey, that’s what school is for,  huh? :]


For those of you trying to decode the title: First, know that it doesn’t have exciting meaning.  Second, the order of the languages is Esperanto, English, then Polish.  Finally, I’ve given you the meaning of the words in the text, but you may find it helpful to know that -j is the plural marker in Esperanto.

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