I am in the process of unlocking the Strine word of the day entries, so that they can be read by the general public. Before switching the security from friends to public, I am carefully reviewing all of the comments and deleting those that are of a more personal nature. The regular Word of the Day game always was public, so there is no change.
The Word of the Day began, quite without preliminaries, on 11 May 2005. The first word was campanologist.
The first Strine word of the day was bonza. It appeared on 6 July 2005, in response to a TV report the night before on the threat of Strine becoming extinct. Although Waltzing Matilda was mentioned in a comment to the first Strine post, it was not until 22 December 2005 that we brushed up on the translation, and remembered that it is a song about a swagman called Andy.
Lately, I have found that I am growing fonder of Chambers’ definition of middle-aged: between youth and old age, variously reckoned to suit the reckoner. Please note that I have also updated my biography. However, my long-standing paradigm shift ‘all of our reasoning ends in surrender to feeling’ (Blaise Pascal, 1623-1662) is still the same, and, as you can see, I still go by the crisp and unruly daisy as my default user pic.
The user pic to this post is new. (If you can't see it, click here.) It was taken on 24 May 2013 in the Sultanate of Oman, which was previously known as the land of Magan, according to Sumerian cuneiform texts from around 2300 BC. A difference of opinion exists among archaeologists whether Magan may have been Nubia or The Sudan, rather than part of Oman, but the disputes appear to have been settled since it was found that Sumerian copper objects contain traces of nickel at 0.19 per cent, and samples collected from ancient copper workings in Oman contained similar nickel concentrations.
The Sumerians developed a wedge-shaped writing system to denote syllables and words. It is the oldest form of writing in the world. This system, called cuneiform, was also adopted for other languages, including, for example, Babylonian, Assyrian, and Akkadian. I have been enquiring after samples of cuneiform writing since I arrived in Muscat a week ago, thinking that it must be a tourist attraction, but so far I have only been able to find one representative drawing of Akkadian cuneiform in a gallery near the Mutrah Souq. I am still trying to locate a clay tablet, or an inscription in stone or metal. The gallery director* is coming over for ginger tea and cucumber sandwiches at the hotel tomorrow afternoon, and I am hopeful that he may be able to direct me to the source of his drawing.
One thing that I learned in the Market of Darkness (i.e. the small market within the Mutrah Souq) is that not all cashmere is created equal. The shawl of choice is made only with hairs from the goat's throat (which are softer than the hairs from the underbelly), and the goat should be an Omani mountain breed called Gammoudi (which apparently has finer throat wool than the Pashmina goat, but I have not been able to verify this, and sometimes the people here say n'importe quoi). The motif of choice is the traditional Paisley pattern, which is an English term for a design using the boteh, a droplet-shaped vegetable motif. The shawl must be hand-woven, and should not be dyed or bleached.
I have also come across an exclusive boutique selling shahtoosh shawls for 1000-4000 rials (i.e. US $2,600-$10,400). Shahtoosh wool is gathered from the Pantholops antelope, which is also called chiru. This website explains that: 'More than 160 countries signed the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, making killing, harming, or trading the Chiru illegal throughout the world since 1979. It is now against the law to hunt these animals and no commercial trade in shahtoosh is allowed. The illegal and underground trading of the fabric, however, remains a problem.' And this website says: 'Also called a chiru, it is considered an endangered species, and the importation of any part or product of Pantholops is prohibited by U.S. law.'
If anyone has a canting motto to share, please do so in a comment to this post. A canting motto contains word play. For example, the motto of the Earl of Onslow is Festina lente, punningly interpreting on-slow (literally meaning make haste slowly). I have enabled anonymous comments, so that anyone who does not have a live journal account can leave a comment.
::edit on 30/05/2013:: * He said the National Museum has clay tablets, but all of their exhibits are in storage until they reopen the museum in a new building, in 2016.