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 Post subject: Zompist books feedback
PostPosted: Sun Mar 30, 2014 9:28 am 
Sanci
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I bought some of Zompist's nonfiction books, and found some errors and have a few questions about the content. Search didn't reveal any threads relating to comments about the content of the LCK, ALC, the PCK, or the Lexipedia, so here I am. (Should this be in Ephemera? Somewhere else?)

In The Conlanger's Lexipedia, the diagram of Latin kinship terms (page 230), and the table of terms below it, appear to have swapped the paternal uncle and maternal uncle and their children. (Patruus/patruelis swapped with avunculus/consobrinus/a). This makes the discussion of bifurcate merging systems on page 232-233 extremely confusing, since they use the correct latin terms, which I just learned incorrectly from the chart! I eventually found the correct Latin diagram on a site linked to from the Lexipedia web resources page, but I suspect most people won't get that far.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 30, 2014 10:43 am 
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LCK v1.1, page 117, second-to-last paragraph, the first letter is missing. "n English we often use..."


Last edited by JeremyHussell on Sun Mar 30, 2014 1:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 30, 2014 1:41 pm 
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Lexipedia, page 248: "So the higher the wavelength, the more energetic the light." should be either "the shorter the wavelength" or "the higher the frequency". I suggest the former.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 30, 2014 3:03 pm 
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JeremyHussell wrote:
Lexipedia, page 248: "So the higher the wavelength, the more energetic the light." should be either "the shorter the wavelength" or "the higher the frequency". I suggest the former.

The latter is more correct, however.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2014 8:13 pm 
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Lexipedia, page 326: "... some fish, like electric eels, can generate a high-current wallop than can kill a horse." than -> that


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2014 7:15 am 
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Lexipedia, page 344, at the end of the paragraph about natron, there's evidence of a bug in the word-wrap algorithm. It treated the minus in "-50C" as a hyphen, and put it at the end of a line and the number at the beginning of the next. Alternately, this might be blamed on a hyphen-minus (U+002D) being used instead of a minus (U+2212).

On page 345, in the paragraph about tinstone, there is: "the most common ore of tin— stannous oxide." If that's an en-dash, it should have spaces on both sides. If it's an em-dash, it should have spaces on neither side. (So says wikipedia, anyway.) There are further examples throughout the chapter on substances (at least the writer or editor was consistent).

Yes, trivial things like this bother me. Yes, that probably means there's something wrong with me. I don't care.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2014 5:02 pm 
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Lexipedia page 352, the formula given for potassium carbonate (salt of tartar) is KClO₃. That should be K₂CO₃.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2014 8:12 am 
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Lexipedia, page 376: "... it was one the plank where the moneylender did his business." one -> once


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2014 8:37 am 
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ALC p 57 f: might be worth explaining what "grok" means, or use a different word.

p 71, second paragraph: could write "ta te tsi to tsu..." instead of using a c and then explaining it

p 75, last paragraph before header: this origin of "long time no see" is apparently doubtful - don't know about the others

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2014 9:07 am 
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ALC p 85: According to some researchers I worked with, dolphins do have names (but not, to my knowledge, pronouns).

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2014 9:52 am 
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ALC p 96: perhaps use "Dungeons & Dragons" rather than just "D&D", for those poor few people who are not familiar with it.

p 98, third paragraph: Good point - this is pretty annoying in books and film. Although occasionally something similar does occur, usually with the native using what few words they know of the immigrant's language. My English-speaking friends occasionally use "ja" for "yes" when talking to German or Swedish speakers, for example, and a (Swedish) friend of mine calls her boyfriend what I assume to be the Urdu word for "darling".

p 102, near the end: "middle-". If that's a dash, it's missing a space; if it's a hyphen ("middle-[class]... working class") it's a little confusing.

p 109, first line: same thing here, although the line is longer.

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Last edited by Chuma on Sun Apr 06, 2014 10:03 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2014 9:55 am 
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The Lexipedia resource page has a text file containing the words of the Fantasy Frequency Wordlist, but they're sorted in alphabetical order. It would be much, much nicer to have a file sorted by frequency, better yet to include the number of times each word appeared in the corpus. E.g., <number><space><word> on each line.

Edit: another nice thing to have would be the list of words that were merged into each root count. E.g. I <- me, my, mine, myself; know <- knows, knew, known, knowing, knowledge, knower.


Last edited by JeremyHussell on Sun Apr 06, 2014 4:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2014 10:03 am 
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JeremyHussell wrote:
On page 345, in the paragraph about tinstone, there is: "the most common ore of tin— stannous oxide." If that's an en-dash, it should have spaces on both sides. If it's an em-dash, it should have spaces on neither side. (So says wikipedia, anyway.) There are further examples throughout the chapter on substances (at least the writer or editor was consistent).

Yes, trivial things like this bother me. Yes, that probably means there's something wrong with me. I don't care.

You're not the only one, to be honest. I think this was one of the most frustrating things about reading Mark's books. For the record, an em-dash typeset like this has a specific meaning which is different from the one he's using it for (his intended meaning is similar to a colon) – it should actually be used like this when you correct a word halfway through saying it. So here, it looks like he was about to say tinnous oxide and corrected himself to say stannous instead. Old books also use it similar to an ellipsis to show something trailing off. I actually keep rereading the sentence and have to force myself to take the erroneous meaning of it, because it doesn't make sense with the real meaning of it.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2014 10:30 am 
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Once I was paying attention, it didn't take long to find more examples of the misuse of a dash:
LCK v1.1, page 7, 1st sentence
ALC, page 14, in the caveman box
PCK, page 7, end of the 1st paragraph
Lex, page 7, 3rd paragraph

I'm not going to mention any more dash-problems I find, unless they're examples of a different sort of error, or an example of correct usage (which would be inconsistent with the rest of all the books). It should be possible for an editor to find and correct all the examples in the manuscripts by search.

LCK v1.1, page 7: the character 'Ď' at the beginning of the word Ďitelán isn't in bold like the rest of the word, which makes it stand out oddly.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2014 5:07 pm 
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LCK v1.1, page 14: in the mini-grammar of the Black Speech, -ul is mentioned as a person nominalizer, but wasn't part of the example being dissected. (-ul- is already listed). Perhaps that's meant to be -ûl from nazgûl? I recommend just removing it from the mini-grammar. (And possibly adding a little padding to the boxes to make them look better.)

page 15: "Keep this list small so it doesn't get cumbersome or contradictory.." has two periods at the end of the sentence.

page 16: "Vary the order or adjective and nouns;" or adjective -> of adjectives


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2014 10:12 pm 
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The "Sophomore List" from LCK duplicates the words "breast", "bird" and "fish" from the Swadesh List.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2014 10:35 pm 
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Thanks for the corrections. Going to move this so it doesn't disappear.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2014 8:22 pm 
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LCK v1.1, page 22: "Syntax includes most of the stuff that most English speakers hardly even realize is part of the language." Condescending, and inaccurate too, since there are more L2 English speakers than monolingual English ignoramuses. Off-putting enough to be worth changing to "most monolingual speakers", or even "most people" if you want to avoid tapping into the smug sense of superiority some multilingual people occasionally fall prey to.

Page 26: "For instance, here's the topics for ..." here's -> here're / here are

Pages 25-27: there's a box around an aside here ("How do I write lessons") that extends across the first two pages, but splits the last paragraph into its own box. One box should enclose the whole aside. Same for the mini-grammar of the Black Speech on pages 14-15.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 12, 2014 8:07 am 
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LCK v1.1, page 48: "Consonants can assimilate in voice to; that's why..." to -> too

LCK v1.1, page 50 has the word "naïve" with a diaeresis, while page 52 has "Naively" without. I don't care whether you choose to use a diaeresis or not, but I would prefer you use it consistently.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 12, 2014 1:05 pm 
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LCK v1.1: the chapter "Word building", pages 54-61, has the title of the next chapter ("Grammar") at the top right of the odd-numbered pages.

LCK v1.1, page 58: in the last paragraph is "Tolkein‘s", with what looks like a left single quotation mark in place of an apostrophe.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 13, 2014 8:23 am 
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LCK v1.1, page 64: "Quechua does have a few inflections" inflections -> fused inflections (If I understand the jargon correctly, Quechua has many inflections, but they're mostly agglutinative.)

Same page, "You can't beat -í for succintness." succintness -> succinctness


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 13, 2014 12:59 pm 
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LCK v1.1, page 72: "Here's the present tense forms for 'give' in several languages:" Here's -> Here are

I'm not sure if I should be pointing out incorrect usage of "here's" anymore. Is it becoming standard, the way "try and" has replaced "try to" or 'they' and 'their' are starting to be used as singular pronouns? To me these usages seem colloquial, and in the cases of "here's" and "try and" signal a lack of education. Too strict and judgmental? Or should the author of a book that's mostly about linguistics be especially careful about these things?


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 13, 2014 4:04 pm 
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If you didn't like the book, I suggest you ask for your money back. If you want to be constructive, there's such a thing as e-mail.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 13, 2014 4:45 pm 
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I apologize, then. I do like your books (I bought them, after all), and I recommend anyone interested in the subject buy them as well.

When I started, I had hoped to find a list of corrections and suggestions that had already been pointed out, so I could avoid duplicating anyone else's efforts, but didn't and so began my own thread in one of the short-term forums. Editing work like this is an interesting pastime for me. I find some challenge in reading a work closely enough to notice the smallest errors, and as a bonus I gain a better understanding of the content along the way. I was vaguely aware that a list of errors like this (nitpicks, some would say) could be discouraging, but that was not, was never, my intention.


Last edited by JeremyHussell on Sat Apr 19, 2014 7:08 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 13, 2014 5:15 pm 
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Well, corrections are helpful. With your previous post you seemed to be verging into insult instead , and that's less helpful. Copy editors like QA, can get a little annoying if they point out the same thing multiple times, especially if they insinuate that they're due to some sort of character flaw. In this case, it's an informal construction, and I purposely write informally. I might well change it as it's not that important, but pointing it out once suffices.


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