katzenfabrik: A black-and-white icon of a giant cat inside a factory building. The cat's tail comes out of the factory chimney. (Default)
2019-01-11 06:24 pm
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Doch

I had the idea a while ago to write some posts about words I particularly like. Here's the first one, with the disclaimer that I'm not a linguist or even particularly good at languages; I just enjoy thinking about them.

One of my favourite German words, as well as one that lots of German learners find hard to grasp the meaning of, is doch. It took me so long to get to grips with this word that now any chance to use it is a delicious treat.

Like many German words, doch is difficult because, as well as standing on its own, it's often deployed as a particle. It's one of those frustrating tiny words that get thrown into German sentences like confetti, changing the whole meaning in some unquantifiable fashion, of which native speakers tell us, "Well, it's hard to explain exactly what that means..."

A few years ago, I finally found a memorable and concise definition for doch, though I can't remember where I saw this. Doch is "a positive answer to a negative question." It's a missing word in the English language that fills an annoying gap.

Here are some examples to make it clearer what I mean.

A positive answer to a positive question might be something like this: "Did you take the bins out?" "Yes." It's clear what's going on here. A negative answer to a positive question is also clear: "Did you feed the cats?" "No."

A negative question, in this framing, would be something like the following: "We don't have any chores to do today, right?"

If I reply with yes, am I saying that the speaker is correct, or that we do in fact have chores? English-speakers have to clear up this ambiguity with a longer answer. In German, one can just say, "Doch."

A stranger in the Berlin railway station once called out to me in German, as we rode the escalators in opposite directions, "Cool hair! But that's not your natural colour?" "Doch!" It was bright blue at the time. I was very happy, not only to know the punchline to the joke and laugh with a stranger, but for the perfect excuse to use this word. (I was also rather punchy because I was getting off an overnight train at 6 a.m., and most interactions would have made me laugh right then.)

Knowing this definition of doch makes it easier to see the work it does when plunked in the middle of a sentence.

Er ist doch nicht gekommen: He didn't come, though. He still didn't come. Nevertheless, he didn't come.
Ich habe so viel geschrieben, doch ich bin noch nicht mit meinem Aufsatz fertig: I've written so much but I'm still not finished with my essay.

This blog post gives many more examples and goes into detail about the different uses of doch. I feel, though, that everything falls into place once you understand the chief definition of the word. The nicest thing about living in a German-speaking region is that I can use it even in English conversations. Everyone understands what I mean and exchanges have a lovely, logical flow.

One last question remains open: do we need a word for a negative answer to a negative question? I actually think that no suffices for both situations, but perhaps there are languages that have one?

(Crossposted from Katzenfabrik; full entry at http://bit.ly/2FrOY2N)
katzenfabrik: A black-and-white icon of a giant cat inside a factory building. The cat's tail comes out of the factory chimney. (Default)
2019-01-06 08:20 pm
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2018 year-end meme

The traditional year-end meme!

Read more... )

(Crossposted from Katzenfabrik; full entry at http://bit.ly/2Fanz6h)
katzenfabrik: A black-and-white icon of a giant cat inside a factory building. The cat's tail comes out of the factory chimney. (Default)
2018-12-13 12:26 pm

Pony request: comment feed

Does anyone know if it's possible to get a feed of a given user's comments (or just your own) in Dreamwidth?

Context: I want to comment here more, which means I would like to set up a Beeminder goal for doing so, and those work a lot better if they're automatic (i.e. I want to connect the feed of my comments, on anyone's journal, to Beeminder so that it adds a datapoint to the goal whenever I write a comment). I don't mind using IFTTT to do the connecting. I can also see valid and obvious privacy reasons why this wouldn't be available, but maybe it does?

Disclaimer: using external tools to make me communicate more with humans might feel weird and artificial, but -- *handwaves in ADHD* -- that's how my brain works. Sometimes. When it does.
katzenfabrik: A black-and-white icon of a giant cat inside a factory building. The cat's tail comes out of the factory chimney. (Default)
2018-12-02 04:31 pm
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NaNoWriMo 2018: Success!

November is National Novel Writing Month, a holiday obviously named by Americans. It's the month when people all over the world try to write a 50,000-word novel in 30 days, competing only against themselves, the clock, their daily responsibilities and their pernicious 'inner editors'. This year, for the first time in ten years, I won!

Read more... )

(Crossposted from Katzenfabrik; original entry at https://ift.tt/2zEFlKz)
katzenfabrik: A black-and-white icon of a giant cat inside a factory building. The cat's tail comes out of the factory chimney. (Default)
2018-08-05 04:55 pm
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Review: the Molly Sheldon series by Aurora Smythe

Corpse Position, Dark Alley Books, 2012
Down Dog, Dark Alley Books, 2013
Salute to the Sun, Dark Alley Books, 2018

Now that the final volume in Aurora Smythe's Molly Sheldon series has been published, I thought it would be a good time to review the whole thing. I ordered new copies of all three books (so as to get the brand-new matching cover art) and have been working through them all week. Or, as my partner put it last night, "Are you still reading those Vampire Yoga Instructor books?"

Read more... )

(Crossposted from Katzenfabrik; original entry at https://ift.tt/2M0VhOI)
katzenfabrik: (two lumps)
2018-06-09 01:07 pm

Numbers

I made a game! It's my first finished Twine game (actually my first finished computer game at all) and it's about numbers stations. It's up on itch.io and you can play it in the browser (N.B. it has autoplaying music). The soundtrack was made by my partner David and it's very good and spooky.

Promo image for the game Numbers: the title in blue over a dark, abstract spiral, with a series of numbers running across the lower part in grey.

There's a post with more detail about the background of the game on my blog. I hope you enjoy it!
katzenfabrik: A black-and-white icon of a giant cat inside a factory building. The cat's tail comes out of the factory chimney. (Default)
2018-02-18 11:56 am

Test

Please ignore - I'm still trying to get Dreamwidth syndication to work. *backs away slowly* let's link to Google!!

(Crossposted from Katzenfabrik; full entry at http://ift.tt/2Fd9ySH)
katzenfabrik: A black-and-white icon of a giant cat inside a factory building. The cat's tail comes out of the factory chimney. (Default)
2018-02-01 06:12 pm

January 2018

I glided into the new year on the warm reflection of how much I achieved in 2017, only to crash into the realisation, ten days in, that I still have to keep getting things done this year as well. And that it was January, a cold dark month with nothing at the end of it but February.

(Crossposted from Katzenfabrik; full entry at http://ift.tt/2DWyoZp)
katzenfabrik: A black-and-white icon of a giant cat inside a factory building. The cat's tail comes out of the factory chimney. (Default)
2018-01-14 11:58 am

2017 year-end meme

Here's my summary of 2017, in the traditional questionnaire form.

The strangeness of this year was that, while a lot of horrible things happened in the world and to people I care for, many good things happened in my personal life. My employment was steady. I got an actually helpful diagnosis for (parts of) my weird brain, and help to deal with it. Exciting things happened in David's career. We travelled a lot. Meanwhile, my stepfather is dying, another member of my extended family had a frightening, still ongoing, health crisis, and the British and American governments have been waging war on their own citizens. It's been hard to reconcile all of this; I wonder constantly what more I should be doing to help. Anyway, here's most of what I did get up to.

(Crossposted from Katzenfabrik; full entry at http://ift.tt/2FAgucl.)
katzenfabrik: A black-and-white icon of a giant cat inside a factory building. The cat's tail comes out of the factory chimney. (Default)
2017-12-03 09:49 pm

Bumble updates!

After leaving it untouched for three years, David and I have made some updates to our blogging engine, Bumble, and we have plans for more.

(Crossposted from Katzenfabrik; full entry at http://ift.tt/2kgUFbl.)
katzenfabrik: A black-and-white icon of a giant cat inside a factory building. The cat's tail comes out of the factory chimney. (Default)
2017-11-24 01:47 pm
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Test

Another quick test of cross-posting.

(Crossposted from Katzenfabrik; full entry at http://ift.tt/2zj7B3h.)

---

Okay, I think this format is a bit nicer. :)
katzenfabrik: A black-and-white icon of a giant cat inside a factory building. The cat's tail comes out of the factory chimney. (Default)
2017-11-24 01:29 pm
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Powercoders

This is a short entry about Powercoders, but it's also a test post to see if crossposting to my DreamWidth journal works. I apologise greatly if you see it multiple times, or in oddly distorted forms.

from Katzenfabrik http://ift.tt/2A4r5w4

---

Hmm, the RSS feed only contains the intro of each post, not the whole post. I have this vague memory that we set it up that way on purpose, but I don't know what it was! (My blog runs on Bumble, a blogging engine cooked up by David and me. Development is ongoing.)

I wonder how annoying it would be to have to click through to read the main post every time, and whether anyone would do it.

---

Also, the links in the intro here did not come through as links. Presumably other HTML would be stripped as well. Hmm.
katzenfabrik: A black-and-white icon of a giant cat inside a factory building. The cat's tail comes out of the factory chimney. (Default)
2017-11-24 01:18 pm

Crossposting

I'm about to try setting up automatically crossposting from my blog (katzenfabrik.cat) to this journal, using IFTTT, RSS and posting-by-email. Thanks to [personal profile] iguana for the suggestion. Apologies if it causes weird spam!

While I'm at it, I'll try importing my old LJ entries over here and closing up that account.

I've been feeling more and more dissatisfied with Twitter, and though I love some of the communities I've wandered into on Tumblr, it's become clear that the infinite scroll of images and emotions there doesn't work very well with my brain. :( What I'd like is to transition to slightly calmer, more text-based social media, probably DW and Mastodon (I'm katzenfabrik@cybre.space).

("But Rae, you hardly ever write on here *or* on your blog." I'm hoping to improve that, somehow! After New Year I'll have a few months working at 80%, so I should be able to do a lot more writing, blogging and coding on my free day of the week. And solve world hunger. And world peace. You know, the stuff that falls by the wayside when you're working full-time.)

Update: Hilariously, my first post over here was nearly a year ago, and promised that I was going to start this crossposting. I have a long lead time, apparently.
katzenfabrik: A black-and-white icon of a giant cat inside a factory building. The cat's tail comes out of the factory chimney. (Default)
2017-02-12 04:39 pm

January 2017

In the first month of 2017, buoyed up by a quiet New Year, I found myself in the unusual situation of getting stuff done and enjoying it.

Read more... )
katzenfabrik: A black-and-white icon of a giant cat inside a factory building. The cat's tail comes out of the factory chimney. (Default)
2017-01-18 11:10 pm
Entry tags:

2016 year-end meme

Hi! I've historically only used this account to read friends' journals, but I thought perhaps I might restart cross-posting here from my blog. As such, here's (finally) my wrap-up post for 2016. I hope the formatting works out okay.

Read more... )