When will autonomous lorries break through?

As with all discussions of technology that is so new it doesn’t really exist yet, some people compare it to successful inovations (e.g. the Internet) in order to preridicule the pessimists, and some compare it to market failures (e.g. video conferences) in order to make the optimists sound suspect. There is a middle outcome too, that of robotic vacuum cleaners that are slowly gaining market share and that of the paperless office that came somewhat true but didn’t defeat the office stuffed with paper.

An autonomous car turns right in a crossing

The image above exemplifies just a few issues that driverless cars need to be able to handle. It is going to turn right in the crossing and the sun is reflected in the side-window of the green car. An experienced human driver would realize that it is impossible to know whether the car behind the green car blinks left or not, due to the reflection of the sun, so he/she will wait a little. Can a robot ever be sure that a flashing indicator is unlit?

Getica IV by Jordanes — the united Goths

Translated from section IV of Jordanes’ Getica by the members of the Gothic Language List (gothic-l):
Giuseppe Pagliarulo, Matthew Carver, Tim O’Neill, Francise Czobor, Gerry Taylor, Brian Beck & Sean Crist.
Gothic is followed by Latin for easy comparison and more of Getica can be found here.

𐌱𐌹 𐌰𐌽𐌰𐍃𐍄𐍉𐌳𐌴𐌹𐌽 𐌳𐌴𐌳𐌹𐌽𐌶𐌿𐌷 𐌲𐌿𐍄𐌰𐌽𐌴

𐌸anuh us þizai Skadinaujon sye us smiþjon aljakunje aiþþau aufto sye us kilþein þiudo miþ þiudana seinamma, namin 𐌱aireiks, Γutans spillondau airis þau usgaggan: þaiei sunsei af skipam afsteigandans grundu attaitokun, anaks gebun staþa namo seinata. 𐌾ah auk himma daga, sye merjada, haitada jainar Γutaskadinaujo.

On a train in Scania

I caught a train to København (Copenhagen) today, from Hässleholm in Scania. It had been a couple of years since I rode a train in Scania and the one thing that has changed since then is the composition of passengers with regard to their country of origin. It used to be 80% Nordic (Swedish/Danish/Scanian) but now it was less than 50% Nordic in my car in both directions.

I sat down next to two men who spoke Arabic, however the teenage boy across the gangway, and his family, spoke a language I could not guess — Albanian it would turn out. He asked me if I spoke English and was relieved that I did. Later when the family were pulling down their luggage from the racks he asked me if this was Malmö Central Station. I replied that, ”Nope, it’s Lund. Malmö is the next stop”, and they avoided disaster.

The Arabs next to me said they were going to Copenhagen, yet got off in Malmö. When the ticket-collector came by in the tunnel neath Øresund, he asked another Arabic-looking family where they intended to get off. ”Malmö”, the man replied. ”In that case you have travelled too far. This is Denmark.”

Two likely Semitic loanwords in Gothic

Reconstructing Gothic, some say, involves a lot of extrapolation. Apart from Latin and Greek, there are not many sources of Gothic loanwords that are reasonably close to Gothic in place and time and that have a preserved corpus predating the Gothic. If there was, reconstruction would be based on interpolation which is more reliable than extrapolation. But there is Hebrew. Here are a few passages involving Gothic and Hebrew ”ak” – a contrasting adverb or conjunctive, and the Gothic word for house ”gards” compared with the Hebrew word for a temporary dwelling-place for guests ”magor”.

𐌰K (ak)
— MS: Italy, 500 CE, text-type: Moesia 350 CE
Matthew 6: 18, except
ei ni gasaiwaizau mannam fastands ak attin þeinamma þamma in fulhsnja
Matthew 7: 21, but only
ni wazuh saei qiþiþ mis frauja frauja inngaleiþiþ in þiudangardja himine ak sa taujands yiljan
attins meinis
Matthew 9: 17, but rather
niþþan giutand yein niujata in balgins fairnjans … ak giutand yein juggata in balgins niujans
Mark 1: 44, but
saiw ei mannhun ni qiþais yaiht ak gagg þuk silban ataugjan gudjin
John 16: 26, 27, for/since
ni qiþa izyis þei ik bidjau attan bi izyis ak silba atta frijoþ izyis unte jus mik frijodeduþ
Ephesians 2: 9, 10, for/for indeed
ni us yaurstyam ei was ni wopai ak is sijum taui

אך (ach)
Genesis 9: 4, but/only/except — MS: 1 000 CE, text-type: 600 CE Masoretic
נתתי לצם את-כל אך-בשר בנפשו דמו לא תאכלו
Leviticus 21: 23, but/only — MS: 1 000 CE, text-type: 600 CE Masoretic
ומן-הקדשים יאכל אך אל-הפרכת לא יבא
Isaiah 45:14, for/for … except — MS: 200 BC Dead Sea scroll
ואליכי יתפללו אך בכי אל ואין עוד אל והים

𐌲𐌰𐍂𐌳𐍃 (gards) masculin noun
— MS: Italy, 500 CE, text-type: Moesia 350 CE
Matthew 5: 15, house/room
jah liuteiþ allaim þaim in þamma garda
Matthew 9: 6, home/place
urreisands nim þana ligr þeinana jah gagg in gard þeinana
Mark 3: 25, household
jah jabai gards yiþra sik gadailjada ni mag standan sa gards jains

(magor) masculin noun, related to גר (geir) sojourner and גור (gour) sojourn
Genesis 12: 10, sojourn — MS: 1 000 CE, text-type: 600 CE Masoretic
וירד אברם מצרימה לגור שם כי-כבד הרעב בארץ
Genesis 37: 1, sojourning-place — MS: ca 50 BC DSS
[וישב יעקב ב]ארץ מגורי אביו בארץ [כנען]
Psalm 55: 16, camps?, Greek has παροικίαις — MS: 1 000 CE, text-type: 600 CE Masoretic
ירדו שאול חיים כי-רעות במגורם בקרבם
Haggai 2: 19, barn/granary — MS: ca 50 BC DSS
[העוד הזרע במ]גורה [ועד הגפן והתאנה והרמון ועץ הזית לא] נשא [מן היום הזה אברך]

Gothic in web pages

Gothic has been written in particularly three scripts (fuþarks or, as some call them, alphabets) — the Elder Fuþark, Wulfilan Script and (today) Latin. Of these, Latin has the best support on Internet-connected devices; indeed you are reading this in Latin script. The Latin alphabet, however, does not match the sounds or characters of Gothic speech so the Latin transcription has added two special characters: þ (thorn) and ƕ (hwair).

In 1999, the Elder Fuþark was included in the Unicode standard so that it is available to most Internet surfers by downloading and installing a font. The runes are scattered across the range 16A0–16FF.

In 2001 Wulfilan script was included. It has numbers 10330-1034A.

With more and more devices supporting Unicode better and better, it is time to ask the question: Is it time to switch back from Latin script to Wulfilan? If not, Latin will certainly stick and cause usage of the special characters to once again disappear from a nascent reconstructed Gothic as it did from Germanic languages in the Dark Ages. But if the switch should happen completely, it may present beginners with a brick-wall of boxes or invisible text, rather than a learning curve, ever so steep.

A solution which tries to both eat a cookie and save it for later, uses Wulfilan script for upper-case except when the Wulfilan character is problematic due to confusion with a Latin character of different value or when the corresponding Latin character is so similar that it does not matter which one is used. For lower case, it uses the Latin transcription which is already in wide use. Upper case letters aren’t used that often in a text, so they can usually be figured out if they do not show properly. An additional simplification is to take the Gothic character which is shaped like a Y, and which is pronounced either w or like a german ü (Nordic and Koine Greek Y) and let it map to y. This frees w, which can be used to represent the hw-sound of ƕ.

The proposal is exemplified in this PDF: Gothic-script-draft

Yet another translation of Genesis 1:1-2

Let’s do one interlinear in Hebrew (Dead Sea scrolls and most Masoretic read the same), one in Greek (LXX) and one from Jerome’s Vulgate in Latin, and see what we get.

בראשית ברא אלהים את השמים ואת הארץ
והארץ היתה תהו ובהו וחשך על-פני תהום
ורוח אלהים מרחפת על-פני המים