A page from one day, Jan. 4, 2020

Just a note that I’ve added Rachel Maddow’s Blowout to my list to replace Aspect, which I finished.

Another note: my blog guru, Wes, has offered a nice list of abbreviations for the books but I cannot look at that just now but will soon. The abbreviations I am using here are found at my blog entry at http://barrett.lang-learn.org/wp-admin/post.php?post=9571&action=edit or just List of Reading Books.

So, I noticed on Jan. 4 that I not only read at least a page in almost all of the books on my list but that each page had generated some enthusiasm on my part. I note that in my previous posts on this topic I never mentioned my skepticism that I would get much out of reading just one page at a time. That skepticism has not proved out and I think the following notes on the pages will demonstrate that.

Lyons: The abstract approach to language has given us the distinction between substance and form, allowing us to construct theories with practical application like teaching FL, cryptography, telecommunications, and a better understanding of the structure of language.

Seed: The fact that New England Puritan marriage was entirely secular!

Berlin: The Upper South was reverting to a society with slaves rather than a slave society as it had been and this caused many to see the whole institution of slavery beginning to unravel. This was mid-19th century.

Storm: The overwhelming similarity of the run-up to the sixty-four presidential election of  Johnson over Goldwater to the horrible venom of today, and perhaps even worse. One far-right hotline had a message that warned of “racial agitation this summer” in reference to the Freedom Summer voter registration campaign in Mississippi. That sounds like Megan Kelly referring to Quentin Tarantino’s comment at a Black Lives Matter rally that he did not like cops who break the law as him speaking at an “anti-cop rally.”

Kofi: He mentions what many do not: the tendency in African music to introduce a buzzing sound e.g. a spider web placed in a hole in the side of a drum to vibrate. Xylophone music tends toward virtuosity and therefore comes to resemble to some degree the idea of an autonomous and “pure musical art” character. Intriguing sentences like this abound: “By compelling attention to the here and now, the xylophone aesthetic sets aside the stylized management of long-term desire that one so often encounters in European music of the common-practice era.” Hmmm.

Agawu: The church, army, the police and the entertainment industry were responsible for introducing the components of Western music like the diatonic scale. Kofi Agawu is skeptical of the pervasiveness of this type of music when it washes away indigenous forms of harmony. He also mentions A.M. Jones’ theory that the xylophone which he discussed in his other book (above) and which is the most wide-spread instrument (not the drum) may have come from Indonesia. I have Jones’ book on that, Africa and Indonesia.

Trade: One slave ship with 500 slaves aboard had to traverse the Atlantic three times due to being taken by a British anti-slavery patrol and returned to Africa where they were turned away and had to recross to Brazil again where they were sold.

Morality: The serious stuff aside, persons converting to Christianity in Ancient Rome had to abandon certain proscribed professions, those being prostitute (male or female), sculptor (?) and school teacher (!!!).

Pluto: The Alpha Geeks refers to those multibillionaires who really are self-made to the extent they receive an outstanding education. The field to study is STATISTICS. She recounts how the High School Movement of the early 20th century boosted American workers’ education leading to huge growth in productivity.

Branch: Truman put out a report after being the first president of the U.S. to address an NAACP convention titled To Secure These Rights. It replaced the words ‘the Negro question’ with ‘civil rights.’

Duflo: worth quoting: “The outsized role of reputation means international trade is not just about good prices, good ideas, low tariffs, and cheap transportation. It is very difficult for a new player to enter and take over a market, because they start without reputation. This along with the stickiness of labor (= workers don’t easily move around )means the easy flow of people and moneys that free trade is meant to leverage………… does not work nearly as well on the ground. ”

Money: “… developing countries could go on borrowing to finance their ‘catch-up’ at low interest rates.” That sounds like the subprime mortgage scam but this was late 19th century.

Voice: Mention is made of a king of Creek Town in Calabar in the Niger Delta who in his youth worked on English ships as a cabin boy and spoke and read and wrote English. The travels of these people permitted some continued communication between the secret societies in Africa and their off-shoots in Cuba.

Paths: Several dynamics of the society on the island of Fernando Poo, known now as Bioko, point to universal dynamics in human society, one being the unification under one king all the principalities due to constant, destructive wars.

Birth: The crucial turning point in the story of race in the U.S., Bacon’s Rebellion. This is a story I read in both Sugar in the Blood and Loving, how the planter aristocracy saw with alarm the unified action of rebels along lines of class, not race. So they determined to begin a propaganda battle, mainly through laws differentiating Whites and Blacks, to split those two groups and get Whites to identify and therefore support the White landed aristocracy. This occurred by the end of the seventeenth century and we have lived with this unbridgeable divide ever since and it has been surfaced to the max by Trump.

Aspect: The relation of the narrated event to the speech event gives an aspect that is unmarked and when a vector verb is present, then aspect is marked. This is REALLY abstract stuff. I would illustrate it like this: John sings in the choir = unmarked for aspect but clearly is durative or on-going. John is singing in the choir is marked for progressive meaning it is going on right at the moment of speaking. Of course, it could mean a planned occurrence of singing such as John is singing in the choir on Sunday….. and so on ad infinitum.

Reading not covered is Pybus and Voz and Narang and Babel. The first three were heavily read on days around the fourth.

 

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