Links for January 19, 2016

2015 Word of the Year is singular “they” – from the American Dialect Society.

The use of singular they builds on centuries of usage, appearing in the work of writers such as Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Jane Austen. In 2015, singular they was embraced by the Washington Post style guide. Bill Walsh, copy editor for the Post, described it as “the only sensible solution to English’s lack of a gender-neutral third-person singular personal pronoun.” While editors have increasingly moved to accepting singular they when used in a generic fashion, voters in the Word of the Year proceedings singled out its newer usage as an identifier for someone who may identify as “non-binary” in gender terms.

The Finn-donesian of “The Force Awakens”

I tracked down Forsberg, who at 21 is now in Los Angeles pursuing a pop-music career as Saara, and she confirmed that she was asked to make the dialogue for the Kanjiklubbers.... Abrams had cast the Indonesian actors – Yayan Ruhian, Iko Uwais, and Cecep Arif Rahman – after seeing them in the balls-to-the-wall action movie “The Raid,” directed by Gareth Evans.... Forsberg hails from a Swedish-speaking town in Finland known as Pietarsaari in Finnish and Jakobstad in Swedish.... For the Kanjiklub gang, she was encouraged by the filmmakers to make the lines sound a bit like Indonesian, a.k.a. bahasa Indonesia, the Malay-based national language of Indonesia. She also listened to clips of Sundanese, from the actors’ home region of western Java.

The Risky Business of Bible Translation

Given the scope of the King James Bible, errors were to be expected.... Still, the profusion of errors in the text was hard to justify. Versions released between 1611 and 1630 contained some 1,500 misprints, ranging from blatant spelling gaffes to capitalization and punctuation issues.... In 1631, Barker pounded out another poorly edited King James Bible. Unfortunately for him, it would prove to be his last. Smack dab in the middle of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:14) — one the the Bible’s most integral passages — the publisher omitted one crucial word: “not.”

Irish DNA and Indo-European origins

So if I understand the impact of these new findings, they verify that “Bronze age individuals” from County Antrim, 3500-4000 years ago, had both “substantial Steppe genetic heritage” as well as “several important genetic variants that today show maximal or very high frequencies in Ireland”. While this doesn’t prove that IE languages were brought to the western edge of Europe by Bronze-age migrants from the steppes rather than earlier agriculturists from the middle east, at least it shows that some (descendants of) steppe immigrants were there at the right time, and that their progeny remain prominently represented in the current Irish gene pool.