My personal space on tumblr. Subject to geekouts, random obsessions, and sudden changes of fandom.
Reblogged from celescole  1,141 notes

2 years of All Things Linguistic


Thursday marked the second anniversary of All Things Linguistic. Since I post daily and so much has happened since then, I have a LOT of favourite posts! Here are some of them. 

Explaining things: 

Writing systems: 

More technical: 

Debunking myths: 

Accents and Dialects: 


General Fun:


Internet linguistics: 

Many things on because x: where it probably came from, why it’s not a preposition, when it won Word of the Year, and when I talked about it on CBC Spark

What makes an effective synonym for Benedict Cumberbatch? (my first article for The Toast)

The grammar of doge for The Toast, from which came this quote post (which currently has just over 13.7k notes, what?). The French doge example and why no one knows how to say “doge” were fun too, as of course was talking to the BBC about it

Assorted other internet linguistics:

Series: the protolinguist series was mostly last year, although the master post came up this year. This year I also started the linguistics jobs series, which is a still-ongoing collection of resources and interviews

Looking forward to another year with you all! 

Reblogged from theumbrellaseller  1,520 notes

My point, aside from remarking that both Tolkien and Le Guin are arguing that escape means hope, and hope is one of the great virtues of fantasy, is what Tolkien says at the end of the passage: they are confusing, not always by sincere error, the Escape of the Prisoner with the Flight of the Deserter. Because I think that’s exactly it. The denigration of “escapism” comes from an implicit belief that it is brave and necessary and heroic to face “reality,” where “reality” is grim and dark and nihilistic (“solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short,” as that tremendous pessimist Thomas Hobbes puts it), and that if you turn away from that “reality,” you are a deserter and therefore a coward. By

Katherine Addision (aka. Sarah Monette) on “Of Better Worlds and Worlds Gone Wrong (via adribbleofink)

oh, I like this - thank you for sharing.

And that, I think, is where hope comes in. If we understand “escapism” as the Escape of the Prisoner rather than the Flight of the Deserter, then surely what motivates it, more than anything else, is hope. The hope that the prison is not eternal. The hope of communicating with other prisoners. The hope that if you keep chipping away at the bars long enough, one of them will fall out. And I refuse utterly to classify that hope as weak or foolish.”

(via bluandorange)

Reblogged from stormingtheivory  81 notes

Open Letter to the Assassin’s Creed fandom






I like Assassin’s Creed a whole bunch. But the fandom here on Tumblr has been whining a lot because the four assassins currently revealed are all white men.

Now I don’t understand the widespread criticism of Unity. Yes, Ubisoft made up a dumb excuse for not having playable female characters, but you know what? AC is not a series that lacks great female characters. To name a few, there is Maria Thorpe, Caterina Sforza, Mary Read, and Aveline de Grandpré.

More than likely Unity will incorporate female characters into the story just like the other games. Not everything about the game has been revealed as of now.

I am requesting that the fans of the series just slow down with the criticism for now. We will get more information on the game’s characters with time, and with luck we’ll get the diversity we want.

I wasn’t planning on getting involved in all this (I haven’t even watched the freaking trailer yet), but if you can’t see how having diversity in protagonists is important, I just don’t know what you are doing in this conversation.

Having women in secondary roles isn’t what’s important because secondary roles are not agenty. In most stories (and even more so in games) it’s only the protagonists and the antagonists who have agency over the events of the game and it’s that agency that matters. It’s not just about going over your checklist and saying “At least 50% of the characters in this game are women —Check.” It doesn’t matter if 99% of your characters are women. What matters is who gets to be involved in making the plot happen, and if you don’t put any women in the game as protagonists, there’s a good chance there won’t be any women effecting the plot.

I don’t have a problem with men as protagonists in games, but what I do have a problem with is having “male” be the default or only options and game developers going out of their way to not include women as main characters.

Finally, diversity shouldn’t be about time and/or luck. Ubisoft fucked up on this and I see no problem acknowledging that.

Not to mention the fact that the criticism isn’t because of the design decision alone. It’s because Ubisoft made technical claims that were subsequently called out as flagrantly false by other designers, to prop up a design dogma that’s, frankly, so last century.

Like, this isn’t JUST about the reveal. It’s also about Ubisoft being incompetent liars, and if they’re being dragged to the guillotine for it, so be it. Eventually these companies are gonna learn that they can’t play by last century’s rules, and if it takes instituting the Terror to accomplish that, then I’m ready to storm the Bastille.

I really like Yxoque’s agency argument though. That’s an excellent way of looking at game narratives. I’ll have to think about where else I might apply that logic…

Looking at game narratives as a question of agency is so important though. That’s the whole reason videogames offer a level of immersion so much deeper than any other form of new media, and THAT is why representation matters so much. 

No matter how you try to swing it, Ubisoft fucked up hard here, but they aren’t the first, and they won’t be the last. All I hope for in this is that it draws attention to the lack of diversity in videogames and the need for that diversity as we move forward.

That’s what’s so interesting to me though: the agency of the player is such a big deal, but it’s usually discussed, in my admittedly limited experience, in terms of agency within gameplay, or agency to choose different narrative paths, not… uh… ah, I’m not even sure what language to use to distinguish the particular kind of narrative agency that I’m thinking about from just choosing alternate endings… It’s a more sort of… comprehensive agency, maybe comparable to the hero-centric morality that I’ve discussed in tv narratives where the narrative bends to accommodate the actions of the protagonist? It’s like a warping of the underlying structure.

Dialogue is not just quotation. It is grimaces, pauses, adjustments of blouses, doodles on a napkin, and crossings of legs. When people communicate, they communicate with their faces, their bodies, their timing, and the objects around them. Make this a full conversation. Not just the words part. By Jerome Stern, Making Shapely Fiction (via the-right-writing)

Reblogged from darkpuck  5,612 notes

Criticisms about representations of gender (or race and other diversity) are often countered in fandom by sociological or scientific analyses attempting to explain why the inequality happens according to the internal logic of the fictional world. As though there is any real reason that anything happens in a story except that someone chose to write it that way.

Fiction is not Darwinian: It contains no impartial process of evolution that dispassionately produces the events of a fictional universe. Fiction is miraculously, fundamentally Creationist. When we make worlds, we become gods. And gods are responsible for the things they create, particularly when they create them in their own image.


Laura Hudson writes about the shotage of women characters in Star Wars fore in her article "Leia is not enough:  Star Wars and the woman problem in Hollywood."

"Science fiction in particular has always offered a vision of the world not myopically limited by the world as it exists, but liberated by the power of imagination. Perhaps more than any genre of storytelling, it has no excuse to exclude women for so-called practical reasons — especially when it has every reason to imagine a world where they are just as heroic, exceptional, and well-represented as men."

(via rebelrebeluniverse)

Reblogged from darkpuck  5,749 notes

Because so much of fantasy takes place in settings that in no way resemble the real world, featuring species that in no way resemble human, fantasy writers often have trouble dealing with regular people. This is something that, I think, isn’t as much of a problem for mainstream writers, because they can simply describe the world around them and come up with a reasonably accurate representation of humanity. They can also fall back on the plethora of real-world terms used to describe human beings, racially and otherwise. But using these terms makes no sense if you’re dealing with a world that doesn’t share our political/cultural context. You can’t call someone “African American” if your world has no Africa, no America, and has never gone through a colonial phase in which people of disparate cultures were forcibly brought together, thus necessitating the term in the first place.

That said, it’s equally illogical to populate your fantasy world with only one flavor of human being, which is what far too many fantasy stories default to. Granted, many fantasies take place in confined cultural spaces — a single small kingdom in a Europeanish milieu, maybe a single city or castle within that city. (But how did that castle get its spices for the royal table, or that lady her silks? What enemy are the knights training to fight? Even in the most monochromatic parts of the real Ye Olde Englande, I can guarantee you there were some Asian traders, Sephardic or Ashkenazic Jewish merchants, Spanish diplomats or nobles partly descended from black Moors, and so on.) I get that lots of countries on Earth are racially homogeneous, so it makes perfect sense that some fantasy settings would be too. But whiteness is the default in our thinking for Earth-specific cultural/political reasons. So while it’s logical for fantasy realms to be homogeneous, it’s not logical for so many of them to be homogeneously white. Something besides logic is causing that.

So. It’s a good idea for all fantasy writers to learn how to describe characters of color. And I think it’s a good idea to learn how to describe those characters in subtle ways, since they can’t always rely on Earth terminology. Now, doing subtle description increases the chance that the reader might misidentify the character racially — and to a degree, I think there’s nothing you can do about that. You’re working against a lifetime of baggage in the reader’s mind. But you can still insert enough cues so that when combined, they’ll get the idea across.

By N.K. Jemisin, blogging on Describing Characters of Color for Magic District.  (via audreymgonzalez)