I am asking toward the light;
I am asking that my day
Shall be beautiful with light.
I am asking that the place
Where my feet are shall be light,
That as far as I can see
I shall follow it aright.
I am asking for the courage
To go forward through the shadow,
I am asking toward the light!
— Mary Austin / arr. Deb Langstaff
Where I spent my Friday evening (sooo much better live). If you’re in the Boston area, Libana will be performing in Harvard Square tonight, Saturday.
In other news, the NYTimes reports that there may be a word even more universal than the notorious adjective:
Are there words that are universally understood, across all countries and cultures? A team of linguists has proposed one: “huh.” …
The study, conducted by Mark Dingemanse, Francisco Torreira and Nick Enfield, closely examined variations of the word — defined as “a simple syllable with a low-front central vowel, glottal onset consonant, if any, and questioning intonation” — in 10 languages, including Dutch, Icelandic, Mandarin Chinese, the West African Siwu and the Australian aboriginal Murrinh-Patha.
The researchers also looked at other words and expressions used to elicit clarification during conversation, a function that linguists refer to as “other-initiated repair.” But only “Huh?,” they write, occurs across languages whose phonetic patterns otherwise vary greatly…
“We think of this as the core of language: managing common understanding as we talk,” Dr. Enfield said in an interview. Confirming and checking with other people, he added, “are really fundamental to the use of language.” …
Assuming we can keep this blog limping along, what’s on the agenda for the day?