## Server Bug Fix: My first attempt at a Vowelburger™ puzzle

You can find the other Vowelburger™ Riddles here

I ordered 9 Vowelburgers™ with buns and meat at the linguistic restaurant – help me identify each one from the description on the menu!

$$defS#1#2{Space{#1}{20px}{#2px}}defP#1{V{#1em}}defV#1{S{#1}{9}} defT{textbf{Meat}}defNT{textbf{Vowelburger}^{;!™} }displaystyle smash{lower{29px}bbox[orange]{phantom{rlap{rubio.2020.01.21-custom}S{6px}{0} begin{array}{cc}T&NT\end{array}}}}atopdefV#1{S{#1}{5}} begin{array}{|c|c|}hlineT&NT\hline % ~text{???}&text{catch}\hline ~text{???}&text{nickname}\hline ~text{???}&text{seal}\hline ~text{???}&text{type}\hline ~text{???}&text{sharp}\hline ~text{???}&text{stem}\hline ~text{???}&text{chip}\hline ~text{???}&text{mammal}\hline ~text{???}&text{shape}\hline end{array}$$

The buns are pulmonic consonants and the meats are vowels so the transcription of the Vowelburgers™ may not share the same consonants.

HOWEVER: Today, the restaurant is offering a special deal: burgers with two patties are also available. In other words, the meat can also be diphthongs.

What burgers did I order?

$$k$$ and $$n$$

and the burgers are

catch: con (not sure if this works?)
nickname: Ken (probably, thanks @JeremyDover)
seal: can (canning food is sort of sealing it)
type: kin
sharp: keen
stem: cane
chip: coin (as in poker chips)
mammal: kine
shape: cone

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## Server Bug Fix: What does resting mean

I’m a little confused with what resting actually means.

I’ve typically seen this term being used where you move food (typically meat) from the oven/grill/heat and then keep it warm for “some time” (maybe 10’s of minutes depending on the size).

What has confused me is Gordon Ramsay’s burger video, where he is cooking burgers on a BBQ. He then moves the burgers to the “resting” rack (if that is the right term) within the BBQ. This rack is still above the heat. To me, this is not resting, this is cooking at a lower heat.

https://youtu.be/v191Y8AUk6w – He says this at 4:43 where also says “they’ll continue cooking”. AT 5:50, he closes the lid!

I’m assuming resting does not mean “left alone” because many recipes, such as a roast, call for us to put meat in the oven and leave it alone until cooked.

So my question, which may be a double question is: Is there a definition of what resting means and if so, what is it?

There is, as you’ve seen, no universally precise definition. Broadly, though, “resting” refers to allowing heat to diffuse through the food. Although the burgers are “still cooking” once placed on the higher rack, the amount of heat being applied is nowhere near as high as when they were on the grill, and following the resting the temperature differential will be lower than when they were first taken off the grill.

This is a good scientific approach to looking at the concept of resting meat.
Resting commonly means to remove the meat from the cooking surface and allowing it to sit, untouched, for some time. We do know that “carryover cooking” is real and that items continue to cook once removed from the heat. This needs to be factored into your preparation. I would encourage you to read the information I linked above. His bottom line:

Roughly speaking, comparable amounts of moisture evacuate during cooking as dribble out after slicing.
If the final temperature is below 130F, collagen barely shrinks and there is no difference between resting and not resting.
If the final temperature is above 145F, the rested meat will exude more juices than the non-rested, but…
Resting meat merely shifts when and where the juices are exuded- the total loss is about the same if you allow the juices to be reabsorbed.
Thicker meats benefit slightly from resting- mostly by making them easier to slice and resulting in a more uniformly cooked roast. But remember the thicker the meat, the more “carry-over”, so adjust the cooking temperatures accordingly.
Don’t waste the juices! Incorporate them into a sauce or sop them up on the plate.

All foods contain a certain amount of water, even meat. Those waters, when heated up through cooking, begin circulating through the food, faster and faster, raising the interior temperature of the meat(or whatever). This is called convection. When cooked food is removed from the heat source, convection does not just come to a dead stop; it takes a while to slow down, and then, eventually stop. All the while the meat’s interior temperature continues to rise and the food continues to cook (this is called “carryover” cooking). If you cut into meat while this convection action is still happening, all of the waters (juices) swirling around come flooding out. This water loss results in dry, overcooked meat. By waiting for convection to stop, those waters are reabsorbed into the food and it retains it’s moisture. Also, if you wait until the internal temperature of your meat is where you want it to be before taking it off the heat, carryover cooking will overcook the meat.

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## Linux HowTo: Make Language change specific to window/app not whole system (Windows 8.1)

I have Windows 8.1 Pro English. Sometime I need to use another languages (I did not install any language packs and my locale is English). So I have a few keyboards enabled. However in W7 when I switch keyboard it stays in the window I switched it.. and other windows have English at the same time… In windows 8.1 if I switch keyboard it changes everywhere.

is there an option to keep different keyboards in different windows / apps ?

Control Panel – Language – Advanced Settings – Let me set a different input for each app window

Noticing there’s no reply re. Windows 10 (which was my problem and the reason I reached this forum), here are the setting to make language input application-specific in Windows 10:

Start > Settings > Time & Language > Region & language > Additional date, time & regional settings > (under Language) Change input methods > Advanced settings > (under switching input methods) Let me set a different input method for each app window

Good job Microsoft, I don’t think you could have hid this any better :p

In my Windows 10, I do not have the Change input methods, so here is another flavor to make Windows remember the language input.

Start > Settings > Time & Language > Region & language > Advanced keyboard settings > Let me use a different input method for each app window.

You can simply type “advanced keyboard settings” in the start menu to reach it instantly.

And yet again, new path for latest Windows 10 build 1809:

Start > Settings > Time & Language > Language > Spelling, typings, & keyboard settings > Advanced keyboard settings > Let me use a different input method for each app window

or

Start > Settings > type into search: “Let me use”

In win10 Settings->Time & Language -> Region & Language -> Advance Keyboard Settings
Under ‘Switching input method’ select “let me use a different input method for each app window”

A more simple and reliable way on Windows 10, press win key, then input Advanced keyboard settings, it will be shown at the top of Best match group, then click it and select “Let me use …”

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## Making Game: Make Language change specific to window/app not whole system (Windows 8.1)

I have Windows 8.1 Pro English. Sometime I need to use another languages (I did not install any language packs and my locale is English). So I have a few keyboards enabled. However in W7 when I switch keyboard it stays in the window I switched it.. and other windows have English at the same time… In windows 8.1 if I switch keyboard it changes everywhere.

is there an option to keep different keyboards in different windows / apps ?

Control Panel – Language – Advanced Settings – Let me set a different input for each app window

Noticing there’s no reply re. Windows 10 (which was my problem and the reason I reached this forum), here are the setting to make language input application-specific in Windows 10:

Start > Settings > Time & Language > Region & language > Additional date, time & regional settings > (under Language) Change input methods > Advanced settings > (under switching input methods) Let me set a different input method for each app window

Good job Microsoft, I don’t think you could have hid this any better :p

In my Windows 10, I do not have the Change input methods, so here is another flavor to make Windows remember the language input.

Start > Settings > Time & Language > Region & language > Advanced keyboard settings > Let me use a different input method for each app window.

You can simply type “advanced keyboard settings” in the start menu to reach it instantly.

And yet again, new path for latest Windows 10 build 1809:

Start > Settings > Time & Language > Language > Spelling, typings, & keyboard settings > Advanced keyboard settings > Let me use a different input method for each app window

or

Start > Settings > type into search: “Let me use”

In win10 Settings->Time & Language -> Region & Language -> Advance Keyboard Settings
Under ‘Switching input method’ select “let me use a different input method for each app window”

A more simple and reliable way on Windows 10, press win key, then input Advanced keyboard settings, it will be shown at the top of Best match group, then click it and select “Let me use …”

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## Making Game: Can I make one application use a different display language?

In MS Windows 10, is it possible to specify the display language to use for one specific application? Let’s say the global display language setting is English but I want to see Swedish button labels etc. in one selected application. In Linux I can set the LC_* environment variables to achieve this but how about MS Windows?

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## Server Bug Fix: Was there a European country that held a referendum about adopting English in universities?

I vaguely remember that there was a European country (not the UK or Ireland) that held a referendum about adopting English as the primary language of instruction in universities. The referendum failed. I seem to remember that it was the Netherlands in the 1970s, but I might be mistaken.

Googling, I am unable to find anything. So hopefully someone here can tell me if any such referendum ever took place or if I’m imagining things.

I ignored the UK and Ireland in my search, and I found absolutely nothing trying to cover the period from 1945 to approx. 2000 so I’m leaning towards, ‘No, there never was a referendum on adopting English in the higher education sector’.

There were two referendums on higher education/research sector in Switzerland in the 1970’s: one in 1973 on promoting research and one in 1978 promoting research and universities though their content is not listed. I did not check 1945 to 1969 nor 1981 onwards for Switzerland because this page says their tertiary education is primarily in German, French, or Italian.

Hungary had a referendum on higher education funding in 2008 which was one of the very few mentions of the higher education sector in post-war European direct democracy overall.

The Netherlands did not have such a referendum as they did not have any referendums between 1805 and 2005.

This is also not brought out in the “List of referendums” that I went through on WP between 1970 and 1980, nor on the national “Lists of Elections & Referendums” by country on WP (country-by-country).

Further, looking at this article on higher education in English none of the European countries are listed as having all higher education courses in English. This leads me to suspect this may have only been a plan or a bill of some other kind—but there’s still no evidence to point to where it could have taken place.

Perhaps the closest (by a very loose definition) I found to this was a presidential order in Algeria from 2019 where French was replaced with English in the higher education sector.

Netherlands
seems to be the only possibility. However this Wikipedia article does not mention a referendum.

Most university master’s degrees are in English, and an increasing number of bachelor’s degrees are as well,[6] and even the first degrees of community college given in English have made their way into existence. In addition, many degrees that are taught in Dutch use English-language materials (such as books) and names.

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## Server Bug Fix: How do governments keep people accountable for contracts and oaths in a civilisation without a writing system?

Let’s say we have this fictional civilisation. It doesn’t have a writing system; its traditions are oral and so is its system of government. How do you keep people accountable to what they’ve sworn? If someone said they’d give you three cows in exchange for such-and-such a service, how does the government ensure that this happens? In other words, what keeps people from being filthy lying cheats?

Important oaths could be sworn in front of witnesses.

Less important oaths would rely on reputation. Reputation would be important to one survival, and if you somehow manage to trick a large number of folks, they could all bear witness against you.

If someone outright denies there was an oath evidence could be brought against them. If the judge recognises the cows, they may know that they were exchanged with you for something.

Maybe notaries with eidetic memories and incapable of lying are not uncommon in that world.

But I doubt that a bunch of people can reach a civilization degree involving contracts and law without writing. Memory problem notwithstanding, written communication should become a must quite quickly.

You don’t necessarily need writing, just some form of record keeping. Writing and record keeping are not necessarily the same thing.

You could use tally sticks, or something similar. Basically, you have a stick with notches carved into it, the notches representing some info. Maybe how much you paid in taxes, or how many hours/days you agreed to work, or any other business details. Then, you break the stick in half. You keep half, the person you’re dealing with keeps the other. You can prove to a judge that the deal existed because your stick and their stick fit together. You can’t fraudulently edit your half, because the other person still has theirs.

# Notary sticks

Here’s what you do: Find a branched Y-shaped stick. (A stick with more branches may be used to facilitate contracts between 3 or more parties, but we’ll just stick with 2 for now.) Both parties to the contract go and visit a neutral professional notary. In the notary’s presence, two ends of the stick are snapped off so you end up with 3 parts. Each of the parties and the notary get 1 end of the stick. The notary files his stick into a compartment indicating the nature of the contract. (This bin = cows, that bin = service, etc.) Alternatively he ties color-coded ribbons to his stick, or marks the sticks in some other way indicating the nature of the contract.

Once the terms of the contract have been fulfilled, both parties return to the notary with their sticks. Because of the organic nature of sticks, each of their sticks will only fit perfectly with the original stick held by the notary. The sticks are then ritually burned indicating the contract is completed, so they may not be reused. If one party does not fulfill their end of the contract, the other one can file a complaint with the notary, using his stick as proof of the contract.

They use magic. Contract bonding, casted by licensed dark wizards, is a dark magic ritual where all parties sacrifice part of their free will. They not just remember the contract by the heart thanks to the ritual, they also adopt the same interpretation of the contract, no matter how complicated and nuanced it is, and this common interpretation becomes part of personalities of all parties of the contract. Motivation to uphold terms of the contract becomes deeply ingrained in their souls, upholidng the contract becomes their categorical imperative.

They Can’t

If your civilization is small enough… if the economy is simple enough… if the contracts are immediate enough… then it can be done as gmatht explained — by verbal contract. But it takes very little time for a civilization to outgrow this level of simplicity and an argument could be made that a contract for a fish not meant to be completed before next week is too complex to be reliably judged as broken two weeks later based only on hearsay.

We could debate, “what is a writing system?” but the truth is even our illustrious caveman ancestors drew symbols on walls with ash. Creating a believable scenario where a civilization didn’t have some form of symbolic representation would be very difficult indeed. Soon after the development of the concepts of “mine!” and “you dirty rat!” would come the desire to inflict the world with graffiti.

Written language takes many forms. I’ve already mentioned one. Here’s that and a couple more.

• Cave Painting: Cave paintings are a type of parietal art (which category also includes petroglyphs, or engravings), found on the wall or ceilings of caves. The term usually implies prehistoric origin, but cave paintings can also be of recent production: In the Gabarnmung cave of northern Australia, the oldest paintings certainly predate 28,000 years ago, while the most recent ones were made less than a century ago. The oldest known cave paintings are more than 44,000 years old.

• Rai Stones: The Micronesian island of Yap is known for its stone money, known as Rai or Fei: large doughnut-shaped, carved disks of (usually) calcite, up to 4 m (13 ft) in diameter (most are much smaller). The smallest can be as little as 3.5 centimetres (1.4 in) in diameter. They have been used in trade by the Yapese as a form of currency.

• Rongorongo Sticks: Rongorongo is a system of glyphs discovered in the 19th century on Easter Island that appears to be writing or proto-writing. Numerous attempts at decipherment have been made, none successfully. Although some calendrical and what might prove to be genealogical information has been identified, none of these glyphs can actually be read. If rongorongo does prove to be writing and proves to be an independent invention, it would be one of very few independent inventions of writing in human history. (These are advanced forms of the notched sticks Jimbo’s answer points to.)

• Archaeostronical Stone Structures: It has been suggested (and there’s proof to suggest veracity) that some or all of the ancient stone structures like Stonehenge were, at least in part, for the purpose of marking the passage of seasons. They were (among other things) calendars.

So, what is “writing?” In its most basic form, “writing” is the act of recording information for future use and if we grant some wiggle room, “writing” could be defined as anything you did for that purpose, whether it was placing a stone on the ground and grunting out the phrase, “stone mean booga give ugga fish when dark come,” or Edison recording himself saying “Mary had a little lamb…” on a clay cylinder, or IBM discovering that reliably storing ones and zeros on a magnetized surface would be whomping useful.

But without writing, all that’s left is memory. Use all the witnesses you want, you’re still relying on remarkably fallible (and manipulable, and conveniently changed…) memory. (I’m going to ignore the use of external non-writing things like magic and gods — which, when used to record information for future use, are still just another form of writing.)

The problem is that as your society becomes more complex, so do its needs for recording information. Weather patterns, astrological events, calendaric events, genealogical associations, laws, judgements, ownership, and of course, contracts. In your own example, you used three cows. Numbers and arithmetic were among the earliest forms of (and needs for) writing. The moment you held up three fingers you “wrote” something — it was simply erased too quickly for it to be useful. But what does it take for someone to look at those three fingers and think of drawing three lines in the dirt?

Therefore, I’d like to suggest that any society complex enough to need to record contracts couldn’t possibly exist without having long ago developed the ability to symbolically record much simpler, much more fundamental information.

Like something along the lines of, “Second full moon after the spring equinox, plant oats.”

Otherwise, it would be like suggesting a civilization could develop space flight without having first discovered the wheel. It can’t be done without some sort of gimmick that allows the story to proceed.

Agreements have been made for centuries before the relatively recent reliance on paperwork.

If someone is known to not keep their word, then no one will accept their word as surety.

A person’s appearance of trustworthiness is guarded well by each individual. Questioning someone’s word would be deeply offensive.

Rather than being enforced by the courts or by the state, it is enforced by the individuals of the community. Those known, or even suspected, of being untrustworthy will be completely shunned, or simply never interacted with in any manner that requires trust.

For most interactions, a promise between two individuals would be fine. For more substantial transactions, making the promise or exchange in the presence of witnesses would suffice.

The short and obvious answer is:

Oaths work because religion.

If you believe that God punishes oathbreakers with, let’s say, a infinity of torment in the next world, then there’s really no incentive for any rational person ever to break an oath.

Serendipitously, just yesterday I discovered this blog which goes crazy in depth on a lot of “fantasy-antiquity” tropes. Come for the siege of Gondor, stay for “Oaths: How do They Work?”:

In most of modern life, we have drained much of the meaning out of the few oaths that we still take, in part because we tend to be very secular and so don’t regularly consider the religious aspects of the oaths – even for people who are themselves religious. Consider it this way: when someone lies in court on a TV show, we think, “ooh, he’s going to get in trouble with the law for perjury.” We do not generally think, “Ah yes, this man’s soul will burn in hell for all eternity, for he has literally damned himself.” …

So when thinking about oaths, we want to think about them the way people in the past did: as things that work – that is they do something. In particular, we should understand these oaths as effective – by which I mean that the oath itself actually does something more than just the words alone. They trigger some actual, functional supernatural mechanisms. In essence, we want to treat these oaths as real in order to understand them.

If your premodern civilization really cannot spare a god or two to witness oaths, then the next best thing would be for them to set up the closest possible facsimile to an omniscient, omnipotent witness — somebody who

• sees when an oath is taken

• sees, with infallible accuracy, when an oath is broken

• harshly punishes the oathbreaker

and, pretty importantly,

• is never witnessed to have failed in their two capacities as omniscient-observer-of-oathbreakings and omnipotent-punisher-of-oathbreakers

because if people start getting the idea that they might not be punished for breaking their oath, well, then all bets are off, and you’d better invent lawyers quick.

What’d be perfect is if you can manage to inflict your harsh punishment only in the afterlife, and nobody ever comes back from the afterlife to falsify your claim of infallibility. (Again, if your culture hasn’t got an afterlife, you’ll have to invent some facsimile. Unfortunately I’m having a hard time imagining what that might look like.)

It’s quite simple. You have a class of people who’s job is to keep track of contracts, which we will call ‘contractors’. A small exchange such as a purchase can be witnessed by a single contractor, while major events, such as a major oath or the purchase of a building might be witnessed by as much as a dozen.

You can’t eliminate the possibility that contractors themselves would lie, but by having more contractors witness more important events, you reduce the likelihood that you could successfully bribe all of them before you were ratted out by one to near zero, especially if ratting on bribery was rewarded.

Two things come to mind. 1. Fear of God and after life consequences 2. The oldest form of conflict resolution: BLOOD.

Even Today people trust what people say, even when they don’t know them. They trust in common decency and get burned. We’ve all heard it before “Be sure to get it in writing”. Anyways, even with all our written laws and protections, we know there are still many people and places here at home that if you cross somebody you will get served with instant justice in the form of a physical beat down. If you’ve ever had all your stuff thrown through a window by an ex girlfriend you know about instant justice (nothing written, no judge, no jury).

everybody knows everyone and remembers.

You can’t organize more actors than you can remember without writing.

Therefore it’s either a tiny nation, or it’s organised into tribes and many agreements will be are between tribes instead of between individuals.

Rai stones are quite a unique way to keep track of transactions.

Some micronesian people used to have small round stone used as money. The value was not written on their face: the bigger the stone, the higher it’s value.

Problem was, the biggest stones could make more than one meter in diameter… so the idea was to meet where the stone was with some witnesses and orally transfer ownership of the stone.

Governments don’t enforce contracts; courts do.

While I doubt you could have anything resembling a modern government without a system of writing, you can certainly have courts. At its core, a court hears each party’s side of a case (including any witnesses), rules in favor of one or the other, and orders someone to enforce their ruling. None of that fundamentally requires writing to work, nor does it require the existence of a government.

I can think of a few reasons.

SURVIVAL

This depends on the size of the society, in part. Are people well-known enough to other members of society that they cannot escape general knowledge of their deceitful behavior? There have been (illiterate) societies, even in the last few centuries, where a person’s word truly was considered bond. Breaking that word would result in being shunned from all future business in the community, ultimately leading to ruin.

Picture a small farming community, around 1900. Everyone knows everyone else. The community is small enough that people can grasp the concept of “if we all start cheating each other, everyone will starve.” Any bad actor will be quickly excluded from the community, because people recognize the danger his actions pose to the survival of the whole. By turn, anyone considering deceit must consider that if they cheat one person, they are damaging their own chance of survival.

CULTURAL MORES

Suppose a society once had the survival situation above. Now this is a large, prosperous society. (For whatever reason, they never developed writing. This is your world, you figure that out.) However, the prohibition against cheating is such an integral part of society that no one would dare do it. Assuming free will, some people still try to break the rules. However, anyone who does is so severely punished that only someone completely unhinged would even contemplate it. Maybe oathbreaking carries the death penalty or something, and society is 100% behind it. There’s not enough reward to justify the risk to any logical person.

BIOLOGY

Maybe the society isn’t human, or at least not 21st-century Earth humans. China Mielville’s book Embassytown dealt with exactly this. The native residents of the planet where the story takes place are physically unable to lie. Something in the biology of their brains makes them incapable of speaking an untruth. As I recall, for them, speaking a lie would be like having the ability to spontaneously, voluntarily hallucinate. You can’t just look at a red pen and force your eyes to perceive it as blue. These beings had the same constraint on their faculties of speech.

For transaction-type contracts, an escrow system could work. The parties would agree to the contract with the escrow agent present. Parties deliver their goods to the escrow agent, not to each other. The agent only delivers the goods to their respective recipient once all parties have fulfilled their obligations. The escrow agent ensures that the transaction either happens as originally agreed, or no goods change hands at all.

POETRY AND SONG

Contracts, great deeds, promises, rules, and other important information – even navigational directions – are preserved by oral tradition.

How do you stop them from being forgotten, mis-remembered or even corrupted?

In modern communication theory, you add redundancy. Those check digits that proclaim a credit card number either valid or a forgery. Repetition of a message in a RAID disk array. Checksums, parity bits to detect communication errors ro tampering.

In oral communications, you can do exactly the same.

Make the verse rhyme. Rhymes are easier to remember.
Introduce the chorus.
Build on the same image to reinforce it. And it must rhyme.
Repeat the chorus
Use colourful unforgettable images. Or puns or jokes.
Repeat the chorus.
Keep the rhythm going so that a forger introducing extra words stands out like a sore thumb.
Repeat the chorus.


And it works. Chunks of Homer’s Iliad have been heard in Eastern Mediterranean countries (OK, citation needed), fairly well preserved in the oral tradition after a couple of millennia.

To armour a message in image, rhythm and rhyme, takes considerable skill, so you’ll need bards of considerable talent – as well as legal training – the cream will be among the most honoured members of society and most prized at court, alongside the warriors who provide enforcement. And as the above shows, I wouldn’t have been one of them.

The Norse used praise poetry for kings; no doubt, remembering who won which battle or who made what promise was of use in their courts to decide disputes.

Sample messages…

Ring-a-ring-a-rosy,
Pocket full of posy,
Tishoo, Tishoo,
All fall down.


Diagnostics, attempted cure, and outcome. Seems like we shouldn’t have forgotten this one.

We'll rant and we'll roar, like true British sailors,
We'll rant and we'll roar across the salt seas;
Until we strike soundings
In the Channel of old England,
From Ushant to Scilly 'tis thirty-five leagues.


Great rhythm and finishes with the most important information; how far before we get into home waters.

So:

If someone said they’d give you three cows in exchange for such-and-such a service, how does the government ensure that this happens?

How would this work for a contract?

Three cows, spake Donald.
Three cows, by summer's end.
Three cows, to mend his ship,
No bull, his ship I mend.


Break the contract and he’ll never show his face down the pub again, if we keep singing his song!

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## Making Game: Removing ghost keyboard layout

On my computer I see an Irish keyboard layout in the language bar.
I don’t know any Irish and English (USA) is my default langage with QWERTY being its only keyboard layout.
How do I permanently delete the Irish GA keyboard layout? I’ve accomplished several things to help such as removing the keyboard shortcut keys to switch languages but I can’t seem to identify the source of this additional keyboard layout.

Any suggestions as to next steps?

try this

In language settings, scroll down and click ‘administrative language settings’.
On the “administrative” tab, click ‘copy settings’.
Check the two options and click ok.

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## Making Game: Are there any 3000 year old Northern European languages that modern humans could communicate with?

I have an archaeologist who finds some inscriptions that are at least 3000 years old while excavating some ruins in Northern Europe. It takes him some time, but he manages to track down one of the world’s leading specialists in this language to help him with the translations. Due to some handwavy mumbo jumbo, these two scientists manage to awaken a supernatural being that has been in a sort of stasis since the inscriptions were first written.

At a bare minimum, I would need these scientists to be able to read and write in a common dialogue that the supernatural being would understand, but I would prefer them to be able to have a spoken dialogue.

What would be the best language for the supernatural being to know to allow for this?

You are in luck; we actually do know one three thousand years old European language, maybe one and a half. We also do know another (non-European) language spoken three thousand years ago which is quite conceivable that the ancient supernatural being might know.

1. There are millions of people who can read Homer‘s and Hesiod‘s works in the original. We are even pretty certain that we know how pronounce them in a way which is not all that far removed from the original. Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, and Hesiod’s Theogony and Works and Days were originally composed in the 9th, most likely 8th or maybe 7th century before the common era, so 2700 to 2900 years ago, most likely around 2800 years ago.

At that time the Greeks were busy using their ships to trade all over the Mediterranean, so their language was already beginning to be known internationally. Not so much as option number 3, but still plausible.

(The major advantage of Homeric Greek is that there are many people in the modern world who know it well enough to communicate. This is how the stranded Natucketers begin to communicate with their Tartessian frenemies in S. M. Stirling‘s celebrated Nantucket series beginning with Island in the Sea of Time.)

2. For completeness, we should also mention the remote possibility that the ancient supernatural being knows some sort of very archaic Latin. It is not at all likely, but hey, maybe his daughter dated a particulary exotic adventurer from Alba Longa, which, at that time, was the most important Latin city. (Rome did not exist yet.) (Yes, there was a people called Latins.) The main problem is that at that time Latin was a small language, spoken by an insignificant small nation in central Italy, and one would have to explain how come the ancient supernatural being knows it.

3. The great language of trade widely known at that time around the shores of Europe was Phoenician.

• The Phoenicians actually traded as far north as Britain in the right time-frame, and they were the dominant long-distance traders in Europe at that time.

• Phoenician was actually written at that time, so it is plausible to find inscriptions.

• Phoenician is quite similar to the oldest layers of Biblical Hebrew, so that it is quite easily believable that a modern scholar would quickly make sense of it. (There are very many people who study Biblical Hebrew.)

So basically, that’s it: if they are to communicate orally without spending time actually learning each other’s language, it would be in Homeric Greek or in Phoenician.

If there are inscriptions to be found and quickly deciphered, they would most likely be in Phoenician.

1. But! It is perfectly conceivable (and, it my opinion, it would make a great episode in the story) that the inscriptions are in the parent language of Proto-Germanic written with a local adaptation of the Phoenician alphabet. At that time, that very late Indo-European dialect which gave rise to Proto-Germanic was spoken in southern Scandinavia and maybe the Jutland peninsula; and you are speaking exactly about the time when the Phoenician invention of the alphabet was spreading like wildfire west and east — it was such a simple idea, it makes writing so easy, why on Earth didn’t we think about it! If it spread to the west, and it spread to the east, why not also to the north?

(We know Proto-Germanic a lot better than Proto-Celtic, mainly because the Germanic languages are much more conservative than Celtic languages and thus the reconstruction is much easier, because Germanic languages are attested at an earlier stage, and because Proto-Germanic has so many more living descendants than Proto-Celtic. Its immediate parent language must have been an Indo-European transitional dialect of Proto-Indo-European already with the distinctive Germanic vocabulary, but without the defining First Germanic Consonant Shift.)

Note about the idea of some sort of Proto-Basque: While we are certain that the ancestors of the Basques spoke a language which is the ancestor of Basque, we unfortunately don’t know anything much about that language. Yes, it must have existed. No, we don’t know it. Not that very few people study it; no: we simply have very very little data (basically, a handful or names recorded by the Greeks and the Romans) so that, at present, we don’t even pretend to have the foggiest idea about it.

Basque.

The Pre-Indo-European languages are any of several ancient languages,
not necessarily related to one another, that existed in Prehistoric
Europe and South Asia before the arrival of speakers of Indo-European
languages. The oldest Indo-European language texts date from the 19th
century BC in Kültepe, now in Turkey, and while estimates vary widely,
the spoken Indo-European languages are believed to have developed at
the latest by the 3rd millennium BC (see Proto-Indo-European Urheimat
hypotheses). Thus, the Pre-Indo-European languages must have developed
earlier than or, in some cases alongside, the Indo-European languages
that ultimately displaced them.1[2][3]

A handful of the languages still survive; in Europe, Basque retains a
localised strength, with fewer than a million native speakers…

The Basque language is definitely old enough for your purposes. Whether an ancient speaker would be intelligible at all is a different matter but you can sort it out in the fiction. Once your scholar catches on that some nouns and verbs are Basque, if the god is willing to be patient they can sort out accent and sentence structure with a little work.

There is also lots of fun theories about where Basque came from which range from the scientific to Atlantis-type theories; read a little and pick what you like!

A map showing the shrinkage of the Basque language area during historic times.

http://www.kondaira.net/irudiak/euskararengaleraeng.jpg

There are two questions that need to be unpacked from what you’ve written. One — the language – has been addressed in the linked question. The other is this: what writing system did these archeologists find this 3000-year-old language written in?

There are four known writing systems from 1000 BC we can expect an archeologist to recognize, & perhaps even understand. (Actually five, if we include written Chinese.) They are Egyptian hieroglyphs, Luwian hieroglyphs (used in parts of Anatolia), cuneiform, & the Phoenician alphabet. (The Mycenaean Linear scripts fell out of use by 1000 BC.) I don’t know of any examples of the Egyptian or Luwian systems being used beyond their territories, let alone to represent other languages.

While a number of languages have been written using cuneiform, reading cuneiform is a very specialized skill: I took a class in Hittite language years ago, & the instructor simplified matters by omitting teaching cuneiform. (All of our texts were transliterated.) So unless your archeological party happened to have a professor in Semitic languages along, I figure all they could do is say, “Hey, this is written in cuneiform!”

The Phoenician alphabet makes a little more sense: the Phoenicians spread the use of their writing system thru the Mediterranean, & it was later modified to use with Etruscan & Greek. Even an archeologist with only a superficial knowledge of the topic could at least transliterate the inscription, & make a guess at the language it was written in. (IIRC, any competent archeologist working in European topics would know English & one or more of German, French, Italian & Spanish, as well as have some knowledge of Latin &/or ancient Greek. So they could guess from a transcription that it was written in either Proto-Celtic or Proto-Germanic.)

To say more, one would need to do more in-depth research.

So far so good for central and southern Europe!

But your guys are going to be working in northern Europe! At 1000 BC, your best bet is going to be a Uralic language (e.g., such as are spoken in Finland and along the Arctic Ocean coastlands.

It’s thought that the Uralic languages got their start in relatively close proximity to the Indo-European family, and some have posited that those two families share a common ancestor.

Sadly for your intrepid duo, there are no records of anything written in any Uralic language before the 1200s. So, if what the archaeologist finds is a sample of actual Uralic, this would be a bonanza for philology! That would be like finding Schleicher’s Fable in the flesh for the Indoeuropeanists! Assuming the writing itself can be deciphered & read, it should at least sound familiar to a Uralicist. So, yes, eventually they’d be able to talk to this ancient being.

We really don’t know anything at all about what languages were spoken in the rest of Northern Europe at that time. Clearly, the Celts, Slavs & Teutons moved in on somebody, we just don’t know who. Could be related to Uralic, could be related to Basque, could be related to Etruscan. Who knows!

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## Server Bug Fix: What are the appropriate phrases to use to wish an astronaut safe travels?

When you want to wish an astronaut “safe travels”, what particular phrases are commonly used?

I’m looking for historical phrases as well as more modern.

Although I’m more interested in English phrases, answers for all languages are welcome, as long as you provide an English translation

“Have a good flight” works.

“Godspeed” is traditional in the US space program, not necessarily as a religious reference, but because Scott Carpenter said it to John Glenn.

Here’s a sign from the training team at the STS-135 crew sendoff at Ellington Field. (July 4, 2011)

(personal photo)