Meanwhile, by way of warming up, here are a couple of errata from the email bag.
*First erratum. In my March 18th podcast I had some fun with feminist glaciology. (Hey, how many opportunities are there?) In there somewhere I quoted academic Mark Carey writing that: “Glaciers don’t have a gender.” I jeered that:
Actually, prof, glaciers do have a gender. They're masculine in German, French, Italian, and Spanish, but neuter in Russian.Well, jeer not lest ye be jeered. As several listeners pointed out—all, I should say, very gently—the word “glacier” is actually masculine in Russian.
How did I come to make such an egregious linguistic blunder? Like this.
My Russian is sketchy, mostly the residue of a one-year course I took fifty-three years ago (how time flies!).
The sketch does not include the Russian word for “glacier,” so I looked it up in my pocket dictionary: Collins Gem Russian-English, English-Russian Dictionary (Soviet Orthography) by Waldemer Schapiro (Fellow of the Institute of Linguists), pub. William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd., London, 1958.
For “glacier” the English-Russian half of the dictionary gives:
glacier, sn. — ледник (pronounced “lyed-NEEK”)Fair enough; but what does “sn” mean? The dictionary has only one list of abbreviations (Сокращения). It doesn’t list “sn” separately, but it gives “s” as meaning “substantive” (i.e. a noun) and “n” as “neuter” (среднего рода).
Got it. So this is a neuter noun in Russian.
Uh-uh. If you go to the Russian-English half of the dictionary and look up ледник you get:
ледник, sm. — glacierSure enough, the darn thing is masculine (as, I belatedly recall, are all Russian nouns that end with a consonant). So … what’s that “sn” doing in the other half of the dictionary?
I wonder if Waldemer Schapiro (Fellow of the Institute of Linguists) is still dwelling among us in this vale of tears? I’d like to have a word with him.
Second erratum. In that same podcast I said the following thing:
The Marianas Islands, for example, where Donald Trump just won 73 percent of the Republican vote, were the territory of Micronesian hunter-gatherers until Ferdinand Magellan arrived in 1521.(Note that there is nowadays no zone of commentary so recondite as not to warrant a Trump reference.)
That’s wrong, says a listener:
The Chamorro may have been primitive, but they weren't simple hunter-gatherers. They practiced agriculture in garden plots, and possibly in rice fields. They probably did not have any domestic animals, however.He’s right. That’s one of those annoying things I knew but had momentarily forgotten. The Neolithic Revolution didn’t happen all at once. Hardly anything does. Natura non facit saltum.
*Thanks to the listeners who took the trouble to email in with corrections. VDARE.com is a fact-based website, and we care a lot—more, I believe, than some bigfoot print publications—about getting things right.