Sunday July 25, 2004

Today's Library Books

I'm on the home stretch with my thesis. Today I returned a half dozen language reference books that didn't have the sort of information I'm looking for—Bad authors! Be more thorough!—and checked out a dozen more. I wonder what the librarians think when I swoop in, check out a stack of books about a bunch of unrelated languages, and then return half of them a few days later...that I tried them all out and didn't like the way they sounded?

Anyway, today's haul included:

Introduction to Classical Nahuatl by J. Richard Andrews
A Vietnamese Grammar by Laurence C. Thompson
The Alamblak Language of Papua New Guinea (East Sepik) by Les Bruce (an Australian named Bruce, what are the chances?)
Syntactic Structure of Mezquital Otomi by H. Harwood Hess
A Hierarchical Sketch of Mixe by Julia and Willard Van Haitsma
Studies in the Syntax of Mixtecan Languages Vol. 1-4 ed. by C. Henry Bradley and Barbara E. Hollenbach
Sonora Yaqui Language Structures by John M. Dedrick and Eugene H. Casad
The Structure of Jacaltec by Colette Grinevald Craig
A Grammar of Modern Telugu by Bh. Krishnamurti and J. P. L. Gwynn (interesting initials on both authors)

However, the most interesting book I saw today was one I didn't check out. It was a reference book of some sort in Thai, and it was entirely handwritten—not just a collection of notes or a bound handwritten draft, but an entire book written out in fairly fancy calligraphy, with extra flourishes. It looked like it was printed on a mimeograph machine, too. I can't read Thai at all, so I don't know what it was about. It must have been from the Bad Old Days when typography in non-European scripts wasn't widely available. I don't think I've ever come across a handwritten book in the general stacks of a library before. Typewritten, yes, but not written by hand. University libraries are cool!

[Now playing: "Cornflakes" by Pizzicato Five]

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