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9:25 AM
@NapoleonWilson Well, there's nothing wrong with having more than one good answer to a question ;-)
@NapoleonWilson Yeah, that's unfortunate. I was thinking of promoting those questions to Ms Hopkinson on Twitter, but now I'm not sure if the second one will really give a good impression of our site. The last thing we need is a Twitter flame-war here.
Frankly, I still don't even get the problems of the question. But I guess that's just me being part of the problem. It sucks, though, that we're not able to discuss this without telling people "yeah, please don't try to even understand it, it just makes things worse".
But anyway, I said my part. I hope the answerer at least stays on the site and considers being a little more constructive.
Finished reading Shakespeare's Sonnets and Poems: A Very Short Introduction by Jonathan F. S. Post. Worth reading, but I almost fell of my chair when the timeline at the end of the book claimed that Marlowe and Shakespeare were born in 1554 instead of 1564.
9:40 AM
@NapoleonWilson I think the latest edits to the final paragraph(s) were an improvement, to be fair. They made the answerer's attitude a little more clear and relatable.
Although I kind of wish your further comments had been taken to the already-existing chatroom instead ;-)
Sorry. It started out as genuine criticism of the answer which I felt was appropriate in a comment rather than some unrelated chatroom. But maybe it got out of hand.
I'll probably stop engaging this further anyway.
9:56 AM
Anyway, I'd have the audacity to say that Ms Hopkinson would sure have appreciated your question and your urge to learn more about the topic. ;-)
@NapoleonWilson Well, I'd hope so. But she comes with a stream of Twitter followers - some of whom might take umbrage at the question as LitProf did, some of whom might take umbrage at the tone of the answer.
"Twitter" and "polarising" are a bad combination.
Sure sure.
10:31 AM
Here are some other stories by Nalo Hopkinson: Can’t Beat ‘Em, Old Habits, The Glass Bottle Trick.
I have to admit that "Shift" made me curious about her novels. But I'm too busy with other books right now: currently Anne Frank's diary, Proust's Le Côté de Guermantes and a German book about how to interpret literature. After that: the next volume of Proust's Recherche, Miep Gies's memoir about Anne Frank, rereading all of Shakespeare's poems, Eagleton's How to Read Literature, some books about literary theory, ...
Does that sound as if I live to read? ;-)
Around these parts, you wouldn't be the only one ;-)
I guess so ;-)
Thanks for the links! I'll read them when I get the chance.
I've only read "Can't Beat 'Em" so far. Much less "experimental" than "Shift".
Experimental? In what way?
10:40 AM
"Experimental" for lack of a better word: the switching of pronouns.
Ah OK.
More 'conventional'?
Yes, definitely.
10:59 AM
Hmm, I'm only listening to the audiobook version of Artemis. ;-)
11:15 AM
Heh, interesting. There might be some analogy in the idea of gruel being the "poor man"'s porridge, or porridge being the "advanced" and "classy" version of the originally primarily utilitarian gruel.
That had never occurred to me.
But I'm speculating, I have zero experience with both of them. ;-)
Looking up those Wikipedia articles also made me wonder what the proper English name is for the type of breakfast I sometimes eat: oatmeal, gruel or porridge. But that's not a Lit SE question. (Seasoned Advice?)
To a German ear gruel also doesn't sound particularly...tasty. But that might be a subjective impression.
Wikipedia says, though, that "From a literary, bourgeois, or modern point of view, gruel has often been associated with poverty."
So it may very well be that he's saying porridge is just an upperclass version of gruel. Or even just a rebranding to avoid it sounding like poor man's food.
When I was reading the story, I thought of "gruelsome", but then it turned out that is just a contamination of "gruesome" with "gruel".
11:21 AM
Q: Significance of 'There was a time they called porridge “gruel.”'

Christophe StrobbeIn Nalo Hopkinson's short story Shift, Caliban has a relationship with a "golden girl". At some point, Caliban mentions she is cooking oats. At an earlier point in the story he says There was a time they called porridge “gruel.” I have no idea how this fits into the rest of the story. The W...

But of course that depends on the surrounding context in the story. It does seem to generally fit into the themes of the story, though.
It helps to know about these connotations but I'm still not sure why Caliban makes that comment.
Hmm, before he says that the girl is actually making "porridge" (or asking him if he likes it). So it might just be used as a device to make the connection to a callback to more ancient times, which he does in the following paragraph.
Yes, but in these former times, he was "richer", so he had no reason to call porridge "gruel". Or did he?
11:31 AM
Though, I admittedly had my difficulties with that paragraph to begin with, as well as the first Ariel monologue right before it.
@ChristopheStrobbe But they called porridge gruel.
That's right. But this leads to the question who "they" are.
Maybe it was a time when "they" didn't pretend they were better than him? But...I'm really just grabbing for straws. Looking forward to an actual answer.
I will also have another look at the story. Later.
(Or a time when they weren't too much more "civilized" than him to begin with.)
Sometimes it happens that I write a new Lit SE question and while looking for resources to flesh out the question, I find the answer I'm looking for. Happened today with a question related to the anti-Stratfordians.
11:37 AM
Happens. That's what the BlogOverflow option is for.
Oh, I thought Stack Exchange had gotten rid of the blogging part. Or are you referring to something else?
I'm talking about the checkbox to "Answer your own question" that you can tick when asking in order to post your answer together with the question in unison.
Ah, I might use that then :-)
It's great for use-cases like this where you have a really interesting question and already have a good answer to it.
Of course if it's just random Wiki-trivia, the value of such self-answers is debatable. But I'm going to assume it's an interestng question with an insightful answer. ;-)
Yes. I have answered a number of my own questions so far, but those required extra research after I had posted the question. (Especially search queries that I had not thought of while writing the question.)
I have refrained from using the immediate Q&A-type of contributions because I once read a comment in this chat room from someone saying they didn't like self-answer questions.
11:47 AM
It's...difficult. Some people consider them "rep-grabs" or something. But it's actually encouraged by the network itself.
It also depends on the community a little. On some sites they fare better than on others.
But if I start writing more Q&As, that should be good for the site statistics :-)
Well, since everyone is allowed to use that feature, I don't see it as unfair or anything like that.
I personally think they're a really nice tool for sharing good content. But I also tend to have a higher threshold for how interesting/relevant your question should be to go to that length than with "normal" questions.
Hmm, I have noticed I am really bad at predicting how "popular" my own questions will be. Really bad.
But if it's an interesting question/answer that you'd be proud to have on the site if asked by someone else, it shouldn't matter who asked/answered it and we're better with the question and answer than without.
@ChristopheStrobbe Self-answers are to be encouraged. Go right ahead with those. :)
11:50 AM
@Mithrandir Thanks for the encouragement!
I've probably only done it once, but that went really well. And I'd also rather see people do more of these than not asking the question at all (or doing strange sock-puppet magic to reach the same result).
I think it's also a way of getting more content about non-English literature on the site. Although with me being such a Bardoholic ...
12:37 PM
I thought the "gruel" thing was simply a way of leading in to the discussion of 'olden times', since it's a more old-fashioned word than "porridge".
But I'm hesitant to post that as an answer, since there may well be some deeper significance tying in to the main themes of the story.
@ChristopheStrobbe I agree with Napoleon and Mithrandir, but if you're still worried about immediate self-answers being poorly received, you could write up the question and then wait a while before pulling together all the info you found for an answer.
@Randal'Thor I'll think I'll try it out, though, and see how it fares.
12:53 PM
Given the circumstances and how I experienced this site so far, my gut feeling says it might fare quite well.
1 hour later…
1:59 PM
Nalo Hopkinson has been the most successful reading challenge since May 2018, when we had Le Guin's works as a challenge, with 8 questions. And we have almost 10 more days.
Last I checked it were 3 questions, though. o_O
I thought this site does the author tags always thing.
Well, everything is relative.
I'm just finding the dialect difficult to read :/ I'm working my way through it, but I'm unused to this way of writing English. But that's the point of the challenge ;)
2:11 PM
@NapoleonWilson Are you going for a rural dialect? ;-)
@NapoleonWilson Yes - did you find a question we missed?
Like... what does this mean?
> him did know what fe say
Ah, that reminds me: I wanted to post a question about "fe". That also stumped me.
That would make four questions!
From context, it looks like it means "to".
> he know how fe have respect.
I also more or less understood all the dialect except "fe".
I wondered if it might be a misprint in the online version of the story.
@ChristopheStrobbe If you're not going to, I will :)
2:25 PM
@Mithrandir No worries. Go ahead!
@Randal'Thor No.
@Randal'Thor Well, there are 3 questions tagged , so if there's 8 for the challenge, there were apparently 5 missed.
@ChristopheStrobbe I'm slapping together a different question about the dialect at the moment so you have until tomorrow to change your mind ;P
@NapoleonWilson I think he meant we had 8 questions for le Guin.
@ChristopheStrobbe And only one story so far!
@Randal'Thor Oh. So...what makes this one more successful then?
Imagine how many we'll have after reading more Hopkinson stuff ;-)
@NapoleonWilson Most successful since that one.
2:27 PM
Oh, now I get it. Most successful excluding the other one.
The supremum of the set of all challenges strictly later than the le Guin one.
We have three questions for Nalo Hopkinson. That's more than in the other challenges since Le Guin.
@Randal'Thor Don't laugh. It has 50% more questions that last month's challenge!
Double, now.
I'm not sure replacing "nuh" with "no" really makes no sense there, given the boundaries of sense laid by the odd grammar to begin with.
Wait, that should make sense as a genuine comment even.
@NapoleonWilson Even in the first case?
2:35 PM
> Is no that turn her bitter?
Hmm, I wonder if we have any Jamaican users here.
That could conceivably mean "is it any wonder that...", but...
"Doesn't that turn her bitter?" Would be my context-less intuitive try at transliterating.
Q: What does "nuh" mean here in "Shift" by Nalo Hopkinson?

MithrandirIn reading "Shift" by Nalo Hopkinson, I came across this paragraph: In my mother and father, salt meet with sweet. Milk meet with chocolate. No one could touch her while he was alive and ruler of his lands, but the minute him dead, her family and his get together and exile her to that little ...

Or maybe "Wouldn't that...", considering the context.
3:01 PM
@Christophe Beat me to it :-)
I'd also found that website/link, and was planning to put together an answer.
@Randal'Thor I also found some example of "nuh" in Rihanna lyrics.
@ChristopheStrobbe Dunno who that is - is she Jamaican?
Actually Barbadian, according to Wikipedia, but she worked with a Jamaican band at some time.
"Nuh" is also documented in Leeward Caribbean Creole English.
3:21 PM
> If he prick us, is nuh we bleed? If he tickle us, is nuh we laugh?
I wonder if there is an influence from French, i.e. the particle "ne" (pronounced with a schwa), which is also used in negations.
@NapoleonWilson rofl
@NapoleonWilson Yep, famous quote from The Tempest ;-)
Shakespeare in the original Carribean. ;-)
@NapoleonWilson No, it's from the "bad quarto" of The Tempest, that no one ever knew existed. Scholars believe that The Tempest was first published the the First Folio of 1623, but I have that "bad Quarto" right next to me.
It's going to have quite an impact in academia when I publish it on 1 April next year :-P
3:37 PM
On YouTube, you can listen to Rihanna's "Work work work" ("Me nuh care" etc.) Some people thought Rihanna was talking gibberish when they heard it for the first time. Not my cup of tea, either.
Hmm, the connection from "nuh" to "no" seemed rather intuitive to me. And "me no care" isn't particularly uncommon a phrase either.
Reminds me of DiCaprio's continuous "huh"-spam in Blood Diamond.
I have added the links to those Nalo Hopkins stories to the meta post, where other people should be more likely to find them.
@ChristopheStrobbe Good idea.
3:55 PM
@NapoleonWilson We looking for more Nalo Hopkinson questions, huh?
Well, I'll try to look into some of the stories you linked above.
Short stories work well for this, since the threshold of engagement is much lower for a 1-hour effort than a full-fledged novel that might not interest me to begin with.
They also tend to have a more stringent story-telling with less irrelevant detail. Bringing a topic to the point, rather than building a huge construction around a rather straight-forward theme.
4:38 PM
Q: What does this line mean, about Anna Karenina amounting to false papers?

Sourav ChaudhuriWhat does Kundera mean by this line, towards the end of chapter 2 in The Unbearable Lightness of Being? The copy of Anna Karenina under her arm amounted to false papers; it had given Tomas the wrong idea

I found a seven other stories by Hopkinson and added them to the meta Q.
2 hours later…
6:54 PM
Q: What is the relevance of the title of Nalo Hopkinson's "A Raggy Dog, a Shaggy Dog"?

Rand al'ThorI've just read Nalo Hopkinson's short story "A Raggy Dog, a Shaggy Dog" (available for free online from Apex Magazine). It's an odd, quirky tale about an orchid-loving lady who's constantly setting off the fire alarms and sprinkler systems in the flats where she lives, and the orchidnated rat whi...

7:08 PM
My seventh reading challenge suggestion is another Chinese author: Lin Yutang.
A: Suggest your Lit.SE reading challenges here!

Christophe StrobbeAuthor challenge: Lin Yutang (林语堂) Lin Yutang (1895 – 1976) was born in China but after 1935 he lived mostly in the United States. He died in Taiwan, where his home was turned into a museum: the Lin Yutang house. After his death, The New York Times wrote wrote: Lin Yutang, poet, novelist, hi...

We're wondering about the title "A Raggy Dog, a Shaggy Dog" for this short story by Nalo Hopkinson - does anyone know the answer? (cc @Nalo_Hopkinson) https://literature.stackexchange.com/q/8229/58

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