Presentation of Latin Language

I choose Latin language as my topic for the presentation. The important reason is Latin America. It is interesting that there is a region whose name is related to language. I think it reflected the important influence that Latin had on history.

When I collected the information about Latin language, I found that Latin had a very long history. It can be traced to before the birth of Christ. It is hard to talk about its in a comprehensive way in a five-minute presentation. I chose several important period of Latin to talk—Classical Latin, Vulgar Latin, Medieval Latin, Renaissance Latin and Modern Latin.

During the late republic and into the first years of the empire, Old Latin had been standardized into Classical Latin. Vulgar Latin, the spoken language, existed as at the same time as the literate Classical Latin. Over the centuries the spoken varieties of Latin continued to move away from the literary standard and eventually evolved into the modern Romance languages.

Medieval Latin is the written Latin in use during that portion of the post-classical period. This Latin spread into lands that had never spoken Latin. It became useful for international communication between the member states of the Holy Roman Empire and its allies. Even after the collapse of the western Roman Empire in 476 AD, it continued to be used as a literary language throughout western and central Europe.

During the 15th century, Latin began to lose its dominant position as the main language of scholarship and religion throughout Europe. It was largely replaced by written versions of the vernacular languages of Europe. The Renaissance briefly reinforced the position of Latin as a spoken language.

During the Early Modern Age, Latin still was the most important language of culture in Europe. However, Latin is generally considered to be a dead language nowadays, though there are still a few Christian clergy and scholars who can speak Latin fluently.

Latin belongs to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. It evolved into the modern Romance languages, including Spanish, Portuguese, French and Italian.

I connected Jared Diamond’s geography-based theory with the name of Latin America. Spain and Portugal were geographically close to Roman Empire. Their languages are descendants of Latin. From the 16th Century, Spain and Portugal invaded and conquered central and south America. They brought their languages so nowadays the group of countries where Romance languages are predominant is called Latin America.

Resource:

http://www.omniglot.com/writing/latin2.htm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latin

http://www.ruf.rice.edu/~kemmer/Words04/structure/latin.html

American Sniper

I think why the movie American Sniper moved me deeply is that it makes me feel real. American Sniper makes me feel real, on the one hand, because it is based on the real-life stories of Navy Seals sniper Chris Kyle. On the other hand, the director uses a way of straight narration, with few climaxes. The whole movie seems to be just aimed at presenting the sniper’s life, rather than being intentionally sensational and seeking the tears of the audience.

The whole movie talks about two major points—Kyle’s personal motive in the war and the disasters of wars to individuals.

In the beginning of the movie, Kyle’s father gave an important theory that had a long-term influence on Kyle. That is, people can be divided into three kinds: sheep, wolves and sheepdogs. Sheep represent people who don’t know how to protect themselves when facing danger. Wolves represent people who use violence to prey on the weak are. Sheepdogs represent people who have power and have the nature to protect weak. Kyle kept performing the part of sheepdogs in the war. For him, his goal in the war was survival and letting more companions survive. The movie does not poeticize heroism—fight for justice—but shows Kyle’s personal motive as a sheepdog. When his close companions died and hurt, he became angry and distressed and came back to the war for avenging.

Wars brought Kyle honor but in the meanwhile destroyed his life, particularly his family life. He suffered from PTSD (post‐traumatic stress disorder). His head was always in the sound of gunfire and explosions. He became angry more easily and could not integrate into the normal life. His relationship with wife was tense.

Particularly, women and children were important in the movie for Kyle. The first person that Kyle killed was a young boy, taking the bomb given by his mother and dashing into the American convey. His mother became the second one. When facing women and children with bombs, Kyle hesitated because he was also a husband and a father. Afterwards, though Kyle was experienced and was accustomed to pressing the trigger without hesitation, however, when he saw an about five-year-old boy taking a rocket gun, he hesitated for a long time and expected the boy to put down. When the boy put down and left, he wiped the sweat from his face with immense relief.

I think American Sniper is a good movie that worth watching.

Mendoza’s tragedy

As for the question whether the Mendoza’s nature was violent, I think the answer is “no”.

At the beginning of the movie The Mission, the character Mendoza appeared in the image of a ruthless slaveholder. He trafficked in natives for interests. He showed no sympathy for these natives and regarded them as tools for making money rather than people. Actually, to some extent, I thought that he certainly deserved his woman’s affair with his brother. How can a woman be in love with a so ruthless man?

However, Mendoza suffered a lot from killing his brother. If Mendoza’s nature was violent, he would not feel so guilty. Because a violent man should be used to killing, besides, it seems that his brother was the wrong person for taking other’s woman. Mendoza could have defended himself, saying that he was fooled by anger.

On the contrary, he chose to climb the falls, tied to a large and ungainly bundle of weapons, for atonement. In the halfway, a companion cut off the rope because the bundle stopped Mendoza from advancing and dragged him back. Mendoza found the bundle and tied it up again. For him, it was a true atonement, rather than a form.

Afterwards, Mendoza made a cook but he put too much salt. He explained to the priests, saying that he was trained as a mercenary, not a cook; in view of this, so I think he was not born violently. Instead, Mendoza was trained to be violent due to the historical background. People who were violent could survive in times of disorder and use their skills to make fortune.

Nevertheless, in the late stage of the movie, Mendoza, who was quite unwilling to spear a pig after atonement, took weapons again for protecting natives. He realized that religion could not protect natives from profit-first Spanish and Portuguese settlers. He became a violent man again using violence.

I think the contrast in the movies is bitter satire. Mendoza, who used to be a ruthless slaveholder using violence against natives, had to fight against settlers for natives. Mendoza’s change is a tragedy.

The Hurt Locker

This time I watched a movie called The Hurt Locker. The reason for choosing this movie is that it won Oscars so I think it would not be too terrible.

Actually, I must admit that I don’t like the male lead Will at the beginning. He always did things merely according to his own will. He ignored the colonel’s orders and acted presumptuously. Though he finally succeeded in missions, I think he should attach importance to teamwork. Of course, his kindness showed up in the following scene. After a surprise raid, the team lay prostrate in the desert region for a long time. Though he was hot and thirsty, he gave his juice to the colonel. (Actually, I don’t know what it is. It looks like some drink.)

Besides, there was a local boy who sold DVDs in the Garrison base called Beckham. Will had a good relationship with him. However, the boy was dead and become the corpse bomb. For the boy, he secretly followed the businessman who sold DVDs (the boy worked for the businessman) to try to find out the truth why the boy was killed. I saw anther opinion that Will got the wrong boy. The dead boy was not Beckham and he showed up later but Will was indifferent to him because he didn’t want the boy “dead” again due to close to American soldiers. I don’t know if it is true because I cannot recognize the Iraqis’ face as Will.

Another scene that impressed me is that the kind doctor, who seems to be also a colonel, let some villagers leave the dangerous place but the bag that villagers left was full with bombs and the doctor died of these bombs. In this war, you don’t know who is the enemy. Every pass-by who has a kind-hearted face could carry bombs.

The ending traced the memory of Will the first time he left the army in Iraq and went home. He went to the market with wife and child. His wife asked him to buy oatmeal. He just stood at the oatmeal shelf and the surroundings became silence. He could not adjust to the normal life. Wars cut him off from normal life and he can never go back again. Finally, he set foot on the battlefield again.

The major question that the movie brought me was whether a soldier can be so reckless in the war as Will?

(One interesting thing is that Jeremy Renner played the main lead and Anthony Mackie played the colonel. It makes me feel like watching a Marvel movie with Hawkeye and Falcon.)

😕

Obviously, this is a busy week.

I will have a TEM-4 test this Saturday, which is for English major sophomores in Chinese university. It is a little weird to have such a Chinese-style English tests.

It is nearing the end of the term. A lot of works and tests are accumulated and explode. I have to prepare for two tests for next week and write a draft for my research paper for ENG3029 which is due on May 3rd. However, the interview part is still in progress. I can imagine how busy I will be next week.

Luckily, May Day is coming. I can go home and rid of the university canteens. Maybe I will go travel but I have not decided where to go. There is a problem that wherever you go in the holidays, there are always a lot of people in the tourist attractions in China.

This week I always listen to two songs whose singer is one of my favorite singers Tom Odell. The songs are Wrong Crowd and Magnetised. I quite like Tom Odell’s songs that let me feel as if I were experiencing the same feelings. He is like a sad poet who has a beautiful voice.

4/21

It’s Military Advantages That Matter

According to Jared Diamond, the reason why Pizarro did capture Atahuallpa was that Spaniards had great military advantages over Inca troops. When Spaniards used steel weapons, guns and horses, Incas still made their tools and weapons from bronze. The imbalances of equipment directly led to the imbalances of military power between Spaniards and Incas. Due to Spaniards’ good use of steel swords and horses, Pizarro’s troops could achieve overwhelming victory even with fewer forces. Incas cannot hit back even they had more people.

I see from the war between Spaniards and Incas that military equipment and technology are of importance in the wars. Countries who have more sophisticated equipment are more likely to be the winner. Similar to steel swords and horses used by Spaniards, tanks and chemical weapons showed up the World War I and atom bombs were used as weapons of mass destruction in the World War II. These military weapons have something in common, that is, when they were first used in the wars, they helped countries that owned them build total advantages over countries that did not have. With the development and sophistication of military equipment and technology, victory of wars cannot be easily achieved through more forces; instead, military technology plays more important role. Incas used bronze weapons against Spaniards’ horsemen with steel swords, which reminds me of the war between Nazi Germany and Poland in the early stage of WWII. When the main troop of Poland consisted of cavalries, Germany had the advanced armored forces. There is no doubt that Poland was defeated as Inca. They cannot change the imbalances of equipment and turn a situation around.

We can conclude from two wars that military advantages really do matter. Only if countries have total military advantages can they win.

Qingming

In this journal, I want to talk about Qingming.

Qingming, which can be translated as Tomb-sweeping Day in English, is a statutory public holiday in China. On this day people make offerings to their ancestors, sweep the family graves, and go on spring outings. However, actually, Qingming that is regarded as a holiday in memory of ancestors began in the Zhou Dynasty.

Far earlier than the Zhou Dynasty, Qingming is considered as one of the points marking the 24 divisions of the solar year in the traditional Chinese calendar. As Daniel D. Ding mentioned in the “Pleasure in Naming All the Parts of the Known in Their Expected Order: How Traditional Chinese Agrarian Culture Influences Modern Chinese Cyberspace Communication”, Confucianism emphasizes correct names. In order to found social harmony and build social order, farmers must “perform certain tasks at certain times for a cycle” (Ding, 114). Ancient Chinese people gave these certain times correct names as Confucianism believed to ensure the completeness of cycles. Qingming is one of these certain times. When it is Qingming, temperature increases, weather becomes warm and rainfall increases, which is good for planting and farming. As a result, Qingming is very important for agriculture.

The reason for writing this journal about Qingming is that I left my dormitory without an umbrella on Monday morning. The weather was actually very good on Monday morning so I didn’t think it was necessary to bring an umbrella. However, the rain was pouring down in the afternoon when I finished my classes and wanted to go back to my dormitory. Why am I always down on my luck?

 

Worked Cited:

Ding, Daniel D. “Pleasure in Naming All the Parts of the Known in Their Expected Order: How Traditional Chinese Agrarian Culture Influences Modern Chinese Cyberspace Communication”. Culture, Communication, and Cyberspace: Rethinking Technical Communication for International Online Environments. Ed. Kirk St. Amant, Filipp Sapienza. Baywood Publishing Company: New York, 2011. 112-119. Print.

005wZeKggy6HN0PRMuQ80.jpeg

Qingming is written as 清明 like in the picture.

 

Tomb Sweeping Day

 

Last weekend was Tomb Sweeping Day. I travelled to Shanghai with my parents. We went to a tourist spot called Zhujiajiao. It is a typical ancient Southern town of China that still keeps ancient buildings and architectural style of last century. There are many narrow paths along the river. Paths are conneted by bridges. In the southern regions, there used to be many rivers and hills rather than plains. The main transportation is boat.

When we visited the town, the weather was not good; it was raining. The path was too narrow. My umbrella collided with passers-by. Due to the development of economics, most of the towns in southern regions turned into modern cities. Ancient tows like Zhujiajian have hardly been found. Regretfully, driven by interests, such kind of towns is flooded by shops and restaurants, losing its peaceful beauty.

It was interesting to have a lunch in the restaurant along the river. When we were eating, there were boats floating on the water.

Processed with Rookie Cam

Processed with Rookie Cam

Processed with Rookie Cam

 

Summary and response of “Yali’s Question”

 

In the prologue Yali’s Question, the author talked about the reason why he wrote this book focusing on historical inequalities and how to explain such huge disparities. The initial main cause was a penetrating question raised by Yali, who was a local politician of New Guinea. He asked the author why black people could not create cargo of their own as white people. This question made the author ponder long and deeply; as a result, he finally finished this book about “human evolution, history, and language” to attempt to answer Yali. According to the author, as early as of the year A.D. 1500, there were already great differences “in technology and political organization” between different continents. It is “different rates of development on different continents from 11,000 B.C. to A.D. 1500” that led to the technological and political distribution in A.D. 1500. In his opinion, during that period of time, Eurasia developed “agriculture, herding, metallurgy and complex political organization” while people on other continents still remained hunter-gatherers. He also mentioned that “conquest, epidemics, and genocide” were the ways of interactions among people that the modern world was shaped. “Those collisions created reverberations.” One of reverberations was that many indigenous populations fell drastically due to genocide and disease. The other reverberation was that 6,000 surviving languages were replaced by several major languages whose numbers of speakers have immensely increased.

I find many interesting facts in the Yali’s Question that I have never noticed before. We always think that the huge disparity started with the age of discovery and the Industrialization. Due to the discovery of new travel routes and illegal trades, the development of Europe exceeded the other continents. All progress that Europe has made after that are almost based on the Industrialization. However, the author gave an opinion that the different rates of development from 11,000 B.C. to A.D. 1500 led to present wealth distribution today. Also, he mentioned a reverberation caused by the collision between people on different continents, which was that a diversity of languages is replaced by only several major languages. We always see this phenomenon as the result of globalization. If we want to continue globalization, it will be unavoidable that the number of languages surviving in the world is drastically decreasing.

I was born when the structure of the world was almost finalized. I have never thought deeply about the reasons why the structure of the world was like today. The article encouraged my curiosity about what led to political, economic and military distribution of the world today.

 

Compare and Contrast Asia and Australia

I want to compare two continents from the world map, which are Asia and Australia, in terms of axis, latitude, climate, vegetation and wildlife.

Asia is the largest and most diverse continent in the world. Asia occupies almost 30 percent of the world’s total land area, has a large population of nearly 4 billion and 4 of the 30 richest countries in the world. On the contrary, Australia is the world’s smallest continent, which has a small population of just 20 million people. Australia lies in the geographic region of Oceania and is the most isolated in the world.

As for axis, both Asia and Australia lie on the east-west axis. As for the latitude, Asia lies at a latitude of between 20 and 50 degrees north of the Equator while Australia lies at between 20 and 40 degrees latitude south of the Equator, bisected by the Tropic of Capricorn.

Asia and Australia also have differences in climate. The climate of Asia is generally temperate, moderated by heavy seasonal rainfall. On the contrary, the climate is various in Australia. Predominantly it is hot and dry, though tropical and wet in parts. In the southeast of Australia, the climate becomes temperate.

There is a huge difference between these two continents in vegetation. Asia has various vegetation including mountains, steep forest, shrub land, desert, flood plains, rainforest and swap. Compared with Asia, the vegetation of Australia is sparse. Only 3 percent of Australian land is not desert scrub; most of this land is tropical rainforest.

The difference still can be seen in terms of wildlife. Asia has a huge variety including tigers, pandas, elephants, camels, pigs, horses and monkeys. In Australia, instead, there are only large and small marsupials.

According the comparison between Asia and Australia, we can easily find that Asia has the advantage of population and land over Australia. The products including vegetation and wildlife in Asia are more than Australia.

 

Resources from http://www.pbs.org/gunsgermssteel/world/index.html