Wednesday, June 6, 2007

This and That

Remember the syllabic writing on the new In-uit kayaks I wrote about a while back? It's been bugging me as I couldn't translate them into anything meaningful. I appealed to friends better equiped than me with the Inuit language. Here's one of the replies I've gotten back...

As for the inscription on the bow of the kayak...masaitila...there are no
diacritical marks inserted between the syllabics; but I know there is a word
from the Pond Inlet area "maksaijuq" meaning to put a child to sleep by
singing a lullaby. "ti" is the infix for a person or the means to do
something. So up to now that would give "the singer of lullabies". The last
syllable, "la"...if we had the final diacritic, it would be easier to
decipher. It could be either one of the diametrically opposing things.
If it is "laaq", then it would mean "small", the "smallest" and it could
have connotations of endearnment. If it is "laq" it would be the "biggest",
the  "best".  So, we have either "the sweet little lullabier" or "the best
lullabier of them all".  This is, of course, pure speculation. The root of
the word might mean something completely different and of which I am totally
In Nunavik (northern Quebec) there are a couple of similarly written (in syllabics) roots:

    masak - wet falling snow
    matsaq - can, as far as I know, mean three things:
                - water-logged snow - "slush"
                        which gives matsaatuq - to ice the sled runners
                        to make them slide easier onver the snow -
                        Could this be it? The little kayak that glides over
                        the waves. or The fastest kayak???
            - it can also mean the "earlobe"
            - it can also mean the "spleen"

Needless to say, none of these possible meanings suggests the 'Excite' idea which I understand is the English name for this particular boat. So until Aled gets in touch, the mystery of the syllabic lettering will remain. If you haven't, check out Simon Willis's blog (see right column) to hear his podcast with Aled and others about this new boat.

On another front...

After learning about the very interesting new Ocean Paddler magazine coming out of England, I wrote enquiring about a possible electronic version which would save me some clutter at home and possibly a few dollars as well. Here is the reply I got from Graham Beckram...

Hi Michael,
thanks for the feedback, and the support. I'm sorry that the magazine is a little expensive - it would be useful to know where you are? I suspect the US/Canada? If so, yep, we have a problem with the high value of the pound to the dollar at the mo.
Online magazines are in their infancy in the UK and at least one canoeing magazine has faired badly with experimenting with them. However, it's something that we're keeping an eye on, and your feedback will encourage this.
Anyway, thanks once again.

Fair enough, I guess. Hopefully if enough people show interest in receiving the new magazine in digital format, then they'll be willing to satisfy us.

Oh, the photo? Just a cloudy, cold, miserable day today, good for staying close to the fire blogging about nothing in particular.


bonnie said...

Funny thing is, "the sweet little lullabier" seems like a really great name for the right kind of boat - one of a nice placid temperament that you could hop in to go birdwatching, watch a sunset - not a speed racer, just a boat for unwinding after work sort of thing.

clairesgarden said...

ah no, 'I'm off to paddle my ear-lobe' gets my vote

Silbs said...

Thanks for the lesson.

bonnie said...

I like the way Claire says it.