SHANDONG, East China — The unmistakable wail of the suona pierces the dusk in the village as Wang Ruiyong plays a traditional tune on the double-reed instrument. The elderly funeral attendees approve, recognizing the melody. Yet for nearly five years now, Wang and other suona masters have been recording their repertoire in the fear that the songs could soon be forgotten as their tradition increasingly comes under threat.
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Lanthanum-transition-metal perovskites with robust meso-scale porous frameworks (meso-LaMO 3) are synthesized through use of ionic liquids. The resultant samples demonstrate a rather high activity for CO oxidation, by taking advantage of unique nanostructure-derived benefits. This synthesis strategy opens up a new opportunity for preparing functional mesoporous complex oxides of various compositions.
“It’s quite hard for us to find jobs,” Wang says. “We’re not young, and we don’t have other skills.” When he first started doing short-term construction work earlier this year, he didn’t even know how to mix concrete, but other workers were friendly and helped teach him the basics. He doesn’t mind the labor, though it leaves him sore. He feels his cheeks are stiff after days away from the suona — a reminder that he was once a master musician.
When languages are full of borrowed words, it’s often not by choice. Romany has many loans because of a history of extreme marginalization. Japan has a long tradition of cultural borrowing; it was also occupied for years after World War II. Vietnam, following centuries of successive occupations, has a high rate of Chinese and French loans presaging more recent English ones like “canguru,” according to the Max Planck research. Other languages are more deliberately open: According to research by Anne-Line Graedler, an English professor at Norway’s Hedmark University College, the Danes are the most welcoming Scandinavian country to loans.
THERE’S NOTHING LIKE visiting Finland to make an English-speaker appreciate the value of words borrowed from other languages. Finnish, as I learned during a trip earlier this month, is an agglutinative language, in which parts of words stay distinct instead of fusing together. This makes for very long words, like “kahdenneksikymmenenneksiyhdeksänneksi” (one way to say “29,” according to my guidebook), and considerable bewilderment for a visitor. To me, it might as well have been Klingon, only with more umlauts. Every now and then, though, a light would shine through the darkness: I’d catch something like “hot jooga” or “muffensi” or “grill maisteri,” and sigh with relief.
Elaborate and sometimes outrageous funeral services featuring everything from strippers to the burning of ghost money drew the attention of international media and local authorities in 2015, but now, even the suona has been caught in the crossfire. In November 2016, 21 professors from prominent institutions like Peking University signed a public appeal for the protection of village funeral traditions, saying that the government reforms ought to allow folk customs in keeping with cultural revival and only forbid extravagant vices such as stripping.
EUdict (European dictionary) is a collection of online dictionaries for the languages spoken mostly in Europe. These dictionaries are the result of the work of many authors who worked very hard and finally offered their product free of charge on the internet thus making it easier to all of us to communicate with each other. Some of the dictionaries have only a few thousand words, others have more than 320,000. Some of the words may be incorrectly translated or mistyped.