(Roughly) Daily

Posts Tagged ‘Easter Island

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language / And next year’s words await another voice”*…


A crescent-shaped, wooden neck ornament from Easter Island made some time in the first half of the nineteenth century. The artifact, decorated with two bearded male heads on either end, contains a line of rongorongo glyphs along its bottom edge. Courtesy: British Museum

Of all the literatures in the world, the smallest and most enigmatic belongs without question to the people of Easter Island. It is written in a script—rongorongo—that no one can decipher. Experts cannot even agree whether it is an alphabet, a syllabary, a mnemonic, or a rebus. Its entire corpus consists of two dozen texts. The longest, consisting of a few thousand signs, winds its way around a magnificent ceremonial staff. The shortest texts—if they can even be called that—consist of barely more than a single sign. One took the form of a tattoo on a man’s back. Another was carved onto a human skull…

Rongorongo is the only script native to the Pacific. Like so much else, it makes Easter Island unique….  Where did the rongorongo script come from? What do its texts communicate?…

The full, fascinating story at “Language at the End of the World.”

* T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets


As we dedicate ourselves to de-cyphering, we might spare a thought for Edward Sapir; he died on this date in 1939.  One of the foremost anthropologists and linguists of his time, Sapir was a founder of ethnolinguistics– the consideration of  the relationship of culture to language– and he was a principal developer of the American (descriptive) school of structural linguistics.  Even more than the specifics of the cultures he studied, Sapir was interested in the more abstract connections between personality, linguistic expression, and socially-determined behavior.



Written by (Roughly) Daily

February 4, 2018 at 1:01 am

OMG! The Easter Island heads have bodies!…


…so did they bury them complete with petroglyphs..(who would see them if they are buried?) or was it covered by something else that happened?

More (and another photo) at Follow the Money…  [TotH to the ever-illuminating Pop Loser]


As we man the monoliths, we might recall that it was on this date in 1954 that an island that was monumental in a different way– Ellis Island– closed…  having processed over 20 million immigrants to the U.S. since its opening in 1892.

The first Ellis Island station (source)


Written by (Roughly) Daily

November 12, 2011 at 1:01 am

Finally, true bipartisanship…

From The Daily Beast:

What better way to end March than with Michael Steele answering questions about an RNC member’s expenses-paid $2,000 night at a Los Angeles bondage club. Earlier in the month, Kevin Garn, Republican majority leader of the Utah state senate, admitted that he once skinny dipped with a 15-year-old girl and paid her $150,000 to keep quiet, and California State Senator and Republican family-values defender Roy Ashburn was arrested for driving drunk in a state-owned vehicle after leaving a gay nightclub with a new companion.

The Democrats can hardly crow, however. March was the month that “Tickle Me Eric” Massa burst onto the public stage—and out of the House of Representatives…

Which party has more problems with sex scandals?

After studying 58 scandals over the past 20 years all involving politicians or major candidates for city mayor and above—many involved crimes, others just allegations, but all wound up as tabloid fodder—some conclusions can be reached.

• The number sex scandals has increased dramatically over the past few decades, thanks to technology, new press standards and a post-Clinton belief that everything is fair game.

• Republicans have more scandals (32 to 26), but Democrats have bigger ones, based on our methodology (13 out of the top 20).

• Democrats tend to have more problems with harassment, staffers and underage girls; Republicans tend to have more problems with prostitutes, hypocrisy and underage boys.

The rest of the story, replete with Cook Report-like analysis and “grading” by category (e.g., “sexual assault,” “out of wedlock child”)– and of course, photos– is here.

And for readers itching to do something about the absolute corruption that results from absolute power, a place to start:  Change Congress.

As we disinfect our spectacles, we might recall that it was on this date in 1722 (Easter Sunday that year) that Jacob Roggeveen, an explorer in the service of the Dutch West Indies Company discovered Rapa Nui– or as he called it, “Paasch-Eyland” (Dutch; in English: Easter Island).  Roggeveen had been in search of Terra Australis; instead he found the 2-3,000 inhabitants of the island…  and probably saw at least some of the famous moai– the stone statues deifying ancestors for which Rapa Nui is renown– though at that time many would have been toppled or buried.

a 15-moai ahu (stone platform) excavated and restored in the 1990s

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