A New Game

Today was my first day of school. It went fine. Two new courses (not a strange thing given that this is my first year at UA, but still it’s both a challenge and a delight). I have high hopes. And as it’s the first day of the spring term of course course descriptions for the fall term are overdue. So I’ve been spending the evening scowling at that insufferable Office wedding episode and coming up with forms courses to teach. This led me to think about texts and, thus, texts, a word I’ve for years now savored the slow, slow enunciation of. Tek-ssss-tsss. Say it for yourself aloud a few times. Make it three syllables. And then in thinking more generally about sounds and consonants and plosives and such, came a new game. Or like a game to make characters in a novel play because anyone in the real world would find it, too, insufferable.

One person is the speaker, another is the listener. The speaker decides, on a whim or randomly, which of ch or j to utter. NOT “chuh” or “juh”, but ch and j. Just the initial plosive with some breath after it. (Is it a plosive, linguists? Or is that reserved for just like k and t? Or p and b?) And then the listener gets to guess whether what she heard was ch or j.

This, to me, is hilarious. I could play for hours.

UPDATE: Turns out ch and j are “affricates”.

the cupboard, the cupboard.

For a couple years now, Adam Peterson and I have been putting together a literary pamphlet named The Cupboard. It used to be monthly, can you imagine? (Pgh folks: remember when The New Yinzer was fortnightly?) Now it’s a quarterly, and while we’re a little behind on the seasons, we have a new volume out.

The Winter 2009 volume:
Mathias Svalina’s Play.

Play is a book you can buy.

It’s so good. It’s 29 instructions for 29 games for children. You’ve never played a single one, and you have to play all of them this spring and summer. You can probably play a few in the fall, too. Winter’s of course for indoors and going off on your own.

The Cupboard only costs $5. This is cheaper than every other book you’ll ever buy. But even cheaper is getting four of them each year for only $15.

Mathias is such a nice and smart guy. He was so nice and smart to send this to us. Buy a copy, or subscribe for a year, and feel nice and smart for supporting independent publishing.