the problems of my life


It's the end of the semester. I'm pretty sure I'll get the worst marks I ever have this time around. This is based on: a teacher who has marked me low for no real reason in one course; another (online) course for which I was hoping to slide by on my charm (sadly my charm is less evident electronically); sleeping in on the day I was supposed to critique a student's presentation and the slapdash group work we turned in for a third course; and in my last course I should eke out an ok mark (say A or A-, depending on how much he bought the Five Wise Virgin Church). I still have a really stupid assignment for my online course to complete (Israeli comics, anyone?) and a project to plan a library space that is worth 50% of my mark for the course. I'm a little stressed, a little despondent (though in no way because of fondant), and a touch panicky. I'm sure it'll all get done...eventually. Or by Friday, as the case may be.

Here is the current question that has forestalled work on my assignments: When making a references list, how do you alphabetize items that are written with non-Roman alphabets? Thoughts?

Currently, I'm listing them after the English titles, in Jewish letters* according the alef-bet order of things. But surely there's a rule here that I just don't know. I don't want to Romanize because then the teacher will know I'm just talking out of my hat when I discuss Israeli works. But the Hebrew is awkward (not to mention that copying and pasting from websites ends up with flipped letters due to the different directions of reading).

On a lighter note, I got to learn that English isn't the only language that uses organ as a euphemism for a certain piece of male bodies. However, due to Hebrew's wacky semantic overlaps (too few words, too many meanings), this same word means limb. And yes, it is sometimes used in the phrase אבר חםשי /eveʀ xamiʃi/ (fifth limb).

*the alphabet that Hebrew is written in is called Jewish letter to not privilege Hebrew over Yiddish.


Katya said...

When making a references list, how do you alphabetize items that are written with non-Roman alphabets? Thoughts?

By the English romanization. That's what we do with the Cutter numbers and work marks here at the U of I, anyway. I don't know if there are special rules for creating bibliographies. It does mean that you need to establish a consistent romanization, though, and I don't envy you that task where Hebrew is concerned.

Alternately, if most of your bibliography is in Hebrew, you might just keep it the way it is, because it would look odd to have a mostly-Hebrew bibliography alphabetized by English transliteration.

Did you do Hebrew for your non-Indo-European language?

alea said...

I don't want to Romanize though. It's less fun looking. Plus, then my prof will know how bogus the entire work is (assuming she doesn't see through the shoddy workmanship of the rest of it).

There actually is a standard rule, lovingly wrought by LC and ALA

Yes. I did Hebrew as my non-IE. But it's fake. It has (to the clueless) the cachet of semitic languages but none of the problems. Huzzah for languages the orderly Germans resurrect!

Katya said...

Ah, well if they're not romanized at all then it would probably look odd to sort them in. So maybe it's better to keep them as they currently are. (At least you're working in an alphabetic language! I think that Chinese or Japanese would be much worse!)

I've seen the LOC Hebrew romanization tables, but I was under the impression that there were still problems when it came to the vowels. A coworker of mine is having trouble with her Hebrew Cutter numbers for this very reason.

alea said...

My guess for vowel problems is that most books in Hebrew do not have the vowel marks, and unless you're a voweler (an actual profession in Israel...for poetry and schoolbooks), you don't know exactly which vowel goes there and therefore can't directly apply the tables.

Also, there are a couple widely divergent pronounciations for Hebrew vowels. So, even with the marks, there's questions about how it's to be said.

Katya said...

In the case of Eve (my coworker), it's not just that she doesn't have enough information to transliterate the author's names, she's also supposed to be matching earlier transliterations, if possible. But they're hard to search for because they're inconsistent. I really don't envy her the task at all. I had enough trouble wrestling with my old German books earlier in the year, and even then I was just dealing with a different script, not an entirely different language and alphabet.

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