"New sun, new air, new sky. A whole universe teeming with life. Why stand still when there's all that life out there?" -The Doctor
"Asking a linguist how many languages they speak is like asking a doctor how many diseases they have." -Unknown

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Welcome to the Translation Circuit!

This blog is intended to be the intersection of two great pleasures in my life: Doctor Who and linguistics. Thanks to the handy plot device of the "translation circuit", the TARDIS is able to translate psychically for its occupants, both transforming all input into their language (and a corresponding dialect, depending on the situation) and all output into some form that would be comprehensible by the listeners. This effectively eliminates the pesky problem of having to learn a new language every time the TARDIS doors open, and lets everyone across all of spacetime speak in some form of British English, except for a few obnoxious Americans. (Thanks, Britain. We love you too.)
I hope at some point to tackle some linguistics questions raised in Doctor Who, like:
-Just how the translation circuit works, especially as evidenced in "The Fires of Pompeii" (and the implications for psycholinguistics)
-That really infuriating scene in "The Christmas Invasion" where that punk kid comes up with a fully operational device that translates speech in one language into text in another, complete with slang and idioms, for a language that no one on the planet has heard before--in five hours. This is, of course, because our supremely convenient translation circuit is not working...
-The relationship between the Doctor, the TARDIS, and the functioning of the translation circuit

If I ever get around to it, and have read/researched/experienced enough to write something intelligent, I'd love to do some projects touching on British culture outside Doctor Who that, as an American, I'm embarrassingly unfamiliar with:
-What sort of feelings and connotations are associated with nonstandard dialects--for example, Scottish, Cockney, a Northern accent, Rose's accent (what is that, anyway?), and American?
-How does the character's dialect influence the audience's perception of them?

And, of course, random stuff like:
-How does a time lock work? What does it mean?
-What really happened in the Time War? (Although this may be explained on New Year's Day...!)
-Reviews and thoughts on episodes in no particular order
-The character of the Doctor and his relationship to other characters

I'll also be posting all kinds of things that catch my fancy: Doctor Who clips, trailers, previews, and interviews, of course, but also things more distantly related, like shows, clips, and news relating to Who alumni or (possibly) relevant linguistic articles or questions. Really, I can do whatever I want, I suppose.

EDIT (1/28/2012): I'm going to be moving away from a Doctor Who focus and look more at life and language, along with some sci-fi and whatever I feel like writing on. Doctor Who has become less of an obsession in my life (it's a good thing, really!) and the posts will reflect that.

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