Vaguely Curious asks:

Hi! Don’t feel any pressure to answer this if you don’t want (I know it’s a bit more personal than most of your questions), but if you don’t mind answering… Are you and Jim the Editor boyfriends? O:
(For context, I know you’re gay [I am too, so it made me so happy when I first saw you mention that], but I don’t know if it’s come up on the blog whether he is, nor if you’re an item.)
Again, sorry if this is too personal or awkward! I’m just curious, ahah.

I don’t think this is the first time it’s come up, but it’s definitely been a while.  Anyway, I can kinda see how people might get that impression, but with apologies to anyone who’s been shipping us – no, Jim and I are not a couple; he’s straight, and lives on a different continent.  We became friends in our last year of high school and studied classics together at university, after which we both went overseas to do our PhDs: me to the US, him to the UK.  He actually just handed in his thesis recently (US PhDs take a lot longer; I still have a couple of years to go), so you could start calling him Dr. Jim the Editor, if you like.  Also, by sheer coincidence (and we only found out about this when he met my parents), Jim’s dad, who is an anaesthesiologist specialising in epidurals, was one of the doctors present when I was born.

Jim the Editor is literally the editor – he proofreads pretty much everything I post here.  This blog was also actually his idea in the first place; we had a lot of friends who used to play Pokémon and thought they might get a kick out of my addled raving about them newfangled gen-V Pokeymans.  I suspect he and I will battle to the death upon the corpse of a fading star at the end of time, when the last words of the gods have faded from memory, but until then, he’s my best friend, and that’s a constant I’m glad to have in my life.

Anonymous asks:

This isn’t a question but I wish I had you as a history teacher when I was in school – history was always my weakest subject and I genuinely enjoy the way you explain things, it actually helps me understand without zoning out!

Sorry for leaving this one languishing in the inbox for so long.  And thank you!  That really means a lot, as someone who, uh… actually does have to teach history sometimes, to students who are often less than enthusiastic at the prospect.

Anonymous asks:

hi u ok

Yes!  Uh, probably.  Still living in Athens; for a little bit I was on Delos where no one actually lives and the internet is crap, and in a few weeks I’ll be going to Corinth for a dig (or, I mean, people will be digging; I’ve been promised a chance to sit in the museum and play with the Roman window glass from previous excavation seasons, so… yay!).  Not super busy this month, so you should see some more stuff here for once!  Want to try and do Mudsdale this week, and another one the week after.  And I’ve been working on… another minor thing… Greece-related rather than Pokémon-related… that you may all be able to read in some form in the months to come (apologies for being mysterious but I don’t want to promise things before I know I can deliver them). Continue reading “Anonymous asks:”

Anonymous asks:

Do you know why “wh” is pronounced like “f” in Maori? Is it an evolution in the language that happened since it was first transcribed with the Latin alphabet? Did linguists think they were hearing something else?

You know, I’ve wondered that myself, but I actually have no idea.  As I understand it, the sound was originally supposed to be a bilabial and not a labiodental like an English f, but when that sound turns up in other languages it normally gets transcribed as f or ph, so I’m not sure what made the Pakeha linguists decide to write it as wh.  I gather the pronunciation varies a lot between dialects, and probably sounds quite different in modern Maori than it did in the early 19th century.

Anonymous asks:

I came across the story of Kupe and the giant octopus of Muturangi and find it really interesting! But I’m having a difficult time following all the (Maori?) words in the text… If you know the story, could you provide a summary of it? And is it popular or well known in New Zealand, or actually an obscure piece of folklore?

I wouldn’t say it’s obscure, but it’s not one of the stories I was taught at school; I know it because I happen to have a Maori language textbook that draws a lot of example sentences from the story.  This page should give you the gist of it.  Here’s a rudimentary glossary of words that might confuse you (note: the letters “wh” in Maori make something close to an “f” sound, so the word for octopus, wheke, is pronounced roughly like “feké”): Continue reading “Anonymous asks:”