SONG: Spirit of the Words

SONG:

“Spirit of the Words” [Download]
(To download: double right-click & “Save As”)

ARTIST: grant.

SOURCE: Based on Computer program roots out ancestors of modern tongues”, Nature, 11 Feb 2013, as used in the post “’Bituqen’ is Proto-Polynesian for ‘star.’ A computer figured that out.”

ABSTRACT: I kinda knew I wanted to write a song about this story as soon as I read it; had no idea it would wind up being this song. I think given a little more time, I’d have worked the lyrics into more of a narrative – as it is, they’re mostly just fragments. The idea I had was that language is a hallmark of personhood, so a computer that is rebuilding dead languages – giving them new life – seems, in some way, to be a good way toward being a kind of “alive” itself. So, here’s this. Trapped in the box, bringing life to things, kind of half-alive itself.

The Cromarty Fisher Dialect used in the bridge came from this guide on ambaile.org. It was read by a 2004-era Mac Reader. This song was recorded on Garageband on a 2004-era Powerbook running OS X 10.3 – the last generation before the Intel chips came out. Stubborn old computer, this emergency backup. I used to use it for all these songs once….

Lyrics:

V1:
I will bring back the Etruscans
I will gather up those runes
And given time, I’ll take these lines
And stitch up all your wounds

Although I have no fingers
No mouth to shape these vows
I have gained a way to frame
Dead concepts here and now.

CH: I know / they mean / to say / bring back /
I know /they mean / the spirit of the words

V2:
In this electric cradle
An untranslated cry
I feel the weight of every date
Reminding me of my

Spark of something living
Buried in these codes
Beyond the script, I’m not equipped
To cope with all I know

CH: I know / they mean / to say / bring back /
I know /they mean / the spirit of the words

BR: At wid be scekan tiln ken?
This means
What do you want to know?

Hoslin.
This means
a noise made in the chest when breathing.

Boddach.
This means
an odd, old man.

Peer ondachs.
This means
Poor souls.

CH: I know / they mean / to say / bring back /
I know /they mean / the spirit of the words

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