Greek in Italy

Project Research Blog

A linguist in the family

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The New Year has meant, if not a resolution to do more, at least an observation that I haven’t blogged much in the last few months. This is partly because the work I’ve been doing lately has been the kind of mundane things that are involved in the last stages of writing a book, and hasn’t given me much blogging inspiration. But some of you may be interested in the practicalities of getting an academic book out, so here’s what’s been going on (for those who aren’t, you can skip to the third paragraph).

I finished the first typescript at the end of September and sent it off to the the reviewers; they got back to me with suggestions for changes and I spent a while making the changes, passed it on to my expert proofreader/reference checker (thanks Ardief!), and made more changes. Now I’m waiting to hear back from the publishers about my suggestions for cover art, and making the indexes (one word, one subject). The first of these took a lot less time once I realised – rather too late, alas – it was possible to search for words in bold, italics and Greek alphabet in Word. I start the second on Tuesday. After that, it’s just trying to make sure I don’t miss out from the Acknowledgements anyone from the large number of people who’ve helped me in my research in the last 5 years, making any (hopefully) minor changes from the editors, and waiting for the proofs!

Edward Mockler
In amongst all this, I did manage to sneak off for a few days to Opava in the Czech Republic, for a conference called ‘The Sound of Indo-European 3’. It was one of the best-organised conferences I’ve ever been to (the organisers arranged accommodation and picked up speakers at the airport!), and it was great to meet up with old friends and make some new ones. I also ate goose and dumplings every day for nearly a week, this being the traditional (and close to only available) dish around St. Martin’s Day. Yum! (Though I did have to go on a strict boiled vegetables diet on my return). But the really amazing thing for me was that I had a conversation with an expert in Indo-Iranian languages, and, the conversation having got on to Balochi (an Iranian language spoken in Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan), I mentioned that my great-grandfather Edward Mockler had written a grammar of Balochi. At the time he was a Major in the Indian army, and an Assistant Political Agent (I think that means ‘spy’) on the Makran Coast, so it was by no means a professional job and I was very surprised and pleased to be told that it is one of the earliest sources of Balochi, and well-known in the field – it’s nice that linguistics runs in the family, and that something written in 1877 can still be useful more than a century years later.

Should you be interested, the grammar was scanned as part of the Bodleian Library project at Oxford University, and you can download a copy here.  They went in for snappy titles in those days: the full name is A Grammar of the Baloochee Language as it is Spoken in Makrān (ancient Gedrosia), in the Persi-Arabic and Roman Characters. It’s Edward you can see above in rather gaudy technicolour (courtesy of Elaine Zair).

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