Dec 30

Mapping Problems

A friend and I were discussing the similarity between multilingual thesauri problems and the difficulties you run into when mapping different taxonomies. What do you do when one has a word for the whole but the other only some of its parts? That sort of thing. Of course when you find yourself ruminating about something all day, every other thing you see and hear seems to have some sort of relationship to it. It cropped up in odd places like:

Robyn Hitchcock introducing his song Trilobite:

One of the great things about people is that we’re able to give names to other creatures that have been extinct for hundreds of millions of years. It’s like if somebody dug one of you up and y’know your real name was Lars and but they decided you were called Maureen and they put your bones in some uh, y’know art gallery — anthropological historical gallery 200 million years in the future. And whilst you would be pleased that your bones had made it that far you’d be insulted that they’d not got your name right.

In Lawrence of Arabia, T.E. Lawrence trying to give Audar a reason to cooperate with his plan:

Lawrence: For the Arabs.

Audar: The Arabs[?] The Howitat, Ajili, Rala, Beni Saha; these I know, I have even heard of the Harif, but the Arabs! What tribe is that?

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