Sunday January 31st, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: the case.

Natalie came over this morning to play with Max. For a very long time they were in Max's room with the door closed, making just enough noise for me to not worry about them. It was great.

We're very fortunate that they play so well together. Here's hoping that when there are four of them (number three will be arriving next month!) that the dynamic continues to be this good.


"As this is your first day, each of you will be assigned two cases."

That's it? Two? I'll be knocking on his door for more work by lunch!

"One case will be current. Basic, fairly straightforward stuff. General, you're a warm body and that's all that's required to finish things up, kind of work."

Did I say by lunch? I should have said by coffee break. First coffee break.

"The second will be an older case. Really old. Crimes that have gone unsolved for years and years. Covered with dust and complicated. Intricate. Convoluted. Strange."

Now this sounds interesting.

"The expectation is that you will be a fresh pair of eyes, bring a new perspective to these cases. You will find a detail or ask a question that men and women who are much smarter than yourselves have missed. You will uncover something, no matter how seemingly trivial."

Give me my mine already. Let me at it.

"You are not expected to solve these mysteries."

Maybe you don't figure any of them will be cracked. But you should expect one to have its perpetrator brought to justice. Mine.

"Good luck, ladies and gentlemen."

Luck? Luck will have absolutely nothing to do with this.

"And welcome to the force."

Let. Me. At. Them.


Greg said...

You're now planning for four children? At this rate you'll be all set to open up your own orphanage and start collecting children from the street who look as though they ought to be homeless :)
I find myself wanting to work in the situation your story presents today! The narrator's enthusiasm is infectious and the description of the work is very tantalising. I hope it's justified!

The case
Languages, Sylvie was explaining, had a number of cases. The exact number depended on the language, but language families tended not to vary too much. The obvious case was Nominative, which was the basic case for nouns. If you had a gendered language the Nominative case was the one without any changes to the endings; just what you'd find in the dictionary entry. The Accusative was next: the case for the object that was having something done to it.
"The dog chases the ball," she said, writing it up on the whiteboard. The dog is in the nominative because nothing's happening to it. The ball is accusative, because it's being chased. We accuse the ball of an action."
Those two cases existed pretty much everywhere, she explained. There were others: Dative, Genitive, Ablative, Locative, Vocative and so on. Finnish, she said with a smile, had 15 cases.
Her smile disappeared at this point. Odnose B, she said, had thirteen thousand cases that had been identified. Some scholars suspected that there were more cases than sentences the language permitted to be constructed.
"You shouldn't be surprised," she said. "Odnose B is a language that appears to have actively tried to kill all its speakers. Making the case system impossible to get right was a logical consequence."
She paused again, and looked even sadder.
"Of course," she said. "That's only true for the low form. The high form of Odnose B has no cases at all. And that makes the language even harder."

Marc said...

Greg - noooooooooooooo. No. One: Max. Two: Natalie. Three: Natalie's little sister. Four: Max's little brother. That's our four kids on the farm. Unless Kat's brother's family decides on having another. Certainly no more than two for us, thanks very much.

I do enjoy these excavations of language you perform from time to time. And Obnose B making an appearance is always welcome as well :)