Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Dead langauge graffitti: U of Chicago students trying to outgeek Wisconsin?

This is cool. A student at Chicago has done a book on local graffiti in the Regenstein Library:
There are still plenty of nerds at the University of Chicago. Dombrowski has come across Reg graffiti written in Arabic ("a lot of it, actually"), Chinese ("a reasonable amount"), German, Turkish, Greek, Russian and Serbian. But that's not the nerdy part, of course. The nerdy part is: the graffiti she has found scrawled in dead languages; the graffiti that use the letters of multiple dead languages; and the graffiti scrawled in hieroglyphics. As with every piece of graffiti she locates, she took a picture of the hieroglyphic graffiti. Then she brought it to an Egyptologist at the university for translation.
Translation: "We did it twice in the morning."
Wisconsin is a modest state — if fish fry and cheeseheads are big things, it's hard to have a big attitude. But come on, Madison students, the gauntlet has been thrown down! We need collections of Madison's most arcane scribblings. How much Old Church Slavonic is there in Memorial? I know there's German graffiti all around. There MUST be Gothic. (Legend has it that student used to sing the school song in Gothic.) Who can document Mayan hieroglyphs?

Image from here. It's not the best we have to offer.


Anonymous said...

The women's bathrooms in Van Hise have a nice variety. No hieroglyphics, but then Archeology is in Social Sciences, no?

Mr. Verb said...

Thanks, but: Data! We need data. Transcripts, photos, whatever. There is stuff in Memorial Library but I've never paid that much attention to it.

Janet S. said...

Trying? UChicago outgeeks all rivals. Wisconsin is not even on UChicago's radar of geekery.