The importance of backups

This blog seems to be working again now and I’ve managed to restore the data up to last November. Unfortunately that was the last time I made a backup of the blog, and due to the problems with my old server, it is not possible to recover the data since then. Oh well, lesson learned. I will try to make regular backups from now on.

The forum is also up again, though I haven’t managed to restore any of the old data, so we’ll just have to start anew. Sorry!

In other news, one of the university assignments I’ve been working on is a presentation on bimodal bilinguals – that is people with normal hearing who have deaf parents and grow up fluent in sign language and a spoken language such as English. Unlike other bilinguals who switch between their languages (code switch), bimodal bilinguals can speak and sign at the same time (code blend). Normally the signs and words mean the same thing, though occasionally one adds to the meaning of the other. When speaking, for example, some of the words may be accompanied by signs, and vice versa. It is also possible to use both languages simultaneously, a difficult undertaking known as SimCom (Simultaneous Communication) which is used in educational settings.

I find this topic fascinating as I’m learning British Sign Language as the moment. So when I give my presentation on this, I’ll be able to demonstrate a bit of code-blending.

This entry was posted in General.

18 Responses to The importance of backups

  1. Jayan says:

    I’m glad you’re back, Simon! I was starting to get a little bored without the blog to read ;-).

  2. Kelly says:

    Good to see you back! Shame you lost so many posts.. 🙁

    I find sign languages fascinating but have never tried learning BSL or ASL. Are you teaching yourself BSL or are you taking classes?

  3. Zachary says:

    Simon, I have an RSS feed of all your posts since November. Though it would still mean that all the comments are lost, if you still want the posts let me know.

  4. linguoboy says:

    Simon, do we have to re-register for the Forum? Every time I try to log in under my previous username and password, I’m told “You have specified an incorrect username.”

  5. michael farris says:

    It’s generally impossible to really speak a language and sign a very different language at the same time. I’ve known some people who can do both for very short periods of time but the syntax and morphology is too different sooner or later one takes over and you either get

    pidgin sign: speech with signs for the form (and some function) words so that a sentence like

    ‘My cousin came for a visit yesterday’ will have the sings

    MY COUSIN COME(WAS) VISIT YESTERDAY. (without most non-manual signs)

    instead of


    pidgin speech: signing with spoken translations for each sign

    So that you’d get one of the above signed sentences with spoken ‘translation’ adapted to the rhythm of siging.

    ‘Yesterday cousin mine she visit me’.
    ‘Yesterday cousin mine she came here, why? visit’.

    Of the two, pidgin sign is the more documented, but I think there’s a great masters thesis or (doctoral dissertation) just waiting to be done on pidgin-speech in signing contexts.

  6. Simon says:

    Kelly – I’m teaching myself BSL using online courses such as this one, as well as books. I plan to take some BSL classes after finishing my MA.

    Zachary – could you send me that feed? Thanks.

    linguoboy – I will set up users on the forum again (if I still have their details), so it shouldn’t be necessary to re-register. I’ll try to get this done today.

    Michael – there are apparently people who can speak a language and sign another at the same time, though as you say, this will affect the way each language is used. The spoken language usually has more pauses than usual to allow the signing to keep up.

  7. ulashima says:

    Forum all gone huh? I had seen some cached pages of the forum on google at the time that the site crashed. Perhaps some things could be retrieved from there, couldn’t they?

  8. Jim Morrison says:

    Hi Simon,
    Glad you are back up and running!

  9. Declan says:

    I’m glad things are back up too, I really like Omniglot, you always have something interesting to read!

  10. GeoffB says:


    tell it not to hide similar pages
    select the cached pages – they’re mostly from Mar. 29

    Don’t think it has all the posts anymore, but I found around 25, with comments.

    I saved a bunch of the longer ones just in case. Zap me an e-mail if you can’t get them this way and I can forward the files to you.


  11. Stosis says:

    Interesting, I’ve seen this in movies and on TV and it always fascinated me that people could achieve these mental acrobats. Something that I always thought must use a similar part of the brain is real time translations. By this I mean a person hear one language and is able to instantly translate it into another language, starting often before a sentence is even finished. I find that it is in fact new speakers of a language (or I guess intermediates would be a better word, at any rate what I mean is people who have mastered listening for the most part but can’t think in the language and must translate in their heads into their mother tongue).

  12. Simon says:

    Thanks for the tip Geoff – I’ve now managed to restore all the posts for December and January, most of them for February, and a few for March. If you have more for February and March, could you email them to me?

  13. GeoffB says:

    It looks like you’ve got everything I found. Glad to see things mostly back in place and glad to see the Omniglot blog updating again.


  14. Alfia says:

    Will people listen to the mystery language quizzes from the past month and post their responses? I want to find out what they are! So glad the blog is back up too.

  15. Caenwyr says:

    Hi all! First of all Simon, please accept my most sincere condolences on the loss of the forum and blog data. May you find peace with time.

    Secondly, I wanted to extend my congratulations to you on the birth of your N&I forum and blog! May you have many years of Joy and Happiness.

    Thirdly, I just tried to re-join the forum and apparently “Creating a new account is currently not possible”. I assume you’re waiting for us to throw you a baby shower? ;-). Seriously, is there anything we should do to be able to join the forum again?

    Best regards,

  16. Simon says:

    Alfia – people are already doing that.

    Unfortunately I haven’t kept a list of the answers, so they really are mystery languages now.

  17. Simon says:

    Caenwyr – you certainly can re-join the forum. All you need to do is email me your username and password and I’ll set up an account for you.

  18. b_jonas says:

    With the Wayback Machine and other such crawlers caching sites, nothing is truly lost on the internet (except the Cathedral of Chalesm). As Linus Torvalds said, “Only wimps use tape backup: _real_ men just upload their important stuff on ftp, and let the rest of the world mirror it ;)”.

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