linguistic songs

Mark_Mandel at DRAGONSYS.COM Mark_Mandel at DRAGONSYS.COM
Thu Aug 17 14:07:55 UTC 2000

Here are the other two of Cat Faber's linguistic filks that I know of.
These lyrics are copied from the album insert to the CD _As Good As Any_
( and, like those to
"Yogh and Ash and Thorn", are posted here by her permission.

The other and more recent CD by Echo's Children (= Cat + Callie Hills),
_Under the Gripping Beast_, is available from Random Factors
( They don't currently list  _As Good As Any_,
but it may be available.

As should be obvious, I am a fan of Echo's Children!

-- Mark

   Mark A. Mandel : Dragon Systems, a Lernout & Hauspie company
          Mark_Mandel at : Senior Linguist
 320 Nevada St., Newton, MA 02460, USA :

   FIJAGH! Now, *filking*, on the other hand...


Say Again, Tower
(a consideration of the linguistic consequences of time-dilation near the speed of light)
Words & music by & copyright by Cat (Catherine) Faber

The sky mighty black and the Earth blue and green
I flamed out on stellar craft B-17
With never a thought for the future I sought,
So here's to the stars and the spacers between

  Say again, Tower, the spacers demand;
  Say again, Tower, we don't understand.
  Gander your phrase book and try it again
  And please eighty-six on the slang on this band!

Like anyone else with the brains of a bean,
I'd read Chaucer and Shakespeare and easily seen
How a language could change in a century's range,
I just hadn't thought what the changes might mean.

With everyone fighting to coin the new phrase
The Internet's growth added fuel to the blaze
Kids pick up a word they just overheard
And spread it worldwide in a matter of days

I laughed at the worries that fell on my ears
Till the voice of the tower confirmed all our fears,
"Say, B-17, how's the verne escadrine?"--
For Pete's sake, I've only been gone twenty years!


They Spoke With Their Hands
(originally conceived as a telepath's attempt to explain to a non-telepath what it's like to live with an extra sense)
Words & music by & copyright by Cat (Catherine) Faber

When I was a youngster, to question, or teach,
The dance of our hands was our manner of speech;
It was long till I learned that no other could hear
The soft sound as the wind touched the curve of their ear.

  We spoke with our hands and we heard with our eyes,
  We were rough and silly and gentle and wise
  But birdsong's a thing no one else understands
  In a village where everyone speaks with their hands

But much as they loved me, I grew in their fears,
For I heard around corners their laughter or tears
And I couldn't explain, not for all of my care
How I gazed on their hearts through no sense they could share.

I tried to conceal it, but still I was caught
And fear turned to anger; they trusted me not
Till I ran from the mob through the cheatgrass and sage
Fleeing unseen the bare sound of their rage.

I dream of the chance all my dreams to restore
Let our hands dance together, build bridges once more
But should fear drive out love I will work them no ill
Earth be my witness, I miss them still.

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