My Word!

Discussion in 'Zealot Archives' started by logicman, May 27, 2008.

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  1. logicman

    logicman Greybeard

    I originally posted this in the 'caboose'.

    I'm bringing it here as an off-topic thread, so as not to 'derail' the caboose thread.

    If you have any observations about language - oddball words, phrases, slang etc in any lanmguage, I would be most interested to read what you have to say.
  2. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    There was an interesting program on public television (TV Ontario) in the late winter called "The Adventure of English". Lots of interesting trivia about plurals (goose/geese, but moose/moose, and mouse/mice, but house/houses, etc, etc.).

    The one thing I remember most though is the derivations of names for animals versus the meat that comes from them. This has to do with the time period in which French was the language of the ruling class (conquerors) and English was the language of the ruled (conquered).

    The names of the animals were given in the common language (English), but the name of the meat comes from the French. So we have deer/venison, cattle/beef, sheep/mutton, pig/pork, etc. This is mainly due to the fact that the English-speaking workers handled the live animals, and the French-speaking nobles were concerned with eating them.

  3. logicman

    logicman Greybeard

    Thanks for the response, Andrew.

    You are absolutely right there. The process is common, and still happens, although it's more to do with economic power these days. Look at the different names for raw materials - which includes raw produce - and have fun.
    I guarantee that in many languages other than English, guano will be called s**t.:mrgreen:

    A small note on 'language mavens' - Steven Pinker's term for people who set themselves up experts in the 'correct' use of language. In my book, there's no such thing as correct use of any living language whatsoever. It was self-styled 'experts' who made latin so rigid that it died out and was replaced by the many European languages.

    I put that in so people will see that I'm not promoting myself as an 'expert'.
    The caboose - cabeese way of using English is, to my way of thinking, an enrichment and enlivenment of the language.

    Slang away - I'm listening.:thumb:
  4. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    I also recall that the multiple ways we have of saying things (synonyms) in English is due to the fact that English has absorbed a great deal from every language it has come in contact with and/or is decended from...

    Ill/sick is one example that comes immediately to mind.

    I agree with you on the "experts", although my mother-in-law was an English professor, so I'll have to be "more correct" than some...! ;)

  5. logicman

    logicman Greybeard

    Andrew: thanks for the response.

    Synonyms - yes, English in particular is rich with them. The UK TV producers of 'Not the Nine O'clock News' published a dictionary containing about 100 synonyms for a man's ... :mrgreen:

    Money is another area of rich pickings:

    Money, dough, dosh, cash, mazooma, lucre, change, folding stuff, Queens-head credit-cards, etc.

  6. CSXect

    CSXect Member

    Wow what an interesting thread, music styles go along with spoken language such as Bluegrass can be traced to Celtic and folk music styles from Ireland, Scotland and England.

    Here is a Hillbilly word fanger(finger) they spell it right but say it wrongsign1 Alot of place names in the USA have American native names such as rivers and states and counties.
  7. logicman

    logicman Greybeard

    That's very kind of you CSXect.:oops:

    Yes, it seems that, not only do migrants take language and music with them, but language groups seem to me to have associated music styles.
    (But I am absolutely not a musician.):mrgreen:

    Spellings and pronounciations drift with time. If you swing vowels around, you get a foreign-sounding accent. Try reading something from a book where a becomes e, e becomes i etc. Great fun!

    Hmm, yes. Seems to me that's most especially true around the east coast, Massachusets for example. I can picture the ancient Roman philosophers noting much the same thing about Britain: "By Janus, Antonius, but these foreign devils have such strange placenames!"
  8. CSXect

    CSXect Member

    Here is an observation On the Ohio side of the Ohio river there are signs on the road warning about rocks falling from cliffs they say "Falling Rocks" but on the Kentucky side of the river they say "Fallen rocks" Do they mean that in a past tense or is it a dialect difference :confused::confused::confused: By the way Ohio is one of them Native names, also strange but true Kentucky owns the Ohio river:cry: Kentucky reffers to its self as the Uncommon wealth of Kentuckysign1
  9. logicman

    logicman Greybeard

    I like that one, CSXect.:mrgreen:

    Fallen, or falling? I suppose that depends on if you're an optimist or a pessimist.

    In south London, there is a very strange street sign at a busy junction on the main road from tower bridge.

    It says: "Drivers do not obstruct pedestrians."

    Which is just plain contrary to my everyday experience.

  10. Alcides

    Alcides Member

    Well, I'm an Spanish native speaker and I'm learning English and I've to said I just feel the opposite. A fast example is: present, in spanish we have: regalo, atencion, presente, etc.

    I going to look for more examples.

  11. logicman

    logicman Greybeard

    Greetings, all.

    My ISP has been down for over 24 hours, so I am trying to catch up.

    Ola Luis.

    My Spanish is very rusty, but here are some other words for various meanings of 'present'. If I am wrong, please tell me.

    at present = now ... ahora, actual
    to present = to give ... dar
    to present = introduce (a person) ... presentar
    to present = show 'present arms!' ... demostrar ???
    to present = public display or performance ? what is that in Spanish?
    Present! As when a person's name is called = aqui estoy.

    I'm not sure about the Spanish words.:cry:

    Help! Ayudame, por favor.:mrgreen:

    I am trying to find out about Spanish-language 'tongue-twisters'.
    Do you know any? For example, is there something like the English:
    'She sells sea-shells on the sea-shore.'?

  12. logicman

    logicman Greybeard

    Charlie: sorry, I missed seeing your post.

    Reporters and journalese. Boy, can you have fun with that.
    Photo captions, like: The Queen arrives at the palace yesterday. Huh???wall1

    My most unfavorite news media, advertising and spokesperson expressions:

    solution, issue, experience, etc.

    My local supermarket is advertising 'food solutions', by which they mean 'solid foods' for the very picky.

    My ISP had a supply issue - the web crashed for 24hrs.

    Lots of sites controlled by m$ insist that I must use IE to enhance my browsing experience. (Fat chance!)

    Whilst I am in gripe mode:
    UK local authorities now call rubbish tips 'civic amenity sites'.wall1wall1wall1
    So, if they fill the local swimming pool with water, does that make it an infill site?

    The same authorities now no longer name town halls as such - instead they are called 'contact points'. wall1wall1wall1

    Ah, but I feel so much better now.:mrgreen:

  13. CSXect

    CSXect Member

    Not sure if any of this is related or not but some observations on the road today, seen a street sign it was laffal or was it leffel street that it was kinda odd. We have a lot of barowed names for towns such as London, Dublin, New Rome and South Viennasign1
  14. logicman

    logicman Greybeard

    I think you guys only borrowed the ones you could pronounce.:rolleyes:

    I've never seen a 'Rawtenstall' or 'Oswaldtwistle' on a US map.:mrgreen:

    Just kiddin'. ( Stop hitting me, Tex.):mrgreen:

  15. CSXect

    CSXect Member

    Here are some interesting place names, Hemp Patch Kentucky, Cut and Shoot Texas, Mechanicsburg Ohio:mrgreen:

    Have you seen the Dukes of Hazard? In Kentucky there is a real town named Hazard and there is a real bar named the Boar's nest both preexisting the show and movie.:eek:
  16. logicman

    logicman Greybeard

    Oh yes! Dukes of Hazard. Great show. I really enjoyed that series.

    More odd place names from UK:

    Believed to be from 'Ramson (wild garlic) bottom' - The bottom of the valley where the ramson grows'

    Great Snoring and Little Snoring (Fakenham, Norfolk)

    Inner Ting Tong, and Outer Ting Tong (Budleigh Salterton, Devon.)
  17. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Southern Ontario has pinched place names from all over Europe. You can be within bicycling distance of London, Paris, Zurich, Brussels, Delhi, and Dublin, while Odessa, Athens and Baltimore are farther away. (Berlin is no longer an option, not since 1914). You can boat on the Thames, the Humber, the Tay, the Don (but not the Dnieper), and the Boyne.
    English monarchy fans will find Plantagenet, Guelph, Cobourg, and Windsor.
  18. CSXect

    CSXect Member

    Been to Windsor before:thumb:

    A friend and co-worker who was hispanic had a saying for when someone was not talking and making sense, he would say this is American speak Spanishsign1

    Here is a local quirk of pronouncation (sp?) Newark sounds like nerk:confused::cry:
  19. logicman

    logicman Greybeard

    Thanks, people.:thumb:

    Keep it coming, please, anything funny, odd, or just plain illogical about any language, but especially English.

    Illogical English:

    Why do we use invoices, but not outvoices?:p

    As for not making sense, my favorite word is bafflegab, best defined by the man who coined the term, Milton A Smith, assistant general counsel for the US Chamber of Commerce:
    World Wide Words: Bafflegab
  20. CSXect

    CSXect Member

    Have you seen the movie O'Brother where art thou ??? lots of interesting
    Southern language and old timey music not to mention some what on the funny side and as a bonus it starts with a rail roadsteamtrain in the opening scene
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