’18 A To Z Challenge – W

Get Off My Lawn

Old Man

I write ‘old,’ because I am old, but also because I read even older writings when I was young.  I love the new technology (what I can understand of it), but I miss the grace, style and solemnity of bygone days, and bygone manners, and bygone speech.  When/because I was younger, I never had the opportunity to call someone a

Whippersnapper

Now that I am old enough to do so, life and language have moved on, and I have missed my chance.  I might as well speak of button-hooks, or buggy-whips, or Marcel hair treatments.  People would regard me even more strangely than they already do.

‘Whippersnapper’ is a word which has been used since the 17th century. The word can be used in two different contexts. One, it refers to a person who is very lazy and has no ambitions. The other context is used to denote young people who live on the streets and are indulged in wrong practices. However, the usage and meaning of the word changed over time. Now, it is used for a person who is very confident, or for a child who keeps questioning.

Nowadays, society moves so fast that many of us don’t have, or take, the time to actually say or write things.  OMG!  For those who deserve this epithet, (and they are numerous, and greatly deserving) I will have to settle for a firmly applied “Asshole,” or a solid smack with an appropriate acronym (PITA = Pain In The Ass), or Emoji. Thumbs Down

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WOW #42

abyss

I gazed into the abyss Rochelle’s weekly photo prompt, and the abyss stared back. I couldn’t get Frederick Nietzsche to help me with a Flash Fiction, so this week’s back-patting, ego-driven Word Of the Week is the all-about-me

Linguaphile

a language and word lover.
Origin of Linguaphile
Linguist has existed in English since the 16th century. It means “one who is adept at learning and using foreign languages; one who is a student of language or linguistics; a translator or interpreter.” Linguaphile has a somewhat different meaning: “one who loves words or languages.” The originally Greek suffix -phile (“lover of”) is completely naturalized in English.

I thought a Linguaphile might be something that smoothed my speech out.  My son doesn’t understand my fascination with foreign names.  They can tell me where someone, or their ancestors, came from.  I’ve studied the origin and meaning of many English names.  While some of them are – interesting, some foreign names just have me shaking my head.

A candidate in a recent, local election was named Estoesta.  I quickly determined that this was a Portuguese name.  From my limited knowledge of Romance languages, I thought that it might mean East/West, perhaps originating when Portuguese sailors reached Malaysia.  Google Translate told me that it actually just means ‘this is.’  😕

 A young Spanish-Canadian co-worker was named Soto.  I asked him the meaning of it one day, but he said he didn’t know, and would have to ask his father.  He might forget or ignore, so I looked it up that evening.  The next day, I told him that it translated to a copse, a thicket, or a brake.  “No, No!” he replied, “My Dad says that it’s a bunch of trees.”  The worker from Newfoundland, who many thought could barely write his own name, piped up.  “What does he think a copse, a brake or a thicket is?”

A recent obituary was for another Portuguese, Eric Armand Cyril Cecil D’Silva.   I suspect that his mother was of English heritage.  While Eric and Armand may be Portuguese given names, Cyril and Cecil are very British.  My English-heritage Father was Cyril, and his half-brother was Cecil.  The word Silva is not the same as Sylva, and has nothing to do with trees.  Instead, it means hiss, whistle, swish, fizz.  How would you like to be named after a leaky steam-pipe?  😳

The four German names, Hefner, Heffner, Hafner and Haffner all come from Hőffner Originally, hoff meant wish or hope.  Medieval travelers often wished or hoped for a country inn, where they could rest and get warmth and food, so hoff came to mean an inn.  A Hőffner was an innkeeper.  Hugh Hefner sold Playboy magazines.  A local car dealership is Heffner Lexus/Toyota.  A small town, 15 miles out, has Haffner Motors, a Chrysler dealership.   This explains the annual Labor Day MoparFest, where dozens of 1970s Hemi-powered muscle cars from all over Southern Ontario show up.

Lastly, I want to talk about big fish in little ponds.  In Germany, if your ancestors came from the small town of Vetter, they might have adopted, or had that name assigned to them.  However, if your forebears owned the village of Vetter, an honorific von, meaning of or from, was prefixed, to indicate minor nobility, and your family name became von Vetter.  The same thing occurred in Dutch or Belgian, with the prefix van.

The equivalent word in French, is guy, although the last name of the French short-story writer, Guy de Maupassant, means something like hard luck, or tough times.  While not a hereditary name, English has the same concept in the honorary title, Squire.  This is the highest that a non-Nobility family may rise.  While the Earl may possess all the surrounding fields and pastures and woods, as his administrator, the Squire owns the land that the village or town sits on, and collects rent and respect from every business and home.

Come back again later when I discuss Lingua Franca, which is how to order a hot-dog from a street vendor food cart.  😉

’18 A To Z Challenge – T

 

Challenge '18Letter T

 

 

 

 

 

 

The challenge for a T theme brings you another odd little word.  It is

TMESIS

Noun: the interpolation of one or more words between the parts of a compound word, as be thou ware for beware.

Which is the dull, boring, pretentious definition that Dictionary.com provided, but not the one they gave when I first found it as a word of the day, but wasn’t smart enough to download it then.  At that time they claimed that it was, “the insertion or interjection of an intensifier into an already forceful statement – often profanity.”

Profanity??  Now you’re speaking my language.  Jesus H. Christ, holy f**king shit, that’s the kind of stuff that I abso-bloody-lutely understand.  None of this ‘interpolation’ crap.  This is how many of us speak.

I understand that a new year is (almost) upon us, and that this particular alphabetical series is nearly finished.  See U soon.  😉

Merry Christmas (or any other suitable substitute holiday) to all, and to all a good night.

Santa

Best wishes from the fat old guy who lives up north in the snow – no, not Santa.  He’s short a reindeer.  We had venison steaks for dinner.

WOW #41

Bistro

I don’t like English words that aren’t really, wholly, completely accepted and widely used English words.  I know that the English Language appropriates words from other tongues, wholesale, but I don’t like words like tsuris, which is a seldom-used Yiddish/Hebrew word, meaning troubles, or woe.

I’m not pretentious enough to use the Word Of this Week, which is

BISTRO

but if I did, I’d have regarded it as an artsy-fartsy, café-au-lait sipping, croissant-munching, Left-Bank Parisian Frog French word which does not fall trippingly from the mouths of most Americans or Canadians…. until I did a little recent research.

It seems that bistro’s ancestor was a common-man, dock-walloper word that would have been familiar to any MAGA who supports Trump.  The Seine River that Paris sits on is large enough for small ships to navigate upstream, to unload their cargoes.

Once upon a history, France and Russia used to do a lot of trading.  Roustabout Russian sailors used to be common on Paris docks.  When they paused for a quick noon-time meal, they would go to the many nearby restaurants/cafes to eat.  Time and tide wait for no man, especially the tide.  They needed to eat quickly, and get back to finish the job.

The food establishments, used to the French, laggard, laissez-faire lifestyle, were in no hurry to prepare or serve food to them, so it became common for them to shout at the kitchen/waiter, “Bistro, Bistro”, a Russian word that means hurry, rush, get a move on!

I still prefer a Burger King to a Bistro – unless you’re treating, in which case, please contact me at once.  We could have a lovely discussion about international trade, and Russian sailors’ tattoos.  😉  😆

WOW #39

Dictionary

The Word Of this Week,

KAHOOT

doesn’t exist, even though I found it in an A to Z Challenge.  There’s all too much of this sort of thing going on out there in Bloggerland, even among the better spoken written.

Despite filling the ‘K’ slot in her alphabet challenge, the word should be cahoot.  They’re very sociable little creatures that get lonely quite easily, so you almost always see two or more cahoots together, getting into mischief.

  1. US partnership; league (esp. in the phrases go in cahoots with, go cahoot )
  2. in cahoots in collusion

Word Origin and History for cahoots

1829, American English, of unknown origin; said to be perhaps from French cahute “cabin, hut” (12c.), but U.S. sources credit it to French cohorte (see cohort), a word said to have been in use in the U.S. South and West with a sense of “companions, confederates.”

I met a lady online that I wanted to get in cahoots with, so I sexted her a picture of my privates.  She said it must be a private; it wasn’t big enough to be a Corporal, much less a General.  Oh well, back to looking for odd/interesting words.  😆

WOW #38

Dictionary

The obscure English Word Of the first Week of November is

 Turbary.

This word means the legal right to cut turf or peat from ground belonging to somebody else. It was important, upon a time, because peat was a specific and limited resource in certain regions; but who’d have ever imagined that the rights to cut it actually had its own specific term?

Only in English, the language of a million plus words and a history of mugging other languages for their vocabulary and then chasing them down a dark alley and riffling their pockets for even more.

I don’t think that anyone would want to come to my place and cut sod, but I wouldn’t mind if some nice person cut my lawn.

Poor antiquated ‘Turbary.’  A few people must still cut peat to use as fuel, but electricity and gas being piped to almost every home in Britain, has relegated it to the back of the top shelf of the Dictionary’s closet.  It is not alone there.  The writer of a recent post that I read was amazed by the existence of the word ‘defenestration,’ which means throwing something, or someone, out of a window.

“Was there really a lot of that going on, back in the Middle Ages, that they needed to create a word to describe it?”  Watch/rewatch the movie Braveheart, where Longshanks, the King, casually tosses the ‘friend’ of the gay prince out of the tower window.  “Clean that mess up!”

Would you like a real challenge? Write a sentence (or two) in the comments using this word.  I had trouble enough just composing this short little post.  I can issue a challenge with the word ‘turbary,’ I try to keep this a G-rated blog site.  I couldn’t challenge you with a word like dongle.  I know you lot.  😆

 

Once Upon A Time In The Mid-East

Arab

Once upon a time in the mid-east…. things haven’t really changed much, only gotten more so.

Many moons ago, I worked as a security guard.  One of my co-workers was a man even older than me.  As a young man, just after World War II, he had traveled to England to take advantage of the burgeoning British post-war economy, to get a job.  Instead, he enlisted in the British Army, and was attached to the British Palestine Peacekeeping Force.  Their job was to prevent violence, and protect the newly-minted state of Israel.

Many Jews had lived in what became Arab Territory.  Either voluntarily, or under political pressure, they were convinced to leave farms and lands that they had worked and lived on for generations, and move inside the imaginary boundary-line of Israel, into imaginary safety, and start all over again.

He said that, as they patrolled around in Palestine, it was easy to see who had occupied the properties.  Jewish farms were green and lush with fruit, grain and vegetables.  They had bright homes and barns, and greenhouses to get new crops started.  Arab homesteads were dusty and brown, with perhaps a scrawny goat wandering around.

Did the Muslims who were leaving Israel take possession of these ready-made sources of shelter, food and income??  They did not!!  Usually the homes and outbuildings were burned, the greenhouses torn down, all the glass smashed.  The patrol was supposed to be neutral, but he said that it was difficult not to have sympathy, and side with the people who tried to build things up, rather than the hooligans who just wanted to tear things down.

One day they were called out to a problem.  They were trucked to a nearby Arab village near the new border.  They debarked, and marched into the village square/market.  There they came upon a small clot of idlers, with more drifting in.  As in my StOp! Ed post, the local imam or mullah was working the mob up, to march to the nearest Jewish settlement and attack.  Knives, machetes, clubs, slings, rocks, and bottles were in evidence.

My co-worker recounted that, in English, and in his best brash British bluster, the Sergeant-Major commanding the squad, waved his hands as if shooing flies, and told them that ‘You chappies ought to just break this up now, and get on with your business somewhere else.’

He got back the equivalent of, ‘No speakee English, you Tommy Brit invaders.’, so he went to plan B, and literally read them the Riot Act.  For those of you who think that being read the Riot Act is just a euphemism for your Mom coming down on you, think again.  There is an actual British Riot Act.  The solemnity of having it read to potential rioters is supposed to make them think twice about causing trouble.

Our Sovereign Lord The King chargeth and commandeth all persons, being assembled, immediately to disperse themselves, and peaceably depart to their habitations, or to their lawful business, upon the pains contained in the Act made in the first year of King George the First for preventing tumults and riotous assemblies.

God Save The King

The rules state that it must be read three times, before any official violence is unleashed.  The SarMaj read the ponderous paragraph of it once in English.  Then, because some of the miscreants might be Jewish, he read it in Hebrew.  Then he read it in Arabic.  Then he circled around and read it again in all three languages.

All this time, the crowd is growing in size, and the mood is getting nastier.  Knives are waved at them, and small fake sorties are threatened.  Finally, he got the Act read three times in three languages, and ordered them in Arabic to disperse.

Wasn’t gonna happen, so he started giving the squad, orders.  Present arms!  The Arabs watched.  Insert cartridges!  They slapped magazines into their Lee-Enfield rifles. (They’d been unarmed all this time.)  The Arabs waited.  Charge weapons! Rifle bolts back, and then forward to cock. (Now they’re finally ready for action.) The Arabs wondered.  And, the SarMaj shouted, At the knees, aim!

He said that, by the time he got his rifle up to his shoulder, and his eyes on the sights, a single piece of paper, and dust, was settling to the ground.  The little plaza was empty.  Maybe some of them understood English, or just understood superior firepower.

Sadly, nowadays, little altercations like this happen much faster and more violently.  The Gentlemanly British rules of war have been replaced by Kill Or Be Killed.  Perhaps they were what Mr. Ed, the talking horse’s ass was thinking about.