All The Languages Of The World

I am so glad that my blog-buddy, BrainRants made me aware of The Expanse series.  I have been reading the books and, not quite as quickly, watching the TV programs for several years.  It is a great epic series, not just because I love Sci-Fi, but because the writers provide tons of eclectic detail to flesh out the story arc, and the characters.

Two male writers, taking a cue from their mentor, George R. R. Martin – he of Game Of Thrones fame – and/or J. R. R. Tolkien, publish as James S. A. Corey, when neither of them is James, nor Corey.  As male authors, they have created at least four powerful, well-defined female characters.

The depth and breadth of their knowledge, which they work into the books is awe-inspiring – especially (for me) the linguistics.  Millions have gone into space, and many are mining the asteroid belt.  People move around on Earth, and the language where they migrate to slowly changes, but remains basically the same.

There was no Native Tongue in the Belt, so a new language, called Belta, has come into existence.  It includes some sign language, for folks encased in space suits, who can be seen but not heard.  The spoken language is mostly English, with additions and admixtures of American Spanish from Pittsburgh to Patagonia, Portuguese, German, French, Italian, Maori, Japanese, Chinese, Indonesian, and more.

Every chapter brings examples of words and expressions that impress the Hell out of me, or drive me to dictionary or search-engine sites.  Remember, Belta is like Star Trek’s Klingon.  It is a non-existent language that these two are completely creating themselves.  The fact that I’m at least a year behind the avid fan readers, means that I sometimes reach a site where others have gone for explanations.

Recently, I hit four words on two pages that I needed to research.  One of the asteroids described, was not an asteroid, but rather, a collection of rocks with enough common gravity to hold them together, but not enough pressure to coalesce into a single unit.  Like a bag of giant marbles – without the bag.

The writers described it as a Duniyaret.  The Hindi word duniyah means ’world,’ and the Hindi word ret means ‘sand, or gravel.’  They had created a neologism in a foreign language, to describe this conglomeration of rocks.  A habitat had been created on the biggest chunk, by welding together, what were essentially steel shipping containers, at a slight angle to one another, to bend around the curve.  The authors called this “town”, Nakliye, a Turkish word that means ‘shipping.’

On the next page, I found a blazon – from heraldry, a patch or badge, often worn on lapel or sleeve, indicating owning or belonging, especially with good qualities.  When we affix such a marker, we use the slightly more-common word, emblazon.

The residents drank water that was hyper-distilled.  At first, I thought it might be like double-distilled whiskey, but the Hyper, in this case, refers to Hyperion, the Titan that the Greeks believed was the father of the sun.  They didn’t waste precious power, but used a large parabolic solar-collector, aimed at the distant sun.  I had trouble researching this term, because the search engines kept throwing up an American company named “Hyper Distillation,” which is not the same thing.

The UN Space Navy had an Admiral named Souther.  I was reminded of J. D. Souther, a singer/songwriter from Detroit, who influenced Glen Frey of The Eagles, to compose country-lite style.  I had assumed that the basis for the name was someone originally from the South of England – a southerner.  Imagine my surprise when I found that the name is occupational, coming from old English/old French soutere – a boot or shoe – therefore meaning a cobbler.

I have cobbled together a little more click-bait to lure you in.  Drop by in a couple of days, to see where my mind has gone without me.  😎  🌯

’21 A To Z Challenge – F


 

There is no “English Language!”

I tried to explain this to a reader, recently.  I don’t think that he understood – or believed me.  Every word in the English language came from somewhere else.  Some are just more obvious than others.  Take, for example, the word

FRANGIPANI

A flower of the tropical American tree or shrub, Plumeria rubra, of the dogbane family
The tree or shrub itself
A perfume prepared from or imitating the odor of the flower

The word is in every English dictionary – yet it is obviously Italian.   It entered the language circa 1860 – 65 from French, who spelled it frangipane – after Marquis Muzio Frangipani, a 16th-century Italian nobleman, the supposed inventor of the perfume.

The true, original meaning of the Signor Frangipani’s name is bread-breaker, as in, to break bread with others, a banquet-giver, a host, or merely, a good travelling companion – another Latin-based word which indicates togetherness, and bread.

Google’s translation department would have you believe that the word means bread-crusher – a totally different concept.

Stop back again in a couple of days, after you’ve had a sandwich that you tried to make by putting cold butter on fresh bread.  I’m going to try for a scratch-and-sniff post using Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop “This Candle Smells Like My Vagina.”   😯

goop x Heretic This Smells Like My Vagina Candle | Goop

’21 A To Z Challenge – E

I’ve often said that, if the English language must evolve, I don’t want the changes caused by people who have their names on their work uniforms.  I want it guided by intelligent, educated scholars and linguists.

I HAVE CHANGED MY MIND!

One of the newer words in English is

ECDYSIAST

added sometime before his death in 1956, by the all-time pompous spoilsport American journalist, H. L. Mencken.

Also called stripper, exotic dancer, or stripteaser. a person who performs a striptease.
From ecdysis – the shedding or casting off of an outer coat or integument by snakes, crustaceans, etc.

With at least three acceptable alternatives, this pretentious prat added yet another, to turn an enjoyable, social pastime into something as cold and clinical as a colonoscopy.  He makes Mr. Spock seem like a party animal, and looks like he parts his hair with an axe.

Some of them can appear as dumb as a sack of rocks, but the stoners flipping burgers, and dreaming up new words seem to be a helluva lot more fun than tight-ass, Latin-loving Mr. Mencken.  Ignore the word.  Ignore the nerd who birthed it.  What is your opinion about strippers?  😕

What If, It’s Another Challenge

I am awed and amazed at the number of people who read these personal-reveal posts.  Thanx, and here is yet another one.

21: Something you just can’t seem to get over
23: Something you always think “What if….” About

I’m not much one for navel-gazing.  I feel that I am not entitled, but rather, pragmatic, fatalistic, realistic.  What is – IS!  The past is in the past.  It’s over, and cannot be changed.  Deal with it!  Time and psychic energy expended in worrying about ‘What Might Have Been ‘, is lost and wasted.

There are many people, often with an overcharged ego and an excess of entitlement, who feel that if they work hard and apply themselves, get a good education, and make what they feel are the right decisions, then God, or Karma, will ensure them success in life.

IT DON”T WORK LIKE THAT!  The universe is supremely disinterested in any one person.  It is almost impossible to fare well in life without taking these steps, but doing so is no guarantee of success.  No-one is assured a smooth ride.  Nothing is God-ordained and meant to be.

When most people think about “What If” and something they just can’t get over, they imagine that some small change in the past would improve their life in the present.  It’s just wishful thinking.  I’ve had hardly any free times in my busy life to brood about lost potential opportunities.

A very few times, I’ve wondered, What if I didn’t have learning disabilities?  What if I didn’t have my essential tremor?  What if I didn’t have a sieve where my memory should be?  Would I have achieved a post-secondary diploma?  Would I have got a six- or seven-figure job?  Would I have had a great career-arc, and have lots of money?  Would I have ‘married better’?

Then I hear the little flutter that warns of the butterfly effect, and the heavy tromp of Karma’s boots in the hall.  If things had been different, would I have done any better?  Would I have had to spend so much time and mental energy getting my diploma and continuing study to master a trade – that I didn’t have time to study and appreciate the English language?

Would I have to rely on aides and secretaries to make my reports and directives literate and intelligible?  Would I have failed to learn to read for enjoyment – would I be incapable of composing blog posts, both of which now occupy me in my retirement?

Money can’t buy happiness, although it makes looking for it a lot easier.  Would I have married better, and would I have great amounts of money in savings and retirement funds, or would I have a string of three, successively-younger trophy wives, whose alimonies empty my bank accounts, and I live in a bachelor apartment till I die on the job, because I can’t afford to retire?

They say that you can’t cheat an honest man.  You can, it just takes so much extra time and effort that it’s not usually worth it.  Similarly, no-one wants to bother stealing from a poor man.  If the stock market nosedives, I don’t care.  If I’d been smart enough to make a lot of money, I might have been dumb enough to meet a Bernie Madoff, or a Nigerian prince.

Strive and struggle to make the most of what you can.  Accept the present, and face the future.  Don’t get a sore neck from looking back at what if!  Let sleeping dogs lie, and don’t trip over them.  My readers are my riches.  You can compound your interest by showing up again in a couple of days.  😀

Tell Me If You’ve Heard This One – IV

Comstockery – overzealous moral censorship of the fine arts and literature, often mistaking outspokenly honest works for salacious ones – related to
bowdlerism, which entails removing all the ‘naughty  bits’ from every book – except the Bible

Cri de Coeur – an anguished cry of distress or indignation; an outcry
used (occasionally) in English, but imported wholesale from French.  Oy Vey!!

Fractious – refractory or unruly; readily angered, peevish, irritable, quarrelsome
I don’t know how people can get like that.  I’m so mellow and easy to get along with.  I never argue.  I just explain why I’m right.

Hemidemisemiquavermusic; a sixty-fourth note
a half – of a half – of a half.  It happens so quickly, you don’t even notice it – like Speedy Gonzales said to his girlfriend, “This’ll be quick – wasn’t it?”

Hobbledehoy – an awkward, ungainly youth
1530–40; variant of hoberdyhoy, alliterative compound, equivalent to hoberd (variant of Roberd Robert) + -y2 + -hoy for boy
I am so glad that I am not a teen.  Now I am an awkward, ungainly old codger.  Don’t ask how I managed to trip over my own cane, or I’ll whack you with it.

Interrobang – A printed punctuation mark, available only in some typefaces, designed to combine the question mark (?) and the exclamation point (!), indicating a mixture of query and interjection, as after a rhetorical question
She added an Interrobang at the poem’s end to signal both excitement and confusion.

Jannock – also jonnick – honest, fair, straightforward
British/Australian informal – origin uncertain – 1825/1830…. And then there’s its Scottish cousin


Bannock – a flat cake made of oatmeal, barley meal, etc., usually baked on a griddle.
Word origin – before 1000; Middle English bannok,Old English bannuc morsel <British Celtic; compare Scots Gaelic bannach – which brings us to
Bannockburn – which, despite Mel Gibson’s pack of lies inventive movie, Braveheart, is where the Scottish clans finally got together enough to hand the English army its ass, and achieve independence.  They did not scorch the wee cakes by leaving them on the griddle while they fought.  The word ‘burn’ in Scottish means a rivulet, a small stream.  This means that the ancestors of Scotland’s poet, Robbie Burns, came from a place where many small streams flowed.

Martinet – a strict disciplinarian, especially a military one: someone who stubbornly adheres to methods and rules – 1670–80; after General Jean Martinet (died 1672), French inventor of a system of drill

Mondegreen– a word or phrase resulting from a mishearing of another word or phrase, especially in a song or poem
We’ve all heard these.  Some of them are just hilarious.  C’mon, we’ve all created one…. Or more.
Excuse me while I kiss this guy. or  Slow-motion Walter, the fire-engine guy.
Not knowing much Spanish at the time, I thought the song ‘Guantanamera’ was about one ton of metal, and ‘I Fall To Pieces’ said I call you peaches.

Pogonip – An ice fog that forms in the mountain valleys of the western United States.

Suspiration – A long, deep sigh
It is with heavy heart that I have to admit I did not know this word.   aaaaahhhhhh

Silver-Tongued – persuasive, eloquent, well-spoken
which is not the same as being a cunning linguist.  She said, “I didn’t want to go out with him, until I learned that he had a wart on the end of his tongue.”

Tommyrot – nonsense, utter foolishness, balderdash (which is a short race for guys with no hair)
1880–85; tommy simpleton (see tomfool) + rot  See also, tomfoolery
British soldiers were not thought well of, and called Tommies.  Rudyard Kipling came to their support, in his poem, Tommy.

Ziggurat – (among the ancient Babylonians and Assyrians) a temple of Sumerian origin in the form of a pyramidal tower, consisting of a number of stories and having about the outside a broad ascent winding round the structure, presenting the appearance of a series of terraces.

I wasn’t going to include this word, because I thought it was just a pyramid scheme.  I have a scheme (it’s more rhombozoidal), to bring you back in a couple of days.  CU then   😀

Back-Words

I often don’t know whether I’m coming or going.  To assist me, the English language has lots of helpful words – actually, hundreds of them.  Let me introduce you to

PALINDROMES

palindrome: a word, line, verse, number, sentence, etc., reading the same backward as forward, as Madam, I’m Adam or Poor Dan is in a droop.

Here are a few of the shorter English words that help keep me going in the right direction, no matter which way I am facing.

boob, a stupid person; fool; dunce.
British. a blunder; mistake.
a female breast.

civic, of or relating to a city, citizens, or citizenship  civic duties

dad, a person’s father or one’s father.
a person who is corny or embarrassing in the way that a father figure might be:
He was being such a dad when he told that story.
handsome or stylish; amazing; to be admired:
Those shoes are totally dad.

deed, something that is done, performed, or accomplished; an act
an exploit or achievement; feat:
Law. a writing or document executed under seal and delivered to effect a conveyance, especially of real estate.

deified, exalted to the position of a god or personify as a god
accorded divine honor or worship to
exalted in an extreme way; idealize

denned,  lived in or as if in a den.
drove or pursued (an animal) into its den.
killed (an animal) inside its den.

kayak, an Eskimo canoe with a skin cover on a light framework, made watertight by flexible closure around the waist of the occupant and propelled with a double-bladed paddle.
a small boat resembling this, made commercially of a variety of materials and used in sports.
verb (used without object)
to go or travel by kayak.

lemel, metal filings

level, having no part higher than another; having a flat or even surface.
being in a plane parallel to the plane of the horizon; horizontal.
noun
a device used for determining or adjusting something to a horizontal surface.

madam, (often initial capital letter) a polite term of address to a woman, originally used only to a woman of rank or authority: Madam President;  May I help you, madam?
the woman in charge of a household: Is the madam at home?
the woman in charge of a house of prostitution.

ma’am, madam (def. 1).
(In Britain) a term used in addressing the queen or a royal princess or other female superior, especially police.  Pronounced mom/mum

minim, the smallest unit of liquid measure, 1/60 (0.0167) of a fluid dram, roughly equivalent to one drop. Abbreviation: min, min.; Symbol: ♍, ♏
Music. a note, formerly the shortest in use, but now equivalent in time value to one half of a semibreve; half note.
the least quantity of anything.
something very small or insignificant.

mom, a person’s mother or one’s mother.
a term of endearment used to refer to a woman or girl who is admired:
beautiful or stylish; amazing; to be admired:
That outfit is so mom!

mum, silent, unspeaking
British; mom
a chrysanthemum
murdrum, noun Old English Law.
the killing of a human being in a secret manner.
the fine payable to the king by The Hundred where such a killing occurred, unless the killer was produced or the victim proved to be a Saxon.

noon, midday.
twelve o’clock in the daytime.
the highest, brightest, or finest point or part:
the noon of one’s career.

peep, to look through a small opening or from a concealed location.
to look slyly, pryingly, or furtively.
to look curiously or playfully.
to show or protrude slightly.
noun
a quick or furtive look or glance.
the first appearance, as of dawn.
a short, shrill little cry or sound, as of a young bird; cheep; squeak.

poop, a superstructure at the stern of a vessel.
noun; excrement
verb; to defecate
to cause to become out of breath or fatigued; exhaust:
relevant information, especially a candid or pertinent factual report; lowdown:

pullup, (usually spelled pull-up) an exercise consisting of chinning oneself, as on a horizontal bar attached at each end to a doorpost.
a flight maneuver in which an aircraft climbs sharply from level flight.
children’s training pants

racecar, a racing car

radar, a device for determining the presence and location of an object by measuring the time for the echo of a radio wave to return from it and the direction from which it returns.
a means or sense of awareness or perception:

redder, more of any of various colors resembling the color of blood or the primary color at one extreme end of the visible spectrum,

refer, to direct for information or anything required:
to direct the attention or thoughts of:
to hand over or submit for information, consideration, decision, etc.
to assign to a class, period, etc.; regard as belonging or related.
to direct attention, as a reference mark does.
to have recourse or resort; turn, as for aid or information:

repaper, to cover with wallpaper or apply wallpaper to a second time:
to line or cover with paper again.

revver,   a person or thing which sharply accelerates the speed of (an engine or the like) (often followed by up).

Ignoring rotor, and
rotator, we skip directly to
rotavator,
trademark a type of machine with rotating blades that break up soil

sagas, any narratives or legends of heroic exploits.
forms of the novel in which the members or generations of a family or social group are chronicled in a long and leisurely narrative.
dramatic histories of a group, place, industry, etc.
any very long stories with dramatic events or parts:

shahs, (formerly, in Iran) kings; sovereigns.

 sis, noun, informal; sister

solos, examples of any action, e.g. dance, music, flying, etc, performed alone, unaccompanied

 tenet, any opinion, principle, doctrine, dogma, etc., especially one held as true by members of a profession, group, or movement.

wow, an exclamation of surprise, wonder, pleasure, or the like
to cause an enthusiastic response from; thrill.

WOW! We’re almost finished.  This is one of the longest palindromes in the English language.

detartrated, changed from being a tartrate, decombined with tartaric acid

WOW #70

I was recently reading an historical novel.  In it, a commoner performed an uncommon act of intelligence and bravery.  As a reward for this selfless act, the Grand Panjandrum – or Grand Poobah – they both indicate a pretentious or self-important official, like a High Muckedy-Muck, bestowed upon him the reward of a

Carucate
[keyr-oo-kate, (yoo)]

Because I was reading a dead-tree book, I couldn’t just tap the Kindle screen to find out what a carucate was.  I had to play Twenty Questions until I got upstairs to the computer.  Was it a gem – a jewel, like the Blue Carbuncle in the Sherlock Holmes novel?  Was it a lavish dinner in his honor?  Was it a warm, if not willing, bed-companion?  Was it a mani-pedi down at Omar’s Tent and Sail Shop, and Spa?  Don’t ask – don’t tell.   😉 

It turns out that it’s another archaic measurement quantity, equal to 40 acres of land, or a quarter-section – one quarter of a square mile.  It was the amount of land that a team of oxen could plow, and the amount of tilled land that it took to produce enough food for a farm family.

While the measurement is described as square, especially those with water frontage, were a mile long, and a quarter-mile wide, farming spaghetti, or rhubarb.  It was hard to turn an ox-team and unwieldy plow around. It was easier to let the team catch their breath, and just start another furrow in a straight line, for eight furlongs, and this gave more tenants shipping/travel access . Quebec’s Eastern Townships, in Canada are like this, only larger, all fronting on the St. Lawrence River, and looking like a bowling alley on a map. 

Was it possible that this Grand Vizier – Why do all these $3 potentates describe their titles as Grand??! – wanted this potter…. or leather-worker…. to leave the city, and become just another subsistence farmer??  He could sell it, or lease it to a share-cropper.  At least he took his dictionary along, and I learned a new old word.  😀

WOW #65

Alright all you COVID couch potatoes, what is the absolute minimum amount that you may move?
Honey??!  Make me a tuna sandwich wouldya, and change the channel to bowling when you bring it in.

According to a slimmed-down, rear-facing Scotsman, it’s a

THERBLIG

(in time and motion study) any of the basic elements involved in completing a given manual operation or task that can be subjected to analysis.
ORIGIN OF THERBLIG

1930–35, Americanism; anagram of F. B. Gilbreth (1868–1924), American engineer

Along with much of the English language, Mr. Gilbreth’s name has been on a diet, and getting leaner and cleaner over hundreds of years.  Other engineers could honor him by (almost) tuning his name around backwards, to get the term ”therblig,” but the more common spelling is Galbraith. https://www.surnamedb.com/Surname/Galbraith   It’s a good thing that most Scots were illiterate when they dreamed this name up.  It would take most of an afternoon, writing it all out.

What is the minimum of motion that I’ve achieved this week??  Well, I failed to move enough brain cells to produce a 100-word Flash Fiction.  I only moved a few computer keys enough to create this little stub of a WOW.  I’ll get a move on and do better next week.   😉  😯

’20 A To Z Challenge – K

Peasant Woman

If only the English, would speak English!  😯

As the developed World continues to advance, we have more information which needs to be communicated in the same amount of time.  The English language continues to adapts to that, and contract.  Already, we have more time to discuss Kardashian perfume or underwear or MENSA-grade husbands, because English is reducing, with @hashtags, 140 character Tweets, and initialisms, like LOL, OMG, YOLO, BTW, IDK, and IMHO.  Soon, we’ll be back to caveman grunts and arm-waving – Ungh, meat good!  Beer cold!

Contrast this with busy, unchanging, polysyllabic languages like Italian or Spanish, which need to add suffixes for gender and number.  Italian ‘spago’ is a string – no matter what that NYC restaurateur says.  Many small strings (of pasta), is spaghetti.  And even finer strings, is spaghettini.

A Spanish girl is a chica.  A small girl, or a loving, linguistic diminutive for one, is a chiquita that you’d go bananas for.  Chiquitita does not usually refer to an even younger child, but is often an affectionate nickname for a full-sized female.  All those syllables!!  😯  To see (or hear) an old Nona at market with her string bag, sounds like a language machine-gun, firing at about 12 syllables a second, wearing out her tongue, and everyone else’s ears.  Of course, her tongue will regenerate overnight – just ask any Italian husband.

Back in a time when English had a lot less to say, and all day to say it, was born the compound-word term

KICKIE-WICKIE

A witty, jocular, or ludicrous term for a wife, especially a critical or disrespectful one
supposedly another Shakespeare nonce-word, invented and first used in ‘All’s Well That Ends Well’.

Apparently he didn’t have time to also invent
Dumpy-frumpy
Slappy-happy
Punchy-wunchy, or
Bitchy-witchy

I had heard that it was a term invented by Scotsmen, while shepherds watched their flocks by night…. or whatever they were doing with/to sheep in the dark.  They just took the term, and made it theirs.

Bagpipes

Blowing his brains out

Why do Scotsmen wear kilts?
So that sheep don’t hear the zippers.  😳

I’d like ewe to stop back again soon, for another group therapy session.  😉

WOW #61

Syzygy

The planets have aligned, so it’s a propitious time for me to tell you that we Virgos are very skeptical, and don’t believe in all that Astrology BS.  Rochelle’s weekly FF picture didn’t provide me with any inspiration or creativity, but she did donate a lovely word for a WOW post.

SYZYGY

an alignment of three celestial objects, as the sun, the earth, and either the moon or a planet:

A, I, and O (like O Canada, or O beautiful for spacious skies, in America The Beautiful – not Oh!), are the only words in the English language with no consonants in them – although U, in text-speak seems to be coming on strong.

SYZYGY is the longest word with no true vowels.  It is followed by slyly, and the kids, shy, sly, spy, sty, sky, try, fly, fry, why, cry, by, archaic thy, nymph, and lymph, as well as the crafty lynx. (Have I forgotten any?)  For many years, I thought – and I still wish – that it was pronounced sigh-zih-gee, so that it would demonstrate all three possible sound options for the almost-vowel, Y.  Sadly, it utters the more prosaic, sih-zih-gee.

It has a couple of other, even less common meanings:
Classical Prosody. a group or combination of two feet, sometimes restricted to a combination of two feet of different kinds.
any two related things, either alike or opposite.

Does this mean that an ash tray, and a frying pan, somehow have a SYZYGY, because they are both objects in my house that people put something into??!  😯

Ahh, English; that beautiful, yet bizarre language.  You don’t have to be crazy to want to try to learn how to speak/write it.  We will train you.  😳  I am also trying to train you to stop back again next week.  Whoever finds and drags back Erato, my muse, before I need her for next week’s Flash Fiction, receives a complementary serving of French toast.  😀