WOW #30

Bagpipes

My Scottish heritage has dragged out another wee term for us to look at.  Today, we consider the word

KEN

Definitions for ken

knowledge, understanding, or cognizance; mental perception: an idea beyond one’s ken.

range of sight or vision.

Chiefly Scot. a. to know, have knowledge of or about, or be acquainted with (a person or thing). b. to understand or perceive (an idea or situation).

It came into the English language before the year 900 AD, and it didn’t come alone.  Its widely dispersed ancestors also gave us;

English ken comes from the very widespread Proto-Indo-European root gnō- (and its variants gnē-, gen-, and gṇ-) “to know.” The variant gnō- appears in Greek gignṓskein (and dialect gnṓskein), Latin gnōscere, nōscere, and Slavic (Polish) znać “to know.” The variant gnē- forms cnāwan in Old English (and know in English); the variant gṇǝ- (with suffixed schwa) yields cunnan “to know, know how to, be able” in Old English (and can “be able” in English).

These also gave us Gnostic, and Agnostic, as well as the Scottish term, canny, which means skilled, expert, astute, shrewd or cautious, and the English word cunning, a noun which means just about the same thing.

Now that we know all about Ken, let’s have a look at BarbieBarbie is a predecessor to Kardashians, only with less plastic, and more intelligence, personality, and believable figure.  If Barbie is so popular, why do we have to buy her friends??   😕

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‘18 A To Z Challenge – C

Challenge '18 Letter C

Druid

My Scottish ancestors were doing just fine, until the Christians came along with fire and sword.

Caim – (n.) Sanctuary. An invisible circle of protection drawn around the body with the hand, to remind one of being safe and loved even in the darkest times.  The index finger of the right hand was to be extended and pointed at the ground to do this.  It was to be drawn clockwise, as God has made the sun and moon rise and set.

The Irish and my Scottish Celtic ancestors lived a naturalistic existence, close to the earth, the plants and the wildlife.  Then along came the Christians.  They would have none of this mystical hand-waving.  They wanted their own brand of mystical hand-waving.

First, the spelling and pronunciation was slurred to ‘Cain.’  In their mythology, Cain was the first murderer, and an evil person, a servant of Satan.  No-one was allowed to be saved or protected by such an evil spirit.  Union rules said that all such work went to Jesus.  The word ‘Caim’ still exists in the Scottish language, but it now describes a Christian prayer for protection.

The Celts were already well aware of the motions of the sun and the moon, but the Christian ‘God’ even creeps into the historical definition, by making them do so.  I noted that the definition is Northern-centric.  In the Northern hemisphere, the apparent movements of the sun and moon are clockwise, from left to right.

When this word was born, the Christians had not yet invaded the Southern Hemisphere, where the counter-clockwise, widdershins, motion of the Heavenly bodies was obvious, and correct.  I wonder what the Christians would think of that??  (Oops, I used the words ‘think’ and ‘Christian’ in the same sentence.)  😯

Click here http://branawen.blogspot.ca/2011/09/celtic-symbolism-casting-ring-of.html caim, if you’d like to have a look at the research for this.

I’ll have a little bit of lighter humor in a week.  Hope to see you there.

 

Irish Humor

St. Patricks

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, you get a dose of Irish humor. It would have been posted on Saturday, the actual St. Paddy’s day, but I’m still a little green around the gills, and just recovering from a Guinness hangover.  😉

  1. When the Irish say that St. Patrick chased the snakes out of Ireland, what they don’t tell you is that he was the only one who saw any snakes!
  2. His wife had been killed in an accident and the police were questioning Finnegan. “Did she say anything before she died?” asked the sergeant. “She spoke without interruption for about forty years,” said the Finnegan.
  3. Pat and Kieran were getting ready to go on a camping trip. The first one said “I’m taking along a gallon of whiskey just in case of rattlesnake bites. What are you taking?” The other one said “Two rattlesnakes!”
  4. Seamus do you understand French, I do if its spoken in Irish
  5. Two farmers were driving their tractor down the middle of a country road. A car comes around the corner brakes hard to avoid them, skids, tumbles twice and lands in a field. Jimmy says to Eamonn, It’s just as well we got out of that field.
  6. Two drunks coming home, stumbled up the country road in the dark. “Faith, Mike, we’ve stumbled into the graveyard and here’s the stone of a man lived to the age of 103!” “Glory be, Patrick and was it anybody we knew?” “No, ’twas someone named ‘Miles from Dublin’!”
  7. Twas the Irish what invented the pipes, you know, and they gave them to the Scots as a joke. And you Scots haven’t gotten the joke yet!!”
  8. One night I was chatting with my Mum about how she had changed as a mother from the first child to the last. She told me she had mellowed a lot over the years: “When your oldest sister coughed or sneezed, I called the ambulance. When your youngest brother swallowed a penny, I just told him it was coming out of his allowance.”
  9. I just got lost in thought. It was unfamiliar territory.
  10. 42.7 Percent of all statistics are made up on the spot.
  11. 99 percent of lawyers give the rest a bad name.
  12. If at first you don’t succeed, then skydiving isn’t for you.
  13. Honk if you love peace and quiet.
  14. Remember, half the people you know are below average.
  15. Atheism is a non-prophet organization.
  16. He who laughs last thinks slowest.
  17. The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.
  18. I intend to live forever – so far so good.
  19. Borrow money from a pessimist – they don’t expect it back.
  20. If Barbie is so popular, why do you have to buy her friends?
  21. Support bacteria – they’re the only culture some people have.
  22. Love may be blind but marriage is a real eye-opener.
  23. If at first you don’t succeed, destroy all evidence that you tried.
  24. Experience is something you don’t get until just after you need it.
  25. For every action there is an equal and opposite criticism.
  26. Bills travel through the mail at twice the speed of cheques.
  27. No one is listening until you make a mistake.
  28. Success always occurs in private and failure in full view.
  29. The hardness of butter is directly proportional to the softness of the bread.
  30. To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism; to steal from many is research.

I’ll be back on Wednesday with the regularly scheduled A To Z Challenge – X. I X-pect to see you there.

DON’T SAY ANOTHER WORD!

Use the correct one.

They’re practicing English without a licence again. Hang onto your dictionaries and thesauruses, kids.

Grammar Nazi

Pros

something about her physiognomy which helped her beat the illness – here’s a two-bit writer, trying to use an eight-dollar word. Physiognomy is a face, or outer appearance, which some pretentious Brits tried to use, and failed, and shortened to ‘fizz.’  He wanted physiology, or inner construction.

In an article about expensive typos – Officials site a missing hyphen in the code – Even GrammarCheck insists that it is cite.

Same article – Enjoy these spelling mistakes from passed and present – What’s passed is past.

This section totes up a variety – to be totes honest, it tots (tawts) up a variety of errors, even though that word means totals, or adds.

It’s a tough road to hoe – and a row of angry gardeners with hoes, don’t know whether to blame a city works crew, a drugged-out old rocker, or the entertainment columnist who interviewed him.

She gave her heighth in centimetres. – You can give length and width, or even have an eighth, but it’s height,

He was the hooten and holleren champion – No, that was me hootin’ and hollerin’, because you can’t handle apostrophed abbreviations.

the kids’ “hot water challenge” has them dumping scolding water – and I’m scolding them for not using ‘scalding.’

Man wins the open sheath throw contest at the Highland games – Most Highland Game events were originally Army contests.  While still showcasing Scottish brute strength, this one though, began as a county fair display.  Originally using an agricultural implement to throw large bundles of harvested grain up onto a wagon, it is a sheaf throw contest, open to all contestants.  A pitchfork is used, rather than any edged tools/weapons, so there is no sheath, open or otherwise.

all those fellow suffers of the writing bug – How many sufferers of her second 80,000 word novel will there be?

The Norsemen made 4 journeys around 1000 BC – not an incorrect usage, as such, just a newspaper writer who made a 2000-year mistake by not knowing BC from AD.

Link bellow for descriptive video – This one, obviously, should be below.

Smoke had begun to bellow from the bow of the ship – No smart-ass comment – just billow.

The stunted trees are not like the soaring furs of the Cascades – These soaring furs better be worn by RuPaul, ‘cause the Cascades evergreens are firs.

I know that proofreaders are as extinct as dinosaurs, and spell/grammar-checkers won’t catch most of the incorrect homonyms, but, the above two examples are from two successful, well-known authors. I am dazed as to why/how they could use these incorrect terms, without noticing.  Data-entry transcribers are about as aware as earthworms, but didn’t an editor (whose job it is to notice these things) notice these things?

Amateurs

I saw the term being banded about – I know that bandied isn’t common, but ‘banded’ makes no sense.

I am defenetly sure – that you’re definitely wrong.

The best story teller is defiantly Jesus Christ. – Jesus Christ!  I’m definitely sure you’re related to defenetly.

Sue me yah shitty resuraunt
you’re food I don’t want –
Shut up, yah shitty language user
you’re just an English abuser.

but I won’t you to get used to it kinda not being there – And I want you to stop writing in hillbilly.

I just did a poppa wheelie with my bicycle – and yo’ momma wants you to pop a wheelie.

I opened the book to an unformiliar question. – Open a dictionary to ‘unfamiliar,’ which comes from the word, ‘family.’

other ways the homo Sidle maniac could think up – That homo, Sidle, became homicidal because of usage like this.

The government should release how stupid this is. – Why??  You don’t realize how stupid release sounds.

I don’t mean this as a depreciation – you should mean it as a deprecation, once you take the ’I’ out of it

the juggle is nature’s most biodiverse area – too diverse to juggle a SpellCheck, it’s a jungle out there.

The gold band was diamond-stubbed – and your attendance record at your English course was studded with absences.

everyone was present an (sic) accounted for – sic, sick, sick

Grainy was my favorite character on Beverly Hillbillies – That one explains itself.

I can understand why to some extinct. – I understand why dictionaries are extinct, to some extent.

Do things like these grate on your nerves??  Tell me about it!   😈

 

WOW #27

Bagpipes

Today, we look at my Scottish heritage from the outside. The Word Of the Week is

Doodlesack

Doodlesack, a respelling of German Dudelsack “bagpipe,” literally “bagpipe sack,” is a rare word in English. The German word is, or seems to be, a derivative of dudeln “to tootle” (unless the verb is a derivative of the noun). Even in German Dudelsack appears not to be a native word but is likely to be a borrowing from a Slavic language, e.g., Polish and Czech dudy “bagpipe.” Doodlesack entered English in the mid-19th century.

I can’t blow my brains out.  I may huff and puff on my blog site, but the last time I could extinguish all the candles on my birthday cake, I was about 9 years old.  I love the soul-stirring skirl of the pipes, but I couldn’t inflate a set of bagpipes.  Even just picking one up is like wrestling a spastic squid.

Bagpipe music is not for everyone. Like kimchi, it’s an acquired taste that not all people acquire.  At a cultural festival in the park, when a piper stopped playing, a little old lady approached him and said, “If you stop squeezing that cat so hard, it will stop screeching.”

Click here if you’d like to see and hear AC/DC’s ‘Thunderstruck’ played on a set of flame throwing bagpipes.  A British couple got, what they thought were, really cheap tickets to a Red Hot Chilli Peppers concert.  They flew to Dublin to see a show by “The Red Hot Chilli Pipers“, a cover band that does all the Pepper tunes on bagpipes.

I read a Scottish adventure/mystery story one time, where the hero was a piper. He was practicing, standing on a rocky crag above a deep, fast, mountain river, when a sniper shot at him.  He tumbled into the raging waters and, although the shooter watched for a long, long time, he never surfaced…. until the next chapter.  Scottish pipers have lungs as big as their bagpipes.  He held his breath for almost 4 minutes.

My hometown had a well-established, and forgiving, Scottish Presbyterian Church. Shortly after World War II, a series of Scottish preachers immigrated to Canada.  Each would be placed in our town for a few years, until he’d learned the social ways and lost most of his Scottish burr, and then another would come out to replace him.

The Presbyterian Manse was directly across the street from my house. As a small boy, three ministers in a row brought their bagpipes with them.  On the upper floor, there was a double-wide, 40-foot-long hallway, with 10 foot ceilings.  When they had successfully composed the week’s sermon, each would celebrate by striding the hall while playing the bagpipes.

As soon as I would hear the first skirl, I would rush over, (I was allowed to) let myself in, and sit, out of the way, in absolute awe at the close-up sound of the pipes. Sadly now, the only time I seem to hear bagpipes, is at a funeral, if someone important dies.  ‘Amazing Grace’ is a lovely song, but I pine for ‘Scotland the Bra’e.’

Doodlesack indeed!!?  Making fun of my cultural music and instrument??!  That’s as bad as me making fun of rap music….no, wait, that’s justified.  Rap – so that Negroes with otherwise absolutely no talent, can make outrageous amounts of money.

Stop back again in a couple of days, when my rants aren’t quite so outrageous.

Denominations

Bible

I have never been much interested in churches. Christianity has returned the favor by not being very interested in me.  I think that I will live forever.  Heaven doesn’t want me, and Hell is afraid that I’ll take over.

My little home town had at least 6 different churches for 1800 citizens, unlike some small towns on the buckle of the American Bible-belt, where you’d better be Southern Baptist, or be ridden out of town on a rail. It began as a fur-trading outpost, and soon became known as a center for lake-fishing. With a protective off-shore island, it developed into a lake-port and railway terminus. These all brought to the town, people of many varied ethnic and religious backgrounds.

Three churches occupied an intersection a block above the highway, wisely called ‘The Church Corner.’ At one apex stood the United Church.   It (the sect, not the building) was formed in 1925 through the union of Canadian Methodists, Congregationalists, 70% of Canadian Presbyterians, and an odd bunch of other religious malcontents.  It seems that, ever since Martin Luther showed them that they could, all most Christians want to do is ‘protest’ and establish their own independence.

A girlfriend dragged me to her United Church one Sunday. In long-bygone days when poor factory workers put change in the offering plate, the preacher announced that, “Today, there will be a silent offering.” meaning no coins!  Bills only!  It was probably a pure coincidence that, on Tuesday, he was driving a new car.

Across the street was ‘my’ Baptist Church. My Scottish mother had left the Presbyterian Church when she married my ‘Baptist’ father, and got a twice-a-year – at Christmas and Easter (maybe?) attendee.  It has gone into decline, and is now the site of an artisanal restaurant, attracting mainly tourists.

Unlike our Southern brethren, there was no hellfire and brimstone, but our next-door neighbor sang in the choir, and her daughter was ‘a missionary in India,’ (the arrogance!) so any empty liquor bottles were carefully concealed in the trash.

These two were the main depots for the blue-color factory workers. On the third corner was the Anglican Church, and the fourth side housed the rectory for its minister.  This seemed to be where most of the town’s merchants, lawyers and real-estate agents prayed for (or preyed on) more customers.

Directly beside the highway stood the Presbyterian Church, larger, richer, and more ornate than either the Anglican, or the little Catholic. It was attended, in all pomp and circumstance, by the descendants of the powerful Scottish traders and minor nobility immigrants and their attendants.

This church had a large bell tower, rather than the simple steeple my Baptist, or the Anglican Church had. It had a set of chimes, and an amplifier, and speakers in the tower to carry the music to its worshippers.

With my Mother’s connections, we were the caretakers for several years – dusting pews, mopping floors and firing two coal-burning furnaces in the basement early enough on wintery Sunday mornings to warm the gentry parishioners.

Right beside the bank at the main intersection was a narrow little storefront Pentecostal Church(?) Its members were reputed to ‘speak in tongues’, and handle snakes.  Immediately above was a small apartment intended for the pastor and family.  When she was an impressionable teenager, my friend’s mother had listened to a pastor’s forked tongue, and handled his snake….and the Church had to house and support them there.

If not for a couple of stained-glass windows, the tiny Catholic Church might have been mistaken for a small storage warehouse. There weren’t too many Catholics in town – except in the tourist season.  The rest of the churches might get the occasional summer visitor….but the Catholic Church??!

During the off-season, there was an 11:00 AM Mass. During the invasion, the gullible guilty faithful Catholic tourists packed it all day.  There was an 8AM mass, a 9AM Mass, one at 10, one at 11, and one at noon – and probably evening services as well.  No long sermons.  The priest kept it short and sweet, 45/50 minutes, instant salvation.  After each service, as the faithful filed out the front door, the priest scuttled out the back, and scurried a half a block to the bank with a deposit bag bulging with cash.

There were probably some Jews in town. Two schoolmate brothers, named Oscar and Myron, and a girlfriend’s friend named Leah, indicate the likelihood.  Too small a group to warrant a synagogue, they probably met in someone’s home.

Other than seeing someone coming or going, I didn’t really know who attended what church – and didn’t care – and didn’t know anyone who did. With our already pureed population, and the vastly varied, and often foreign, summer invasion, the town was used to a wide range of opinions and actions.  Such tiny details as whether or not someone attended Church, and if so which one, were minute and insignificant.

WOW #21

Dictionary

Once upon a time, people knew what they were talking about. As the English language grew and grew, and became more and more complex and nuanced, it became necessary for its many users to have a way to know what others were saying.  I thought that I should take this Word Of the Week series back to where it started, in the

DICTIONARY

noun, plural dictionaries.

a book, optical disc, mobile device, or online lexical resource (such as Dictionary.com) containing a selection of the words of a language, giving information about their meanings, pronunciations, etymologies, inflected forms, derived forms, etc., expressed in either the same or another language; lexicon; glossary. Print dictionaries of various sizes, ranging from small pocket dictionaries to multivolume books, usually sort entries alphabetically, as do typical CD or DVD dictionary applications, allowing one to browse through the terms in sequence. All electronic dictionaries, whether online or installed on a device, can provide immediate, direct access to a search term, its meanings, and ancillary information:

an unabridged dictionary of English; a Japanese-English dictionary.

a book giving information on particular subjects or on a particular class of words, names, or facts, usually arranged alphabetically:

a biographical dictionary; a dictionary of mathematics.

As technology constantly leaps and bounds forward, even the definition of dictionary continues to expand, with the addition of terms like electronic, and CD and DVD. It finally became evident that there was a need for some sort of book which made this information available.

One of the first was Samuel Johnson. In 1755 he published a book giving the information value of many English words.  However, he didn’t resist the temptation to include some social comment along with his definitions.  He referred, disparagingly, in his dictionary definition for oats: “A grain, which in England is generally given to horses, but in Scotland supports the people.” His biographer, James Boswell, noted that Lord Elibank was said by Sir Walter Scott to have retorted, “Yes, and where else will you see such horses and such men?”

Most people are only interested in what a word means right now. I often am fascinated by etymology, what a word first meant, and how it has matured and changed, sometimes over centuries.  For example, the word ‘girl’ used to mean ‘boy.’  Actually, when the word was first used, it indicated a young child of either sex.  As Germanic languages provided the base for ‘boy’, the word ‘girl’ was left to indicate only females.

Which came first, the color orange, or the fruit? Old English didn’t have a word for ‘orange.’  It was simply known as ‘aielloredd’, yellow-red.  When Europeans first discovered the plants in Northern Africa, the Spanish pronounced the natives’ name for them as ‘Naranja.’  In English ‘a naranja’ became ‘an orange,’ and the word was also used to identify the color.

When British colonists first asked Australian Aborigines for the name of those funny, hopping animals, the natives didn’t care, and had not bothered to name them, so they answered kanga roo, which, in their tongue, means, “I don’t know.”  And so, another mistaken word was added to the language.  There was room for it, because the Abo word for a four-legged canid pet, was ‘dog.’