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#117842 - 12/17/03 07:31 AM beyond my ken
of troy Offline
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last night's news, had a review of LOTR, and the review gave the pagentry and scope of the movie high praise, and said veiwers would enjoy it, even if the hobbits, elves, and other story elements were beyond their ken.. and then went on to say ken was a mediavel work... one of many that the movie used..

now, i won't claim the i use ken often, in fact, aside from the phrase beyond my ken, i don't think i use it at all.. i read --because it was popular in the late 1960/early 1970's, LOTR, (and had a button 'Frodo Lives!) too, i don't know if i picked the word up there or from other reading or movies.

i know it was used in the movie "Kestral for a Knave'-- a movie (circa 1973-4) set in northern yorkshire, that when released in US came with sub-titles (the 'english engling' deemed to hard for USer's to understand!)

and i it is used in 'historical fiction/biography' type books..(which i have read a number of) and i expect everyone here knows the phrase.. so my question is, is ken archaic? or current english? what do you think? or does it only have 'life' in the phrase?

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#117843 - 12/17/03 08:57 AM Re: beyond my ken
Jackie Offline

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As far as I know, the phrase beyond my ken is the only way the word is used today. AHD says it's From Middle English kennen (influenced by Old Norse kenna, to know), from Old English cennan, to declare.] I seem to recall reading here and there that it was used as a verb in 19th.-early 20th. C. in the U.S. ... though come to think of it, I believe it was about people in Appalachia who still had strong ties to their Scottish roots, where the verb usage was (is?) common.


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#117844 - 12/17/03 09:11 AM Re: beyond my ken
maverick Offline
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d'ye think the Scots blood of Faldage may ken otherwise?

d'ye ken John Peel?


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#117845 - 12/17/03 09:30 AM Re: beyond my ken
dodyskin Offline
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Registered: 04/24/02
Posts: 475
Loc: manchester uk
'ju'ken wompt sen' is fairly standard round here (north west england) for, 'do you know what I am saying', if that's any help. It's more in the the sense of know and understand than just aware of, although I have heard people say, 'ju'ken our kid' on occasion. I've some friends from Dumfries and Galloway who say ken meaning know all the time, instead of just in particular phrases.


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#117846 - 12/17/03 10:31 AM Re: beyond my ken
RhubarbCommando Offline
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Registered: 08/23/00
Posts: 2204
Yes, I agree with dody - it is in use in Cumbria ("The Lake District" plus a lot more countryside) as well as Scotland

John Peel, as quoted by mav, was a "Cumbrian" huntsman - in the days before the present day "Cumbria" existed ( Ahhh! - the golden age!!) - I'm fairly sure he was actually a Westmorland man.


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#117847 - 12/18/03 04:38 AM Re: beyond my ken
Wordwind Offline
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I don't find the word to be an unusual one at all among educated people. It is ever-so-slightly affected in that it separates the more educated from the less. I would never expect to hear a stereotypical beer-swilling, stockcar race affectionado, wife-beating, trailer-park inhabitant to use 'beyond my ken'--educated exceptions to the stereotype aside, all three of them.

Now I wonder: Why would the more educated use 'beyond my ken' in conversation instead of 'beyond my knowledge' if not to separate themselves from the masses and to declare (by implication) "Hear! Hear! [by my implication] I am educated because I am not using the word 'knowledge,' but the word 'ken' instead. Aren't I a very clever fellow?"

As Consuelo once pointed out to me, there are ways of knowing someone is a 'smarty butt.'




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#117848 - 12/18/03 07:12 AM FWIW
AnnaStrophic Offline
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German still preserves a distinction: kennen = to know a person vs wissen to know a thing, a fact.

~~~
(wsieber, correct me if need be!)


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#117849 - 12/18/03 07:26 AM Re: FWIW
Flatlander Offline
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Registered: 01/18/01
Posts: 428
Loc: Cape Cod, MA, US
If I remember High School German correctly, kennen is also used for languages:

Ich kann ein bisschen Deutsch = I know a little German


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#117850 - 12/18/03 07:45 AM Re: FWIW
AnnaStrophic Offline
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Nope, that first-person singular "kann" is from the modal können = "can", "be able to". (the infinitive, in this case, sprechen, is understood.)


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#117851 - 12/18/03 09:27 AM Re: FWIW
Flatlander Offline
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Registered: 01/18/01
Posts: 428
Loc: Cape Cod, MA, US
Ach du lieber! I always had problems with the modals. Vielen Dank!


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#117852 - 12/18/03 09:30 AM Re: beyond my ken
Buffalo Shrdlu Offline
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and what about Barbie®?



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#117853 - 12/18/03 06:39 PM Re: beyond my ken
Zed Offline
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Registered: 08/27/02
Posts: 2154
Loc: British Columbia, Canada
I would think that "beyond my ken" would be used because it means something more than knowledge. As Dody said It's more in the the sense of know and understand than just aware of.
After all two of the joys in life are finding that last piece of the puzzle and finding the word that says exactly what you mean. (even if no-one else kens it)

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#117854 - 12/19/03 11:48 AM Re: beyond my ken
Wordwind Offline
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Of course, Zed! There are lists of definitions for ken, and I doubt anyone would suggest that there is a single definition for the word, period--as is true of many words we talk about here.

But I don't think it would be correct--not that you are doing this--to suggest that we cannot use 'ken' to mean 'knowledge' [or specifically 'range of knowledge'] when we can do so correctly.

Here's the brief MW on this topic:

Main Entry: 2ken
Function: noun
Date: 1590
1 a : the range of vision b : SIGHT, VIEW <'tis double death to drown in ken of shore -- Shakespeare>
2 : the range of perception, understanding, or knowledge <abstract words that are beyond the ken of young children -- Lois M. Rettie>



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#117855 - 12/19/03 03:39 PM Re: beyond my ken
dodyskin Offline
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Registered: 04/24/02
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Loc: manchester uk
Yeahbut®
'tis double death to drown in ken of shore -- Shakespeare

you can't just go off Shakespeare, he made words up all the time!



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#117856 - 12/19/03 05:04 PM Re: beyond my ken
Capfka Offline
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Registered: 06/28/02
Posts: 1624
Loc: Utter Placebo, Planet Reebok
you can't just go off Shakespeare, he made words up all the time!

Ah, the utter, ruthless tyranny of iambic pentameters! I've had to make words up just to be able to describe my loathing of them ...


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#117857 - 12/20/03 11:09 AM Somebody's got to due it...
musick Offline
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and what about Barbie®?

Thanks for keeping up (the good will) in my absence...


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#117858 - 12/20/03 11:11 AM Re: Somebody's got to due it...
Buffalo Shrdlu Offline
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Thanks

it just sat there so long...

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#117859 - 12/21/03 08:08 AM Kestrel for a Knave
consuelo Offline
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Kestrel for a Knave was the title of the book while the film was titled Kes.


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#117860 - 12/21/03 08:55 AM Re: Kestrel for a Knave
Faldage Offline
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…the title of the book while the film was titled…

Is that while in the sense "during the time that" or in the sense "until"?


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#117861 - 12/21/03 09:53 AM Re: Somebody's got to undo it...
AnnaStrophic Offline
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it just sat there so long...

I was too polite to say anything


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#117862 - 12/21/03 11:39 AM Re: Somebody's got to undo it...
Buffalo Shrdlu Offline
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oof! implication smarts!



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#117863 - 12/21/03 11:43 AM The alternative
musick Offline
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Registered: 12/24/00
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and what about Barbie®?

Isn't that Aussie?


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#117864 - 12/21/03 12:00 PM Re: The alternative
Capfka Offline
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Registered: 06/28/02
Posts: 1624
Loc: Utter Placebo, Planet Reebok
and what about Barbie®?

Isn't that Aussie?

Only if she's wearing a raw prawn called Ken ...


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#117865 - 12/22/03 05:10 AM Re: beyond my ken
consuelo Offline
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Registered: 06/11/01
Posts: 2636
Loc: Caribbean
In reply to:

I would never expect to hear a stereotypical beer-swilling, stockcar race affectionado, wife-beating, trailer-park inhabitant to use 'beyond my ken'


I've been told you might if it was a Brit beer-swilling, wife-beating, trailer-park inhabitant Do ya ken?


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#117866 - 12/22/03 08:48 AM Re: beyond my ken
Jackie Offline

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Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 11610
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky
Ooooh--and the gauntlet has been tossed...


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#117867 - 12/22/03 08:54 AM Re: beyond my ken
of troy Offline
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Posts: 5400
Loc: rego park
re: if it was a Brit.... trailer-park inhabitant

Brit's have trailer park's? i thought they only had 'caravan's that they used for holidays.

i think that there can't be any trailer parks in the UK--they never have tornado's-- and don't tornado's seek out trailer parks like..., like... bimbo's seek a sugar daddy? (crossing thread-- relentlessly!)

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#117868 - 12/22/03 09:06 AM Re: beyond my ken
Faldage Offline
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Posts: 13803
don't tornado's seek out trailer parks

*Sigh*

We've been through this before. It's the other way round. Trailer parks seek out tornadoes.


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#117869 - 12/22/03 06:08 PM Re: beyond my ken
dodyskin Offline
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Registered: 04/24/02
Posts: 475
Loc: manchester uk
i think that there can't be any trailer parks in the UK

he hem, I'll have you know there are trailer parks in the UK, my mum lived on one when she was a kid. Her caravan wasn't a static though, it was a 24 foot tourer (no car though, so they toured all the way to above the Thames floodline each winter), I don't think we have those huge, plumbed affairs that you see on American films, but non-hippie people still live in caravans.


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#117870 - 12/26/03 10:06 AM Re: The alternative
stales Offline
old hand

Registered: 11/13/00
Posts: 866
Loc: Perth, Western Australia
and what about Barbie®?

Isn't that Aussie?


Yair. Bought meself one for Chrissie. Too bloody hot to cook inside at this time of the year.

stales



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#117871 - 12/26/03 10:11 AM Re: The alternative
Buffalo Shrdlu Offline
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Registered: 06/24/02
Posts: 7210
Loc: Vermont
one of Mattel's hottest selling models, BBQ Barbie®. comes with an apron and a set of tools, and her own lighter fluid...

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#117872 - 12/26/03 11:03 AM Re: BBQ Barbie
Jackie Offline

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Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 11610
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky
Gee--skewer toes-through-head, or straight across the stomach?


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