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#123092 - 02/17/04 02:35 PM Re: Rare bird Escapes from pooh-bah
Buffalo Shrdlu Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/24/02
Posts: 7210
Loc: Vermont
Congratulations eta!

aw shucks, thanks for noticing, maahey!

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#123093 - 02/17/04 04:21 PM Re: Rare Word Escapes from Captivity
Jenet Offline
journeyman

Registered: 11/22/03
Posts: 81
The watershed is the dividing line -- usually something like a mountain range -- between two drainage areas. Thence (mis)applied to the drainage areas themselves, but in geography it's the dividing line.

An ecotone isn't a boundary like that, but a transitional region between biomes. I think it's a standard word in ecology, but perhaps it's not as common as biome.


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#123094 - 02/17/04 07:01 PM Re: Rare Word Escapes from Captivity
Jackie Offline

Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 11609
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky
Hey, maahey, it's great to see you again, and congratulations, eta! As to the word--I agree; it doesn't seem very descriptive, does it? I kind of wish they'd made it ecozone. Not that that is more descriptive--it just trips off the tongue easier.


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#123095 - 02/17/04 07:16 PM Re: Rare Word Escapes from Captivity
Buffalo Shrdlu Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/24/02
Posts: 7210
Loc: Vermont
interesting to find that tone and thin share history.

Main Entry: tone
Pronunciation: 'tOn
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, from Latin tonus tension, tone, from Greek tonos, literally, act of stretching; akin to Greek teinein to stretch -- more at THIN

Main Entry: thin
Pronunciation: 'thin
Function: adjective
Inflected Form(s): thin·ner; thin·nest
Etymology: Middle English thinne, from Old English thynne; akin to Old High German dunni thin, Latin tenuis thin, tenEre to hold, tendere to stretch, Greek teinein

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#123096 - 02/17/04 07:21 PM Re: sounds like ? or is that a stretch?
Buffalo Shrdlu Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/24/02
Posts: 7210
Loc: Vermont
man, there are just so many interesting connections to be found in this one little word...
from Bartleby:

Indo-European Roots

ENTRY: ten-
DEFINITION: To stretch.
Derivatives include tendon, pretend, hypotenuse, tenement, tenor, entertain, lieutenant, and tone.
I. Derivatives with the basic meaning. 1. Suffixed form *ten-do-. a. tend1, tender2, tense1, tent1; attend, contend, detent, distend, extend, intend, ostensible, pretend, subtend, from Latin tendere, to stretch, extend; b. portend, from Latin portendere, “to stretch out before” (por-, variant of pro-, before; see per1), a technical term in augury, “to indicate, presage, foretell.” 2. Suffixed form *ten-yo-. tenesmus; anatase, bronchiectasis, catatonia, entasis, epitasis, hypotenuse, neoteny, peritoneum, protasis, syntonic, telangiectasia, from Greek teinein, to stretch, with o-grade form ton- and zero-grade noun tasis (< *t-ti-), a stretching, tension, intensity. 3. Reduplicated zero-grade form *te-t-o-. tetanus, from Greek tetanos, stiff, rigid. 4. Suffixed full-grade form *ten-tro-. a. tantra, from Sanskrit tantram, loom; b. sitar, from Persian tr, string. 5. Basic form (with stative suffix) *ten--. tenable, tenacious, tenaculum, tenant, tenement, tenet, tenon, tenor, tenure, tenuto; abstain, contain, continue, detain, entertain, lieutenant, maintain, obtain, pertain, pertinacious, rein, retain, retinaculum, retinue, sustain, from Latin tenre, to hold, keep, maintain (< “to cause to endure or continue, hold on to”). 6. Extended form *ten-s-. Suffixed zero-grade form *ts-elo-. tussah, from Sanskrit tasaram, shuttle.
II. Derivatives meaning “stretched,” hence “thin.” 1. Suffixed zero-grade form *t-u-. thin, from Old English thynne, thin, from Germanic *thunniz, from *thunw-. 2. Suffixed full-grade form *ten-u-. tenuous; attenuate, extenuate, from Latin tenuis, thin, rare, fine. 3. Suffixed full-grade form *ten-ero-. tender1, tendril; intenerate, from Latin tener, tender, delicate.
III. Derivatives meaning “something stretched or capable of being stretched, a string.” 1. Suffixed form *ten-n-. tendon, teno-, from Greek tenn, tendon. 2. Suffixed o-grade form *ton-o-. tone; baritone, tonoplast, from Greek tonos, string, hence sound, pitch. 3. Suffixed zero-grade form *t-y-. taenia; polytene, from Greek taini, band, ribbon. (Pokorny 1. ten- 1065.)

and I should probably ask what the heck o-grade and zero-grade and all that's about...

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#123097 - 02/17/04 10:18 PM Re: sounds like ? or is that a stretch?
jheem Offline
veteran

Registered: 01/06/04
Posts: 1474
Loc: California
and I should probably ask what the heck o-grade and zero-grade and all that's about

I've been meaning to post about this, and this is a good time. A while back IE philologists noticed that the roots they were reconstructing were basically of the form TVRT where T stands for most stops (p, b, t, d, k, g, aspiracted and not), V is a vowel, R is roughly an 'l' or an 'r' (also maybe 'w' and 'y'). The vowel that usually was reconstructed was e, but o appeared often enough, too. Long story short, it was hypothesized (and not all agree on this) that e varied with o and also zero (i.e., no vowel) depending on the accent (which may have been a pitch accent, or tone, like in Chinese or Lithuanian). There were some 'a's too and long version of some of the vowels, but these were ascribed to fricatives called laryngeals (roughly and probably glottal stop, 'h', 'ch' as in German, and maybe 'gh' (voiced) as in Arabic.

So, there are these grades that IEists talk about. Anyway, it helps to regularize some of the irregularities in the reconstructed roots.


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#123098 - 02/18/04 05:35 AM Re: sounds like ? or is that a stretch?
Buffalo Shrdlu Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/24/02
Posts: 7210
Loc: Vermont
thanks, jheem! I'll need to take some time and really go through my entry and see if I can filter in your explanation.


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#123099 - 02/18/04 06:51 AM Re: Rare Word Escapes from Captivity
Flatlander Offline
addict

Registered: 01/18/01
Posts: 428
Loc: Cape Cod, MA, US
watershed is also used in the sense of a boundary, isn't it?

Yes, there is certainly a more metaphorical usage for "watershed" too, meaning a moment or thing that divides what is being discussed into two distinct parts. "X was a watershed moment in the history of Y", for example. I think the author intends to use "ecotone" to represent a more gradual transition period -- a subtle filtering rather than a dramatic change.


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#123100 - 02/18/04 09:26 AM Re: sounds like ? or is that a stretch?
jheem Offline
veteran

Registered: 01/06/04
Posts: 1474
Loc: California
Thanks, Eta. I'll see if I can come up with a better explanation with examples. I typed mine up pretty late. Congrats on going carpal!


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