Wordsmith.org: the magic of words

Wordsmith Talk

About Us | What's New | Search | Site Map | Contact Us  

Page 4 of 13 < 1 2 3 4 5 6 ... 12 13 >
Topic Options
#199377 - 04/25/11 06:05 AM Re: Linguistic therapy [Re: Candy]
BranShea Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/23/06
Posts: 5282
Loc: Netherlands, the Hague
Thanks @Candy. What I liked to share is this: (from Arctic Dreams)

"We know more about the rings of Saturn than we know about the narwhal. The Chilean poet and essayist Pablo Neruda wonders in his memoirs how an animal this large can have remained so obscure and uncelebrated. It's name, he thought, was "the most beautiful of undersea names, the name of a sea chalice that sings, the name of a crystal spur." Why, he wondered, had no one taken Narwhal for a last name, or built "a beautiful Narwhal Building?"

Part of the answer lies with the regrettable connotation of death in the animal's name. The pallid color of the narwhal's skin has been likened to that of a drowned human corpse, and it is widely thought that it's name came from the Old Norse for "corps" and "whale, " nár + hvalr. But W.P. Lehman, a professor of Germanic languages, believes the association with death is a linguistic accident. The Old Norse nárhvalr ( whence the English narwhal, the French narval, the German Narwal, etc.), he says, was a vernacular play on the word--- the way high-bred corn is used in place of hybrid corn, or sparrowgrass is used for asparagus.---
According to Lehman, nahvalr is an earlier, West Norse term meaning a "whale distinguished by a long, narrow projection" ( the tusk). "

I'm no expert to confirm this, but I thought it interesting for sharing (quite a bit of typing work, so time needed) :^)

Top
#199380 - 04/25/11 06:46 AM Re: Linguistic therapy [Re: goofy]
Tromboniator Offline
old hand

Registered: 05/10/10
Posts: 817
Loc: Alaska
That quote from American Heritage Book of English Usage: "A usage such as If I was the only boy in the world may break the rules, but it sounds perfectly natural." is absolutely correct – for someone to whom it sounds perfectly natural. Damn, I always hate it when people generalize.

Peter

Top
#199381 - 04/25/11 06:53 AM Re: Linguistic therapy [Re: Candy]
Faldage Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/01/00
Posts: 13803
So, you're saying that narwhal is an eggcorn?

Top
#199391 - 04/25/11 11:04 AM Re: Linguistic therapy [Re: Faldage]
goofy Offline
member

Registered: 01/06/08
Posts: 132
Originally Posted By: Faldage
So, you're saying that narwhal is an eggcorn?


It might be. It would explain the presence of the r in the modern forms when there is no r in the Old Norse word.

Top
#199397 - 04/25/11 01:07 PM Re: Linguistic therapy [Re: Tromboniator]
goofy Offline
member

Registered: 01/06/08
Posts: 132
Originally Posted By: Tromboniator
That quote from American Heritage Book of English Usage: "A usage such as If I was the only boy in the world may break the rules, but it sounds perfectly natural." is absolutely correct – for someone to whom it sounds perfectly natural. Damn, I always hate it when people generalize.


It's confusing advice. I think maybe what they mean is that "if I was" breaks the traditional rule, but it's part of standard written English.


Edited by goofy (04/25/11 01:08 PM)

Top
#199404 - 04/25/11 05:42 PM Re: Linguistic therapy [Re: goofy]
Tromboniator Offline
old hand

Registered: 05/10/10
Posts: 817
Loc: Alaska
Which raises the question: What is standard English? Since it [If I was the only boy…] doesn't sound "perfectly natural" to me, does that mean I don't speak standard English? Is standard English something that nobody really speaks, but it's a sort of average? I won't say it's wrong, but I would never use it, and would mark it for correction if I were [sic] editing a written piece, then probably allow the writer to overrule me, after discussion.

Top
#199410 - 04/25/11 09:07 PM Re: Linguistic therapy [Re: Tromboniator]
goofy Offline
member

Registered: 01/06/08
Posts: 132
Standard English: what it isn't

I think standard English is the variety of English normally used in writing by writers of English. This means it contains a lot of variety.

Top
#199414 - 04/25/11 10:13 PM Re: Linguistic therapy [Re: goofy]
LukeJavan8 Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/23/08
Posts: 6405
Loc: Land of the Flat Water
There is a lot of variety just on this site.
_________________________
----please, draw me a sheep----

Top
#199420 - 04/26/11 02:05 AM Re: Linguistic therapy [Re: Tromboniator]
Candy Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/21/10
Posts: 1705
Loc: down under
Originally Posted By: Tromboniator
....If I was the only boy in the world ......


and I was the only girl!

Top
#199434 - 04/26/11 01:33 PM Re: Linguistic therapy [Re: Candy]
LukeJavan8 Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/23/08
Posts: 6405
Loc: Land of the Flat Water
And.......?
_________________________
----please, draw me a sheep----

Top
Page 4 of 13 < 1 2 3 4 5 6 ... 12 13 >

Moderator:  Jackie 
Forum Stats
8727 Members
16 Forums
13804 Topics
214844 Posts

Max Online: 3341 @ 12/09/11 02:15 PM
Newest Members
ShellsnBells, charmingthemuse, toddster, Mussaf, meliza
8727 Registered Users
Who's Online
0 registered (), 12 Guests and 3 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Top Posters (30 Days)
LukeJavan8 114
endymion6 102
wofahulicodoc 71
jenny jenny 64
A C Bowden 36
Bazr 27
Tromboniator 8
tsuwm 8
Faldage 4
FoFong 3
Top Posters
wwh 13858
Faldage 13803
Jackie 11609
tsuwm 10521
Buffalo Shrdlu 7210
AnnaStrophic 6511
LukeJavan8 6405
Wordwind 6296
of troy 5400
BranShea 5282

Disclaimer: Wordsmith.org is not responsible for views expressed on this site. Use of this forum is at your own risk and liability - you agree to hold Wordsmith.org and its associates harmless as a condition of using it.

Home | Today's Word | Yesterday's Word | Subscribe | FAQ | Archives | Search | Feedback
Wordsmith Talk | Wordsmith Chat

© 2014 Wordsmith