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#2677 - 05/24/00 09:00 AM Re: usage panels
Rubrick Offline
addict

Registered: 05/18/00
Posts: 679
Loc: Somewhere outside New York
> Wasn't there a panel which was set up in the USA to make spelling simpler "donut" and "thru" for example.

Yes, it's the Ministry for Truth or Minitru. Definitely a version of Newspeak! ;^)


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#2678 - 05/24/00 09:58 AM Re: Decimate
juanmaria Offline
member

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 163
Loc: Malaga, Spain.
Actually we have lots of Arabic words. Not only toponyms but everyday words. Even my wife’s second name is ‘Alfageme’. If a Spanish word starts with ‘al-‘ ‘ben-‘ or ‘guad-‘ it’s very likely an Arabic word, ‘guad-‘ stands for river while ‘ben-‘ stands for son.
What appears clear on this discussion is that nowadays world needs a standard way of communication. A sort of English-based Esperanto could be maintained by an international committee. This would assure reliable worldwide communication without thwarting local language evolution.
Returning to Latin, during centuries philosophers and scientist used Latin as a common language long after the fall of the Roman Empire. As you can see my idea is not an original one.


Juan Maria.

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#2679 - 05/24/00 10:16 AM Re: Globalisation
AnnaStrophic Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 6511
Loc: lower upstate New York
As Jo pointed out:

>As we try to converse with people from other countries more and buy our goods from the Internet the differences must be decreasing rather than increasing.

Indeed, my first thought upon reading these past several posts is that the internet has sort of jumped into the breach like a latter-day Deus-ex-machina to prevent the "Babelization" at least of English, at least among the literate. The way I see it is growing internet use will force agreement on meaning, and that agreement will trickle down. Individually, we may not agree with the agreed-upon definition, but, hey... whatchagunnado?

When I was in college I participated in a usage/lexical survey called The Linguistic Atlas of the South Atlantic States, a parallel effort to the University of Wisconsin's Dictionary of American Regional English. Back then, you'd hear "pail" on one side of the tracks and "bucket" on the other. Now, while you may still hear such local differences, they are certainly outweighed by the fact that I, for example, know what a scone is and Jo knows what a donut is. :-)

It would seem to me the language is, in fact, expanding. I think it's all for the best.

http://polyglot.lss.wisc.edu/dare/dare.html
http://hyde.park.uga.edu/





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#2680 - 05/25/00 03:51 AM Chauvinist
Rubrick Offline
addict

Registered: 05/18/00
Posts: 679
Loc: Somewhere outside New York
> here's a word which has undergone a radical shift which bothers me: chauvinist

This comes from French and originally referred to an overly patriotic veteran of the Napoleonic wars; now it is used
almost exclusively (at least in the US) as a synonym for 'sexist'! Most folks think that 'male chauvinist' is a pleonasm!!
(a superfluity of words, for those of you not following along at home :)

I gave tsuwm plaudits earlier for his definition and use of this word. Now, after drafting in my OED, I am not so sure that I should have been so hasty with my praise. You didn't give us the FULL definition!

True, a chauvinist was a loyal, overly patriotic veteran of the Napoeleonic wars but he was also someone who favoured men and prejudiced against women. I can only presume that the typical chauvinist of the time engaged in the 'spoils of war'.

Apologies to female posters for any offence caused.


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#2681 - 05/25/00 06:35 AM Re: Latin
jmh Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/22/00
Posts: 1981
I lived in Oxford for a while and took one of those touristy tours round the colleges. I was surprised to learn that each college drew scholars from a particular part of the country. This was partly because it was impossible for people from different parts of Britain (as late as the 14th Century - or even later?) to understand each other. Scholarly discourse had to take place in Latin as it was the only language that everyone could understand. So understanding each other across relatively small boundaries is a fairly recent phenemenon.



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#2682 - 05/25/00 06:43 AM Re: Chauvinist
jmh Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/22/00
Posts: 1981
Rubrick

I wondered if there was something missing in the original definition - sounds much more like it.


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#2683 - 05/25/00 06:29 PM Re: Chauvinist
tsuwm Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/03/00
Posts: 10521
Loc: this too shall pass
'brick writes:
>>You didn't give us the FULL definition!

True, a chauvinist was a loyal, overly patriotic veteran of the Napoeleonic wars but he was also someone who favoured men and prejudiced against women. I can only presume that the typical chauvinist of the time engaged in the 'spoils of war'.<<

I have to admit that you've got me flummoxed on this one!
My reading of the OED (under chauvinism) relates early usage (1870s ff) to (the British) 'jingoism' exclusively. It goes on to give citations for other forms of chauvinism, with adjectival modifiers, such as male chauvinism, female chauvinism, carbon chauvinism (from Carl Sagan!), etc. All of the citations for male chauvinism are post-1970. This puts about 100 years between the original sense and the sexist sense -- and what I objected to was totally dropping the modifier; i.e., chauvinist == male chauvinist.





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#2684 - 05/26/00 07:55 AM Re: Latin
wsieber Offline
old hand

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 1026
Loc: Switzerland
>Scholarly discourse had to take place in Latin as it was the only language that everyone could understand. <
Even though I didn't despise Latin at school, I can't dispel a lingering suspicion that even in the Middle Age it was also used for the purpose that only the "chosen ones" could understand. (alchemy, medicine, law..)


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#2685 - 05/26/00 09:48 AM Re: Chauvinist
Rubrick Offline
addict

Registered: 05/18/00
Posts: 679
Loc: Somewhere outside New York
> I have to admit that you've got me flummoxed on this one!
My reading of the OED (under chauvinism) relates early usage (1870s ff) to (the British) 'jingoism' exclusively. It goes on
to give citations for other forms of chauvinism, with adjectival modifiers, such as male chauvinism, female chauvinism,
carbon chauvinism (from Carl Sagan!), etc. All of the citations for male chauvinism are post-1970. This puts about 100
years between the original sense and the sexist sense -- and what I objected to was totally dropping the modifier; i.e.,
chauvinist == male chauvinist.

The original definition is indicative of chauvinism being a uniquely male trait (though not in all males, I hasten to add!) which would imply that the 'male' prefix is redundant. I can't see members of the opposite sex being called 'female chauvinists' (though there are plenty of female sexists about!) - unless it is an antinym of the male definition. I was unaware of the many other definitions you have given above, tsuwm (Carl Sagan - a chauvinist? Shurely not.) but perhaps the current meaning has evolved from the resurgence of the word through contemporary '60s/'70s literature. However, I hate speculating too much without some solid material to back me up so I shall trawl for references. Looks like we have a discussion on our hands. Ladies. Care to throw in your valuable comments?


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#2686 - 05/26/00 10:02 AM Re: Chauvinist
tsuwm Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/03/00
Posts: 10521
Loc: this too shall pass
>The original definition is indicative of chauvinism being a uniquely male trait

That's a bit of a distortion, I think. Seeing as how it was applied in a very narrow sense to overly patriotic "veterans of the Napoleonic Wars", that pretty much excludes women (without saying anything directly about them)! I'm not going to claim that sexism wasn't (or was) rampant at the time, but neither does this word, in the original sense, say anything about it. (IMHO)

>. I was unaware of the many other definitions you have given above, tsuwm (Carl Sagan - a chauvinist? Shurely not.) but perhaps the current meaning has evolved from the resurgence of the word through contemporary '60s/'70s literature.

Take another look at the OED citations if you get a chance. With these you can trace the evolution of the usage. I don't think you can make the case for any "resurgence".
Clearly, the move from the narrow, jingoistic sense to the broader usages follow. I think that the Carl Sagan usage was to the effect that people who expect aliens to have a humanoid appearance are being carbon-chauvinists! (see, there you go assuming I meant Carl was a sexist!! ;)

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