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#2707 - 05/28/00 12:34 PM Re: Latin
Rubrick Offline
addict

Registered: 05/18/00
Posts: 679
Loc: Somewhere outside New York
> So if it took the printing press to encourage standardisation of written English (I can only speak for Britain), it took
another invention (the radio) to begin the standardisation of spoken English.

This is very interesting. There was a programme on BBC last year about 100 years of cinema (or something) and the producers interviewed a number of English people who had been to see the first talkie 'The Jazz Singer'. Previous to this the British audience had seen only silent American films.

One English girl recalled that she had never heard the American accent before and neither she nor her friends could understand a word that Al Jolson siad for the rest of the film. Watching the same film today it is laughable to think that this could ever be the case because we have become acclimatised to others' accents through broadcasting and media but, back then, American English was a foreign language and was just as difficult to understand as spoken English in one area was to someone living in a far corner of England. So the radio standardised spoken English whilst the movies (and later television) standardised global speech. Local dialect can be heard interspersed with snippets of foreign slang on every street, in every major city in the world but I believe that this foreign slang is itself being turned into a unique form of local dialect.

An example. In the US it is common (or uncommon) to say 'say what?' In Dublin you would hear a variation - 'you what?' which means exactly the same thing. But 'you what?' has only become Dublin parlance in the past 20 years - clearly a fallout from TV.


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#2708 - 05/28/00 03:05 PM Re: Hmmmmm
tsuwm Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/03/00
Posts: 10522
Loc: this too shall pass
>the point about feminism...

exactly why I didn't equate feminism to masculinism. it is instructive just to compare the definitions:

masculinist - an advocate of male superiority or dominance
feminist - an advocate of women's rights and interests

say no more!



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#2709 - 05/28/00 03:11 PM Re: Chauvinist
tsuwm Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/03/00
Posts: 10522
Loc: this too shall pass
>Which brings us around to my original point about broadening definitions to 'suit the occasion'.

...and me back to the point that broadening seems natural and doesn't bother me too much with decimate, since the original sense isn't too useful these days -- it's the re-narrowing, as it were, that can rankle.

I wish we could think of some other examples, now that we've decimated these.... ;-)


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#2710 - 05/28/00 03:24 PM Re: some other examples
David108 Offline
member

Registered: 05/09/00
Posts: 112
Loc: Auckland, New Zealand
I might have missed your point, tsuwm, but it seems to me that the word "millennium" fits the original description put up by Rubrick in his opening post.

M-W defines it as follows:

1 a : the thousand years mentioned in Revelation 20 during which holiness is to prevail and Christ is to reign on earth b : a period of great happiness or human perfection
2 a : a period of 1000 years b : a 1000th anniversary or its celebration


What appears to be happening currently is that "commercialism" has picked up on the word; it appears in all sorts of guises, and has become overworked, with the result that the original meaning has changed to suit the usage in the media.

I hear advertisements on radio and TV - lines like "toys for your millennium", and "a special millennium offer". "M&Ms - the official candy of the millennium". By whose authority, other than the advertisers?

I'm probably suffering from millennium overload!



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#2711 - 05/28/00 03:43 PM Re: Hmmmmm
jmh Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/22/00
Posts: 1981
So what's the term for an advocate of female superiority or dominance?
Also what is the term for a man who campaigns for male rights?

Will we need to invent the terms when these issues arise? Only then will we have true "opposites"

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#2712 - 05/28/00 03:56 PM The spoken word
jmh Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/22/00
Posts: 1981
> back then, American English was a foreign language and was just as difficult to understand as spoken English in one area was to someone living in a far corner of England

As now we have "tuned in", in the main, to voices from people from most parts of the world (I did have a completely incomprehensible removal man from Glasgow when I fist moved up here, but that is by the way)

Perhaps, to disagree with myself, that standardisation has relaxed it's onward march. In the same way that my children are bi-lingual - street Scottish at school and plain(ish) English at home, many of us can understand (and often speak) several varieties of English.

So in the Flicks we get sanitised, clearly enunciated Disney mixed in with Al Pacino's Godfather and Ewan McGregor in Trainspotting or Robert Carlyle in "The Full Monty". (I wonder how many people understood all three films).

So now, not only have the accents become less deviated from the mean but our understanding has expanded - so we are all now polyglots!


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#2713 - 05/28/00 04:01 PM Re: Latin
jmh Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/22/00
Posts: 1981
> Books were expensive until mass production in the 1800's and even then only a few people could read due to illiteracy amongst the proletariat.

Reading the history of the Macmillans I was surprised how little was available in print. The early books subscribed to religious ideals, it was only in living memory that anything remotely challenging was published and available freely. The Lady Chatterly trial was only in the sixties and the question was "Would you let you maidservant or wife read this book?"
http://www.brookes.ac.uk/schools/apm/publishing/culture/1997/richards.html

It is only now that we have real-time access to the unedited rambligs of people from other countries!






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#2714 - 05/29/00 03:21 PM Re: Hmmmmm
tsuwm Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/03/00
Posts: 10522
Loc: this too shall pass
>So what's the term for an advocate of female superiority or dominance?

consistency demands that I answer "female chauvinist" (one overly dedicated to her cause)! :-)


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#2715 - 05/30/00 10:54 AM re: millennium
tsuwm Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/03/00
Posts: 10522
Loc: this too shall pass
David108>I'm probably suffering from millennium overload!

no doubt this one has been driven into the ground recently, but we may have to resort to the OED as to which sense came first. Webster's Third Int'l has the order reversed from what you quoted and logically you'd think that it originally meant simply a period of 1000 years, given its roots are New Latin mille + ennium.

[later in the day}
okay, this one is arguable -- according to the OED, the first known written English usage (ca. 1634) was indeed in reference to the 1000 year reign of Christ, borrowing directly the existing New Latin word for 1000 years (which follows the pattern of biennium, triennium, etc.); English poets soon (ca. 1711) picked up on the general usage. Reading between the lines here, W3 evidently lists the general usage first becasue of the pre-existing NL word. (quoting the W3 preface) "In definition of words of many meanings the earliest ascertainable meaning is listed first."

Credit current overuse to the Mass Media. (no pun intended with 'Mass' :)


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#2716 - 05/30/00 07:46 PM Re: re: millennium
Jackie Offline

Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 11609
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky
Folks--
This poor, frayed, single thread has now decimated decimating, Latin, chauvinism (et.al.), the millennium,
and the printing press. I may even have forgotten one or two! I wonder if the wanderers would care to return, or
perhaps create a new path? (I still refuse to say you-all were rambling, given its original meaning!)


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