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#6133 - 09/07/00 12:06 PM gadzooks
tsuwm Offline
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[possible YART alert!]

how do y'all feel about the use of archaisms? my own opinion is that many fine words have fallen into desuetude, whilst on the other end of the spectrum we are inundated by execrable jargonistic neologisms.


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#6134 - 09/07/00 12:16 PM Re: gadzooks
Jackie Online   content

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IMHO, archaisms sound anachronistic.
'Sides, have "y'all" moved to the Deep South?
Older does not necessarily equal better. When Beethoven's compositions were new, they were considered "execrable".
I will concede that a lot of current jargon is stupid.


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#6135 - 09/07/00 02:06 PM Re: gadzooks
william Offline
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Registered: 07/12/00
Posts: 200
oh tsuwm!

i agree that beautiful words are lost, words like "coolth" that can't be replaced.
but i can't help feeling that words are not anyone's property, and that when they're dead they're dead. it's not up to anyone to revive them.
i repeat my position that old words were once new, and that new words will at some stage be old.
language is, and always was, the result of evolution.
might i suggest that the words themselves do not grate, it's the concepts they refer to. if you don't like computers, you won't like computer speak.
max, i think, posted about "happify". i don't like the word as referred to in his posting, but if my girlfriend were to announce she was going to "happify" my apartment, the word would become a jewel.

by the way (BTW), what new words do you like?


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#6136 - 09/07/00 02:21 PM Re: gadzooks
tsuwm Offline
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>what new words do you like?

well, there's fodder for a new thread (he said, vainly attempting to maintain order). meanwhile, I'm working up an exhibit of archaisms which didn't deserve their fate....


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#6137 - 09/07/00 05:56 PM Re: gadzooks
Max Quordlepleen Offline
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meanwhile, I'm working up an exhibit of archaisms which didn't deserve their fate....

May I ask that William's "coolth" be on that list? I love the way "coolth" sounds, and still use it a lot, though most often only in conversation with myself.


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#6138 - 09/08/00 08:33 AM Re: gadzooks
wsieber Offline
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Posts: 1026
Loc: Switzerland
For some time it has occurred to me that words, like living organisms, are subject to mutation and selection, with the "fittest" making it to the next shakeout. And as in the case of organisms, "fittest" is only defined in a circular way, as such that survive under the prevailing conditions.
On remote islands with special climates, weird forms have persisted, and founded pedigrees of their own.


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#6139 - 09/08/00 09:02 AM Re: natural selection
tsuwm Offline
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...but, unlike living organisms, when a word "dies out" it may have an afterlife; i.e., historical novels, obscure word lists, etc. and there may come a time when such a word will be "reincarnated" -- to fill in a lacuna, to replace now overloaded terms, or perhaps just to refresh the language.


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#6140 - 09/08/00 09:04 AM Re: gadzooks
tsuwm Offline
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>May I ask that William's "coolth" be on that list?

absolutely! it provides the reverse of 'warmth' and it helps fill a gap left by the overloading of 'coolness'.


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#6141 - 09/08/00 09:15 AM Re: gadzooks
Brandon Offline
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Registered: 03/16/00
Posts: 218
Loc: Mountain West, USA
archaisms which didn't deserve their fate

May I ask, tsuwm, is "gadzooks" one of the words you feel didn't deserve its fate?


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#6142 - 09/08/00 09:31 AM Re: gadzooks
tsuwm Offline
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'gadzooks' (god's hooks) is pretty lame, as euphemistic interjections go. BrEng has given us 'gadzookery' as a term for the use of archaisms (as in a historical novel), which is why I chose to use it.

note: 'tushery' is another word which applies to this discussion, although it has even more of a negative connotation, being writing of poor quality distinguished esp. by the affected choice of archaic words.

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#6143 - 09/08/00 10:49 AM Re: exhibit A
tsuwm Offline
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for your consideration:

relume - 1) to relight or rekindle <1864 Swinburne _Atalanta_ Flame that once burnt down Oil shall not quicken or breath relume.> 2) to make clear or bright again <1860 J. P. Kennedy _Horse Shoe Robinson_ [They] gradually relumed their father's countenance with flashes of cheerful thought.> 3) to light up again, to re-illuminate <1799 Campbell _Pleas. Hope_ Lo, nature, life, and liberty relume The dim-eyed tenant of the dungeon gloom.>

mome - a blockhead, dolt, fool <1881 A. J. Duffield _Don Quix._ But if thou cook a kind of fare That not for every mome is fit, Be sure that fools will nibble there.> {we can never have too many words for "fool"}

gammer - a rustic title for an old woman, corresponding to gaffer for a man <1833 Tennyson _Goose_ Then yelp'd the cur, and yawl'd the cat; Ran Gaffer, stumbled Gammer.>

cuckquean - a female cuckold <1922 Joyce _Ulysses_ A wandering crone... their common cuckquean.>

coolth - coolness <1926 J. R. R. Tolkien in Year's Work Eng. Stud., The current coolth, which shows signs of losing its facetiousness, and may claim part of the territory of cool.> <1955 E. Pound _Classic Anthol._ June's mid-summer, August brings coolth again.>

more to come...


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#6144 - 09/08/00 10:59 AM Re: exhibit A
william Offline
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Registered: 07/12/00
Posts: 200
looking forward to it, tsuwm!

(tsuwm comes out as 'tub' on the spell checker)


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#6145 - 09/08/00 11:04 AM Re: exhibit A
tsuwm Offline
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>tsuwm comes out as 'tub' on the spell checker

tsuwm is also a Hebrew word meaning "to fast"... what an Enigma!


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#6146 - 09/11/00 01:56 AM Re: natural selection
wsieber Offline
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Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 1026
Loc: Switzerland
>but, unlike living organisms, when a word "dies out" it may have an afterlife<
..Like the the dinosaurs of "Jurassic Park"?


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#6147 - 09/20/00 10:47 AM Re: natural selection
metameta Offline
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Registered: 09/20/00
Posts: 29
Loc: Sonoma County, California
good point, wseiber;

There's a fine, and often impossibly obscure line of demarcation between archaisms and neologisms. In resurrecting old oaths like "gadzooks", we look for meaning in folk etymology that can't provide any chain of evolution of the word. Gadzooks may have meant "God's hooks", but it is unlikely that it did. there's insufficient evidence to claim that the nails on Christ's cross were ever invoked as an oath; less evidence still that these nails were called "hooks". Words evolve, and often when we pluck them out of the past, we use them in new, different ways, and what we thought to be an archaism is in fact so different from its original usage that it becomes new again.
Speaking of hooks--does anyone know if the oo sound in words like hook, book, took, etc., was ever pronounced like the oo in "moon"? My tongue always wants to say book with the long sound of moon or boot.


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#6148 - 09/20/00 11:02 AM Re: natural selection
Jackie Online   content

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Welcome, meta, and very wise words you speak.
A very recent ex. of what you mean is the word "bad",
which can now mean "good", and it wasn't even archaic yet.

I am sure that book, etc. had the different oo sound when
non-native English speakers said it. Indeed, some of these words have similar spellings and pronunciations in other
languages, so that it would be natural for them to carry over to English.


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#6149 - 09/20/00 03:15 PM Re: natural selection
Max Quordlepleen Offline
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Speaking of hooks--does anyone know if the oo sound in words like hook, book, took, etc., was ever pronounced like the oo in "moon"? My tongue always wants to say book with the long sound of moon or boot.

I have a friend from Lancashire who uses the same sound for "oo" - the phrase "Look at the book of Luke" used cause some merriment when he said it, to NZ ears, it came out as "luke at the buke of Luke"



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#6150 - 09/21/00 02:58 AM Re: to look at books
jmh Offline
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Registered: 03/22/00
Posts: 1981
It is very common in parts of Lancashire. My school drew from a wide catchment area and we always rolled around when a friend from Oldham (on the Lancashire/Yorkshire border) said "boowks", "loowks" and "hoowks". She was also known for saying that "h-air is what yew 'av on yer 'ed".


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#6151 - 09/22/00 06:06 AM Re: gadzooks
RhubarbCommando Offline
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Registered: 08/23/00
Posts: 2204
with the "fittest" making it to the next shakeout.

Whilst I agree with the overall tenor of your post, wseiber, I don't think language really has "shakeouts."

Surely it is a continuous process, not necessarily a smooth one but having peaks and troughs. Certain events will promote a good deal of linguistic activity which may well be followed by a "quiet" period, but entry and exit doesn't ever completly stop.

But I do agree that there is a place in the language for archaisms, and tend to disagree with Wiliam's proposition that words "die." Like King Arthur, they lie beneath the linguistic hills, to rise and save us in our hour of need.

I suppose it might be the case in a language that has no, or only a recent, written tradition. Perhaps someone with more knowledge than I (not difficult to find) can inform us on this point.

One of my own favourite archaisms is "yclept" - not that I very often find an opportunity for its use.


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#6152 - 09/22/00 06:18 AM Re: gadzooks
Max Quordlepleen Offline
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One of my own favourite archaisms is "yclept" - not that I very often find an opportunity for its use.

Solution: Have more children, get more pets, buy more boats.


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#6153 - 09/22/00 06:20 AM Re: natural selection
RhubarbCommando Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 08/23/00
Posts: 2204
oo sound in words like hook, book, took, etc., was ever pronounced like the oo in "moon"

My wife, whose childood was spent in the Scottish borderlands, despite having had most of her accent replaced by RP at a posh London school, still tends to rhyme "book" with "Luke", although not so pronouncedly as our current Lancastrian neighbours.

When she refers to the carbon fall-out from our chimney, I have occasionally made the mistake of thinking she referred to my formal attire.


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#6154 - 09/22/00 06:28 AM Re: gadzooks
RhubarbCommando Offline
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Registered: 08/23/00
Posts: 2204
Have more children, get more pets, buy more boats

Sounds attractive - but my wife would almost certainly object to the first, whilst the second would require the purchase of a bigger house in addition to the revolt that probaby would occur among my existing tribe of felines.
The third is out of the question on the stipend of a part-time usher such as myself. The true value of education, and those who provide it, is grossly under-rated in this benighted kingdom!


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#6155 - 09/22/00 10:54 PM Re: gadzooks
metameta Offline
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Registered: 09/20/00
Posts: 29
Loc: Sonoma County, California
Well, I'm not sure if I stand less or more mystified by my native Californian tongue wanting to rhyme "book" with "Luke", but I now know I am not alone. Lancashire, eh? What goes on there?
Rhubarb, I enjoyed your responses and must ask you: What does RP stand for?
Words "Lie beneath the linguistic hills, to rise and save us in our hour of need." That's wonderful! Very Platonic.
I don't think I'll ever forget it.
(I have the curse of sounding facetious whenever I am earnest)

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#6156 - 09/22/00 11:11 PM Re: gadzooks
Max Quordlepleen Offline
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What does RP stand for?

I hope Rhubarb doesn't mind my jumping in here. RP is an abbreviation of Received Pronunciation, "The Queen's (Monarch's) English." At least here in NZ it was often referred to as "BBC English" from the days when RP was the only accent allowed by that broadcaster. RP is the pronunciation mocked around the world as the preserve of the pompous and pretentious, with the unfortunate consequence that whose for whom it is natural are often victimised.



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#6157 - 09/22/00 11:17 PM Re: gadzooks
metameta Offline
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Registered: 09/20/00
Posts: 29
Loc: Sonoma County, California
"Whose for whom" ?
Gadzooks!


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#6158 - 09/22/00 11:33 PM Re: gadzooks
Max Quordlepleen Offline
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"Whose for whom"

Whoops! that's my outstanding hand-eye coordination at it again. Kindly replace the errant "W" in "Whose" with a "T". This substitution should enable the sentence to make sense!


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#6159 - 09/23/00 11:01 AM Re: gadzooks
RhubarbCommando Offline
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Registered: 08/23/00
Posts: 2204
. Lancashire, eh? What goes on there?


Eh, yoong chep, theyrs t'Brass* Bands, Black Sausage, Hot Pot and Wakes Week.
And if tha gets boored theyrs aluss t'sheep.
(* to rhyme with mass)

Definitely not RP (thanks, Max, for a masterly explication, even with the typo)

In addition, in North Lancashire, where I live, there are glorious hills, beautiful rivers, some of the friendliest folk in England and some excellent ale, which has to be served with at least and inch of "head" (froth) on it.


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#6160 - 09/23/00 06:58 PM Re: gadzooks
Max Quordlepleen Offline
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Definitely not RP

When I was typing my little RP summary, I was reminded of a joke about it. I am not sure how well it will move from the spoken to the written word, but here goes:
A man enters the RAF recruiting office and asks to sign up. The recruiting officers replies: "First, please say the word "air."
Applicant: "Air"
Officer: "Very good, now say "hair"
Applicant: "Hair."
Officer: "OK, now say "lair."
Applicant(increasingly bewildered): "Lair"
Officer: "Excellent. Now, finally, say all three words together quickly."
Applicant: "AirHairLair"
Officer "AirHairLair, welcome to the RAF!"

Please note: No offence or slight intended to any present or former RAF personnel who may chance to read this.


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