Wordsmith.org: the magic of words

Wordsmith Talk

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

Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Page 4 of 5 1 2 3 4 5
sjmaxq #168942 06/29/07 02:11 PM
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 3,290
Carpal Tunnel
Offline
Carpal Tunnel
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 3,290
"birthday"

Latin, an Indo-European language last time I checked, has dies natalis, literally 'natal day'. Natalicium, an adjectival form of natalis 'birth' means 'birthday present'. Classical Greek cut to the chase and simply used ημερα (hēmera) 'day' for 'birthday'. They also used ta genesia, literally 'the natal (thing)' for 'the day kept in memory of the birthday of the dead'. (Cf. Koine Greek in Matt. xiv.6 γενεσίοις δὲ γενομένοις τοῦ Ἡρῴδου ὠρχήσατο ἡ θυγάτηρ τῆς Ἡρῳδιάδος ἐν τῷ μέσῳ καὶ ἤρεσεν τῷ Ἡρῴδῃ, die autem natalis Herodis saltavit filia Herodiadis in medio et placuit Herodi (Vulgate), But when Herod's birthday was kept, the daughter of Herodias danced before them, and pleased Herod (KJV).) Czech has narozeniny, literally 'natal', as well as datum narození 'birth date' and den narození 'birth day'.


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
zmjezhd #168943 06/29/07 02:12 PM
Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 3,230
Carpal Tunnel
Offline
Carpal Tunnel
Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 3,230
Originally Posted By: zmjezhd
"birthday"

Latin, an Indo-European language last time I checked, has dies natalis, literally 'natal day'.


Thanks for the assist, nuncle. I only post on what I know, which is why I don't post often.

sjmaxq #168944 06/29/07 02:18 PM
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 3,290
Carpal Tunnel
Offline
Carpal Tunnel
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 3,290
Thanks for the assist, nuncle.

You're welcome. À propos Hindi, Sanskrit has janidivasa a samasa (compound) meaning quite literally 'birthday'. It seems a common enough construction in IE languages.


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
zmjezhd #168951 06/29/07 05:01 PM
Joined: Jun 2007
Posts: 18
B
stranger
OP Offline
stranger
B
Joined: Jun 2007
Posts: 18
"You're an intelligent young person but you need better instruction in language."

I have been teaching myself. The books that I have now I got from half-priced-book stores, so I am not sure they are the best ones to peruse. I have a glossary of semiotics terms, some grammar books from the 1950s, a book "for writers" from 2001, some books of structuralism and post-structurialism--which I do not understand much, but can read that it deals with language some--, an old book (maybe 15 years) on language and speech and how the two are connected, and some grammar test-books. As you can see, the information I have gleaned is very incomplete and slipshod. Maybe my approach was smart, but my materials are sketchy. Hmm... How should I continue, then?

Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 3,290
Carpal Tunnel
Offline
Carpal Tunnel
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 3,290
Here are some classic books on linguistics which you can probably pick up at used books stores (or find in a good-sized library):

Bloomfield, Leonard. 1933. Language.

Jespersen, Otto. 1921. Language: Its Nature, Development, and Origin.

--. 1924. The Philosophy of Grammar.

Sapir, Edward. 1921. Language: An Introduction to the Study of Speech.

de Saussure, Ferdinand. 1916. Cours de linguistique générale (Course in General Linguistics) .

And some newish books:

Aitchison, Jean. 1981. Language Change: Progress or Decay?, 3rd ed.

Crystal, David. 2003. The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language, 2nd ed.

McWhorter, John. 2001. The Power of Babel: A Natural History of Language.

Pinker, Steven. 1994. The Language Instinct

--. 1999. Words and Rules: The Ingredients of Language.

Modern linguistics has been around for a couple of centuries. The study of language goes back a couple of millennia to the Greeks in the West and the Indian Sanskrit grammarians in the East. A good history of linguistics book might be a good read, too.

Pedersen, Holgar. 1931. Linguistic Science in the Nineteenth Century: Methods and Results.

Robins, R H. 1997. A Short History of Linguistics.

[Correct some typos and some downright mistakes.]

Last edited by zmjezhd; 06/29/07 08:27 PM.

Ceci n'est pas un seing.
sjmaxq #168955 06/29/07 08:19 PM
Joined: Jun 2006
Posts: 5,295
Carpal Tunnel
Offline
Carpal Tunnel
Joined: Jun 2006
Posts: 5,295
Originally Posted By: sjmaxq
Originally Posted By: Bohemian_Cur
Here is a message I received from BranShea:

Only the English and the German language give: Birthday and Geburtstag (mentioning birth).


This is factually incorrect, even within the Indo-European family of languages. The most common word in Hindi for "birthday" is made up of two words, the first meaning "birth" and the second meaning "day". Put together they translate, quite literally, as "birthday". As for the rest of it, I'm with Faldage, you're extemely nice, possibly the nicest person it has been my profound lack of pleasure not to be able to avoid reading, to paraphrase a role model of mine.


Dear Sir Sjmaxq,

You are correct, there are more than the two languages I mentioned that will use the word "birthday" in stead of "anniversary". I should have said : f.i. English and German make mention of birth referring to that day.

I took the six languages (of which I have learned to speak and read five icl. homeland language) to show the difference in usage/habit.
In German and English there is the mentioning of the once happened fact of birth.

Not so in Dutch, French, Italian and Spanish (I only know some Spanish) where only the turn or completing of another year is visible in the word.

I do not know the exacts about the X - amount of other existing languages concerning this birthday topic. Do you?

anniversary
c.1230, from L. anniversarius "returning annually," from annus "year" (see annual) + versus, pp. of vertere "to turn" (see versus). The adj. came to be used as a noun in Church L. as anniversaria (dies) in ref. to saints' days.


I found Cur's thought refreshing even though "birthday" is fine with me (in English). I never though about the fact that this homely word " birthday " could be looked at as indeed only that one special day long ago (for me at least).

I'm no philologist.

Kind regards, Branshae

Last edited by BranShea; 06/29/07 08:19 PM.
Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 631
addict
Offline
addict
Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 631
Quote:
Defending a logical approach to language (which is what I see it to be) is not adolescent. I assume that you find nothing wrong with the term "look up", because we know it to mean find? Doh, Homer Simpson's exclamation, is in dictionaries; but remember dictionaries are for reference. Because the majority uses "birthday" to mean one's yearly anniversary of birth does not mean it is smart to follow.


You assume right. Nor do I have a problem with using "gymnasium" to mean "a room or building equipped for gymnastics, games, and other physical exercise" despite the fact that, etymologically, it means: "exercise naked."

You, Cur, have two choices: Turn up naked for gym class on Monday, or demand that your school adopt your ideosyncratic, aphasic approach to language.

You actually remind me of the novel White Noise by Don DeLillo, in which characters who've taken a black market drug called Dylar suffer the curious side effect of being unable to understand the metaphorical meaning of language, and take everything that is said to them literally. If you say, "That went over my head", they will look to the ceiling and ask, "What did? Where is it?" If you tell them that you've got a bone to pick with them, they will politely tell you that they have eaten.

What you are actually set against is the metaphorical economy of language. You want everything spelt out for you, with all the holes filled in. But what you are actually advocating is more like a code language for computers; the very opposite of poetry, literature, prose, creative language use. When Shakespeare writes, "Out, out brief candle", he is not failing to be pedantic, he is demonstrating a very human, abstract, analytical ability to draw a comparison between disparate phenomena with important properties in common: a candle and a human life, for example: both are lament, brief, beautiful, both burn, both illume, both can be snuffed out. Making sense of language requires a meaning-sensitive being to fill in the lacunae, and this, in fact, is much of what the pleasure of reading consists of. A word like "Birthday" is a very minor case of the same essential phenomenon. Where are you gonna draw the line?




Last edited by Hydra; 07/01/07 02:59 PM.
Joined: Dec 2000
Posts: 13,803
Carpal Tunnel
Offline
Carpal Tunnel
Joined: Dec 2000
Posts: 13,803
Originally Posted By: Bohemian_Cur
I assume that you find nothing wrong with the term "look up", because we know it to mean find?


Actually, it doens't mean "find". I was going to say it means "search for" but that's not quite right, either. It means something more like "search for in some source in which you expect to find it, but without the certainty of being able to find it". "Look up" is a little more compact.

Faldage #168972 07/01/07 10:38 PM
Joined: Jul 2000
Posts: 3,467
Carpal Tunnel
Offline
Carpal Tunnel
Joined: Jul 2000
Posts: 3,467
I was puzzled by the style of the clothes you had on, so I went to the library and looked up your dress.


TEd
Joined: Dec 2000
Posts: 13,803
Carpal Tunnel
Offline
Carpal Tunnel
Joined: Dec 2000
Posts: 13,803
Of course you will always have the literalists to contend with.

Page 4 of 5 1 2 3 4 5

Moderated by  Jackie 

Link Copied to Clipboard
Forum Statistics
Forums16
Topics13,904
Posts227,970
Members9,146
Most Online3,341
Dec 9th, 2011
Newest Members
rexdee, gypsydancer, Astrostu, Chaske, ApophaticAxiom
9,146 Registered Users
Who's Online Now
2 members (A C Bowden, wofahulicodoc), 111 guests, and 4 robots.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Top Posters(30 Days)
Top Posters
wwh 13,858
Faldage 13,803
Jackie 11,613
tsuwm 10,542
LukeJavan8 9,797
AnnaStrophic 6,511
Wordwind 6,296
of troy 5,400
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

© 1994-2021 Wordsmith

Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.5
(Release build 20201027)
Responsive Width:

PHP: 7.4.24 Page Time: 0.016s Queries: 35 (0.007s) Memory: 2.9484 MB (Peak: 3.2483 MB) Data Comp: Off Server Time: 2021-10-19 04:53:23 UTC
Valid HTML 5 and Valid CSS