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 1 of 5 1 2 3 4 5
#69763 05/13/02 11:50 AM
Joined: Mar 2000
Posts: 460
P
paulb Offline OP
addict
OP Offline
addict
P
Joined: Mar 2000
Posts: 460
I've been enjoying Oliver Sacks's "Uncle Tungsten: memories of a chemical boyhood" over the last few days and was struck by his mention of his brother Michael who knew Dickens's novels "Nicholas Nickleby" and "David Copperfield" by heart.

Without downplaying this incredible feat of memory, I was more interested in the term "by heart". Where does this phrase come from?


#69764 05/13/02 01:10 PM
Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 13,858
W
wwh Offline
Carpal Tunnel
Offline
Carpal Tunnel
W
Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 13,858
It seems certain the phrase "by heart" has to be very old. Before the circulation of the blood was understood, quite a few mental processes were ascribed to the heart."Put your heart into it" - meaning try very hard. "Where is fancy bred, in the heart or in the head?" Insults may be "taken to heart". "Good hearted" - meaning generous, kind.


#69765 05/13/02 05:21 PM
Joined: Sep 2001
Posts: 6,296
W
Carpal Tunnel
Offline
Carpal Tunnel
W
Joined: Sep 2001
Posts: 6,296
When memorizing music--say a piano score--when I know it by heart, my mind no longer has to remember the written music. Something else kicks in--call it the old ticker. When you've got the music memorized and can play it by heart, you can really pour a lot of creativity into what you're playing because you completely focus on the sound and the touch.

I would guess knowing something by heart is knowing it so well that your emotions and creativity, once believed to have centers in the heart, are completely called into being, and your head, the great decoder, gets to take a rest.

...not that I really separate the head from the emotions, but am just thinking of the time when the expression "by heart" came to be.

Beating regards,
Wordwind


#69766 05/14/02 01:10 AM
Joined: Mar 2000
Posts: 11,613
Carpal Tunnel
Offline
Carpal Tunnel
Joined: Mar 2000
Posts: 11,613
Um...I think what I'm trying to say might be related to WW's post. I was thinking "heart and mind"; then, 'by heart' as opposed to 'by mind'. Once something is memorized, then the mind no longer has to concentrate on the effort of acquiring it.


#69767 05/14/02 12:34 PM
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 5,400
Carpal Tunnel
Offline
Carpal Tunnel
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 5,400
WW and Jackie are on to something. i learned multiplications tables by rote, but poetry by heart.. (and do drive manually transmission by 'feel')
i think there are different term for these learning proceses, because in the end, we use the information differently.. i just had transmission work done on my car, and it took me 3 days to 're-learn' where first is (not the stick, but the clutch peddle!) i just realize it as i started to write this post, but today, (day 4) i didn't have to think at all about shifting, something i have been thinking about since last thursday (but i didn't drive on Saturday).

education experts talk about visual learners, and aural learners, and kinetic learners.. we all tend to have a preference, but most of us use all three processes. i wonder where learning by heart come in.


#69768 05/15/02 04:33 AM
Joined: Sep 2001
Posts: 872
M
old hand
Offline
old hand
M
Joined: Sep 2001
Posts: 872
I see. It does seem that you all agree that knowing something "by heart" is to know something without conscious
thought.
Now what is the Story of a Rose, and what is meant by Heart of my Heart. ? ? ?


#69769 05/15/02 03:14 PM
Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 13,858
W
wwh Offline
Carpal Tunnel
Offline
Carpal Tunnel
W
Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 13,858
Dear Milum: Apparently you are still in need of a parental heart-to-heart talk.


#69770 05/15/02 05:15 PM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 200
A
enthusiast
Offline
enthusiast
A
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 200
But in fairness to milum, dr. bill, he is not the gentleman who refers to one of the ladies on the board as "my man". Nor is he the lady who refers to one of the men as "aunt m___".


#69771 05/15/02 05:36 PM
Joined: Sep 2001
Posts: 872
M
old hand
Offline
old hand
M
Joined: Sep 2001
Posts: 872
Dear Milum: Apparently you are still in need of a parental heart-to-heart talk.

Dear wwh, to my delight would I listen to your version of
a heart-to-heart talk, especially if you would leave in the
real juicy parts. - -





#69772 05/15/02 06:41 PM
Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 13,858
W
wwh Offline
Carpal Tunnel
Offline
Carpal Tunnel
W
Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 13,858
Dear Milum: I blush at your reference to the "juicy parts".


Page 1 of 5 1 2 3 4 5

Moderated by  Jackie 

Link Copied to Clipboard
Forum Statistics
Forums16
Topics13,912
Posts229,237
Members9,179
Most Online3,341
Dec 9th, 2011
Newest Members
TRIALNERRA, befuddledmind, KILL_YOUR_SUV, Heather_Turey, Standy
9,179 Registered Users
Who's Online Now
1 members (wofahulicodoc), 294 guests, and 3 robots.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Top Posters(30 Days)
Top Posters
wwh 13,858
Faldage 13,803
Jackie 11,613
tsuwm 10,542
wofahulicodoc 10,484
LukeJavan8 9,912
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

© 1994-2024 Wordsmith

Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.5