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#199377 - 04/25/11 10:05 AM Re: Linguistic therapy [Re: Candy]  
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BranShea Offline
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Thanks @Candy. What I liked to share is this: (from Arctic Dreams)

"We know more about the rings of Saturn than we know about the narwhal. The Chilean poet and essayist Pablo Neruda wonders in his memoirs how an animal this large can have remained so obscure and uncelebrated. It's name, he thought, was "the most beautiful of undersea names, the name of a sea chalice that sings, the name of a crystal spur." Why, he wondered, had no one taken Narwhal for a last name, or built "a beautiful Narwhal Building?"

Part of the answer lies with the regrettable connotation of death in the animal's name. The pallid color of the narwhal's skin has been likened to that of a drowned human corpse, and it is widely thought that it's name came from the Old Norse for "corps" and "whale, " nár + hvalr. But W.P. Lehman, a professor of Germanic languages, believes the association with death is a linguistic accident. The Old Norse nárhvalr ( whence the English narwhal, the French narval, the German Narwal, etc.), he says, was a vernacular play on the word--- the way high-bred corn is used in place of hybrid corn, or sparrowgrass is used for asparagus.---
According to Lehman, nahvalr is an earlier, West Norse term meaning a "whale distinguished by a long, narrow projection" ( the tusk). "

I'm no expert to confirm this, but I thought it interesting for sharing (quite a bit of typing work, so time needed) :^)

#199380 - 04/25/11 10:46 AM Re: Linguistic therapy [Re: goofy]  
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Tromboniator Offline
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Alaska
That quote from American Heritage Book of English Usage: "A usage such as If I was the only boy in the world may break the rules, but it sounds perfectly natural." is absolutely correct – for someone to whom it sounds perfectly natural. Damn, I always hate it when people generalize.

Peter

#199381 - 04/25/11 10:53 AM Re: Linguistic therapy [Re: Candy]  
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Faldage Offline
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So, you're saying that narwhal is an eggcorn?

#199391 - 04/25/11 03:04 PM Re: Linguistic therapy [Re: Faldage]  
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goofy Offline
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Originally Posted By: Faldage
So, you're saying that narwhal is an eggcorn?


It might be. It would explain the presence of the r in the modern forms when there is no r in the Old Norse word.

#199397 - 04/25/11 05:07 PM Re: Linguistic therapy [Re: Tromboniator]  
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goofy Offline
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Originally Posted By: Tromboniator
That quote from American Heritage Book of English Usage: "A usage such as If I was the only boy in the world may break the rules, but it sounds perfectly natural." is absolutely correct – for someone to whom it sounds perfectly natural. Damn, I always hate it when people generalize.


It's confusing advice. I think maybe what they mean is that "if I was" breaks the traditional rule, but it's part of standard written English.

Last edited by goofy; 04/25/11 05:08 PM.
#199404 - 04/25/11 09:42 PM Re: Linguistic therapy [Re: goofy]  
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Tromboniator Offline
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Alaska
Which raises the question: What is standard English? Since it [If I was the only boy…] doesn't sound "perfectly natural" to me, does that mean I don't speak standard English? Is standard English something that nobody really speaks, but it's a sort of average? I won't say it's wrong, but I would never use it, and would mark it for correction if I were [sic] editing a written piece, then probably allow the writer to overrule me, after discussion.

#199410 - 04/26/11 01:07 AM Re: Linguistic therapy [Re: Tromboniator]  
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goofy Offline
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Standard English: what it isn't

I think standard English is the variety of English normally used in writing by writers of English. This means it contains a lot of variety.

#199414 - 04/26/11 02:13 AM Re: Linguistic therapy [Re: goofy]  
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LukeJavan8 Offline
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There is a lot of variety just on this site.


----please, draw me a sheep----
#199420 - 04/26/11 06:05 AM Re: Linguistic therapy [Re: Tromboniator]  
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Candy Offline
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down under
Originally Posted By: Tromboniator
....If I was the only boy in the world ......


and I was the only girl!

#199434 - 04/26/11 05:33 PM Re: Linguistic therapy [Re: Candy]  
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LukeJavan8 Offline
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And.......?


----please, draw me a sheep----
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