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#24181 - 03/23/01 09:56 PM Re: Foot to hoof  
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Jazzoctopus Offline
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I've been wondering whether foot-and-mouth is the same disease as hoof-and-mouth

I think it was originally hoof-and-mouth, because it only had to do with animals, but them when humans got sick they decided that foot-and-mouth would be more apposite because humans don't have hooves.

On second thought that doesn't make much sense because feet have nothing to do with humans getting infected, oh well.


#24182 - 03/23/01 10:22 PM Re: Foot to hoof  
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I think it was originally hoof-and-mouth, because it only had to do with animals, but them when humans got sick they decided that foot-and-mouth would be more apposite because humans don't have hooves.

In an ABC new bulletin, Peter Jennings explained it as a UK/US variant thing - "hoof-and-mouth" = N.America, "foot-and-mouth" = everyone else. Also, for what it's worth, there is apparently only one recorded case of a human ever getting sick from the disease. Addendum After reading Bridget's post, I thought I had better expand on the previous statement. A BBC bulletin said that in the UK, there has only ever been one recorded case of a human geting sick from F&M.



#24183 - 03/23/01 10:23 PM Re: Foot to hoof  
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this too shall pass
(obscure-comedy-bit-reference-of-the-week)

[since nobody asked, here it is] back in the days when "Hud" was in first run release, Cosby was doing stand-up comedy and his take on the scene in the movie where the cattle were herdling towards oblivion went something like this:

cow1: hey man, where we goin?
cow2: goin' to get shot
cow1: shot?! how come?
cow2: we got hoof-and-mouth
cow1: what's that?
cow2: noticed that white stuff 'round your mouth?
cow1: yeah...
cow2: that's hoof-and-mouth

I can't remember where he went with this, or why this much stuck with me... probably had something to do with the bovine drawl he put into it.


#24184 - 03/23/01 10:30 PM Re: Foot to hoof  

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I think it was originally hoof-and-mouth, because it only had to do with animals, but them when humans got sick they decided that foot-and-mouth would be more apposite because humans don't have hooves.

as i understand it, people can indeed get infected but the infection is temporary and mild and is not considered a public health problem. the disease gets its name from the blisters that appear on infected animals' tongues, teats and hooves.

On second thought that doesn't make much sense because feet have nothing to do with humans getting infected, oh well.

Existing lesions on a human's foot could cause him to contract the infection, as could inhalation, exposure to the virus in laboratory conditions, or drinking infected milk, but not by eating infected meat.



#24185 - 03/23/01 10:32 PM Re:epizootic  
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While it may well be that the newspapers will continue to call the hoof-and-mouth disease "epidemic", as linguaphiles we should not cave in to them. As lovers of words, we want to know their correct meanings, and teach others how to use them correctly. We should not take lightly the corruption of "decimate" nor the corruption of "epidemic". The difference between "a tenth" and "nine tenths" is important. The difference between "people" and "animals" is important. Down with the slobs too lazy to learn and remember the difference.
Incidentally, I blush to admit I had never looked up the meaning of "autopsy" before. It would be restricted to humans by long usage only. "Necropsy" could quite properly be used for post mortem exaimation of either humans or animals.


#24186 - 03/23/01 10:45 PM Re:epizootic  
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Max Quordlepleen Offline
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We should not take lightly the corruption of "decimate" nor the corruption of "epidemic".

May I call you Canute, Bill? Decimate is changing, a change that started long ago. Do you use the word "let" to mean "allow" or "hinder"? The "corruption" you speak of is inevitable, and you yourself will use many words that have been "corrupted" from their original meanings. If I describe my room as a shambles, would you chastise me for "corrupting" the word which was used in the King James Bible for "meat market"? If I said that you were a "nice" man would you take umbrage at my calling you foolish or ignorant, or would you understand my use of its modern meaning, and berate me for "corrupting" it?


#24187 - 03/24/01 12:34 AM Re:epizootic  
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Dear Max:what I deplore is the failure to distinguish between one tenth and nine tenths in the first place. We don't need a special word for killing one in ten any more. In a hundred years it may be that control of infectious diseases will be good enough that we will not need word for infection of a significant fraction of either humans or animals. But until that happy state is achieved, let us as liguaphiles encourage the use of etymologically accurate words. And remember, King Canute was not trying to hold back the tide,he was proving that even a king could not.


#24188 - 03/24/01 01:21 AM Re:epizootic  
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Max Quordlepleen Offline
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let us as liguaphiles encourage the use of etymologically accurate words

My point precisely. According to one resource, the "etymologically accurate" definition of "nice" is "[O.Fr. nice, foolish, simple - L. nescius ignorant - ne, not, scire, to know]" So we should, apparently, be encouraging people to use the etymologically accurate definition, and ignore the reality that the word's definition has shifted. King Canute made a valid point, one applicable to the tides of change in both water and language. If, as you say, we don't need a specialist word for killing one in ten, what's wrong with accepting the currently popular meaning of decimate? The shift in its meaning is dramatic, but so is the shift in the meaning of "nice", and no one is arguing that we try to turn back that tide.


#24189 - 03/24/01 04:28 AM Re:epizootic  
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inselpeter Offline
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If I describe my room as a shambles, would you chastise me for "corrupting" the word which was used in the King James Bible for "meat market"?

Now THAT is a pregnant statement! and


#24190 - 03/24/01 06:02 AM Re:epizootic: an interrogatory speculation  
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The shift in its meaning is dramatic, but so is the shift in the meaning of "nice", and no one is arguing that we try to turn back that tide.

Question:

It looks to me like two principles are at work here. The first is the hyperbolic 'extrapolation' of a term to the limit of its category. The second is the shift toward opposite meaning. Are these recognized etymological principles? I seem to remember a professor of linguistics at Konstanz discussing the second of these. He went so far as to say it could be applied not only to meaning, but to orthography. His example was "amor" and "Roma."

"Decimate" would be an example of the first, i.e., an 'extrapolation' from partial to complete; while "nice" would be an example of the second, i.e., a migration from 'foolish' to 'fitting,' or 'correct' (admittedly these meanings co-exist with more derogatory ones).

(Interrogative (and highly questionable)) speculation:

Webster's online gives a second definition of "decimate" - "to exact a tax of 10 percent from" [that is, "to tithe"] and gives as example, <poor as a decimated Cavalier -- John Dryden>. The shift from 10 percent to ruin here is plausible. The shift from a 'tithe of dead' to out-and-out slaughter of the meaning being discussed on this thread is not similarly intuitive, but maybe it follows a parallel course?

Let's say the contemporary use of "decimated" is a corruption only insofar as one might need a term for a 10% slaughter. On the other hand, the contemporary use might be something altogether new. Is it possible that by juxtaposing the injurious 10% with the ruinous 100% within the term, the word's meaning shifts from "acceptable loss" to devastation? The new term contains not just the notion of what the event (the decimation) ought to be, but its transcendence. By inscribing the word with the image of its own transcendence, does hyperbole force the word beyond its limits and produce something new, and signifying something more than it might otherwise have done?





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