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#69763 - 05/13/02 11:50 AM "by heart"  
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paulb Offline
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Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
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 Re: "by heart"  
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wwh Offline
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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 Re: "by heart"  
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Wordwind Offline
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Piedmont Region of Virginia, U...
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 Re: "by heart"  
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Jackie Offline
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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 Re: "by heart"  
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of troy Offline
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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 Re: "by heart"  
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milum Offline
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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 Re: "by heart"  
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wwh Offline
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Dear Milum: Apparently you are still in need of a parental heart-to-heart talk.


#69770 - 05/15/02 05:15 PM Re: "by heart"  
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AphonicRants Offline
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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 Re: "by heart"  
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milum Offline
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Birmingham, Alabama
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 Re: "by heart"  
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wwh Offline
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Dear Milum: I blush at your reference to the "juicy parts".


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