Friday, December 19, 2008

'Understand' Etymology

Online Etymology Dictionary:
O.E. understandan "comprehend grasp the idea of," probably lit. "stand in the midst of," from under + standan "to stand" (see stand). If this is the meaning, the under is not the usual word meaning "beneath," but from O.E. under, from PIE *nter- "between, among" (cf. Skt. antar "among, between," L. inter "between, among," Gk. entera "intestines;" see inter-). But the exact notion is unclear. Perhaps the ult. sense is "be close to," cf. Gk. epistamai "I know how, I know," lit. "I stand upon." Similar formations are found in O.Fris. (understonda), M.Dan. (understande), while other Gmc. languages use compounds meaning "stand before" (cf. Ger. verstehen, represented in O.E. by forstanden). For this concept most I.E. languages use fig. extensions of compounds that lit. mean "put together," or "separate," or "take, grasp."

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Finds that made Basques proud are fake, say experts | Science | The Guardian

Finds that made Basques proud are fake, say experts | Science | The Guardian

It was hailed as an archeological discovery of global importance showing, among other things, the oldest representation of Christ on the cross and proof that ancient Egyptian influences had survived deep in Roman Spain.

* * *

Now a committee of experts has revealed those jewels to be fakes. "They are either a joke or a fraud," said Martín Almagro, a professor in prehistory from Madrid. "How has something like this been taken seriously for so long?" The hunt is on for an archeological fraudster who defaced fragments of third century pottery with fake graffiti.

* * *

Where there's a will to believe, there's a way to deceive.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Faking Languages

The accent sounds decent, but the words are completely bogus.

UPDATE: Here's Catherine Tate doing it:

What English Sounds Like?

I beg to differ. (I hope.)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

A Rhyme Gained

I once knew a man from Blorenge,
Whose surname he said was Gorringe.
I couldn't believe
that I could finally retrieve
two words that do rhyme with "orange."

Help from Language Log.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Overcoming Bias: Against Disclaimers

Overcoming Bias: Against Disclaimers:
Blog posts are short and have a broad audience. One of the worst things about writing them is having to make disclaimers. Not just legal disclaimers mind you - those are only the tip of an iceberg.

Writing is hard in part because words have many associations that vary among readers. Even when we use carefully choose our words to signal certain associations, we know some readers will instead hear other associations. So in addition to saying what we do mean, we sometimes have to say explicitly what we do not mean.

Note that one of the associations that people should not presume is:
If you quote someone you agree with everything they've said.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Abba, Dancing Queen

I've been told my knowledge of this supergroup is woefully deficient. I atone with this video of Dancing Queen:

Monday, February 11, 2008

Addicted to Blogging

71%How Addicted to Blogging Are You?

NYT: Writer's Strike Fallout: Who's Coming Back?

New York Times: Strike Fallout: A Complete Guide To How Your Favorite Shows Are Affected:
The writers’ strike may be almost over, and many television shows should resume production soon, but viewers will not see new episodes on network schedules immediately.
Click to see which shows are returning, and which are not.

Friday, February 08, 2008

"The Shot"

Hill to Laettner (Duke vs. Kentucky):

Friday, January 18, 2008

Brandenburg Concerto no. 2 (BWV 1047)

Here is a rendition of Bach's second Brandenburg concerto by the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra, using "historically informed" or period instruments, including a natural trumpet:

1. Allegro Moderato

2. Andante

3. Allegro Assai

I have to admit that I found the physical movements of the players a bit hurky-jerky

Friday, January 04, 2008

Take It On The Run

YouTube - REO Speedwagon - Take It On The Run (live)

For a while I thought that take it on the run meant something like "sleep around" (as here), but now I think it just means to "run away" (so Wikipedia). I cannot find the sexual meaning in Google Books, but there are clear instances where it means "run away" or "escape":
  • John Dos Passos, The Shackles of Power (1966), 317: "He ran up so many bills that he had to take it on the run, nevertheless, to escape imprisonment for debt; and retired to Sweden."
  • Clint Willis, Wise Guys (2003), 132: "I was going to have to testify, and I offered two choices: take it on the run, on my own, or let us relocate you and give you a new identity."
In other contexts, take it on the run also refers to eating on the go, taking certain things with you, and certain sports and military maneuvers. It also is a line from a famous WWI song, "Over There."

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

bereit (ready)

G bereit and E ready stem the same Germanic root, but with different prefixes:

G bereit < MHG bereite (also gereite) < OHG bireiti < Gmc *raidi- > OE geræde, ræde > ME redi > E ready

The G adv bereits means "already."

Hinsicht (respect)

Hinsicht (respect, aspect, regard) is a compound of hin- (to there) and Sicht (= sight). But don't think "insight"; rather, go through a Latin equivalent to reach the best English.

Sicht would correspond to L spectus, and the hin- suggests L ad-, i.e., "aspectus" From here, we get to "aspect," then to "regard" and "respect."