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1. Monthly etymology gleanings for July 2014

By Anatoly Liberman


Since I’ll be out of town at the end of July, I was not sure I would be able to write these “gleanings.” But the questions have been many, and I could answer some of them ahead of time.

Autumn: its etymology

Our correspondent wonders whether the Latin word from which English, via French, has autumn, could be identified with the name of the Egyptian god Autun. The Romans derived the word autumnus, which was both an adjective (“autumnal”) and a noun (“autumn”), from augere “to increase.” This verb’s perfect participle is auctus “rich (“autumn as a rich season”). The Roman derivation, though not implausible, looks like a tribute to folk etymology. A more serious conjecture allies autumn to the Germanic root aud-, as in Gothic aud-ags “blessed” (in the related languages, also “rich”). But, more probably, Latin autumnus goes back to Etruscan. The main argument for the Etruscan origin is the resemblance of autumnus to Vertumnus, the name of a seasonal deity (or so it seems), about whom little is known besides the tale of his seduction, in the shape of an old woman, of Pomona, as told by Ovid. Vertumnus, or Vortumnus, may be a Latinized form of an Etruscan name. A definite conclusion about autumnus is hardly possible, even though some sources, while tracing this word to Etruscan, add “without doubt.” The Egyptian Autun was a creation god and the god of the setting sun, so that his connection with autumn is remote at best. Nor do we have any evidence that Autun had a cult in Ancient Rome. Everything is so uncertain here that the origin of autumnus must needs remain unknown. In my opinion, the Egyptian hypothesis holds out little promise.

Vertumnus seducing Pomona in the shape of an old woman. (Pomona by Frans de Vriendt "Floris" (Konstnär, 1518-1570) Antwerpen, Belgien, Hallwyl Museum, Photo by Jens Mohr, via Wikimedia Commons)

Vertumnus seducing Pomona in the shape of an old woman. (Pomona by Frans de Vriendt “Floris” (Konstnär, 1518-1570) Antwerpen, Belgien, Hallwyl Museum, Photo by Jens Mohr, via Wikimedia Commons)

The origin of so long

I received an interesting letter from Mr. Paul Nance. He writes about so long:

“It seems the kind of expression that should have derived from some fuller social nicety, such as I regret that it will be so long before we meet again or the like, but no one has proposed a clear antecedent. An oddity is its sudden appearance in the early nineteenth century; there are only a handful of sightings before Walt Whitman’s use of it in a poem (including the title) in the 1860-1861 edition of Leaves of Grass. I can, by the way, offer an antedating to the OED citations: so, good bye, so long in the story ‘Cruise of a Guinean Man’. Knickerbocker: New York (Monthly Magazine 5, February 1835, p. 105; available on Google Books). Given the lack of a fuller antecedent, suggestions as to its origin all propose a borrowing from another language. Does this seem reasonable to you?”

Mr. Nance was kind enough to append two articles (by Alan S. Kaye and Joachim Grzega) on so long, both of which I had in my folders but have not reread since 2004 and 2005, when I found and copied them. Grzega’s contribution is especially detailed. My database contains only one more tiny comment on so long by Frank Penny: “About twenty years ago I was informed that it [the expression so long] is allied to Samuel Pepys’s expression so home, and should be written so along or so ’long, meaning that the person using the expression must go his way” (Notes and Queries, Series 12, vol. IX, 1921, p. 419). The group so home does turn up in the Diary more than once, but no citation I could find looks like a formula. Perhaps Stephen Goranson will ferret it out. In any case, so long looks like an Americanism, and it is unlikely that such a popular phrase should have remained dormant in texts for almost two centuries.

Be that as it may, I agree with Mr. Nance that a formula of this type probably arose in civil conversation. The numerous attempts to find a foreign source for it carry little conviction. Norwegian does have an almost identical phrase, but, since its antecedents are unknown, it may have been borrowed from English. I suspect (a favorite turn of speech by old etymologists) that so long is indeed a curtailed version of a once more comprehensible parting formula, unless it belongs with the likes of for auld lang sine. It may have been brought to the New World from England or Scotland and later abbreviated and reinterpreted.

“Heavy rain” in languages other than English

Once I wrote a post titled “When it rains, it does not necessarily pour.” There I mentioned many German and Swedish idioms like it is raining cats and dogs, and, rather than recycling that text, will refer our old correspondent Mr. John Larsson to it.

Ukraine and Baltic place names

The comment on this matter was welcome. In my response, I preferred not to talk about the things alien to me, but I wondered whether the Latvian place name could be of Slavic origin. That is why I said cautiously: “If this is a native Latvian word…” The question, as I understand, remains unanswered, but the suggestion is tempting. And yes, of course, Serb/Croat Krajna is an exact counterpart of Ukraina, only without a prefix. In Russian, stress falls on i; in Ukrainian, I think, the first a is stressed. The same holds for the derived adjectives: ukrainskii ~ ukrainskii. Pushkin said ukrainskaia (feminine).

Slough, sloo, and the rest

Many thanks to those who informed me about their pronunciation of slough “mire.” It was new to me that the surname Slough is pronounced differently in England and the United States. I also received a question about the history of slew. The past tense of slay (Old Engl. slahan) was sloh (with a long vowel), and this form developed like scoh “shoe,” though the verb vacillated between the 6th and the 7th class. The fact that slew and shoe have such dissimilar written forms is due to the vagaries of English spelling. One can think of too, who, you, group, fruit, cruise, rheum, truth, and true, which have the same vowel as slew. In addition, consider Bruin and ruin, which look deceptively like fruit, and add manoeuver for good measure. A mild spelling reform looks like a good idea, doesn’t it?

The pronunciation of February

In one of the letters I received, the writer expresses her indignation that some people insist on sounding the first r in February. Everybody, she asserts, says Febyooary. In such matters, everybody is a dangerous word (as we will also see from the next item). All of us tend to think that what we say is the only correct norm. Words with the succession r…r tend to lose one of them. Yet library is more often pronounced with both, and Drury, brewery, and prurient have withstood the tendency. February has changed its form many times. Thus, long ago feverer (from Old French) became feverel (possibly under the influence of averel “April”). In the older language of New England, January and February turned into Janry and Febry. However powerful the phonetic forces may have been in affecting the pronunciation of February, of great importance was also the fact that the names of the months often occur in enumeration. Without the first r, January and February rhyme. A similar situation is well-known from the etymology of some numerals. Although the pronunciation Febyooary is equally common on both sides of the Atlantic and is recognized as standard throughout the English-speaking world, not “everybody” has accepted it. The consonant b in February is due to the Latinization of the French etymon (late Latin februarius).

Who versus whom

Discussion of these pronouns lost all interest long ago, because the confusion of who and whom and the defeat of whom in American English go back to old days. Yet I am not sure that what I said about the educated norm is “nonsense.” Who will marry our son? Whom will our son marry? Is it “nonsense” to distinguish them, and should (or only can) it be who in both cases? Despite the rebuke, I believe that even in Modern American English the woman who we visited won’t suffer if who is replaced with whom. But, unlike my opponent, I admit that tastes differ.

Wrap

Another question I received was about the origin of the verb wrap. This is a rather long story, and I decided to devote a special post to it in the foreseeable future.

PS. I notice that of the two questions asked by our correspondent last month only copacetic attracted some attention (read Stephen Goranson’s response). But what about hubba hubba?

Anatoly Liberman is the author of Word Origins And How We Know Them as well as An Analytic Dictionary of English Etymology: An Introduction. His column on word origins, The Oxford Etymologist, appears on the OUPblog each Wednesday. Send your etymology question to him care of blog@oup.com; he’ll do his best to avoid responding with “origin unknown.” Subscribe to Anatoly Liberman’s weekly etymology articles via email or RSS.

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The post Monthly etymology gleanings for July 2014 appeared first on OUPblog.

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2. February is a Win!


Put February in the Win column!  I passed 50,000 words again, and I’m up foranother great writing month in March. I had a crazy week revising my twoparables for my “Parables for Today” submission. I guess that book is comingout this Summer. I’ll post the details as I have them.

Stats:
Running Total: 106,332
Month to Date: 12,343
Yearly Percentage to Go: 82.3%

Writing Tip of the Week:
A good editor is worth his or her weight in…first edition rarebooks. (You thought I was going to say ‘gold’ didn’t you. I really do try towatch the cliché thing.) When looking for an editor, find someone who willreally tell it to you straight and give you ‘tough love’ when you need it. Ihave a really tough editor help me disassemble and reassemble two of my storiesthis week and though it hurt a little, I ended up with a superior finishedproduct.

Writing Update:

“Canticle of Night” is finished! The entire thing can be read andlistened to. My editor thought the story came to a satisfying conclusion, butif you do want more, I’m starting up the next “season” called “Canticle of Dawn”.It picks up years later in the Canticle Kingdom and tells the backstory of someof the pivotal characters from “The Canticle Kingdom” and continues the storyfrom “Canticle of Night”. They have told me that they would like to turn itinto an eBook and an audio book soon. 

If you want to listen to or read "Canticle of Night",please visit my page at http://www.bigworldnetwork.com/CanticleofNight.html

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3. More February Upcoming Events



Schmooze with Bridge to Books


Wed, Feb 22, 2012 - 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm
Once Upon a Time Bookstore
2207 Honolulu Avenue, Montrose CA 91020
818-248-9668


Katherine Applegate - The One and Only Ivan - and Literacy Cafes
event listing

Teachers, librarians, and parents, come and chat with us about teaching, literacy, & many creative ways to connect kids with books.


Tickets are $5 each.


Marissa Meyer signs Cinder

Fri, Feb 24, 2012 - 5:00 pm
Mrs. Nelson's Toy and Book Shop
1030 Bonita Avenue, La Verne, CA 91750
909-599-4558
event listing

Breathless Reads

Marie Lu - Legend
Beth Revis - Across the Universe
Jessica Spotswood - Born Wicked
Andrea Cremer - Nightshade

Fri, Feb 24, 2012 - 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm
Once Upon a Time Bookstore
2207 Honolulu Avenue, Montrose CA 91020
818-248-9668

event listing

Passion and Prose
Sat, Feb 25, 2012 - 9:00 am to 3:30 pm
Westin Long Beach, 333 East Ocean Blvd, Long Beach, CA 90802
Prices REDUCED from $125 to $65
For more info, check out the Authors Are Rock Stars page here.
event listing
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4. xxx

...because it's my favorite day of the year :)
happy valentine's day!
love, pippa....and me :)
xxx

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5. NaBloPoMo

Yes, folks, your eyes aren’t deceiving you. There is yet another challenge for the writers who just can’t stand going without one.

I found this particular one when I joined the BlogHer Network a couple of days ago. The challenge is to write a themed blog post each day for the given month, in this case, February.

BTW, this should in no way intimidate or discourage any writer from picking up the gauntlet of that have beaten back many a writer. After all, there are many writers and other bloggers who already post each day. I know, because I used to be one of them.

According to the BlogHer challenge, February’s theme is “Relative,” meaning that each post must have something to do with family in one form or another.

Now, having redefined what constitutes “family” many times across the span of my life, I don’t seriously feel challenged as to topic. I have entire state’s worth of pseudo-family to draw from.

What might concern me, if I allow myself to think about it for more than a nanosecond, is the fact that I have three blogs—not counting an inactive one in the UK—which might, technically, fall under the auspices of this challenge.

Should I be held accountable for only one of my blogs each day, or, do I have to include all of them in the challenge?

That’s a big question and one I have only a few days to answer before beginning the keyboard shuffle.

I’m counting on all of you to help me with this decision. Am I supposed to do all three—that includes Trailing Inspirations on WordPress—or can I muddle through doing only one of them? And if only one, which one—Claudsy’s Calliope on Blogspot, or Claudsy’s Blog on WordPress?

Comments are encouraged, indeed, required on this one, peeps. HELP ME DECIDE!

Claudsy


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6. Special Valentine Giveaway

I would like to start a new tradition around here, and I want it to be something special given at least once a year.
I want to give away a painting, and I think Valentine's Day is the perfect time.


Title: "Love Floats"
Image Size: approx. 6.5 x 11 inches
Paper Size: 9x12

I created this piece just for the giveaway, and it's particularly special because of how I went about the process. In my previous post I mentioned I was going to take a watercolor class and I found many awesome videos/tutorials on youtube. 

I applied much of what I learned, and something clicked last night as I completed "Love Floats". I am VERY excited to see the new discovery in my later work. (discovery will be revealed in next blog post)

Why the original giveaway? I truly believe my artwork goes to those it was intended for, and I know in these times it can be difficult to obtain something extra that isn't a necessity. 


So, is this intended for you? 
Here's how you can find out...

Mandatory Entry: Post below about one of the biggest blessings you've ever received. What truly touched you and made you stand up straight knowing you were/are loved?

Additional ways to enter (get your name in multiple times):

1 entry - Share the giveaway on Facebook and Twitter and mention below
2 entries - Visit my shop and share your favorite art print below 
3 entries - Write a blog post about this giveaway and share the post here 

Please be sure to post all comments here so that nothing gets lost. If it's not below it won't count. 
I will use Random.org to determine a winner.

There's More?!
Yuppers! There will be a second and third place winner too!

Second Place Prize: *Two (2) 8x10 prints of your choice from my shop and one (1) Print of "Love Floats"

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7. Best of February

Lots of picture book reading in February. These were among my favorites. Monsters Eat Whiny Children (Kaplan, Bruce Eric) This qualifies as the best book about complaining since Emily Jenkins' I Love You When You Whine.  The indecisiveness of a group of monsters as to the best way to serve up whiny children is at the heart of this humorous book. Kudos for mentioning curry: "They all tried to

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8. Read Around The World Challenge: February Link-Up

Read Around the World Challenge

February Link-Up

Sorry for posting this so late in the month. I forgot all about the link up portion of the challenge. Ugh, what a rookie!

readaroundtheworldchallenge150x150 Read Around The World Challenge: February Link UpThe Details:

  • Make sure that before you link-up your reviews, you sign up for the challenge on the challenge post.
  • Anyone, even non-bloggers can participate. Open worldwide. If you don’t have a blog, just link to your Amazon, Good Reads or other review posting.
  • Link as many reviews as you’d like throughout the month. Each link to an actual review will earn you an entry in the drawing.
  • This month’s prize drawing will be down at 11:59 pm EST on February 28th so you have until that time to make entry/reviews counting for February’s drawing.
  • February’s prize in celebration of Black History Month: All Aboard: Elijah McCoy’s Steam Engine by Monica Kulling

allaboard Read Around The World Challenge: February Link Up

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9. Snowlog and Potluck Stuff

While I was looking for pictures of the last snowstorm, I finally found the picture of our Christmas mantle that I thought I had never taken.

Everyone piled stuff there without any real pattern, sort of a designer's potluck. It has nothing to do with this post, but that's sort of the way February has been going around here.
Here are observations from my snowlog:

1. Cats really, really don't understand glass. Maybe buying a glass computer table to fit into the kitchen corner should have been thought through a little more.

Our cats are already nuts and now they are making themselves crazier than ever by trying to knock pens and papers off the glass. When we clear it, they try to bite each other's paws through the glass. Lots of giant skunk tails and long caterwauls that sound like: rrrrrrreeeeeeewwwwwwwoooooohhhhh. It's like living inside the soundtrack of nightmares.
2. Philip is going to church with me now. Yup, lapsed Catholics that we were. There is a much, much longer story to this, but suffice it to say, my tall boy is now listening to weekly homilies and gospel right next to his mom.

And isn't that every 16 year old boy's dream?

3. I am cleaning out my closet. Really cleaning, as in basement and attic scouring, so even the bagged up stuff that I paid a lot for and was going to fit into one day is g

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10. February Raffle!

Since my last raffle here on the blog, I've wanted to host another one. So this month I am, and there will be 4 winners!

Starting tomorrow, February 1st, every time you spend $25 at my Etsy shop your name gets entered into the RAFFLE !

Every Thursday during the month of February a name will be drawn. Your name never leaves the raffle unless you win!

The Prize

A handsigned, personalized, and dated edition of Pure Inspiration's "Fantasy Art Collection". A heavy and gorgeous book filled with masterful fantasy artists including Shelia Wolk, Josephine Wall, K.Y. Craft, and more! Even the cover is embossed!

Many artists, many stories about their inspirations, and SO many stunningly beautiful pages of artwork.

The first drawing will be held on February 4th. The announcement will be made here and on my Facebook Fan page.

Winners will be notified through email and through Etsy's convo.

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11. Church Sketches: Emmaus on a Cold Sunday

But is there anything else in early February in Montreal? It’s a big church to warm up. There are large vents on each side of the sanctuary that put out heat. People will congregate there to warm themselves before sitting down. I spent a good part of the service in front of one myself. But when [...]

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12. Wacky Wednesday: Black Heritage Toys for Black History Month

February is Black History Month, and I wanted to tell you about a really cool website, Black Heritage Toys. They have economical toys, featuring prominent black figures in history as well as resources for teachers. I’m just going to tell you about the things that you can find on this site to use in your classroom or at home with your children.

For under $20, you can buy one of six games from Black Heritage Toys. These games are: a black heritage trivia game for adults or kids, “I Can Do Anything” game about careers, Mancala for kids, a matching game, and the Underground Railroad game you see featured here.

This company also sells puzzles from 24 to 1000 pieces, featuring Harriet Tubman, Barack Obama, and Matthew Henson. These puzzles are all under $10–very economical!

Finally, the resources section of the website are two PDFs you can download for either students ages 3 to 6 or 8 to 11. The 3 to 6 guide is a lesson plan called “Escape to Freedom” about the Underground Railroad. The 8 to 11 guide is a lesson plan about the Ewe people from Ghana and their wonderful art of weaving.

Use this website and its economical resources to teach your students and/or children during Black History Month!

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13. Light Beneath Ferns



Since I've blogged about my dog, I think it's only fair to devote one blog about a new book I have coming out.

Probably the number one question people ask me is, "So what is it like to get a book published?" I think my answer to that has changed. With my first book, I actually felt terrified. I liked anonymity, writing whatever I wanted without anyone knowing anything more about me other than where I had previously published. And it was really, really weird to go from that to having people send me manuscripts to pass along to "the people at Flux" -- I guess everyone knows by now that if you have a published writer's email address, you're just about there...

But you get used to it. And you get used to people asking you to sign the book and telling you what's wrong with the book and how they would have written it and what both you and Andrew Karre (the previous editor at Flux) should have done. But it's definitely a life transition. The readers force the change in your life. There's one Library Thing reader review of The Shape of Water that speaks to how that's done more than I ever could:

This novel helped me let go of some painful and shameful things I had a difficult time with in my own life that I had...I was able to finally speak up to my father about anger that I had never been listened to without him cutting me off mid-sentence and that was the one main thing I was angry about. This novel changed my being able to speak up for myself, by persisting and clarifying what I meant to him. I have never been able to say that before about a book. I really love this book. As a result of reading this book, I dealt with tying up some loose ends in my own life. TERRIFIC!!! HIGHLY RECOMMEND. The entire review is here.

That amazes me. And it reinforces what I've always believed: that books have the power to change lives. (Wonderful, I hear my son's voice saying, "Yeah, Mom, but so do diets." He's not here now, and I don't recall him ever saying that; I just hear that response. He really needs to go away to college...)

Anyway, I'm not talking about my NEW book which I said I would. First off, I love the cover. Everyone does; they tell me how great it is. I always say "THANKS!" even though the lovely folks at Flux did all the work. They figured out what went with the story, scouted for it, put it together, showed it to me, and I get the credit. So I love covers.

And second of all, I've already gotten emails that ask "It's not like your first book, is it?"

Nope. It's different. I think it's easier to read, less dense, and probably for a younger reader. I'm sure people will tell me what I and Brian Farrey (the present editor at Flux) should have done.

Or maybe not. I'm not sure what it's like to have a second book out yet, since it's not really official until February. I do know that if someone asked me now, "So what is it like to publish books?" I would answer: "It's great. It's really, really fun." How else would I ever open my email to read this from a thirteen year old girl: "Your new book is Parnormalish, right?"

Right.

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