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So, November is almost here! That means all the cool challenges are fixin’ to start soon. There’s NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) and PiBoIdMo (Picture Book Idea Month), of which I am a participant of again this year.)
There are probably a bunch more, but suffice it to say, November is a busy month for some.
For the past two years, I thought, just to heap even more onto my plate, I’d make November a “sketch a day month” or SkADaMo (SkADaMo 2012, SkADaMo 2011) , for myself. Just trying to get back to the early days of my blog when I feverishly posted just about every single day. When my synapses seemed to be firing on all cylinders and ideas where presenting themselves to me faster than I could sketch or write them down.
Sigh. Those were good days.
This exercise may not have gotten me back to that place completely, but it did get the ole synapses firing again. And I figure between attempting a picture book idea a day and a sketch/blog post a day, I’ll at least have a notebook/sketchbook/blog filled with chicken scratches of some sort or another again this year.
Better than blank pages and outdated blog posts, I say.
I even made a badge for myself the past couple of years and one again this year.
I may be the only participant, but by golly I have a badge!
If anyone wants to join in, they are more than welcome to grab this badge, off to the side here and start sketching.
“What are the rules?” You may ask.
1. THERE ARE NO RULES! NO SIGN UP! NO REGISTRATION! NO GIVEAWAYS OR GUEST POSTERS! No regulations, themes, daily words, Facebook pages or anything else resembling organization. Just lots of sketching, commenting back and forth and hopefully lots of inspiration and craft honing!
SkADaMoers are scoff-laws and Mavricks! (Really, I’m just not that organized.) The only code we live by this month is SKETCH! SKETCH! SKETCH! Sketch everyday from November 1 to November 30,or at least try to.
You may not sketch every single day, but by golly you will have tried and you’ll have more sketches in your sketchbook at the end of November than you might have otherwise.
So, there’s that!
2. If you send me a link to your blog, (or wherever you are posting your SkADaMo sketches) I will keep a running list of all the participants and their links on my blog. This way we can all keep in touch and root each other on. If there are any broken links, bad links, I forgot anyone, misspelled anyone’s name or any other heinous act was performed, please let me know and I’ll do my best to correct it.
3. Smile, this is fun!
Sketch on my fellow SkADaMoers, (should there be any!)
Be sure to check out the Second Annual March Madness Poetry Tournament (details below!)...and welcome to today's
Howdy Campers, and Happy Poetry Friday!
PF is hosted by Sheri Doyle this week--thanks, Sheri! Poetry Friday hosting can be a big job, folks, so make sure you help Sheri put away the chairs and stack the dishes before you leave.
I am picking up where I left off a week ago.
Mare and Mars. Can they be related?
The chance is close to zero. Both words are of obscure origin, and attempts to explain an opaque word by referring it to an equally opaque one invariably come out wrong. Although Mars, the name of the Roman war god, has been compared with the Greek verb márnamai “I fight,” this comparison may be the product of folk etymology. Some festivals dedicated to Mars involved horses, but the connection was not direct. Since the success of campaigns depended on the good state of chariots, war and steeds formed a natural union. Mare has multiple Germanic and Celtic cognates. However, it may be a migratory word of Eastern origin. For example, Russian merin “gelding” has almost the same root. A similar case is Latin caballus “packhorse; nag,” later just “horse” and Russian kobyla “mare” (stress on the second syllable).
Along the same lines, I must defer judgment with regard to the word for “monkey” in Arabic, Farsi, and Romany. At the end of my post on monkey, I suggested that we might be dealing with a migratory animal name. If I am right, the etymology of one more hard word will be partly clarified.
In the post on suppletive forms, I wrote that better is the comparative of a nonexistent positive degree (good has a different root).The question from our correspondent concerned Farsi beh, behtar, behtarin. Are those forms related to better? Not being a specialist in Indo-Iranian, I cannot answer this question. (However, if h is a separate phoneme belonging to the root, the relation is unlikely.) I will only say that better is akin to Engl. boot in to boot and bootless (all such cognates refer to gain and improvement) and that the standard etymological dictionaries of Indo-European (Walde-Pokorny and Pokorny) mention only Sanskrit and Avestan congeners of better (Gothic batiza); they mean “happy.”
En gobelet (French) ~ en vaso (Spanish).
These phrases designate a vine pruned to the shape of a hollow cup. Was the drinking vessel named after the shape of the vine, or was the shape of the vine named after the drinking vessel? I am sure the second variant is correct.
As noted last time, I received a sizable list of words that the listeners of Minnesota Public radio “hate.” It is an instructive list. I also have my peeves. For example, I wince every time I hear that so-and so is a Renaissance man. In some circles, it suffices to know the correct spelling of principle and principal to become an equal of Leonardo. Fascinating is another enemy, and so is the cutting edge (in academia, to be on the cutting edge, one has to be interdisciplinary). Nothing is nowadays good, acceptable, or proper: the maid of all work is sustainable: sustainable behavior, sustainable budget, sustainable tourism—every quality and object has its sustainable niche (rhyming in the Midwest and perhaps everywhere with kitsch, witch, and bitch). Some of my “enemies” are pretentious Latinisms. For instance, I never accepted utilize outside its technical context (use is good enough for me) and morph for “change.” Why should things morph instead of changing? And why do students hope to utilize my notes? Do they want to recycle them?
I began to pay attention to other buzzwords only after they were pointed out to me:
True enough, newspapers and TV find themselves constantly enraptured. Their frame of mind is one of permanent astonishment and wonderment: the simplest things amaze them: a readable book, cold weather, and even cheap pizza. As a result, amazing has come to mean “worthy of notice.” It followed the same “trajectory” as Renaissance man. Rather scary are also the adjectives epic and surreal. The protagonists of epic poetry are larger than life, but with us every important event acquires “epic” dimensions. Likewise, though reality is full of surprises, every unexpected situation need not be called surreal.
The word has been worked to death. Path, road, way, development, direction, and the rest have yielded to it. This holds for journalists and speech writers at all levels. President Obama: “I think Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that Richard Nixon did not and in a way that Bill Clinton did not.”
This word has killed influence and its synonyms. I remember the time when the concerned guardians of English usage fought the verb impact. Now both the verb and the noun have become the un-words of the decade. Everything “has an impact” and “impacts” its neighbors. Impact is a tolerably good word, but, like chocolate, it cloys the appetite and produces heartburn if consumed in great quantities.
I will now quote some of the messages I received. Perhaps our correspondents will comment on them:
“I absolutely hate dialogue used as verb, as in let’s dialogue about that. Also hate go-to as in it’s my go-to snack or it’s my go-to workout.” Both do sound silly, for go-to (never a beauty) originated in contexts like this is the person to go to (= turn to) if you need good advice. Shakespeare would have been puzzled: in his days go to was a transparent euphemism for go to the devil. As for dialogue, it has succumbed to the powerful rule that has “impacted” English since at least the sixteenth century: every noun, and not only nouns, can be converted into a verb (consider “but me no buts,” “if ifs and buts were candy and nuts,” and the like). Sometimes the opposite process occurs: meet is a verb, and meet, a noun, came into being. It does not follow that we should admire the verb dialogue.
“My least favorite word… when politicians use the word folks, like they are intimately familiar with their audience.” I agree! Folks should not be used as a doublet of folk.
“Whenever so-called experts weigh in on news stories, they preface their statements with the word clearly. Clearly somehow makes whatever they say irrefutably true.”
“…count the number of times the word is used in a culture of growing mistrust of analysts and experts who make predictions about news before it happens…” I have waged a losing war against such adverbs (actually, really, clearly, definitely, certainly, doubtlessly) for years, but actually is the worst offender, a symptom of what I call advanced adverbialitis (–Where were you born? –Actually, I was born in California.)
“The one I started hearing a lot this year is ‘So-and-so is doubling down on [a provocative statement or position]. Holy cow, political commentators, what did you do before this phrase crawled into your brains!” I guess they were milking some other venerable cow, possibly unrelated to gambling.
There was a complaint about the use of the verb evolve as meaning “develop; change” (“…so many people describe themselves or their opinions as ‘evolving’….”). In the past, I resented devolve as a synonym of degenerate, because I had been using this verb only in contexts like “I devolved all authority to my assistant,” but gradually accepted the other sense. By now I have heard evolve “change” so many times that it no longer irritates me (unlike morph).
In my talk show, I said that I am tired of hearing that nearly everything I buy is called organic or natural and was reprimanded: “There are strict standards set by government for the term organic, while the term natural is not regulated. You are maligning the organic food industry by proffering the incorrect information.” I stand corrected and apologize.
One of the listeners resented the promiscuous use of the adjective random (the epithet above is mine). Mr. Dan Kolz wrote in a letter to me: “In programming circles, a random value is one generated by the computer which is not predictable or predefined by the programmer. It can be used like: ‘I found a bug in test which generated random values as parameters’. It is sometimes used as a synonym for arbitrary or in a longer form ‘an arbitrarily chosen value’. This indicates that from the programmer’s perspective the value was unpredictable (if not actually from the user’s). It is in this sense that the word random could have acquired the meaning ‘selected or determined for no reason I know or could have predicted’, as in ‘I went to the party, but there were just a bunch of random people there’.” This strikes me as a reasonable explanation. Computer talk has really (clearly and actually) had a strong influence on Modern English. For instance, cross out and expunge have disappeared from the language: everything is now “deleted.”
May I repeat my old request? Sometimes people discover an old post of mine and leave a comment there. I have no chance to find it. Always leave your comments in the space allotted to the most recent posts. Above, I rejected a connection between mare and Mars. By way of compensation, you will see an equestrian print of the Roman war god, though I suspect that his horses were chargers rather than mares.
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 here, each Wednesday. Send your etymology question to him care of email@example.com; he’ll do his best to avoid responding with “origin unknown.”
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Primates have given Germanic language historians great trouble. In the most recent dictionary of German etymology (Kluge-Seebold), the entry Affe “ape” is one of the most detailed. In the revised version of the OED, monkey is also discussed at a length, otherwise rare in this online edition. Despite the multitude of hypotheses, the sought-for solution is not in view. (Mine, however, will appear at the end of the present post.) Only one thing is clear: wherever the ancestors of the modern Germanic speakers lived, including the southernmost areas of the lands they once inhabited (Italy and the shores of the Black Sea), they could not observe monkeys and apes roaming tropical woods. This means that the names of both animals are, most probably, borrowed.
No extant citation of monkey predates 1530 (so the OED), and the word cannot be much older. Before the sixteenth century, ape was the generic term for both species. The question is about the original land of the import. The suspects are two: northern Germany and some Romance country. In Spanish, mona (feminine) and mono (masculine) resemble monkey, and in Middle French monne (Modern French mone) has been attested. Likewise, Italian had monna ~ mona. The source of those words remains undiscovered; clearly, monkeys were as foreign to the Romance speaking lands as they were to the English and Germans. In the nineteenth century, etymologists accepted the explanation of Friedrich Diez, the founder of Romance comparative philology, who looked upon mona as a “corruption” of Madonna. He based his conclusion on the fact that the name of a female monkey surfaced before the name of its masculine partner.
Skeat, The Century Dictionary, and others followed him, though Skeat suggested that monkey was an alteration of Old Italian monicchio, a diminutive of monna. He traced it back to Latin domina and referred to Madonna “my lady”: “The degradation of the term is certainly very great; but there is an exactly parallel instance in the case of the term dam, which has been degraded from the Latin domina, in French ‘notre dame’, till it now means only the mother of racehorse, or of a less important animal.” This reconstruction is but slightly different from Diez’s. Later researchers went to Greece, Turkey, India, and the Arab lands for the elusive etymon. I am leaving out of account a few fanciful suggestions that may amuse but not enlighten our readers. In no modern Romance language, except Spanish, is mono the main name of the monkey. In Italy, it turned up in 1438, a century before it reached an English book. The first French citation goes back to 1545.
The central argument in my reasoning resolves itself into the following. The English hardly coined the word monkey; they must have borrowed it. Therefore, I have no sympathy for the conjecture of Klaus Dietz (not to be confused with Friedrich Diez!) that monkey is a native word, made up of the root monk and the suffix -ie ~ -(e)y. Little capuchin monkeys allegedly resembled little Capuchin friars; moreover, apes were traditionally used in satiric portrayals of the clergy. Dietz advanced his idea in 2006 and wrote a short article on this subject in 2008. The most recent entry in the OED online testifies to Dietz’s influence. Long ago, Eduard Mueller (or Müller) remarked in his useful but now forgotten dictionary of English etymology (1865-67; 1878) that English speakers could not help noticing a strong resemblance between monkey and both monk and man. Before him, Franciscus Junius (1743; a posthumous edition) had the same idea, and in 1863 August Lübben considered but rejected this possibility. I also refuse to treat monkey as a word initially endowed with the sense “little monk.”Another theory takes us to the famous Low German animal epic Reynke de Vos (1498) or (in French) Reynard the Fox. In it Martin the ape has a son Moneke; in French, the “youngster” is called Monnekin. Both -ke and -kin are familiar diminutive suffixes: compare Engl. manikin, another word strongly resembling monkey. Some scholars thought that Moneke had come to England with German traveling showmen or by some such route. But there are problems with this idea: the vowels of monkey (whose first syllable rhymes with dun rather than don) and Moneke do not match, and nothing testifies to the popularity of the poem’s fame in England in the first quarter of the sixteenth century. The name of Martin’s son occurs only once in the poem, and it is unbelievable that it could have stayed in people’s memory and caught their fancy to such an extent as to cause the formation of a new word. Dietz makes this point, and his objections to the Moneke theory, contrary to his etymology, are irrefutable.
The real question is why the ape’s son bore the name Moneke, and it was answered ingeniously and, I think, persuasively, in 1869, but etymologists have a short memory, which is not their fault, for without exhaustive bibliographies unearthing a relevant note with a vague title is impossible. Moneke was a familiar name for Simoneke, that is, Simon. Simon is a Greek word, derived from the adjective simós “snub-nosed” or “flat-nosed,” and the meaning of the name was known, even though in the late Middle Ages few people may have realized that Simon had been confused with Hebrew Simeon. Apparently, Moneke “the flat-nosed,” was, in addition to the pet name for Simoneke, a slang word for “monkey,” with reference to the German-Latin pun, for the Latin for “monkey” was simia (a borrowing from Greek; feminine, like Modern French guenon and the Romance words, cited above). Judging by Dutch simminkel, the unattested Latin simiuncula “little monkey” also had some currency; hence the name of the ape’s son in Reynke. It is this word that must have become known in England. In German and Dutch it did not stay, but in English it did. The phonetic difficulties (the quality of the stressed vowels) are hardly insurmountable here. To be sure, I have no proof that moneke “monkey” existed, but if this word had been recorded, the riddle would have been solved centuries ago and saved us a lot of monkey business. In any case, Martin must have had a good reason for calling his son Moneke.
Something should also be said about the Romance words. One might suggest that in French and Spanish we are dealing with the Germanic noun that lost its suffix, but this would hardly be a convincing solution. Also, Italian mona was recorded a hundred years before monkey surfaced in English, and a loan from German or Dutch is probably out of the question. I would risk the hypothesis that the Romance names of the monkey have nothing to do with their Germanic look-alikes. In Kanarese, a Dravidian language, the male monkey is called manga; a related Tamil noun sounds mandi. One may perhaps ask whether a migratory culture word for the monkey, known from India to northern Germany, enjoyed some popularity in the past. It may not be for nothing that so many similar simian forms have been found. If some such word traveled with the animal, in every country speakers would adapt it slightly under the influence of folk etymology. Whatever the answer, I believe that, as regards the etymology of Engl. monkey, both monks and the medieval animal epic should be left in peace.
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Anatoly Liberman is the author of Word Origins…And How We Know Themas well as An Analytic Dictionary of English Etymology: An Introduction. His column on word origins, The Oxford Etymologist, appears here, each Wednesday. Send your etymology question to him care of firstname.lastname@example.org; he’ll do his best to avoid responding with “origin unknown.”
Super quick sketch today! Off to make merriment!
5 stars All About Boats: A to Z David & Zora Aiken Schiffer Publishing No. Pages: 32 Ages: 6 to 8 ....................
Back Cover: Boating time is family time as everyone often shares both the fun and the work. Even young children are eager to help. Their curiosity is roused and they’ll look for ways to learn more about boating. All About Books: A to Z shows the youngest crew members the purpose of the many things they see while boating. The book can prompt conversations about all aspects of boating as families develop their onboard teamwork.
All About Boats: A to Z is a unique alphabet book. For one, it is written for older children who already know their ABCs. A boating term, beginning with that page’s letter, helps a child learn about boats and boating terms. A rhyming verse explains the term in a light, easy tone. Finally, the illustrations add further explanation of the term.
For example, the letter K’s word is keel.
Most boats have a keel—
It’s part of the design.
A sailboat’s deep keel
Helps hold a straight line.
The illustration for letter K is a sailboat on transparent water, allowing the child to see the keel on the sailboat. This is a great way for anyone to learn something new. The more senses involved, the better the retention.
All About Boats: A to Z uses sight and sound, but in multiple ways. The child will read the letter and its word in bold type. Then they will read a short verse, which rhymes and includes the word’s purpose. Each illustration shows the child where the term is in relation to boating. Assuming the family owns a boat, the child can connect then term with the real thing.
I like the book’s multiple avenues for learning both the alphabet and boating terms. Younger children can use this as an ABC book, especially if interested in boats. All About Boats: A to Z is written for the older child who wants or needs to learn the terms of boating. Each verse helps the child remember the purpose of each word. The important word is in bold type and always in the verse. The illustrations do a wonderful job of capturing the word, while still keeping the book’s feel light and airy, somewhat like boating itself.
I think kids will love to learn about boats by using this book. It is friendly, fun, and familiarizes the child to boats and their functions quickly. A young child, under the age of five or six may not understand all of the terms, even after having the verses read to them and looking at the illustrations. Still, I would not hesitate in giving this ABC book to a youngun (as my fellow book reviewer Erik, called young children in a recent review).
This is a book that can help a child prepare for a boating trip and then reinforce the boating term, part, and function while on the trip. Some adults, not accustom to boating on a regular basis, will learn much from this cute book. T is for transom,* which is the area on the back of the boat, where a boat’s given name is painted. I did not know that.
I like this book. Kids will enjoy the illustrations and learning about boats. I think girls will enjoy this as much as boys. Anyone with children, or grandchildren, who regularly boats, especially if they own a boat, will find this book valuable. Any child who loves boats, be it the large ones sailing the ocean or the small ones sailing the carpet, will want this boat, learn from this boat, and be thrilled to own this book. All About Boats: A to Z is a great book for many reasons—all of them kid friendly.
*One possible game that can be played to reinforce remembering a term, is to find that term on other pages of the book. For example, the term transom, which I did not know until reading this book. There are seven transoms with a name in this book. One boat has its name on its side, so I would think it does not count.
Those seven boats with names, when found by the child, will help reinforce what a transom is for. The last spread is a beautiful scene of all shapes and sizes of boats, yet not one has a name on its transom. This is a missed opportunity for reinforcement of letter T’ and the word transom.
Author: David & Zora Aiken Illustrator: David Aiken Publisher: Schiffer Publishing website Release Date: July 28, 2012 ISBN: 978-0-7643-4184-7 Number of Pages: 32 Ages: 5 to 8 .......................
I have a WIP.
It has nothing to do with clocks or exploding monkey heads.
It has to do with this
When I'm not twittering, I'm editing 'Barbed Wire Hearts'.
*no monkeys were harmed in the making of this post.
I have been in serious need of some inspiration lately so I bought some new art books. One of which was the Skillful Huntsman. This is a book of concept art that could either be inspirating or just depress the heck out of you. Are there really folks that talented out there?!?
One technique that I got out of the book was creating silhouettes to explore character design. And since I got a nifty new Pentel pocket brush pen, I thought I'd take a stab at a monkey character for an idea I've had banging around for a while.
It seemed like when I tried to deviate too much it immediately stopped reading as a monkey. It was an interesting exercise, and it really made me think about what makes a character recognizable as a monkey.
I'm loving the brush pen BTW. I like it way better than those felt tipped brush markers. This is actually a brush with bristles, very cool!