barnabas_truman: (young whistler)
"So do you know what xanthophyll does?"

"I know it's... yellow."

"Yes, and?"

"Aaaaaaaaaaand it's in plants."

"Very good. And do you know why we see it in leaves in the fall?"

"Becaaaaaauuuuuuuuse... it's all that's left after the chlorophyll flies south for the winter?"

>_<

"Ooh, that's the 'you were so close but then you ruined it' face, isn't it?"
barnabas_truman: (dwarf)
"What are you doing?"

"I'm cleaning my chelicerae."

"Your mustache is not chelicerae."

"Aw."
barnabas_truman: (young whistler)
"Here, go to TextEdit."

"Okay."

"Now hold down Option with one hand and start pressing a bunch of other keys with your other hand."

*typety type type* "Why am I doing this?"

"You seemed to be having so much fun with bullet points I thought you might like a few more cool symbols."

"Oh that's neat; I didn't know it had French quotes!"

"Have you pushed the apostrophe yet?"

"æ. Huh."

"Now press option-shift-apostrophe."

"Æ. Why do I need æ? I don't need æ."

"But what if you need to do archæology on the encyclopædia of Cæsar?"
barnabas_truman: (army)
"Lots of bird names are onomatopoeic. Some fruits are too. 'Orange' is an onomatopoeia."

"No it isn't!"

"Sure it is. Hold an orange up to your ear and shake it; what color does it make?"
barnabas_truman: (army)
"So the plurals would be Centigrades, Celsiides, and Fahrenheiten."

"What's the plural of Rankine? Rankeen?"

"No, Rankine is already plural. The singular is Rancow."
barnabas_truman: (oldstyle)
Ahoy there, and welcome aboard of Cap'n Truman's Lexical Amplifier! Below I have provided for you a destination-word. Your job is to look up the destination-word in a real* dictionary and compose a creative but meaningful sentence around it; post this sentence in a comment here. Furthermore, you will very probably find another interesting and underutilized word on your journey to the destination. Include in your comment your choice of journey-word and its definition. (You are of course, also welcome to reply to other people's comments by building sentences around their chosen journey-words.)




Today's destination-word is: mizzen-topgallant.

We were compelled to remain in Jamaica until the repair of our mizzen-topgallant, though the crew did not seem to mind in the slightest.




* By "real dictionary" I mean any dictionary in which the definition of "sail" is accompanied by a well-labeled diagram of a full-rigged ship.
barnabas_truman: (oldstyle)
Good evening, and welcome back to Uncle Truman's Lexical Amplifier! Here you will find words that, in my opinion, are not used nearly as much as they ought to be. Your job is to look up each such word in your favorite real* dictionary, read and contemplate its definition, and post a response to this episode which includes
1) an amusing or insightful sentence of your own composing which uses this word, and
2) another word, with definition, that you have found in your dictionary whilst looking up the original word.




Today's word is: valetudinarianism.

In spite of his frequent absences, it seemed that the only affliction that plagued him was valetudinarianism.




* By "real dictionary" I mean any dictionary which can be used to incapacitate a burglar. (Be creative.)
barnabas_truman: (oldstyle)
Good morning, and welcome to Uncle Truman's Lexical Amplifier! Here you will find words that, in my opinion, are not used nearly as much as they ought to be. Your job is to look up each such word in your favorite real* dictionary, read and contemplate its definition, and post a response to this episode which includes
1) an amusing or insightful sentence of your own composing which uses this word, and
2) another word, with definition, that you have found in your dictionary whilst looking up the original word.



Today's word is: snath.

I apologize for the jungliness of my front lawn; my snath is in the shop for repairs.



* By "real dictionary" I mean any dictionary in which, while looking up a desired word, one sees the definitions of various others in passing. Online dictionaries are welcome if they allow this, but paper dictionaries are so much more fun.
barnabas_truman: (Default)
One of the recent topics of discussion has been the "-ator"/"-atrix" suffix. As we all know, a female aviator is an aviatrix, and a female dominator is a dominatrix. In fact this feminization pattern works for any noun involving a verb with the "-ator" suffix--the female Terminator in Terminator 3, for instance, should more properly be called a Terminatrix; a female litigator is a litigatrix, a female perambulator is a perambulatrix, and so on.

The inevitable punchline, of course, is the correct term for a female alligator.
barnabas_truman: (oldstyle)
Most English-speakers, if they bothered to think about it at all, would probably assume that "isle" is an abbreviation of "island." In fact the two words' origins are completely unrelated.

"Island" has its roots in Old Norse, from "ig" (water, related to Latin "aqua") + "land" (land). It entered English early on (because who better to teach you nautical vocabulary than the greatest pirates in history?), and gradually became "iland," then "island," probably due to influence from...

"Isle," which English actually gets directly from French (see "1066, Invasion of, Norman"), which got it from Latin "insule" (see "entire pre-medieval era, Europe, Roman complete domination over"). Interesting note: in modern French, my wife assures me, it is not "isle" but "île." (If the special characters don't work, that's "ile" with a circumflex/caret over the i.) Apparently French uses the circumflex over a vowel to denote that in older dialects the vowel was followed by an S which later was dropped--"hospital" became "hôpital," for example, and "château" used to look more similar to its English counterpart "castle."


See you next time on... More Interesting Linguistic Tidbits!
barnabas_truman: (oldstyle)
So I've known for a long time that Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday were named after Norse gods but often wondered why Saturday was named after a Roman god instead. I've also wondered, ever since I took Spanish I back in high school, how other languages' daynames originated. Last night I found out.

The earliest form of the modern days of the week seem to have originated with the Greeks, and (if I understand this correctly) spread to the rest of Europe by Greek Orthodox missionaries in the early Christian era. Their daynames were astrological--named after the sun, moon, and known planets. These were more or less accepted (in Latin) by the Romance-language-speaking regions of Europe, but changed in the Teutonic regions. Specifically, since the planets were named after Greco-Roman gods, the daynames were altered to reflect the corresponding Norse gods. Thus:

Sun Day
Spanish: Domingo
French: Dimanche
English: Sunday
(Still Sun Day in English, but changed to Lord's Day in Spanish and French.)

Moon Day
Spanish: Lunes
French: Lundi
English: Monday
(Still Moon Day, effectively, in all three.)

Mars Day
Spanish: Martes
French: Mardi
English: Tuesday
Mars is a war god. Tyr is a Norse war god (one of several, but presumably the most like Mars). Hence Tyr's Day --> Tuesday.

Mercury Day
Spanish: Miercoles
French: Mercredi
English: Wednesday
I was a bit confused by this one at first. Mercury was very much a messenger/trickster/traveller/thief god, and doesn't seem to link well with Odin, a god of all things but primarily war, leadership, and honor. Then I remembered that Mercury and Odin are both associated with wisdom; in fact, they are both said to have invented writing. That's enough of a link. Odin's Day --> Wednesday.

Jupiter Day
Spanish: Jueves
French: Jeudi
English: Thursday
I didn't figure this one out until I remembered that Jupiter (the god) was also known as Jove; hence Jueves and Jeudi. This one's pretty clear; Jupiter was a thunder god and so's Thor. Thor's Day --> Thursday. Interesting note--Hazel tells me the German word for Thursday literally translates to Thunder Day. (She also tells me, though, that the German word for Wednesday literally translates to Mid-Week, and that the German word for tank literally translates to Armored Cupboard.)

Venus Day
Spanish: Viernes
French: Vendredi
English: Friday
Venus, aka Veneris, is a fertility goddess; the closest Norse goddess would be Freya. Hence Freya's Day --> Friday.

Saturn Day
Spanish: Sabado
French: Samedi
English: Saturday
This is the weird one. I assume Spanish and French replaced it with their equivalent of "sabbath" somewhere along the line, or it could be a corruption of Saturn. Apparently our forefathers couldn't think of a Norse god that would correspond to Saturn, a god of time and aging. Hm. Hel or Elli, perhaps?

Anyway, I had a lot of fun thinking through this one. I wish someone had told me about this back in my high school Spanish class; knowing the mythological link would've made it so much easier to remember the days of the week!

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