Article of the Day for September 25th

St Botolph’s Church, Quarrington

St Botolph’s Church is an Anglican place of worship in the village of Quarrington, part of the civil parish of Sleaford in Lincolnshire, England. By the time Domesday Book was compiled in 1086, a church in Quarrington was part of Ramsey Abbey’s fee, and around 1165 it was granted to Haverholme Priory. The right to present the rector was claimed by the Abbey in the 13th century, by the Bishop of Lincoln in the early 16th century, and by Robert Carre and his descendants after Carre acquired a manor at Quarrington. The oldest parts of the current building date to the 13th century, although substantial rebuilding took place over the following century. Renovations followed and the local architect Charles Kirk the Younger carried out restoration work in 1862 and 1863, when he added a chancel in his parents’ memory. The church consists of a tower and spire with a nave and north aisle spanning eastwards to the chancel. With capacity for 124 people, the church serves the ecclesiastic parish of Quarrington with Old Sleaford. Recognised for its age and tracery, the church has been designated a grade II* listed building. 

Courtesy of Wikipedia 

Learn Something New Everyday, It Makes Life Interesting© -Jill M Roberts 


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Article of the Day 


Literary Hall

Literary Hall is a brick library building and museum in Romney, West Virginia, built in 1869 and 1870 by the Romney Literary Society. Founded in 1819, the society was the first literary organization of its kind in the present-day state of West Virginia, and one of the first in the United States. In 1846, the society constructed a building which housed the Romney Classical Institute and its library. During the Civil War the library’s contents were plundered by Union Army forces, and many of its 3,000 volumes were scattered or destroyed. The society transferred ownership of its Romney Classical Institute campus to the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind in 1870 and in that year completed Literary Hall, where the society reconstituted its library collection and revived its literary activities. The Romney Literary Society’s last meeting was held there in 1886. In 1979 the hall was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Its basic design incorporates Federal and Greek Revival styles along with Victorian details. 

Courtesy of Wikipedia 

Learn Something New Everyday, It Makes Life Interesting© -Jill M Roberts 


Just a Dream

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Just a Dream

I was running, panting, and out of breath. I just couldn’t run anymore. He was behind me right on my heels. I had to get to the other side and quickly. I came to the end and I saw three Doors. I didn’t know which one was which. I had to get away and get away fast. It was eenie meenie miney mo on the go. I chose the door on the right. I don’t know why it just seems like that was where I supposed to go. I had this vibe, this intuition, telling me that safety was beyond that door. As I opened the door, a strong wind was whipping around the other side and trying to suck me in. The wind wasn’t colorless it was all different bright colors. I knew immediate death was imminent if I didn’t cross that threshold. The man with the ax had caught up to me.
“Don’t go through that door, young lady.” he growled.
“All you have to do is submit to me and this ax here doesn’t have to become your new best friend.” he slyly said with a half grin on his face.
I froze just from his words. I knew I had to make some sort of move.
I looked at his disheveled face and then noticed the blood dripping from the ax. With my hand on the knob I turned around and jumped into the whirling vortex of air with my eyes closed.
I said a prayer knowing this was my end. As the wind sucked me in, my whole body jerked like a seizure. My eyes opened and I was back home in my bed, panting and sweating. I looked at the clock to see the time and it had only been 5 minuted since I fell asleep. The clock displayed 2:17 and if you turn that number upsidedown it looks like LIZ. Elizabeth is my first name, but everyone calls me Liz.

Just a Dream

What character was removed from the alphabet?

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What Character Was Removed from the Alphabet?

Johnson & Johnson, Barnes & Noble, Dolce & Gabbana: the ampersand today is used primarily in business names, but that small character was once the 27th part of the alphabet. Where did it come from though? The origin of its name is almost as bizarre as the name itself.

The shape of the character (&) predates the word ampersand by more than 1,500 years. In the first century, Roman scribes wrote in cursive, so when they wrote the Latin word et which means “and” they linked the e and t. Over time the combined letters came to signify the word “and” in English as well. Certain versions of the ampersand, like that in the font Caslon, clearly reveal the origin of the shape.

The word “ampersand” came many years later when “&” was actually part of the English alphabet. In the early 1800s, school children reciting their ABCs concluded the alphabet with the &. It would have been confusing to say “X, Y, Z, and.” Rather, the students said, “and per se and.” “Per se” means “by itself,” so the students were essentially saying, “X, Y, Z, and by itself and.” Over time, “and per se and” was slurred together into the word we use today: ampersand. When a word comes about from a mistaken pronunciation, it’s called a mondegreen.

(The ampersand is also used in an unusual configuration where it appears as “&c” and means etc. The ampersand does double work as the e and t.)

Are there other symbols or letters you would like to learn about? Let me know in the comments section below and I’ll look into it!

Have a wonderful Wednesday and until then, keep a smile on your face 🙂

All My Best,
Jill aka 1morganlefaye

7 Chinese Loanwords to expand your vocabulary

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Feng shui

Feng shui is the Chinese art of creating harmonious surroundings that enhance the balance of yin and yang, or negative and positive forces in the universe. This term comes from the Chinese words literally meaning “wind” and “water.” Architects and designers have been using the principles of feng shui to help situate buildings and graves and arrange rooms since ancient times, though the word did not enter English until the late 1700s.

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Qi

Scrabble players are sure to recognize the term qi but are less likely to know its meaning. In Chinese philosophy this term refers to vital energies within all living things in the form of breath and bodily fluids. It’s thought that a balance of qi is essential to maintain good health. It literally translates to “breath” and is believed to be regulated by acupuncture.

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Gung-ho

Gung-ho was introduced into English in 1942 via US Marine officer Evans F. Carlson, who had previously spent time in China. Carlson used this term, which literally translates to “work together,” to lift the morale of the military men he led. These men were often referred to as the “Gung Ho Battalion.”

Words 4-7 will be up in a following post later! Hope you enjoy!
All My Best,
Jill
🙂

Which Two-headed God is January Named After?

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January is often considered the month for deep reflection. We look back at the year behind us, bemoaning our regrets and celebrating our successes. And then, we look forward to the future year. We make well-meaning resolutions and hope for the best.

So, in this way, we’re all a little bit like Janus, the Roman god for which January is named. Janus is usually depicted with having two heads. that face in opposite directions. One looks back to the year departed, and one looks forward to the new and uncertain year ahead.

The poetic term John Keats coined that describes living your life while accepting that it is filled with uncertainty seems apropos to this transitional time.

The god Saturn bestowed upon Janus this ability to see into the future and past. His name comes from the Latin word ianua, which means “door.” Janus is the god of doors, gates, doorways, bridges, and passageways, all of which symbolize beginnings and ends. Janus also represented transition, such as the time between youth and adulthood.

Misspelling of the Year 2013 (great article from Dictionary.com, Enjoy!)

Misspelling of the Year 2013
To explore the psyche of a people, do not look at what they do–look at what they do wrong. Today, we introduce the Misspelling of the Year. A word that was looked up misspelled significantly more this year than the year before. A word with lots of different misspellings. A word in the news. The word: furlough.

In 2013, Dictionary.com saw tens of thousands of lookups of this word, often spelled without the ugh. Though the correct spelling is furlough, three variants ballooned in lookup volume: furlow was looked up 66 percent more in 2013 than it was in 2012, and furlo was looked up 60 percent more. We can’t calculate how many more times ferlow, which was in the top 10,000 words of 2013, was searched for because no one was searching for it in 2012.

The main reason folks were talking about furloughs was the October shutdown of the US government (sequester and sequestration searches also jumped 2.3 and 2.8 times relative to last year, but no one was misspelling those).

As for the misspellings. Well, it’s a rough road. The first uses in English were close to the Dutch: vorloffe and fore-loofe in the 1630s. You also get furloghs, furlows, and foreloffs in the early centuries of its use. Why on earth would we pronounce it “oh” but spell it “ough”? Cough cough. That’s tough. Though I have a few thoughts. Let’s step under this lovely bough. (It’s not as bad as it could be: hiccup was standardly spelled as hiccough for a few hundred years.) There are a lot of ways to say ‘g’, but we can’t go into all of them here.

Furlough wasn’t the only word that was giving folks trouble in 2013. In reviewing Dictionary.com’s misspellings of the year (I’d prefer to call them “nonstandard spellings” but the Spelling Despots among you would be at me with pitchphorks), three categories for types of misspellings emerged:

Prefix/suffix troubles

PERJUDICE and PERDJUICE for prejudice (think “pre judge” not “smoothie of perdition”)
PERCISE for precise (the -cise here is like in incision, so think “pre cut”)
ADAMIT for adamant (think “Wolverine has adamantium claws, not adamittens”)
AMETURE for amateur (the ama is about love, the -teur is for a doer, like actor in French is acteur; so think “French lover”)
Missing letters

AQUAINTED for acquainted (from the 1300s to about 1600 it didn’t have a “c” in English, you were born too late)
IFARED for infrared (awesome, don’t ever change)
TONSILECTOMY for tonsillectomy (two tonsils, two l’s to remove them)
ACHIEVMENT for achievement (spell “achieve” then add “ment”)
HIERACHICAL for hierarchical (sound it out?)
Just plain hard

EARY for eerie (at the end of the 18th century, suddenly English writers decided this word really needed a double “e,” sorry)
THROROUGH for thorough (this is probably just a typo)
INDITE for indict (the ending is related to dictionary or dictate–it’s talking about “saying,” you’re declaring an accusation)
IMAGRATION for immigration (look for “migrant” inside the word)
Studying nonstandard spellings also suggests some words that need to exist. An argu(e)ment can be made that assertation is a misspelling of assertion, but I would like to think it means something else. Like when someone just goes on and on asserting stuff to point that it feels like they’re reading you a dissertation.

But the word that is the best word in the whole data set and most needs your use and definitions: indiscrepancy. Go get it, Internet.

Yet another language crime to watch out for…

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Literally

The Internet is literally full of critics of the figurative use of literally. While employing this metaphorical usage might make many casual language lovers’ ears bleed, descriptivist lexicographers will hail you as a language innovator. My advice: be self-aware. Know that if you use literally figuratively, it will sound horrible to some, and perfectly acceptable to others.

There are still four more, but you’ll have to tune back in tomorrow for the rest! Why not subscribe via email? That way you’ll never miss an insightful post! 😉

Have a wonderful day everyone! 🙂

All my best,
Jill a.k.a. 1morganlefaye

Of Hashtags and Hate-watching

Of Hashtags and Hate-watching

2013 has certainly been a big year for the hashtag. While hashtags were beginning to spread beyond the context of their original Twitter use last year, this year has seen other websites such as Facebook adopt the hashtag as a social-media tool. In January 2013, hashtag was elevated to the 2012 Word of the Year by the American Dialect Society (ADS), signaling its welcome into the English lexicon. Meanwhile in France, the General Commission for Terminology and Neology banned use of the word “hashtag” in official communications, offering up the term mot-dièse in its place.

“They started out useful and utilitarian,” said Jonah Berger, author of Contagious: Why Things Catch On, “but have evolved to this notion of being a cultural phenomenon and acting as if you are in the know… we hashtag everything now.” But hashtagging isn’t the only thing we’re doing more of these days. The ADS also nominated the term “hate-watching” for its 2012 word of the year. Although it did not ultimately win the much publicized vote, this fascinating construction was highlighted in a recent column on neologisms called “Among the New Words” in the ADS journal American Speech.

While hate-watching might not have attained hashtag’s traction in the realm of social-media and metadata tagging, its uses are far from insubstantial. The American Dialect Society website defines hate-watching as “continuing to follow a television show despite having an aversion to it.” If the significance of hate-watching stopped there, perhaps its staying power would be limited.

However, something very interesting is happening with hate-watching, and it all starts at the prefix “hate-.” As Ben Zimmer and Charles E. Carson write in “Among the New Words,” “…hate-watching has inspired all manner of other hate-verb compounds…as in hate-reading and hate-listening.” These compounds describe a situation in which a person “despises a form of entertainment but derives some sort of perverse pleasure from it.”

Zimmer and Carson suggest that this concept of “hate-doing” existed long before there was a term for it. They say it goes at least as far back as the silent-film era when actor Erich von Stroheim had the tagline “The Man You Love to Hate.” But there’s evidence of hate-doing from even before this time. In E.M. Forster’s 1908 novel A Room with a View, he has a spectacular hate-reading scene in which Cecil Vyse, the irksome fiancé of Lucy Honeychurch, picks up a book specifically to mock it. Forster writes: “…the novel that he was reading was so bad that he was obliged to read it aloud to others. He would stroll round the precincts of the court and call out: ‘I say, listen to this, Lucy. Three split infinitives.’”

It seems remiss to talk about “hate-watching” without also mentioning the concept of “binge-watching” (sometimes also called “power streaming” when referring specifically to the streaming of videos online). That is watching hours and hours of a TV show in one sitting, or in a very short period of time. Streaming services such as Netflix even encourage this tendency by releasing all the episodes in their in-house series, such as the heavily anticipated season four of Arrested Development, on the same day. Binge-watching, of course, borrows the binge- prefix from the term “binge eating.” The construction “guilty pleasure” also deserves a mention here. Hate-watching, hate-reading, or really hate-doing of any kind, can be more generally described as a “guilty pleasure.” Would people really watch agonizingly bad shows or read terrible books if they weren’t getting some sort of perverse enjoyment out of it? Maybe people are more open and proud about their hate than about their guilt, which would explain the way in which the hate- prefix has taken off in the last few years. However, this is perhaps a topic best explored by philosophers.

Do e-readers change the way we read?

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Do e-readers change the way we read?

New words enter English all the time. One major source of new words and senses is technological innovation. If a device is created that didn’t previously exist, it needs a name, and if the device is popular enough, that name, along with other words to describe the functions of the device, enters widespread usage. So how exactly does technological innovation change the way we talk and think? To put this question in context, let’s explore some new words and senses that have entered English thanks to the invention and ever-growing use of e-readers.
The term “e-reader” debuted as recently as the 1990s. When it first entered English, e-reader referred to a person who reads electronic versions of legacy-print materials. Shortly thereafter, e-reader also took on the sense of the handheld device used by people to read digital files. The term “e-book” predates “e-reader,” and has been used in English since the late 1980s.
Over the last decade, as e-readers such as the Kindle and the Nook have become less expensive and more accessible to the general public, the words to describe reading have started to expand to include digital reading. The term “book” now can refer to a downloadable file in addition to a traditional printed book. Bookmarks also continue to exist in the realm of e-readers. Bookmark as a verb has been around since the 1960s, mainly in the computing context, so its appropriation by e-readers is no surprise.
However, other words have less traction in the digital arena. Pages, for example, do not exist in e-books in the same way that they do in physical books. On e-readers, the size and orientation of text can be manipulated, making the concept of e-book page numbers less firm. While page numbers sometimes appear in certain electronic versions of books, oftentimes users of e-readers opt for viewing the percentage of the book read over page numbers. Goodreads, the popular social networking site where people can track and review books, even defaults to the “percentage read” of a book when the e-book option is chosen. The language used to describe moving through a book has also started to shift. With no physical pages to turn, people might move forward or backward in a book by “tapping” or “swiping” rather than “turning” a page. Similarly, the words “pinch” and “scroll” have attained new senses of their own because of their use to describe navigation on touchscreen devices.
The rise of e-readers has prompted speculation about the ways the mind processes words on a screen compared to words in paper books–the concern that holding a physical book promotes understanding in a way that staring at a screen does not. A recent study by Sara Margolin suggests that e-readers do not hinder reading comprehension, at least in short passages of text. As research like this gains ground, the use of e-readers will only increase, and with it, new ways of conceiving of and talking about reading will surface in the language, and in turn, enter dictionaries.