Words you've learned recently

Discussion of natural languages, or language in general.
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Salmoneus
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Re: Words you've learned recently

Post by Salmoneus »

Returning to the topic, something I learned a few months ago: Sharawadgi. (Or sharawaggi, or sharawadji).

Sharawadgi is an ancient English aesthetic principle primarily in the field of gardening: good gardens are those that possess sharawadgi, or the artful and careful construction of the appearance of artlessness and carelessness.

The term arose in the context of the English landscape gardening movement in the 17th century, and was popularised by Sir William Temple, head of the national government. The etymology - if there is one - is unkown, though Chinese, Japanese and Farsi etymologies have all been suggested.
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Re: Words you've learned recently

Post by Pole, the »

Io wrote:I'm surprised Sal didn't mention Dick or Mitt, OK neither was POTUS but still close enough and I'd imagine their names sound quite amusing to Britons.

What about Jill Stein? :P
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Re: Words you've learned recently

Post by Io »

>Herschel Vespasian

Oh my, I can't hold my laughter :-D

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Re: Words you've learned recently

Post by hwhatting »

Having a common surname is no obstacle to gaining high political office in Germany. The Federal Republic had Chancellors called Schmidt (No. 2, 1974-82) and Schröder (No 17, 1998-2005), and during the Weimar Republic there were a Müller (No. 1, two terms) and a Bauer (No. 13). Probably not coincidentally, they all were Social Democrats. If you go down to cabinet ministers and prime ministers of states (the usual spring boards for the office of Chancellor), you'll find more people with common surnames.
I assume that's due to the fact that the German system of political elites was perturbed several times during the 20th century (collapse of the Empire, collapse of the Weimar Republic, and the new start after WW II). And the old conservative elites tended to gather mostly in the civil service, judiciary, and army and leave the fight for the elected posts to the commoners (when aristos became Chancellors again at the end of the Weimar Republic, they were appointed by Hindenburg and it was already a symptom of the crisis of the Republic - like the election of Hindenburg in itself).
It's still probably somewhat remarkable that some frequent names haven't shown up yet - no Chancellor or President Schneider, Fischer, Weber, Meyer, Wagner, Becker, Schulz*1), or Hoffmann yet, to just take those from the top 10 names that didn't make it into high office yet.
*1) In theory, we could have a Chancellor Schulz after this election (again a SPD candidate), but his chances are quite slim.

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Re: Words you've learned recently

Post by Salmoneus »

Whereas in the UK, common names in positions of power are really rare. In our history, only 3 PMs (from the 75 since Walpole) have had names from the top 25 most common surnames, or arguably 4. 2 of those were modern Labour PMs: Harold Wilson and Gordon Brown. The third was Frederick Robinson (1st Viscount Goderich), who was in power for about 6 months in 1827/28 (the second-shortest total tenure). The possible fourth: Edward Smith-Stanley (14th Earl of Derby) was in power for about 3 years in the late 1800s, spread over three different terms. However, Stanley, or "Smith Stanley", or "Smith-Stanley" was always just known as "Stanley" (eg Port Stanley in the Falklands), and I think the hyphenation is a modern invention - "Smith" seems to have been more like a traditional middle name for the Stanley family.
A few others have come feasible close: Ken Clarke, for instance, nearly became Leader of the Opposition (though he was never likely to become PM).
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Re: Words you've learned recently

Post by Io »

What would be some posh German names/indicating former nobility/higher status, excluding those with the obvious giveaway 'von'?!

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Re: Words you've learned recently

Post by Vijay »

Kaiser, König, Graf, Grote, Knigge, Vincke, zu Pappenheim, and von und zu Liechtenstein.

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Re: Words you've learned recently

Post by Axiem »

Io wrote:I'm surprised Sal didn't mention Dick or Mitt, OK neither was POTUS but still close enough and I'd imagine their names sound quite amusing to Britons.


We had a Dick for president.

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Re: Words you've learned recently

Post by richard1631978 »

Salmoneus wrote:
Zaarin wrote:
And Johnson is such a common name that it's not terribly surprising we had two of them (who were unrelated, incidentally).

It kind of is, actually - even the 2nd most common name (in the US*) is still pretty rare. 1:163 Americans, apparently, have 'Johnson' as a surname, making it kind of weird that you've had two of them in a sample of only 44 people, particularly given that it's such a historically 'black' surname*. The most common American surname, for instance, is "Smith", and you've never had one of those. In fact, only four Presidents have held ANY of the 20 most common surnames, and two of them were Johnsons - of the 1 President since 1900 to have had a common surname, 100% have been Johnsons. Indeed, even beyond the long odds of this happenin by chance in fair elections, there's probably an active factor against it: America largely prefers to select its politicians from within its entrenched aristocracy, who typically don't share the same names as ordinary Americans.
[interestinly, the two Johnsons both rose to power unexpectedly through a sequence of strange circumstance; the other two common-namers, Taylor and Jackson, were both career soldiers, where low birth was less of an impediment than in politics.]


I would have thought a lot of American Johnsons were of Scandinavian origin being originally Johansen or Johanson.

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Re: Words you've learned recently

Post by hwhatting »

Vijay wrote:Kaiser, König, Graf,

These names aren't posh at all, and they are all in the top 100 of German names (König is No 37, Kaiser No. 41, Graf is No. 84). Bearing these names doesn't mean that your ancestors were Emperors, Kings, or Counts / Earls, but that they worked for them or worked / lived on land belonging to the Emperor / King / Count. And Graf is not only a rank of nobility, but a name for a position in some local community administrations (e.g. a Deichgraf is an official tasked with supervising the construction and maintenance of dikes).

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Re: Words you've learned recently

Post by Ryusenshi »

I've recently learned the word amity. The meaning was fairly obvious.

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Re: Words you've learned recently

Post by Vijay »

സ്തൂപിക [ˈst̪uːbiga] 'dome over a citadel, tall tower, tower of fame'
ഉരുമ്മുക [uˈɾummuga] 'to rub against, come into contact, lean against'
ഉത്തുംഗ [ut̪ˈt̪uŋga] 'high, exalted, lofty'
സൗധം [ˈsəwd̪ʱəm] 'large, storied building plastered over; silver'
മരുവുക [məˈɾuʋuga] 'to dwell, abide, remain, exist'

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Re: Words you've learned recently

Post by hwhatting »

Russian тризна (trízna) "funeral feast"

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Re: Words you've learned recently

Post by Soap »

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/dotard

Didnt realize that was an actual legitimate word, i just figured someone had replaced the re- in "retard" with do- to imply "one step lower than" (think of musical note scale, which in Eng is do, re, mi, fa, etc)
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Re: Words you've learned recently

Post by Zaarin »

Soap wrote:https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/dotard

Didnt realize that was an actual legitimate word, i just figured someone had replaced the re- in "retard" with do- to imply "one step lower than" (think of musical note scale, which in Eng is do, re, mi, fa, etc)

I'm familiar with the word, but it's strange to me to hear people pronouncing it as if it rhymed with "retard" rather than being stressed on the first syllable.
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Re: Words you've learned recently

Post by Vijay »

Zaarin wrote:
Soap wrote:https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/dotard

Didnt realize that was an actual legitimate word, i just figured someone had replaced the re- in "retard" with do- to imply "one step lower than" (think of musical note scale, which in Eng is do, re, mi, fa, etc)

I'm familiar with the word, but it's strange to me to hear people pronouncing it as if it rhymed with "retard" rather than being stressed on the first syllable.

Huh, that would be strange to me, too, but I don't think I've ever heard it. I think I've only ever heard "retard" with stress on the first syllable. (I wasn't familiar with the 'delay' sense in English).

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Re: Words you've learned recently

Post by Imralu »

Damn, I find dotard pretty awkward - it's a homophone with "doted" for me.

Just learnt mimmerkin.
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Re: Words you've learned recently

Post by Soap »

It seems to be a meme .... https://twitter.com/hashtag/AddDotardToAMovieQuote

which explains why I'd never heard it before.

"Retard" as a noun for me is stressed on the first syllable: /'ri.tard/. Despite this, the slang variant "tard" is popular. The verb sense is almost never used because of the taboo associated with the noun. The last time I heard it used in speech was a documentary a few yrears ago where the narrator was talking about how early US industrial progress had been severely retarded by the Revolutionary War or something like that.
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Re: Words you've learned recently

Post by linguoboy »

Soap wrote:"Retard" as a noun for me is stressed on the first syllable: /'ri.tard/. Despite this, the slang variant "tard" is popular.

There are other examples of slang terms being derived from unaccented syllables in US English. Two examples which come immediately to mind are "'rents" from "parents" and "'za" from "pizza".

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Re: Words you've learned recently

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linguoboy wrote:"'za" from "pizza".

...Seriously? Is that pronounced as spelled, or as /sa/ by analogy, or...?
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Re: Words you've learned recently

Post by Vijay »

Zaarin wrote:
linguoboy wrote:"'za" from "pizza".

...Seriously? Is that pronounced as spelled, or as /sa/ by analogy, or...?

/zɑː/. Wiktionary categorizes this as "(US, Canada, slang, 1970s, 1980s)," but they only display three quotes that use this word, and they're from 1994, 2006, and 2010.

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Re: Words you've learned recently

Post by Axiem »

Zaarin wrote:
linguoboy wrote:"'za" from "pizza".

...Seriously? Is that pronounced as spelled, or as /sa/ by analogy, or...?


It's even a word you can play in Scrabble.

I've always heard it pronounced with a /z/.

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Re: Words you've learned recently

Post by Imralu »

One ASL sign for Pizza is just fingerspelled "ZZA" (with the double Z represented by two fingers rather than performed twice).
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Re: Words you've learned recently

Post by Zaarin »

Vijay wrote:
Zaarin wrote:
linguoboy wrote:"'za" from "pizza".

...Seriously? Is that pronounced as spelled, or as /sa/ by analogy, or...?

/zɑː/. Wiktionary categorizes this as "(US, Canada, slang, 1970s, 1980s)," but they only display three quotes that use this word, and they're from 1994, 2006, and 2010.

The 1980s marker makes sense--it sounds pretty 80s, and being a 90s kid that would explain how I missed it.
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Re: Words you've learned recently

Post by linguoboy »

I don't actually recall ever hearing anyone say "'za". The first place I remember seeing it is Stephenson's Snow Crash, which was published in 1992.

Today I was reading up on German toilet terminology. Pinkelbude ("tinkle-booth") is just too precious for words. Abort is a little scary and I wonder if anyone still says Abtritt. Maybe in Hintertupfingen?

In Südbaden, they apparently use the euphemism Örtli ("little place"). Which is understandable given that the usual word is Schiishüüsli ("shithouse").

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