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suze
1280947.  Thu Apr 12, 2018 7:46 am Reply with quote

Thanks AFB. That makes a lot of sense, but as you suggest is probably unverifiable.

All the people who were there are long dead, and few of them had much formal education. If there are any old socialist tracts containing proto-versions of The Auld Triangle, they are probably in private hands in Massachusetts.

 
AlmondFacialBar
1280950.  Thu Apr 12, 2018 8:05 am Reply with quote

The person that person learned it from was an academic of working class Northside origin, so in a perfect position to carry Dublin lore on into formal historical record, but sadly it appears that in this particular case he neglected to do so. I might do some informal research on Bloomsday; you tend to run into the right people for that kind of thing then. Last year those happened to include both one of the song's most famous singer's sister and its usually assumed authors' cousin, so cross your fingers they'll end up near my table again.

:-)

AlmondFacialBar

 
Brock
1280969.  Thu Apr 12, 2018 11:22 am Reply with quote

Will there definitely be a "Q" series? Post 13487 from 2005 suggests that there were plans to skip it, on the grounds that there might not be enough material for twelve programmes - and the series are even longer now.

 
suze
1280971.  Thu Apr 12, 2018 11:47 am Reply with quote

They managed J, when some had imagined that I and J might be merged into one.

Although Q is a relatively little used letter, when it does appear it is disproportionately often the first letter of a word. While instances of Q make up only 0.11% of written English, 0.53% of words start with a Q. Only J is more likely to be the first letter of a word which contains it (0.10%/0.95%).

Z has this property too (0.07%/0.27%), but X and Y really don't. Y is in fact the letter which is least likely to be the first letter of a word which contains it (2.11%/0.38%), and X isn't far behind (0.17%/0.09%). The letter which cares the least about where it positions itself in a word is L (3.98%/3.71%).

So while a Z series seems entirely possible, X and Y series look altogether more awkward and it might have to be an XYZ series.

 
crissdee
1280973.  Thu Apr 12, 2018 12:20 pm Reply with quote

That easily surpassed QI, and was pushing the envelope of VI. In all fairness, that was EI!

 
Brock
1280982.  Thu Apr 12, 2018 1:46 pm Reply with quote

suze wrote:
Y is in fact the letter which is least likely to be the first letter of a word which contains it (2.11%/0.38%)


That's presumably because it's used far more often as a vowel than as a consonant. I would imagine that the commonest position of Y is as the final letter of a word.

Quote:
So while a Z series seems entirely possible, X and Y series look altogether more awkward and it might have to be an XYZ series.


Well, there are more words beginning with Y than with Z, as a glance at any dictionary will tell you. Nonetheless I agree that there aren't really enough of either to fill an entire series. As for X, I think you might just about be able to fill a single programme!

 
Bondee
1280984.  Thu Apr 12, 2018 1:53 pm Reply with quote

Not that it's comparable, but the BBC 6 Music A to Z of Punk podcast series lumped "U & V" and "X, Y & Z" together in single episodes. Both S and T had two episodes each

 
suze
1280992.  Thu Apr 12, 2018 3:28 pm Reply with quote

Brock wrote:
I would imagine that the commonest position of Y is as the final letter of a word.


I think that is probably right, although I don't have the data to prove it. The vast majority of adverbs, just for a start.

Quote:
Well, there are more words beginning with Y than with Z, as a glance at any dictionary will tell you.


More certainly, but not actually many more.

The figures which I used earlier were prepared by a fellow called Peter Harvey, who is/was an English teacher based in Barcelona. He arrived at them by counting the first letters of words in the Concise OED, 10th edition (1999). I do not have the precise volume that Mr Harvey used, and even if I did I would take his word for this, but he states that there are 248 words beginning with Y and 173 beginning with Z. There are 345 beginning with Q, but only 61 beginning with X.

That figure does not include xoloitzcuintli, which word is mysteriously absent from the COED. It's a breed of dog with no fur, and is the national dog breed of Mexico. Having done a dog with no fur, the guys could perhaps move on to talk about the sphynx, which is a breed of cat with the same characteristic. Minus one thousand points to Alan if he so much as mentions hairless pussies ...

 
Feralcat
1281005.  Thu Apr 12, 2018 6:07 pm Reply with quote

I hope someone can come up with a quirk of quarks

Or

If desperate, guark the dairy product

And there was a professor of linguistics or somesuch, named Richard? Quirk

Did he have a quirk of some kind?

Quirk of Quirk sounds quite Scottish...

Quirk of that ilk...

 
AlmondFacialBar
1281007.  Thu Apr 12, 2018 6:21 pm Reply with quote

Quark the dairy product you mean. Also quark the particle and of course quark the term from Finnegans Wake after which the particle is called.

Yup, there sure is potential in quark.

:-)

AlmondFacialBar

 
suze
1281008.  Thu Apr 12, 2018 6:41 pm Reply with quote

AFB knew I was going to say this, so I won't labour the point ... but Quark the dairy product is Polish and was appropriated by Germany!

Now, the academic to whom Feralcat alludes was Professor Randolph Quirk, later Lord Quirk of Bloomsbury. He was from the Isle of Man, which might be considered mildly quirky in itself, and his main academic interests were the English language and explosives. Another mild quirk, perhaps.

He was a Quain Professor at University College London. Richard Quain was an Irishman who was Professor of Anatomy at UCL in the C19, and money left in his will was used to endow half a dozen Quain chairs.

Professor Quirk was an old fashioned posh socialist who counted the likes of Tony Benn and Tam Dalyell as friends, but in another piece of quirkiness he chose to sit on the crossbench rather than the Labour bench when he went to the House of Lords. Another of his friends was longstanding friend of these forums Professor David Crystal.

I never met Professor Quirk because he retired well before I came to London, but I have certainly met people who had. Good at drinking, or so the stories go.

Professor Quirk died last year at the age of 97.


Last edited by suze on Thu Apr 12, 2018 6:43 pm; edited 1 time in total

 
AlmondFacialBar
1281009.  Thu Apr 12, 2018 6:42 pm Reply with quote

suze wrote:
That figure does not include xoloitzcuintli, which word is mysteriously absent from the COED. It's a breed of dog with no fur, and is the national dog breed of Mexico. Having done a dog with no fur, the guys could perhaps move on to talk about the sphynx, which is a breed of cat with the same characteristic. Minus one thousand points to Alan if he so much as mentions hairless pussies ...


Which brings us to the actually QI question of when a foreign word becomes a loanword. Sticking with Nahuatl, I think we can all agree that chocolate and tomato are loanwords, but a somewhat obscure dog breed? Hmmmmmmmm... From German, are rucksack or kindergarten loanwords? Does that depend on the variety of English you speak? Is hinterland a loanword or a foreign word used as a technical term? What about my favourite of all Russian words, бутерброд (buterbrod), which describes a similar but not identical concept to my usual choice of breakfast, a Butterbrot? And so on, also in and from other languages. Q for questions anyone? Or is there a technical term starting with Q for such things that eludes me?

:-)

AlmondFacialBar


Last edited by AlmondFacialBar on Thu Apr 12, 2018 7:16 pm; edited 2 times in total

 
Feralcat
1281010.  Thu Apr 12, 2018 6:43 pm Reply with quote

Quondam as an episode might embrace original names of well known people

Or people who might have been happier with a name change

Or plants that have been named multiple times by mistake or are known by half a dozen or more names - I recall SF listing multiple names for pansies and all looking blank - no gardeners on the panel?

Plus 2 mins on Prince and his various aka...

Maybe an amusing (ever hopeful...) discussion of foreign names for our words.

German likely to avalanche likely words

Plus you could find some archaic english dialect words that should be resurrected. Some actually earlier names for things that were renamed by a modern national word.

I recall being delighted with a small listing of archaic words from the Norfolk or Lincolnshire? fens and wanting to push them back into use - but to my disgrace, I can't remember one of the words I found and treasured.

 
suze
1281011.  Thu Apr 12, 2018 6:48 pm Reply with quote

AlmondFacialBar wrote:
Which brings us to the actually QI question of when a foreign word becomes a loanword. Sticking with Nahuatl, I think we can all agree that chocolate and tomato are loanwords, but a somewhat obscure dog breed? Hmmmmmmmm...


That's a fair question. The world of competitive dog showing is a thing in which I have no interest and considerably less knowledge, but apparently this breed is a common category in American dog showing. It's usually referred to there as the xolo (pronounced "zolo", much as it would be "sholo" in Nahuatl).

There's no easy answer to the QI question, though. If you were referring to this flavour of dog, would you place the Nahuatl word in italics? If you would, then it's probably still considered foreign; if not, it's gone native.

 
AlmondFacialBar
1281014.  Thu Apr 12, 2018 7:11 pm Reply with quote

suze wrote:
AFB knew I was going to say this, so I won't labour the point ... but Quark the dairy product is Polish and was appropriated by Germany!


While I cannot deny the truth of that statement, I also cannot help but remind the honorable member that while we might have originally appropriated twarˇg, over the time it took for that word to evolve into Quark, the product also evolved into something rather different from the wedge-shaped concoction that doesn't quite work for proper cheesecake. I therefore consider modern Quark an authentically German product that deserves its place on the great dining table of QI foodstuffs.

suze wrote:
AlmondFacialBar wrote:
Which brings us to the actually QI question of when a foreign word becomes a loanword. Sticking with Nahuatl, I think we can all agree that chocolate and tomato are loanwords, but a somewhat obscure dog breed? Hmmmmmmmm...


That's a fair question. The world of competitive dog showing is a thing in which I have no interest and considerably less knowledge, but apparently this breed is a common category in American dog showing. It's usually referred to there as the xolo (pronounced "zolo", much as it would be "sholo" in Nahuatl).

There's no easy answer to the QI question, though. If you were referring to this flavour of dog, would you place the Nahuatl word in italics? If you would, then it's probably still considered foreign; if not, it's gone native.


Well that's rather context dependent, isn't it? Were I ever to write a text about competitive dog breeding for a specialist audience (fuck forbid), chances are I'd place it in regular writing. If, however, I was writing for a general audience, I'd probably put it as Mexican Hairless Dog (Xoloitzcuintle). These things are rarely clear cut.

:-)

AlmondFacialBar

 

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