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Jenny
42602.  Mon Jan 02, 2006 3:21 pm Reply with quote

Quote:
equally oddly, 'presently' used to mean 'now', but the mode is 'later'


This is like the American use of 'momentarily' to mean 'at any moment' and not the British use of it to mean 'for a moment'.

 
gerontius grumpus
42612.  Mon Jan 02, 2006 3:37 pm Reply with quote

Jenny wrote:
Quote:
equally oddly, 'presently' used to mean 'now', but the mode is 'later'


This is like the American use of 'momentarily' to mean 'at any moment' and not the British use of it to mean 'for a moment'.


This was the mistake in the first Harry Potter book and film.

A bit like using 'hopefully to mean 'it is to be hoped' rather than with hope.

 
AndyE
42932.  Tue Jan 03, 2006 7:48 pm Reply with quote

Hi Suze and I are back in town. I'll let her take the keyboard.

Well good to be back in QI Land. I've spent my day refereeing a paper on precisely when the word "arse" became impolite - the short answer is that in Chaucer's day it wasn't and by Shakespeare's day it was, but for the long answer you'll have to wait for a journal in April or so. Don't believe any bitter and twisted souls who tell you that we don't have any laughs in academe!

Just a couple of comments on recent additions to this erudite discussion.

1. Sadly, the misuse of "momentarily" in Harry Potter was probably deliberate. Those films are made in American I fear. As another example of this, Moaning Myrtle lives in the "bathroom" in the movie, but in the original version of the book she lives in the "girls' bogs" - and I know which expression a real life Ron Weasley would be more likely to use!

2. An interesting list of words that John learned in his youth, presumably from his parents' Romany and Irish roots. The one that I'm especially interested in is the counting numbers "yan, tan, lethery, pethery, pimp". These are very close to the Cumbrian Gaelic (or Cumbrian Welsh ...) "yan, tyan, tethera, methera, pimp". But they are rather less like the Irish Gaelic forms (haon, dó, tri, ceathair, cúig) or the Romany (jekh, du, trin, sztar, panc). How did a part Romany/ part Irish person with background in Asia but growing up in Hampshire come to these? I'm wondering if British Romanies used them instead of / as well as the Sanskrit-derived Romany numbers.

("Pimp" lends some support to the Cumbrian-was-Brythonic school, since the Welsh for 5 is pronounced identically. "Methera" leans the other way though, so who knows!)

3. Did you know that there is a "cult" Cornish novel called "Apocalypse Dreckly"!?
[Phillips, N Roy, Apocalypse Dreckly, Halsgrove Publishing, Tiverton, 2005]

4. I can't go into detail on Scottish history, because Gerontius knows a lot more about it than I do. But I had understood that the Picts had at one time lived in south and central Scotland, and that it was the invasion of the Scots from Ireland which forced them to decamp to the far north - where they interbred with Norse stock and ultimately lost their separate identity.

And yes, the word "Cumbrian" does of course mean "Welsh", but then again the word "Dutch" actually means "German". It doesn't prove the argument either way; it just shows that at the time the usage became common, that was the thinking.

 
mckeonj
42995.  Wed Jan 04, 2006 8:29 am Reply with quote

To Suze: May I recommend to you and to all a wonderful book: The Atlantean Irish (Ireland's Oriental and Maritime Heritage) by Bob Quinn (The Lilliput Press, Dublin) ISBN 1 84351 024 3. It is not about Atlantis, it is about Gaels and Arabs. He also deconstructs the Celtic languages myth (no more p's and q's).

 
Jenny
43033.  Wed Jan 04, 2006 11:26 am Reply with quote

Quote:
the Romany (jekh, du, trin, sztar, panc)


These are very similar to the first five numbers in Hindi, which I learned as a very small child - I was born in India and left there just before my fifth birthday. But I believe Romany derives from Hindi, doesn't it?

Num. Hindi (Phonetic pronunciation)
0 SaÜnya (shuunya, sifar)
1 Ok (ek)
2 d< (do)
3 taina (tiin)
4 caar (caar)
5 paaúca (paanc)
6 CH (che)
7 saata (saat)
8 AaY (aaTh)
9 na> (nau)

http://faculty.maxwell.syr.edu/jishnu/101/numbers/default.asp

 
mckeonj
43088.  Wed Jan 04, 2006 3:20 pm Reply with quote

On the number words, and the link between Romany and Hindi.
"Hickory Dickory Dock" seem to me to be counting words of the same water as "Yethera Methera Pimp", where 'Dock' stands at the tenth position, alongside 'Dec' and 'Dig(it)'. Since Hickory etc involves a clock, this aint half unlikely.
An interesting observation on number words generally is that in some languages the word for 'nine' is also the word for 'new'. Apparently, at some point in cultural history, we changed from a base eight (octal) system to base ten (decimal), so we had to make two or three new words and signs; 8 octem, 9 novem, 10 decem. Something similar happened when some of us adopted a duodecimal system. I think it can be shown that 'eleven'='one more' and 'twelve'='two more'. Perhaps the mathematical elves could show us what fun can be had counting and calculating in other bases.
An Indian friend showed me one day how children in India count up to fifteen on the fingers of one hand, and can even add and subtract thereby, one hand behind the back, in class, very handy. Easy to demonstrate, difficult to describe.
I was told the following story by another soldier back in 1953 when National Service was in operation. A young British Romany conscripted to National Service was sent to Northern India during the pre-Independence period i.e. 1945-48. He found himself among people with whom he could converse in 'basic' Romany, a nomadic matriarchal society, the style of dress of the women, their gold ornamentation, their physical appearance, their food, their customs, death rites; so much was 'familiar'. I have told this story to Indian friends, and they concur that there is such a tribe, and that they are regarded as slightly alien to India proper.
Unfortunately I cannot remember by what name they are known.

 
mckeonj
43127.  Wed Jan 04, 2006 6:10 pm Reply with quote

Re: Hampshire Gaelic
Another little gem; I lived for a while in Brockenhurst, in the heart of the New Forest. The root word is Brock, which means badger. The modern Irish 'broc' means badger. 'broc' also means 'one with a dirty face' or 'one who talks dirty (smutty), or 'a short, thickset, person'. Hold on, it gets better. One of my pals at school in Brockenhurst (1945-51) was named Horlock, and came from Minstead, where his grandfather lived in the woods, burning charcoal and making stools, chairs, hurdles, from bent green wood. Such people were known as 'badgers', or 'bodgers' on account of their smudged faces and arboreal habitat. Bodger has come to mean a slipshod workman, but a real bodger's work is by no means slipshod. King George IV was so impressed with the work of a Windsor bodger that he ordered a set of 12 chairs for Windsor Castle, setting the fashion for Windsor chairs. Incidentally, it was a Horlock from Minstead, a charcoal burner, who found the body of William Rufus, successor to William the Conqueror.

 
samivel
43134.  Wed Jan 04, 2006 6:30 pm Reply with quote

Well, he was lying next to the Rufus Stone, so I reckon that was a bit easy ;)

 
gerontius grumpus
43156.  Wed Jan 04, 2006 8:37 pm Reply with quote

There are Brock placenames all over southern England relating either to badgers or brooks.
Brockworth in Gloucestershire is QIly not far from Badgeworth, the home of one of England's smallest nature reserves.

 
Jenny
43167.  Wed Jan 04, 2006 9:04 pm Reply with quote

I think the method of counting on one hand involves using the thumb as a pointer and counting on the phalanges of the fingers, but that only takes you up to twelve. However, if you use both hands, that can take you up to 144.

 
samivel
43172.  Wed Jan 04, 2006 9:09 pm Reply with quote

Maybe you include the phalanges of the thumb, and the palm. That would make 15

 
laidbacklazyman
43180.  Thu Jan 05, 2006 12:46 am Reply with quote

gerontius grumpus wrote:
Dreckly is a slightly interesting Cornish dialect word, it means "this day, next day, sometime, never" or eventually.



The best way to describe the time span of dreckly is it is the Cornish equivalent to the Spanish maniana, only less urgent.

 
dr.bob
43235.  Thu Jan 05, 2006 9:06 am Reply with quote

When does a dialect stop being a dialect and become a seperate language?

I was just wondering if Polari counts as a dialect? Having seen "Balderdash and Piffle" on BBC2 this week, I'd love for an excuse to explain the meaning of the word "naff" on QI :)

 
mckeonj
43653.  Fri Jan 06, 2006 4:13 pm Reply with quote

Jenny wrote:
I think the method of counting on one hand involves using the thumb as a pointer and counting on the phalanges of the fingers, but that only takes you up to twelve. However, if you use both hands, that can take you up to 144.

Actually, you 'cheat' by checking the thumb as three, then using the thumb as a pointer to the rest of the phalanges, starting with the nearest. And as any factoid hound knows, anyone can do sums up to three.
"primitive tribes have only three counting words - one, two, many."

 
gerontius grumpus
43686.  Fri Jan 06, 2006 5:29 pm Reply with quote

mckeonj wrote:
Jenny wrote:
I think the method of counting on one hand involves using the thumb as a pointer and counting on the phalanges of the fingers, but that only takes you up to twelve. However, if you use both hands, that can take you up to 144.

Actually, you 'cheat' by checking the thumb as three, then using the thumb as a pointer to the rest of the phalanges, starting with the nearest. And as any factoid hound knows, anyone can do sums up to three.
"primitive tribes have only three counting words - one, two, many."



I'm not quit sure what you mean, but if you mean counting to three on the thumb and then using it as a pointer on the other digits, it doesn't work because there are only two phalanges in the thumb.

 

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