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Dampier 1

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JumpingJack
63237.  Sat Apr 01, 2006 8:10 am Reply with quote

Question:

What is Quite Interesting about this sentence?

Serrated Nor'wester sea-breezes caress rambling sea-lion kumquat excursion.

Forfeit:

CONTAINS EVERY LETTER OF THE ALPHABET

(F, H, J, P, V and Y are all missing).

Answer:

All the words were introduced into English by the same man, William Dampier (1652-1715).

Notes:

Dampier was a sea captain, navigator, explorer, cartographer, scientific observer, pirate and buccaneer who circumnavigated the world three times.

He is cited more than 1,000 times in the Oxford English Dictionary, also introducing into English the words avocado, barbecue, breadfruit, cashew, chopsticks, petrel, posse, settlement, snapper, soysauce, stilts (as in house supports), subsistence (as in farming), sub-species, swampy, thunder-cloud, (to make) snug and tortilla.


As a travel-writer alone, his name deserves to be known wherever our language is spoken.
CLENNELL WILKINSON (Dampier’s biographer).


PICTURE RESEARCHERS

Q: WRITE SENTENCE UP IN NICE COLOURED GRAPHICS ON SCREENS?
(THIS WOULD SPOIL THE FORFEIT, THOUGH: MIGHT BE BETTER TO HAVE SOMETHING ANONYMOUS)

A: WILLIAM DAMPIER

Technical details:

Dampier is credited with introducing the word 'caress' only as a verb. It had been used in print in English as a noun some 86 years earlier.

In some cases (for example 'petrel') something vaguely like the word had been in use earlier, but Dampier is the first to use the modern spelling.

Links

Links to >> Dampier 2

Sources:


s: PEM
s: OCL
s: eas
s: ccs
s: http://willem-dampier.biography.ms
s: http://wordcraft.infopop.cc/Archives/2005-3-Mar.htm

 
MatC
63241.  Sat Apr 01, 2006 9:01 am Reply with quote

It would seem natural at this point, unless you've done it in a previous series, to mention Shakespeare, who - according to Bill Bryson in “Mother Tongue” - coined 2,000 words. Somewhere (I can’t find it at the moment) I have seen a statistic of the proportion or percentage of the English vocabulary existing in his lifetime which he single-handedly created, and it was something amazing.

Here’s a partial list:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_English_words_invented_by_Shakespeare

Incidentally, the same Bryson book says that the OED insists that Shakspere is the only correct spelling of his name. Though “it grudgingly acknowledges that the commonest spelling is ‘perh. Shakespeare.’” Nice use of perh.!

 
eggshaped
63245.  Sat Apr 01, 2006 9:12 am Reply with quote

I have a real problem with the much quoted statistics about how many words were "coined" or "invented" by Shakespeare. I think more likely his is the earliest citation that lexicographers have found, as his plays have lasted so long.

If he really did "invent" these words, then surely the people watching his plays would be baffled by all these new unheard words.

 
MatC
63247.  Sat Apr 01, 2006 9:26 am Reply with quote

Yes, I agree, sounds much more likely. Although there are modern equivalents; comedy shows on radio and TV have always invented words, which audiences enjoy interpreting from context. And so does SF, obviously. But if the sheer scale of Shakky's invention is true, then his plays would surely have been, as you suggest, entirely incomprehensible.

Do lexicographers have an answer to this, do you know? I mean obviously, it's an argument which they must have encountered ...

 
eggshaped
63250.  Sat Apr 01, 2006 9:39 am Reply with quote

I think that one of the problems might have been that when searching for words, Shakey was (understandably enough) one of the main sources read. This from the OED seems to imply that a lot of his words may soon be attributed to another:

Quote:
...in both the first and second editions of the OED, Shakespeare appears as the originator of a large number of words and senses (e.g. majestically, neglected), but by looking at texts written by less well-known sixteenth-century authors on Literature Online, we have confirmed our suspicions that in many of these cases Shakespeare was using words which were already current.

This gives us an altered view of Shakespeare as a writer; more importantly for the lexicographer, it begins to modify our understanding of how and why English vocabulary changed in the sixteenth and early seventeenth century.


http://www.oed.com/newsletters/2002-12/mining.html

I look forward to seeing the Shakespeare mythcon some day.

 
MatC
63252.  Sat Apr 01, 2006 9:45 am Reply with quote

Quote:
I look forward to seeing the Shakespeare mythcon some day.


Oooh, nice one! I shall make a note ...

 
JumpingJack
63272.  Sat Apr 01, 2006 10:51 am Reply with quote

What excellent banter, gentlemen.

I'm inclined to believe eggshaped above Bryson, whom I think is better on science than etymology, mainly because the former is a subject Bryson knew nothing of before he started writing about it.

That 'Shakespeare invented 2000 words' thing is just too pat a cliché.

On the other hand, it's delicious to imagine that Shakespeare was as incomprehensible to his contemporaries as he is to us today...


Last edited by JumpingJack on Sat Apr 01, 2006 11:35 am; edited 1 time in total

 
eggshaped
63277.  Sat Apr 01, 2006 11:03 am Reply with quote

Quote:
I'm inclined to believe eggshaped above Bryson


I think we have a new winner for my epitaph.

 

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