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Spud McLaren
1209576.  Sat Oct 22, 2016 3:20 pm Reply with quote

... English, Low Saxon, etc.

Plenty of scope for etymological escapades, possibly bringing in the Great Vowel Shift (again), although that was rather later; swear words; where exactly was Brunanburh?; why did Byrhtnoth allow the Norsemen passage onto the mainland at Maldon?; and other such matters.

In the meantime here is a Saxon poem, set to music using an instrument of the period.

1211458.  Thu Nov 10, 2016 3:46 pm Reply with quote

On matters etymological, my favourite has to be the thrice named hill, as mentioned in Hellboy, Bredon Hill.

"The name "Bredon Hill" is unusual in that it combines the name for "hill" in three different languages (compare Pendle Hill). The word "bre" is of Celtic origin, and "don" is an Old English usage."

1211459.  Thu Nov 10, 2016 3:59 pm Reply with quote

QI has already gone one louder than that with Torpenhow Hill.

Ian Dunn
1215587.  Fri Dec 09, 2016 4:04 am Reply with quote

... People

In Japan, the term "sodai gomi" has come to mean a man, normally an older man, who sits at home all day doing nothing and being bored, generally getting in the way of everyone else around them especially their busy wives. The term "sodia gomi" literally translates as "giant garbage", and originally referred to large broken household appliances that were hard to get rid of, like a broken fridge.

I got this from a review on Tofugu of a book called Womansword: What Japanese Words Say About Women by Kittredge Cherry, which has been republished for its 30th anniversary. It examines the relationship between the Japanese language and women.

Other highlights in the book and the review include:

* You know those cute kokeshi dolls you see everywhere? There are theories that the name doesn't really mean "little poppies" (小芥子), but instead "child erasure" (子消し). You see, in the old days, some poor Japanese people couldn't afford to have girls instead of boys. Girls cost more money, they would leave the family when they married, and usually couldn't carry on the family name. So they would commit infanticide. The dolls may have represented the little girls they "erased" (ie. killed).

* Until 1984, the child of a Japanese man and a foreign wife was considered Japanese, but the child of a Japanese wife and a foreign man was not.

* The Mamagon, or the Mama-saurus, is a mom who is super vicious. They push their kids to study hard and go to cram school. And they get blamed for everything wrong with their kids because it's the mom's responsibility to handle their education and not the father's. Which means anytime anything goes wrong it must be their fault. Low test scores = bad mama. This creates an image of loud, pushy moms that will do anything to make their kid succeed.

* An umazume (stone woman or no-life woman) was a term used for women who couldn't bear children. Men don't have a word similar to this because everyone assumed that it was the woman's fault if she couldn't get pregnant. Oh, and there's a special place in hell for women who can't get pregnant too, as if being barren wasn't bad enough.

* "Turkish Bath Girls" were basically prostitutes who worked in brothels disguised as bathhouses. But they were forced to change their names in the 1980s when a Turkish diplomat found out about them and wasn't very happy with his country being associated with sexy times. Now they're called "Soap Ladies" ソープレディ and they work in "Soapland" ソープランド invoking the image of a woman washing someone down with soap bubbles and umů other things.

* The Japanese language didn't have a word for "dating" until pretty late in history. Because of that, they had to take it from English, which is why it's デートをする, which is literally "to do a date." Everything used to be arranged by the fathers, so all the old words have to do with the fathers or marriage, which is how we ended up with a loanword instead.

1217786.  Thu Dec 22, 2016 6:35 am Reply with quote

When was the first X Box sold?

1908! "X" was the designation of the "starter set" for Meccano at the time. I got this from reading "James May's Toy Stories", but a quick scoot round the interwebs should provide confirmation/sources.

1217801.  Thu Dec 22, 2016 8:41 am Reply with quote

Well some sources claim that the original Box of X dated back to 1906...

[I'll fetch me coat]


Ian Dunn
1219836.  Fri Jan 06, 2017 6:30 pm Reply with quote


Japan was the first country to impose gun laws, back in 1685. To this day, gun laws are strict. The current guns laws were made in 1958.

If you want to buy a gun in Japan you need patience and determination. You have to attend an all-day class, take a written exam and pass a shooting-range test with a mark of at least 95%.

There are also mental health and drugs tests. Your criminal record is checked and police look for links to extremist groups. Then they check your relatives too - and even your work colleagues. And as well as having the power to deny gun licences, police also have sweeping powers to search and seize weapons.

That's not all. Handguns are banned outright. Only shotguns and air rifles are allowed.

The law restricts the number of gun shops. In most of Japan's 40 or so prefectures there can be no more than three, and you can only buy fresh cartridges by returning the spent cartridges you bought on your last visit.

Police must be notified where the gun and the ammunition are stored - and they must be stored separately under lock and key. Police will also inspect guns once a year. And after three years your licence runs out, at which point you have to attend the course and pass the tests again.

In terms of law and order, today the Yakuza hide their guns inside tuna. The police meanwhile shot just six bullets in 2015, and rather than use guns, "What most Japanese police will do is get huge futons and essentially roll up a person who is being violent or drunk into a little burrito and carry them back to the station to calm them down."

Source: BBC News

Spud McLaren
1219908.  Sat Jan 07, 2017 8:19 am Reply with quote

Ian Dunn wrote:
"What most Japanese police will do is get huge futons and essentially roll up a person who is being violent or drunk into a little burrito and carry them back to the station to calm them down."
Well, I should think so. Are there any countries in which it is legal and accepted practice for the police to fire guns with intent to kill/wound in the arrest of an unarmed suspect? I daresay there are ...

1233330.  Fri Apr 07, 2017 1:43 pm Reply with quote

How old does something have to be to be described as old?
There's this interesting project done by the University of York, which involved the archaeological excavation of a 1991 van. Link here
It's actually an interesting discussion which comes up quite often in archaeology, especially when excavating fairly "modern" sites.


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