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Ur-examples

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ConorOberstIsGo
1413587.  Wed Jun 22, 2022 2:24 pm Reply with quote

'Ur-example' as a term seems to represent the original or prototypical version of something. I see it used more in socio-cultural academia and also in discussions about media. Here are my attempts at examples of Ur-examples(!):

Dystopian writing: 1984 (it is early compared to other writings in its category, it's futuristic, it's totalitarian, it's got themes of thought control)

Summer blockbuster: Jaws (there were no summer blockbusters before Jaws really; the summer was a down season for movie theatres and drive-ins, it's set in summer, it's pretty uncomplicated creature-feature with young people doing illicit things and the result is their deaths, it's wildly misleading (the story of Benchley is a very interesting one, he also wrote a book about nazi-shark hybrids and felt so bad about the effect of the movie that he began donating the proceeds to try to protect sharks))

A Franchise Desperately Trying To Hold On And Failing: 'Jumping The Shark' (named for the point at which the show Happy Days got bad. It pertains to The Fonz water-skiing over a shark, and a modern version is 'Nuking The Fridge' (see Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull or don't because it's bad) again it's an early example and one people broadly recognise)



Please add your own Ur-example examples and we can compare definitions!



PS please don't tell me how good Jaws is, it's a great movie, so is The Deer Hunter which likewise makes its apparent message all the more pernicious IMO.

 
Alexander Howard
1416721.  Tue Aug 16, 2022 9:10 am Reply with quote

Urheimat - a term in use in studies of prehistory and specifically philology. It is also much abused by people with certain theories that fell out of favour in 1945.

It means "original home". Studies of the early Indo-European languages try to make a best guess (sorry - scientific analysis) of where the first Indo-European speakers would have lived before their language spread across Asia and Europe, based on things such as whether there are common words for pastoral or arable concepts that might tell us they were herders or planters. Studies have placed the Urheimat of the Malay and Pacific languages in Taiwan.

That does not mean the people who speak those languages all descend from the ancient inhabitants of the Urheimat; it is just where the languages come from.

The dodgy bit is when someone tries to determine a founding home for a race or nation, assuming that there it was in a 'pure' state. Some Nazi ideologues imagined Thule as a pure homeland of the German people (without actually knowing where Thule was, but by that time they were already away with the fairies so imagining a pure Germanic fairyland was not a stretch).

 
AlmondFacialBar
1416799.  Wed Aug 17, 2022 7:36 am Reply with quote

Not really an Ur-example, but a, to me, fascinating using of the prefix - standard German uses ur- to denote great age. Your Urgroßeltern are your greatgrandparents, Urgeschichte is early prehistory, uralt means ancient,the Urheimat of a language is where it originated fuck knows when, but definitely a long time ago and so on.

Austrian German, however, and uniquely, goes one better by using it to denote anything greater than normal. An Ironman triathlon would be an Uranstrengung (hyphenation goes behind the ur, it has nothing to do with Uranium), Josef Fritzl would be an Urarschloch and years and years ago at a party a Viennese friend of mine once complained that she was bound to fail at a game that involved moving around while holding your breath because she had an Urweg, i.e. an insanely long way to move.

What also makes that one interesting to me is that it's independent of the general dialect continuum the person speaks in. Whether they hail from a Bavarian speaking part of Austria (most of it), an Allemanic one (Vorarlberg) or one with completely non-German dialectal influences (the eastern parts of the country), they'll use ur-, whereas no Bavarian, Swabian or Swiss person speaking their own version of these German dialects ever would. It's basically Austrian cultural self-assertion towards their neighbours and I rather like that.

As for Thule - if they're gonna think of a pure Germanic fairyland, the very least they could have done is pick somewhere warmer. 🥶

:-)

AlmondFacialBar

 
Alexander Howard
1420592.  Wed Oct 19, 2022 8:39 am Reply with quote

Back in Ultima Thule, I remembered a story that astronomers identified a distant object in the Kuiper belt, which was lined up to be visited by the New Horizons probe. NASA dubbed it 'Ultima Thule' as it was the farthest identified object that would be visited.

Then someone kicked up a fuss that 'Thule' had been a concept used in Nazi ideology, so the name was dropped, in favour of '486958 Arrokoth' (which is a better name anyway). Arrokoth is a Powhatan word for "sky".

They must be running out of languages to borrow names from about the same time, a distant star and its exoplanet were renamed 'Gloas’ and ‘Cruinlagh', from the Manx for 'shine' and 'orbit'. It's one small step for Mann.

 

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