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General Ignorance

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Frances
10468.  Fri Nov 12, 2004 5:15 am Reply with quote

When I was a smallish child, many years ago, I actually saw a blue moon - and a blue sun, if it comes to that. Some volcano had erupted, I believe. It must have been about 1948. Or maybe it was 1946, and it was in response to that that the article in the Sky and Telescope was written. I can't remember much about it, except walking to school in an eerie twilight that one of my friends said was the end of the world, and ghosts would be walking, but I told her that was silly, worlds didn't end.

 
laidbacklazyman
23873.  Thu Sep 08, 2005 2:22 am Reply with quote

Well trawling through the bits and bobs looking for questions for the quiz that's going to be on gadmp.co.uk and I come across this little nugget

Flash wrote:

Also, B for Buonaparte is often depicted with his hand tucked into his weskit - presumably that's just to keep it warm? Or because he was doing a Nelson impression? Or what?


A likely (and note I can't prove it but it's quite logical when you think of it) answer is that the hardest part, and hence the most expensive, to draw/sculpt etc when your subject is human is the hand. So maybe he was doing it to save money (although I dread to think where he hid his hands on the statue that Arthur Wellesley stole ;~?

 
Jef
200616.  Wed Aug 15, 2007 4:09 pm Reply with quote

laidbacklazyman wrote:
Well trawling through the bits and bobs looking for questions for the quiz that's going to be on gadmp.co.uk and I come across this little nugget

Flash wrote:

Also, B for Buonaparte is often depicted with his hand tucked into his weskit - presumably that's just to keep it warm? Or because he was doing a Nelson impression? Or what?


A likely (and note I can't prove it but it's quite logical when you think of it) answer is that the hardest part, and hence the most expensive, to draw/sculpt etc when your subject is human is the hand. So maybe he was doing it to save money (although I dread to think where he hid his hands on the statue that Arthur Wellesley stole ;~?


There is another theory that Bonaparte had a liver condition, and he kept his hand there to - somehow - manage the pain...

 
Jef
200617.  Wed Aug 15, 2007 4:11 pm Reply with quote

I saw the eighth episode of season B again, and I'm not so sure what Stephen Fry says about 'cookies' is all that correct.

He claims that the word 'cookie' is derived from the Dutch word 'koekje'. So far, correct. False, however, is the fact that the Dutch word 'koekje' means 'cake'.

 
Flash
200654.  Wed Aug 15, 2007 5:58 pm Reply with quote

Interesting - though etymonline claims that it does, as well:

Quote:
1703, Amer.Eng., from Du. koekje "little cake," dim. of koek "cake," from M.Du. koke

http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?search=cookie&searchmode=none

 
suze
200660.  Wed Aug 15, 2007 6:12 pm Reply with quote

An online Dutch dictionary gave me this:

koekje [nn] (cupcake) small cake baked in a muffin tin

I'm well aware that online dictionaries aren't always the most reliable things, but this one seems reliable enough; next time I speak to Hans Mof I'll ask him about this one, since I know that he possesses a proper big Dutch dictionary.

 
npower1
200674.  Wed Aug 15, 2007 7:16 pm Reply with quote

Suze,
Is this dictionary reliable because it agrees with your 'views' or 'knowledge' or because it is 'definitive'.

 
suze
200679.  Wed Aug 15, 2007 7:45 pm Reply with quote

None of the above really, just that I checked a couple of Dutch words that I knew and it agreed with what I knew them to mean!

But now then, I've just spoken with Hans Mof, who has been kind enough to consult Van Dale - the Dutch equivalent of the OED.

That dictionary gives the following definition:

koekˇje (het ~, ~s)
1 kleine platte gebakken lekkernij

and Hans translates the bit after the 1 as "small flat baked tidbit".

That is to say, a biscuit rather than a cake - even though etymologically, koekje is the diminutive of koek (which means "cake", albeit usually one made from batter rather than from dough). So "cookie" is derived from a Dutch word whose etymological meaning is "little cake", but which in fact means "biscuit".

The etymology of koek itself is unclear, and Van Dale can do no more than say it may come from koken (= to cook), in turn perhaps from the Latin coquere.

 
Jef
200699.  Wed Aug 15, 2007 8:42 pm Reply with quote

suze wrote:
None of the above really, just that I checked a couple of Dutch words that I knew and it agreed with what I knew them to mean!

But now then, I've just spoken with Hans Mof, who has been kind enough to consult Van Dale - the Dutch equivalent of the OED.

That dictionary gives the following definition:

koekˇje (het ~, ~s)
1 kleine platte gebakken lekkernij

and Hans translates the bit after the 1 as "small flat baked tidbit".

That is to say, a biscuit rather than a cake - even though etymologically, koekje is the diminutive of koek (which means "cake", albeit usually one made from batter rather than from dough). So "cookie" is derived from a Dutch word whose etymological meaning is "little cake", but which in fact means "biscuit".

The etymology of koek itself is unclear, and Van Dale can do no more than say it may come from koken (= to cook), in turn perhaps from the Latin coquere.


I'm Belgian and Dutchspeaking, so - like you about the Dutch words - I'm a bit confused with the meaning of the word 'cake' in English.

Maybe images are easier:

What we in Dutch call a cake:


What we in Dutch call a 'koekje':


That's clarity for you... :-)

 
Flash
200726.  Thu Aug 16, 2007 3:19 am Reply with quote

In English there's a grey area between the cake and the biscuit, occupied by a thing called a Jaffa Cake (a proprietary brand name), which most people would describe colloquially as a biscuit. It matters (a bit) because they're treated differently for tax purposes.

 
npower1
200745.  Thu Aug 16, 2007 3:39 am Reply with quote

Should someone ring the Guinness book of Records? This thread seems to have arisen from the dead, having been originally started in 2003.

 

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