From the English Wikipedia:
"Prince Miloš was to resent Njegoš's abandonment of the unhappy hard sign, over which, at that time, furious intellectual battles were being waged, with ecclesiastical hierarchy involved as well."
Sunday, February 10, 2013
More ill than usual these days, I have spent my time today in bed reading the OED. As I have mentioned before in this blog, the treatment of Sanskrit in the etymologies of the OED is often a little careless. Today I came across the OED's etymology for kirpan, "the sword or dagger worn by Sikhs as a religious symbol."
Panjabi and Hindi kirpān, < Sanskrit kṛpaṇa, sword.Actually the Sanskrit word kr̥pāṇaḥ, "sword, sacrificial knife," has a long ā too. Punjabi kirpān and Hindi kr̥pān, by their form, must be learned borrowings, not the organic descendants of the Sanskrit through Middle Indic. Panini apparently derives the Sanskrit word from the root of kalpáyati, "he orders, apportions, cuts, trims," whose Indo-European antecedents are disputed. Kalpa is also one of the Finnish words for sword--perhaps one of the early Indo-Iranian loanwords in Uralic?
Saturday, February 2, 2013
After pointless hours of research, I would do anything to know how Persian شيشه šiše “glass”, from Middle Persian <šyšk> “flask, bottle” (cf. Armenian շիշ šiš "bottle”) might be related to Mishnaic Hebrew אֶשֶׁשׁ “crystal ball, light reflector” and Jewish Babylonian Aramaic אֲשׁׅישָׁא “jug”. Someone somewhere has suggested such a relationship. Someone somewhere has also suggested a relationship of all these to Middle Egyptian šs “alabaster”. Did the Iranian word originally designate a flask of semiprecious material for holding perfumes? Sorani has شووشه šûše and Kurmanci şûşe, and this vocalism is also found in Georgian შუშა šuši. (In this semantic sphere, later Assyrian has a luliu “slag of glass” and later Babylonion lulimtu “a jewel(?)”. That there are exchanges between š [sometimes reflecting Proto-Semitic lateral *tɬ] and lateral l in the languages of the region is well known.)
Saturday, January 19, 2013
It is incredible to me that the Oxford English Dictionary does not have the word "pogonip". Merriam-Webster say that they have a cite from 1865. I had thought that the OED had put all of their material for the letters M through R online, before the editors started jumping around more last year. Something that through the cracks in the OED's reading program for American genre fiction?
Perhaps this word got swept up into general-use dictionaries because it was used in a Louis L'Amour story "Down the Pogonip Trail". Later writers of Westerns and frontier fiction seem to have propagated the word after that. Gillian Welch uses the word in one verse of her marvellous song "Wrecking Ball" on her album "Soul Journey"):
Oh, just a little deadhead
Who is watching, who is watching?
I's just a little deadhead
I won a dollar on a scholarship
Well, I got tired and let my average slip
Then I's a farmer in the pogonip
Where the weed that I recall
Was like a wrecking ball
Is "pogonip" the only word in English from Shoshoni (besides Shoshoni nɨmɨ "person" in the subfamily name "Numic")? I really like having these rare words in the dictionary. Imagine the pleasure of reading a Western in which this word is dropped, wondering where it came from, and then looking it up in the dictionary to find its origin with the sinking feeling that it will not be entered. But there it is! I must see if there is a further Uto-Aztecan etymology for the word. Here and there on the web, one finds the statement that the Shoshoni etymon means "thundercloud". To be continued...
Sunday, December 2, 2012
Tonight, after seeing too many headlines saying Enrique Pena Nieto, which sounds very unfortunate, I was eventually led to search for minimal pairs in Spanish that illustrate the contrast of /ɲ/ and /nj/. Wikipedia provided the following: uñón /uɲon/ "large nail" (of the finger or toe) and unión /unjon/ "union". But how real a word is uñón? Well, mis uñones and sus uñones get a paltry few hits, but there is also this:
EL UÑON Un ser mitico, hombre con uñas muy largas, que utiliza para atacar a las gentes como un animal salvaje.found in Mitos y leyendas de Antioquia la Grande by Javier Ocampo López, a collection of Colombian folklore available on Google Books. To me there is no greater pleasure than reading dictionaries of mythogical beings—a taste I developed when I received a copy of an English translation of Borges' El libro de los seres imaginarios when I must have been six or seven. Of the many beings I read about in that book, I was particularly haunted by the thought of the Nasnas. Lying in bed with my head on the pillow in the dark of night, I often imagined that the sound of my heart was actually the thud of the horrible hopping of the Nasnas, slowly and clumsily making his way to my house in the night, bobbing up and down like a sinister pogo stick...
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
The small town of
Sopchoppy, , holds an annual festival showcasing the art of Florida worm grunting, a traditional method used to gather earthworms for use as bait. A thick stake of wood, less than three feet or so in length, is driven into the ground, and then a flatiron is drawn across the top of stick in such a way that the stick vibrates. The vibrations disturb the worms in the ground, and they wiggle up to the surface and are gathered by the pailful by the grunters. (The worms perhaps mistake the noise of the vibrating stake for the sounds made by a mole digging through the earth, so that they climb to the surface in order to escape being eaten.) The term that worm grunters use to describe the tool of their trade, the wooden stake, is stob. This word dates from Middle English times and is related to the standard English word stub. In modern times, Florida stob survives chiefly as a regionalism meaning “a short piece of wood.” Professor Charles F. Smith of included the word in his 1883 work “On Southernisms”, a compilation of Southern regional terms. His account of the word reads as follows: Stob, a small post or stake or stump of a shrub, South, commonly so used in many, if not all, parts of the South. It is not elegant, however. Despite Smith’s low estimation of stob in 1883, the Vanderbilt University worm grunters of today still find the word useful. Florida