Thursday, June 8, 2023

Language Of Confusion: Going In Circles, Part IV

The final part in our series looking at the Proto Indo European sker-, to turn or bend, which is what gave us circle, ring… and this week’s words, which are a lot weirder.
The first word we’re looking at this week is—really—range. It showed up in the thirteenth century as renge/rengen, and it meant what we know it as a verb, but meant as a noun meant a row or line of people. The noun started to mean a line or row in general by the fourteenth century, then scope by the late fifteenth century and an area animals seek food in the seventeenth century, and finally row of mountains in the early eighteenth century. Both come from Old French, the noun reng/renge and the verb ranger/rangier, which again meant to put in a row or line. That’s from the Frankish hring, which we went over a few weeks ago as being the origin word for ring, and of course from sker-. No idea how it got from a ring to a line. Those things are kind of opposites.
Then there’s arrange—yes, from the same place! Arrange showed up in the late fourteenth century spelled arengen (so, just like range with an a- on the front, how familiar). It actually first meant to draw up a line in battle and wasn’t used much until the late seventeenth century when it started to mean to put in order. It’s from the Old French arengier, to put in battle order or to put in a row, with the a- coming from the prefix ad- and meaning to, so to arrange is to put in a row.
And we also have derange, which isn’t used much now except as the adjective deranged. Derange showed up in 1776 meaning to put into confusion or disturb the order of, while deranged didn’t show up until 1790. The words are from the French déranger, to bother, from the Old French desrengier, disarrange. The des- is from dis- and means do the opposite of, so to derange is the opposite of arrange.
Okay, you can kind of see how the range words work with sker-, if barely. But search? It showed up in the fourteenth century as serchen, and back then it meant to go through and examine carefully, though the noun version did exist and meant a search for something, and by the fifteenth century that was pretty much what search referred to. It comes from the Old French cerchier, which is from the classical Latin circare, to go around. “Boy, that looks like circle,” you might be saying. Well, yeah, it’s the word we looked at a few weeks ago as being the origin of circle. I really don’t get how we get search from there, but we do, and also research, which showed up in the late sixteenth century. That’s from the Old French recercher, which is just cerchier with the re- prefix added for emphasis. To search is to go around in a circle. To research is to really go around in a circle.
Online Etymology Dictionary
Google Translate
University of Texas at Austin Linguistic Research Center
University of Texas at San Antonio’s page on Proto Indo European language
Encyclopaedia Britannica

Tuesday, June 6, 2023

June Goals

Crud, how is it June already? There’s no way I got anything done. May was over too fast.
May Goals
1. Plan out the second part of the web serial.
Already started working on it. I’m over 30K already.
2. Keep working on marketing—why does this have to be so hard?
Didn’t really do this. I have no idea how it works.
3. Try to recharge in some way so the stress doesn’t cause me to spontaneously combust.
I’m feeling slightly less stressed, I guess.
So that’s all. Not particularly successful. I’m not even sure what I should try for this month…
June Goals
1. Get to 60K on the sequel WIP.
2. Rearrange my whole writing schedule in a way that hopefully works since I have a bunch more stuff on my plate.
3. Keep trying on the marketing stuff, even if I have no idea how.
It’s a reasonable plan, I think. What do you want to do this month? It’s finally getting nice here, what’s the weather like where you are?

Saturday, June 3, 2023


I really hope there’s not a nest in the attic.
Panel 1, I see a bee flying around the house and I say, “Great, a bee got inside.” Panel 2, I scoop it into some tupperware, saying, “Come on, Mr. Bee. Let’s get you outside to pollinate some flowers.” Panel 3, I release the bee outside. Panel 4, I’m back inside and there are three more bees flying around
I haven’t seen one in a few days, so fingers crossed they don’t come back. The last thing I need is bees!

Thursday, June 1, 2023

Language Of Confusion: Going In Circles, Part III

Back to looking at words related to circle, which are descended from the Proto Indo European sker-, to turn or bend. These words… well it’s starting to get less obvious.
Curve makes sense at least. It showed up in the early fifteenth century as a verb, not becoming a noun until the late seventeenth century. It comes from the classical Latin curvus, curved, from the verb curvare, to bend, which is from sker-. Which makes sense, I guess they just dropped the S.
Then there’s crepe—both the food that’s a thin pancake and like wrinkled paper/fabric. The fabric showed up first, in 1797, while the food showed up a full eighty years later, and was based off the fabric in the sense that the pancake was small and curled. The word comes from the French crêpe, same meanings, from the Old French crespe, a ruffle or frill. That’s from the classical Latin crispa, curly, which is from sker-.
And you might be thinking that crispa looks like crisp, and there’s a reason for that. Crisp is from the Old English crisp, where it meant curly, crimped, or wavy, and it’s from the classical Latin crispus,  which is another version of crispa. No one really knows why, but sometime in the sixteenth century, crisp started to mean brittle (possibly in relation to things being cooked and becoming brittle), and then in 1814, it started to mean neat and fresh in appearance, then chilly air by 1859. In about 1826, it referred to things that were overdone in cooking—burned to a crisp—and when potato chips were invented, British English started to refer to them as potato crisps by 1897. So that’s the crazy, convoluted origin of crisp.
Crest showed up in the early fourteenth century as a noun meaning the highest part of a helmet, and then as a verb later in the century that referred to providing with a crest. It was around that time period it also came to mean the highest part of a hill or mountain and the tuft of an animal, and it didn’t start to mean the crest of a hill (or wave) until the nineteenth century. The word comes from the Old French creste, which referred to the crest on an animal, from the classical Latin crista, a crest or plume, which is believed to be from crispus, and thus sker-. Weird, huh? More or less convoluted than crisp?
Finally today, I want to touch on flounce. Not flounce like a person would do—that’s completely unrelated. No, I mean the flounce of a dress. A flounce is a ruffle—a crisp!—and it showed up in 1713 from the Middle English frounce. That’s from the Old French fronce, Frankish hrunkjan, and Proto Germanic hrunk, which is from sker-. So we got rid of the S, put on an H, got rid of that, put on an F, and changed the R to an L, and that’s how we have the name for a ruffle for a dress.
Try not to think about it too much.
Online Etymology Dictionary
Google Translate
University of Texas at Austin Linguistic Research Center
University of Texas at San Antonio’s page on Proto Indo European language
University of Texas at Arlington
Tony Jebson’s page on the Origins of Old English
Encyclopaedia Britannica

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

From The Spamfiles

Happy Spam Day! I love months with five Tuesdays in them.

Message from Hot Butt (I’m not kidding) saying I really want you to fuck me tonight, enter to meet me
I can one hundred percent guarantee that I don’t want to meet anyone with the email address “Hot Butt”.

Message from Planet 7, saying please verify your informations, payout verification
Protip: don’t give out your informations to anyone who spells it informations.
 Message from Checkbright at Basicknit, saying lose 52 pounds in 28 days
Okay, if I’m down fifty two pounds in twenty eight days, I’ve lost a limb—possibly two.

Message from noor, ellipsis, followed by random letters and numbers, saying reward inside, confirm receipt, no tricks
They say no tricks so obviously they’re telling the truth.
New Tumblr follower 999 Antiques, which has in the bio “We buy, we pawn, we do consignments, collateral loans
Most of the spambots following me on Tumblr are just pictures of half-naked women with empty blogs, so this one that is trying to get me to sell/pawn stuff is pretty unique. Not to mention way off for Tumblr’s userbase.

Saturday, May 27, 2023

Delicate Voice

This cat sounds like a siren going off.
Panel 1, I’m on the phone with my mom, and she says, “I think my Trixie is going deaf!” Panel 2, my mom at home with her cat, Trixie, sitting behind her, and from the phone I say, “What makes you think that?” Panel 3, Trixie lets out a deafening “MEOWWWWWW!!!!!!” that makes my mom jump, Panel 4, back to me, and my mom says, “Just a hunch.”

Thankfully I didn’t have to worry about this with my cat Veronica when she went deaf, as despite being a giant, fifteen pound ball of fur, Veronica could only ever muster a light trill when she meowed.