Saturday, November 28, 2020

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Before And After #2

It’s Thanksgiving! I probably won’t be around! But not because I’m doing anything. I just don’t feel like it.
Yes, things are so very different around here.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Before And After #1

It’s the week of Thanksgiving here in the US! As per usual, I’m doing something slightly different this week. This year I decided to look at the vast differences between 2019 and 2020.
Although in real life, all parties were then cancelled because of the pandemic. It’s just funnier this way.

Saturday, November 21, 2020


Occasionally my mom wants me to try new things with her. I wouldn’t call it a waste of time, but… Well, maybe I would.
I’m not an adventurous eater at all, and fruit is probably the only food type I would try an unusual variety of. And I probably wouldn’t because this is usually the result.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Language of Confusion: Tear

Another redo this week. I am totally out of original ideas. This one is almost exactly ten years old, so maybe it could use another looking at.
Tear has two different meanings, to rip something apart and what happens when you cry. The crying one showed up as a verb in the early fifteenth century and a noun sometime before that, coming from the Old English tear, which is just tear, so nothing shocking here. It’s from the Proto Germanic tahr-/tagr-, and yes, that’s a g in there. That can be traced to the Proto Indo European dakru-, which means… I don’t know. Weirdly, the etymology dictionary doesn’t say. Well, when a language is more than six thousand years old, you’re bound to lose a few definitions.
The other tear showed up as a noun in the mid seventeenth century and a verb before that, coming from the Old English teran, to rip apart. It’s from the Proto Germanic teran, from the Proto Indo European root der-, to split, flay, or peel. Unlike dakru-, der- shows up in a lot more places. Derm—as in skin—is actually from the same place, and I can only assume it’s because skin peels. Kind of makes sense, doesn’t it?
Tart is actually also from der-. But not the pastry, which is actually from the PIE root terkw-, to twist. Or the derogatory word for a woman, which is from the pastry (well, maybe). No, I mean tart as in how something might taste. Which is not related to the other definitions at all. That tart showed up in the mid sixteenth century, and one theory is it’s from the Old English teart, painful, sharp, or severe, and I can see tart coming from that. Anyway, teart is from the Germanic ter-t-, which is from der-, and no, I don’t get how it went from peel to sharp. Who knows? Maybe it’s not even related at all.
But there is another word that’s most definitely from sharp and I’m way too amused to share it with you: turd. Yes, that turd. It comes from the Old English tord, from the Proto Germanic turdam. That word is from the past participle of der-, drtom, and it’s thought that because turds are split off from people (XD at that image), and split is one of the definitions of der-, we have turd.
Yes, this was an appropriate note to leave off on before Thanksgiving break. I think we can all agree it was clearly a mistake not to go into more depth on tear the first time.
Online Etymology Dictionary
University of Texas at Austin Linguistic Research Center
University of Texas at San Antonio’s page on Proto Indo European language
Tony Jebson’s page on the Origins of Old English
Old English-English Dictionary

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

From The Spamfiles

Spam! Whoo!

The thing that always bothers me about these is that it says RE:, like it’s a response. Are people actually going, “Hm, yes, this is definitely continuing a conversation I was deeply engrossed in.”?

We have a new salutation! Warmth greetings, everyone!
That is the most ridiculous account number I have ever seen. That’s a grand total of (yes, I counted) fifty four numerals, because apparently they have over one septendecillion customers.

They need my confirmation, because that will stop the constant emails.

Guys! Linda Gilbert is giving me my ATM master debit gold card! It’s for the present arrangement to pay me, obviously.

Okay, when you abbreviate a word by putting a period after the second to last letter, it kind of renders it meaningless.

Saturday, November 14, 2020

If Only I Could Hate It To Death

I can’t believe how early it snowed this year.
It didn’t stick on the pavement and it was gone in a few days, but still. Ugh.

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Language Of Confusion: Growing Exponentially

I was going to do this one a while ago but never got around to it. But now I am! More numbers! Let’s see where the names come from.
Ten comes from the Old English ten, so we’re not looking at any major changes. It’s from the Proto Germanic tehun, from the Proto Indo European dekm-, which meant ten. Of course that’s a part of a lot of other numbers, some of which make sense, like deca-deci-, and -teen, but there are also a weird number of other words that you wouldn’t think it would be related to, like dean. Seriously, dean, as in the dean of a college. Why? Because it once meant the head of a group of ten. And dekm- is also the source for most of the other numbers we’re looking at today.

Hundred comes from the Old English hundred, so once again we’re not looking at anything crazy here. It’s from the Proto Germanic hunda-ratha, and the ratha- means reckoning or number, while the hunda- part is actually from hundam, which also meant hundred—hunda-ratha meant hundred number. It’s from the Proto Indo European km-tom, no I don’t know how to pronounce that even though I badly want to, and that word is from another, dkm-tom-. And that dkm- is from dekm-. We just kept dropping letters there. Seriously, first the E, which is a vowel, so you can still figure the word out, but then the D, and then between the PIE and Proto German the K became an H. What were they thinking?
Thousand comes from the Old English ├żusend, which is just thousand with a thorn in place of a th. It’s from the Proto Germanic thusundi, and beyond that, things get a little murky. It’s thought to be a mix of Proto Indo European roots, teue-, to swell, and our old friend dekm-, making the word something like “swollen-hundred”, I’m not kidding, that’s what the etymology dictionary translates it as. Basically, a swollen-hundred was a great multitude, in the same way we might hyperbolically say there are thousands of something to express that there’s uncountably a lot.
And now for a word that actually isn’t related to all of these. Well, kind of. Million has an actual time frame for its arrival, having shown up in the late fourteenth century as milioun. It’s from the Old French million, which is from the Italian millione, which figuratively meant a “great thousand”. See, in Italian, mille means a thousand, as it does in classical Latin. Because the Italians called a million a great thousand, we have million in English—as well as billion, trillion, and anything else we want to stick in front of -illion.
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
Tony Jebson’s page on the Origins of Old English
Old English-English Dictionary

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

From The Spamfiles

Spam is weirdly relieving to me. I mean, there’s no way these scams will ever have any actual impact on my life, so I don’t have anything to worry about. It’s a nice change of pace.

I love it when I get spam that promises to get rid of spam. With one click. And you can confirm your unsubscribe. You go ahead and eat your own tail, you crazy ouroboros.

Am I… unsubscribing from mail delivery? Is that what this is???

How strangely poignant. Someone, somewhere, is Searching For You.

Yes, nails rarely have a say in where you put them. I’m also weirded out by the name “pocket juic”. I’m afraid to find out what that means.

I’m confirming that someone ran a background check on me? Wouldn’t that just give them more information?

Okay, I definitely want to know how my email wound up in an old book on literally the opposite side of the world from me. Excuse me, an old book from street.

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Language Of Confusion: Entrance

Once again redoing an old post, because I really don’t feel like thinking up a new idea. Can you blame me?
I think the reason I first looked at this word was because it bugged me that it had two different meanings, was pronounced two different ways, but spelled the same. Yes, stupid things bother me. You should be well aware of this by now. Frankly, looking at the etymology makes me even more annoyed because the reason those two words are spelled the same is nothing but coincidence.
Entrance—like the thing you go in a room through—showed up in the early sixteenth century, from the Middle French entrance, from the verb entrer, to enter. Enter, the verb, showed up earlier, in the late thirteenth century, as entren, and while it meant enter as we’d use it, it also meant to join a group or society. That’s from entrer, which is from the classical Latin intrare, which is just to enter. It’s from intra, within, which can be traced to the Proto Indo European enter, between or among. Wow. Through all those centuries and languages, it goes from enter in PIE to enter in English. We actually got something right!
As for the other entrance, to put in a trance, it showed up in the late sixteenth century, a mix of the prefix en-, put in, and trance, which I suppose is why the word is entrance. Trance showed up in the late fourteenth century, and in addition to the meaning we use it as, it also meant a state of extreme dread—so I guess that means I’m entranced right now. It’s from the Old French transe, fear of coming evil, a coma, or the state of dying. That’s from the verb transir, which meant to die or to be numb with fear, from the classical Latin transire, to cross over. It’s actually another prefix, with trans- meaning across or beyond and -ire meaning to go, which can be traced from the Proto Indo European ei-, also to go. To trance is “to go across”. To entrance is to make someone go across.

This one really turned out to be oddly appropriate for the times…

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

November Goals

Frigging hell. What can I even say about this month? It was such a nightmare and I’m betting this month is going to be even worse, for obvious reasons.
I don’t even remember what I was supposed to be working on last month.
October Goals
1. Find some beta readers for my latest WIP. I hope some of my friends are still available.
Yeah, I did this. It’s already been really helpful. Thanks!
2. Update my blog’s etymology page. I really should have done this last month!
I did this, although the new posting format made it really difficult. I used to be able to paste it in from Excel and it had nice, even spacing between the words. Now that no longer works, and I can’t get rid of the double spacing in the word list. So yeah. That’s a thing.
3. Work on something. Anything.
This grew increasingly difficult as the month went on. Shocking.
I don’t know if I’d call this a success, if only because nothing about October seems successful.
November Goals
1. Keep working on notes from my beta readers.
2. Thanksgiving. Though with the pandemic, this should be nice and subdued.
3. Just get through the month.
What are you up to this month?