Thursday, March 31, 2022

Language Of Confusion: Flats, Part II

Got plenty more of these to go over, each weirder than the last. As you’re all aware, flat comes from the Proto Indo European plat-, to spread, which is from the root pele-, flat or to spread. So lets get to look at all the words that are somehow related to it. This week: words that still sound like flat but with a P instead of an F.
 
First, plate. It showed up in the mid thirteenth century, but back then it meant a flat sheet of gold or silver, before starting to mean armor made from sheets of metal, and then dinnerware in the fifteenth century. So yes, plate armor predates plates you eat off of. It comes from the Old French plate, a thin piece of metal, from the Medieval Latin plata (same meaning). That’s thought to be from the Vulgar Latin plattus, from the Greek platys, flat or broad, and of course that’s from plat-/pele-.
 
And of course there are a ton of other words with plat- in them. Platter showed up in the late thirteenth century with the same meaning we have for it—meaning platter predates plate as something for food. It comes from the Anglo French plater, from the Old French plate, and we all know where that comes from. Plateau, plate with an -au on the end, showed up in 1796, from the French plateau, which means plateau or more literally “table land”. It’s from the Old French platel, a flat piece of metal, from plat, flat surface, and, well, it all traces back to platys.
 
Next, words that begin with plat-. Platform showed up in the mid sixteenth century from the French plateforme, which means plat form or literally flat form. Platitude didn’t show up until 1812, where it meant “insipidity of thought”, meaning a platitude is something unoriginal. It’s from the French platitude, flatness, from plat, so a platitude is something that is metaphorically flat! Then there’s platinum the metal, whish also showed up in 1812. Its name is of Latin origin, but it was actually Spanish who shaped the word. See, in Spanish, the word for silver is actually plata, because it was shortened from the phrase plata d’argento, plate of silver, and plata just became silver. The metal platinum was considered by the Spanish to be an inferior silver, so it was called platino, and when the metal was officially named, it was because of that.
 
Finally today, platypus. It has plat in there, so it shouldn’t be that surprising. Platypus is another recent word, having shown up in 1799. It’s actually a Latin word from the Greek platypous, a mix of platys (flat) and pous (foot), so a platypus is a flat foot. Which is far from the most distinguishing thing about them.
 
Sources
Online Etymology Dictionary
Google Translate
Omniglot
University of Texas at Austin Linguistic Research Center
University of Texas at San Antonio’s page on Proto Indo European language
Dictionary of Medieval Latin
Encyclopaedia Britannica
Fordham University

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

From The Spamfiles

Ah, I love it when there’s an extra week before I have to do any self-reflection. Not like in stupid February.

Yes, people are always sending twelve million dollars through email. It’s a perfectly normal occurrence.

See? Another payment. By someone who calls me sir/madam and apparently has the last name “Adlong”. From the Virginia Adlongs.

Okay, I’m not sure what the hell this is supposed to say. I assume it’s some other language—though I really can’t be sure—and it says it’s from London, a place pretty famous for speaking, you know, English.

STOREBRAND, an absolutely trustworthy investment project!

 
Oh wow. You’d think a general would know how to spell “command”, but here we are. I honestly didn’t believe this was a real person, but if you google the name, yep, there’s an actual retired general named Carter Ham. General Ham. I could never come up with a joke better than that.

Saturday, March 26, 2022

Streaks

Why does this always happen?
If it’s not my screen, then it’s my glasses that just won’t get clean.

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Language Of Confusion: Flats, Part I

Another multi-parter. This one should be all new words. I think. Maybe.
 
As the title suggests, we’re looking at the word flat, and the many, many words it’s related to. Some will make sense! Most won’t though. Flat itself showed up in the fourteenth century meaning stretched out—flat as in an apartment didn’t show up until 1801, from the Scottish flat, a story of a house. But that is related to the other flat, just in a kind of roundabout way. Stretched flat is from the Old Norse flatr, from the Proto Germanic flata-, from the Proto Indo European plat-, to spread. The other flat is from the Old English flett, a house or dwelling, which is from the Proto Germanic flatja-, also from plat-. So they started from the same word, diverged through different languages, then became the same word all over again.
 
Plat- is the ancestor of just so many words, flatter included. Well, probably. It showed up in the thirteenth century as flateren/flaterien, from the Old French flater, which could mean to deceive, or to caress, or to throw to the ground, and that’s thought to be from the Proto Germanic flata-. There are some theories as to how flat could have morphed into meaning flatter, like the caress thing being associated with a flat hand or to throw yourself onto the flat of the ground. Wouldn’t it be funny if flatter isn’t related at all? I mean, it’s happened before!
 
Next, flounder. Um, like the fish, not to flounder, which might not be related to the fish at all. As the noun, flounder showed up in the fourteenth century from the Anglo French floundre, from the Old North French flondre, from the Old Norse flydhra. That’s traced to the Proto Germanic flunthrjo, which is a “nasalized” version of plat-. Basically, they started saying plat- funny and named the fish after that.
 
Now we’ll look at flan, the food, really, I told you it would get weird. Flan showed up in 1846, relatively late, from the French flan, which is thought to be derived from the Frankish flado. It’s descended from the Proto Germanic flathon, flat cake, and that just has to be from plat-. So flan is a flat cake, but they dropped the T and added an N.
 
Next week: more weirdness!
 
Sources
Online Etymology Dictionary
Omniglot
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
Encyclopaedia Britannica
Fordham University

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

From The Spamfiles

Time for a fresh crop of spam.

Not a cancer widow, but the famous variant, orphan-who-will-be-killed-by-relative-if-I-don’t-take-her-money. I don’t get a lot of these—certainly not as much as the cancer widows. I guess the spammers think I’m more sympathetic to widows than orphans.

“Health Sapiens”??? Something seems kind of off about that. I am also genuinely amused at how shocked they are at the idea of affordable healthcare.

Somebody is so desperate that they go full caps-lock at the end there. Claudia really needs to take a chill pill.

Not often you get a post about a man breaking into a house and being crippled by the girl occupying it. Actually, it seems like a great idea for a movie.

The smiley face emoji is so disarming I might just have to answer. Eye roll emoji.

Saturday, March 19, 2022

Little Friend

Don’t know how that little friend got in there or why.
My mom actually put down a (no kill) mouse trap, but the mouse has not appeared. Hopefully it got out of the car the same way it got in.

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Language Of Confusion: Spiked

As I mentioned in the previous weeks, while words with the suffix -spire are related, the actual word spire has nothing to do with any of them. Spire comes from the Old English spir, which means spire or the stem of a plant. It comes from the Proto Germanic spiraz, which is from the Proto Indo European spei-, a sharp point—and the origin of the word spike.
 
Spike showed up in the fourteenth century, its origins murky but thought to be Scandinavian. It is from the Proto Germanic spiraz as well, and so is also from spei-. This one makes sense, right? Well, time for it to get weird.
 
You know what comes from spike? Spine. Like the spine of a porcupine. Or your backbone, for some reason. It showed up in the fifteenth century, actually coming from the Old French espine, which could mean backbone or thorn. It’s from the classical Latin spina, which I’m pretty sure you know is spine, from the Proto Indo European spe-ina-, derived from spei-. Okay, thorn I get, but how do you get from that to spine of all things??? Although suddenly the word spiny makes a lot more sense.
 
But that’s just not weird enough. Spigot is also from here. It showed up in the late fourteenth century, meaning a plug used in a cask before it came to mean something that controls the flow of liquid, which it didn’t mean until the sixteenth century. It’s thought to be from the Old French espigot, from the Old Proven├žal espiga, which means… an ear of grain. Yeah, one thing I neglected to mention when going over spike is that it also has the definition of an ear of grain. You might not think it’s related to the other spike, but it’s from the Proto Indo European spei-ko-, which is from spei-, so an ear of corn is a spike of corn. I suppose an ear does look like a spike. More a spike than an ear, anyway. And now somehow it means a water valve. I don’t even know how to react to that.
 
Sources
Online Etymology Dictionary
Google Translate
Omniglot
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
Encyclopaedia Britannica

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

From The Spamfiles

I smell spam.

There is so much to love about this one. It’s another cancer widow, for one—though of “Russian nationality” this time. Barely coherent English, that’s another. And let’s not for get that “Mrs Anna Babayeve” has an email address that says “Mark Anthony Maido”. Super legit!

Yes, emailing random people is the best way to find someone when you’re in urgent need of assistance.

Billionaires absolutely should give out millions of dollars to random people. Unfortunately, it would require them letting go of a fraction of a percent of the wealth they’re hoarding, so you know this has got to be fake.

Greetings in the name of the LORD ALIGHTY lol. There’s no joke better than what’s already written here.

Got another one of those spammers who posts links in comments so you’ll click on whatever scam they’re peddling. The grand total from this spammer was actually only about thirty comments, which is actually on the low end.

Saturday, March 12, 2022

Thursday, March 10, 2022

Language Of Confusion: -Spire, Redux, Part II

And now the thrilling conclusion!
 
Conspire showed up in the late fourteenth century from the Old French conspirer, and before that the classical Latin conspirare, to cooperate. As I’m sure you all remember from last week (aren’t you taking notes?), spirare means to breathe and is the origin word of spirit. The con- prefix means together, so to conspire means… to breathe together. That weirdly makes sense to me.
 
Expire—well, I can already predict this one, what with ex- being kind of obvious, but let’s see if I’m right. Expire showed up in the fifteenth century, coming from the Old French expirer and classical Latin exspirare, which just means to expire and was also spelled without the S in there because it’s kind of redundant with the X. Spirere means to breathe, ex- means out, so to expire is to breathe out. And, you know, never breathe in again.
 
Next, inspire showed up in the mid fourteenth century actually spelled enspiren. It comes from the Old French enspirer and classical Latin inspirare, which could mean inspire or its more literal definition of to breathe into. In/En- means in, so… Well, do I need to draw you a map? These are all refreshingly straightforward.
 
Finally, transpire. It showed up relatively late, in the late sixteenth century, where it meant… to pass off in the form of a vapor or liquid. Hm. Well, that’s certainly different. Apparently in 1741 it started to mean to leak out, both literally and figuratively, and then in 1755 it for some reason started to mean to take place or happen. The vapor passing through definition does make sense since trans- means across, beyond, or on the other side, so with to breathe, it’s like to breathe across something—vapor or liquid passing across. And now it somehow means to happen. Whose dumb idea was that?
 
Sources
Online Etymology Dictionary
Google Translate
Omniglot
University of Texas at Austin Linguistic Research Center

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

From The Spamfiles

You’ve got to love spam! Not the food, though. Never developed a taste for it.

If I was lonely, I’m sure as hell not going for someone who misspells “lonely”! You absolute MONSTER!

Why, how could you think this sweet dying woman is trying to steal my personal information. How mistrustful of you, Google!

And here’s another one, though clearly the spammer paid much less attention to grammar and coherence than Agnes up there. They could at least try.

Pretty sure that if this blog post is up, my account hasn’t been removed “from Google server”. I also love how the whole thing looks like it was cut and pasted together. Like if someone was sending a ransom note through email, this is what it would look like.

Yes, it is exceptionally posted instructive substance. Anyway come visit my casino!

Saturday, March 5, 2022

Thursday, March 3, 2022

Language Of Confusion: -Spire, Redux, Part I

It’s been around a decade since I first looked at this, so it’s been long enough that it’s almost like new.
 
The root linking all these together isn’t spire (which is completely separate) but spirit. It showed up in the mid thirteenth century, coming from the Anglo French spirit and Old French espirit, which just means spirit of course. It comes from the classical Latin spiritus, which meant spirit but could also mean breathing life into something. It’s related to the verb spirare, to breathe, which is thought to be from the Proto Indo European spies-, to blow. Fun fact, the reason alcohol is referred to as spirits is because it was considered a “volatile substance” in alchemy, and while alchemy might be nonsense, alcohol = spirits stuck around.
 
Next, respire showed up in the late fourteenth century. It comes from the Old French respire and classical Latin respirare, to breathe again—as in, to breathe in and out, over and over. The re- means again, and with spirare, the word in every way just means to breathe again. And again and again and again.
 
Perspire is a late one, having showed up in the mid seventeenth century—it came from perspiration, though that one only showed up a few decades earlier [https://www.etymonline.com/word/perspiration]. They come from the French perspiration (bet you can’t guess what that means), from the verb perspirer (another total mystery, it means to perspire). Anyway, it’s from the classical Latin perspirare, which actually means “to breathe through”, a mix of the prefix per-, forward, and spirare. Perspire literally means to breathe forward, and then somehow started to mean moisture excreted through your pores, as in sweat, because why not?
 
Finally today, we’re looking at aspire. It showed up in the fifteenth century from the Old French aspirer, from the classical Latin aspirare, to aspire. Shocking. Anyway, it’s a mix of the prefix ad-, to, and of course spirare, to breathe. Aspire is to breath to. Sure, whatever.
 
Next week, the thrilling conclusion!
 
Sources
Online Etymology Dictionary
Google Translate
Omniglot
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
Fordham University

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

March Goals

Yeah don’t have high expectations for this month. Or any month really.
 
February Goals
1. Actually do the editing notes for my new WIP. I really want to do this so I can start sharing it, because I honestly have no idea what to do with it and need some advice.
Well, I did this. I’m really pleased with how it came out, though I still have no idea what to do with it. It’s so different from anything else I’ve ever written.
 
2. Actually do the beta reading notes. If it’s not too much trouble.
Look! Over there! A distraction!!!
 
3. Work on something fun, maybe a new WIP. Because that will solve all my problems.
I’ve been kind of fooling around with a few things. No idea what I’ll ever do with it, but it’s something.
 
Ugh, winter. UGH, FEBRUARY. I’m ready for spring now.
 
March Goals
1. Get some feedback on my new WIP. It’s a contemporary mystery about the murder of a girl. It’s character driven and very different from what I usually write, so if anyone anywhere would like to look at it and give me some guidance, I’d really appreciate it.
 
2. Try to edit the WIP I keep avoiding. I might ignore it, but I can’t let myself forget it.
 
3. Keep working on my latest new project. This one should be easy, I hope.
 
Just a few more weeks until the equinox and the change of seasons, and I can’t wait. What do you want to do this month? Do you like mystery novels?