Thursday, June 27, 2024

Language Of Confusion: Connection

Another single-parter. Shocking, I know.
Connect showed up in the mid fifteenth century, from the classical Latin conectere (I bet you can guess what that means). It’s actually a mix of the prefix com, together, and nectereto bind together. Or, you know, connect. Connecting is… connecting with. That nectere is from the Proto Indo European ned-, to bind or tie, and that one is part of quite a few words.
First of all, there’s annex, which showed up in the late fourteenth century from the Old French annexer, Medieval Latin annexare, and classical Latin annectere, to attach. The ad- means to, so with nectere, annex means to bind to. Nexus is also from that word, having shown up in the mid seventeenth century meaning a bond, the dependence between members of a group, or a means of communication. It’s directly from the classical Latin version of the word, which literally means connection and is the past participle of nectere. Because a nexus was a means of communication, it became known as the core or center of something.
Speaking of centers, node is also related. It showed up in the early fifteenth century meaning a knot or lump, then a point of intersection specifically in astronomy before it came into more general use. Anyway, it’s from the classical Latin nodus, knot, which is also from ned-. Nodule is from almost the same place, though it’s older, having shown up in the fifteenth century. It’s from the classical Latin nodulus, nodule, a diminutive of nodus.
Also related is the word net, but not as in net profit, only like netting. It’s from the Old English net and Proto Germanic natjo-, and it’s thought to be something knotted, and so from ned-. It’s probably in the same vein that noose is related. That word showed up in the mid fifteenth century, and it’s thought to be from the Old Provençal nous, or knot, which is from ned-. I mean, nooses are knotted. With all these knots showing up, you’d think knot would be related, but for the record, no, it’s not.
And now for the denouement. Literally. That word is related. It showed up in the mid eighteenth century from the French dénouement, which is from the verb dénouer, meaning… untie. Because a denouement is the solution of a mystery or winding up of a plot—or an untying. It’s a mix of the prefix dis-, un or out and nouer, to tie, which is from ned-. And I have to admit, that one makes sense.
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
Dictionary of Medieval Latin

Tuesday, June 25, 2024

First Steps

The actual story of my nephew’s first steps. The boy loves his snacks.
Panel 1, my nephew is on the ground and his mom says, “No, no more snacks, it’s almost dinner time.” Panel 2, he starts getting to his feet, Panel 3, he stands there while his mother stares in shock, Panel 4, he walks away to her increasing surprise
He was something of a late walker, since he didn’t start until sixteen months old, and his parents kept trying to encourage him to no avail. Apparently all they had to do was tell him no snacks so he’d leave in a huff.

Thursday, June 20, 2024

Language Of Confusion: Potential

Today’s lesson is brought to you by the fact that potent is not related to any other word that ends in -tent, and that fact just really bugs me.
Potent showed up in the early fifteenth century, a little after the word potential and before potency. All three words are from the same origin, the classical Latin potens which means powerful and is from… posse. Which means to be able, and is actually traced to the Proto Indo European poti-, powerful or lord.
And yeah, that’s where posse is from, though it didn’t show up until the seventeenth century, and that’s actually short for the Latin phrase posse comitatus, to be accompanied. Comitatus means company or a body of men, meaning the phrase roughly means a force of men. The modern slang of it is taken from Westerns.
Add another S to the end of that word and you have possess, which is also related, but I looked at that word not too many years ago. In any case, it’s just the first half of the word that’s related, and through a slightly different way than from posse. It’s from the verb possidere, to possess, where the front half is related to potis, to be able (the word is related to posse) and the back half from sedere, to sit. I guess that means to possess is to be able to sit.
The next posse word? Possible, which showed up in the mid fourteenth century from the Old French possible and classical Latin possibilis, to be possible. Something possible is something able to be done. There’s also despot, which does sound like pot- with a des- on the front. It showed up in the mid sixteenth century from the Italian dispotto, from the Medieval Latin despota, and before that, the Greek despotes, all which pretty much had the same meaning. The word is actually from the PIE dems-pota, with dem- meaning house and the rest from poti. I guess the head of a house is supposed to be powerful.
Speaking of power, it showed up in the fourteenth century from the Anglo French pouair and Old French povoir, which is from the verb podir, which is from the Vulgar Latin potere, and doesn’t that look familiar. Potere is from potis, which means power is from the same place, it just lost the T.
The final word we’re looking at, related to all of these, is… Host. Really. It showed up in the late thirteenth century from the Old French oste/hoste, from the classical Latin hospitem, guest. Yeah, host came from guest. The word is thought to be from the PIE ghos-pot-, the first part from ghos-ti, stranger or guest, and the pot- part from poti-. A host is a lord of guests.

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

From The Spamfiles

How are the spammers trying to scam me this month?

Message from IMran “i rana”, saying unique content for approval, Hi, SEO Dynamis is now writing unique human-written articles to get…
I was going to comment on the whole I M ran thing, or the i rana, but then I saw that it boasts “human-written” articles, and I got bummed that that’s now something we have to say.

Three messages, two from POF, and the third from Plenty of Fish, saying Welcome to Plenty of Fish, you’re new around here, your profile is incomplete, new matches, just for you, and apparently the user name is Jeurytqzw
Don’t know how I ended up on this mailing list, or why the name involved is “Jeurytqzw”. It sounds like someone sneezed.

Message from viv78 at vivcity dot com, no subject, 1938444924
Viv at Vivcity is sending me a ten digit number. Just for fun, I guess.

Message from FB, saying Facebook: Please verify your account, we’ve noticed some unusual activity, exclamation point, 28843
Well, it’s Facebook, so I assume the unusual activity is implying people shouldn’t be allowed to be bigots and maybe scientists who’ve spent decades studying things actually know what they’re talking about.

Another bot that’s following my Tumblr, untitled, name of 123456787…, and pictures of mostly naked women in the profile
Yes, there’s nothing that screams “Not a bot” more than a user name of 123456787…

Thursday, June 13, 2024

Language Of Confusion: Ne-, Part V

And now the final part of our look into the Proto Indo European root ne-, which means not. We’ve gotten through all the words, but there are actually quite a few prefixes that come from it.
First is the one we’ve already seen a bunch of times: non-. It means not or lack of, from the Anglo French noun-, Old French non-, and classical Latin non, which, as we’ve talked about, just means no. This is definitely the most straightforward of these.
Next, in. Well, one version of in, because there are two, one meaning into, in, on, or upon, and the other meaning not, opposite of, or without. And guess what! They aren’t related at all. You just kind of have to guess which in- the prefix is from. The in- we’re looking at was also used in Latin and is of course traced to ne-. Ne- means not, so words with in- mean not. At least, when they’re not the other in-.
Directly related to in is an- (note, not the article an, which is completely not related). An- is actually from the Greek an-, not or without, which, like in-, is from ne. Plus there’s also a-, which actually has three different prefix versions. One is related to the article, one means away and is from ab-, and finally there’s the one that’s also from the Greek an- and also means not or without, just without the n.
So in- is Latin, and a- and an- are Greek. There’s also un-, which comes to us from the other branch of the family, the Old English un-, which is from the Proto Germanic un-, and obviously that’s from ne-. And much like the other prefixes, there’s another version of it, however this one means pretty close to the same damn thing. Instead of not-, it means reversal or removal, i.e. undo instead of do, and it’s from the Proto Indo European ant-. I’m not even sure how you’re supposed to tell them apart, but that probably doesn’t matter unless you’re studying linguistics.
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
Fordham University

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Don’t Disturb The Nap

She’s mostly a sweet kitty, but god help you if you try to move her from her nap spot.
Panel 1, my cat Peaches is on my unmade bed, asleep, and I walk in, Panel 2, I say, “Okay, I want to make my bed. Time to move.” Panel 3, Peaches growls at me, Panel 4, I say, “Well, that seems like an overreaction.”
It’s quite rude, really.

Thursday, June 6, 2024

Language Of Confusion: Ne-, Part IV

Once again, we’re looking at the Proto Indo European root ne-, which means not, and is the origin for a lot of words that are related to not and no. And some that aren’t.
First, did you no deny is from there? Because it is. It showed up in the early early fourteenth century, coming from the Old French denoiir and before that the classical Latin denegare, which is just to deny. The de- is actually the prefix meaning away, while negare means to deny or say no to, and is the origin word for negative, which we looked at a couple of weeks ago and means to deny. So to deny is… to deny away. It kind of makes sense.
Also related? Nefarious. Yes, really. It showed up in the seventeenth century (I guess nothing was nefarious before then), from the Latin nefarius, same meaning. That’s from the word nefas, which means wrong in the sense of a crime, and that’s a mix of ne-, not, and fas, right or lawful. Nefarious is not lawful.
The word nonplussed is also related, having shown up in the seventeenth century as the past tense of nonplus. Nonplus isn’t that much older, having shown up in the late sixteenth century, and it’s literally a mix of the prefix non- (from ne- of course) and plus, which in Latin means no more or no further. Apparently nonplus, to perplex or confound, is a state where “nothing more can be done or said”.
But that’s not weird enough. Neuter—and thus everything related to it, like neutral—is also from there. Neuter is the oldest, having shown up in the late fourteenth century, while neutral didn’t show up until the sixteenth century in alchemy (!) and meant contrasting elements that neutralized each other. Anyway, neuter, the source of these words, comes from the classical Latin neuter, which means neither, with the ne- meaning not, and the -uter meaning either. Neuter is neither.
Now for the final word, the one I know you won’t expect: nice. I mean, come on, really? Nice showed up in the late thirteenth century, but back then it meant foolish or ignorant. It started to mean fussy or fastidious, then dainty and delicate around the fifteenth century, then precise or careful in the sixteenth, and finally agreeable or delightful in the eighteenth century, finally becoming kind or thoughtful in 1830. It comes from the Old French nice, which hade the foolish definition, and that’s from the Latin nescius, ignorant. The ne- part is not (obviously), while the rest is from scire, to know, the origin word of science. So nice went from meaning not-knowing to fussy to dainty to agreeable to kind. Keep that in mind next time you’re reading/writing historical fiction.
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

Tuesday, June 4, 2024

June Goals

Somehow, it’s June already. Summer is weeks away, as is the midway point of the year. I’m sure I’ve accomplished absolutely nothing.
May Goals
1. Start writing something new.
Kind of. I’ve been fooling around with side stories to old projects. I still haven’t figured out what I want to work on next.
2. Edit the web serial and improve it.
Did this. Well, I edited. I’m not exactly sure I improved it.
3. Figure out what I want to do next for my last WIP. It’s not quite ready to be looked at by others, so I want to get it there.
I didn’t do this, as I haven’t been quite ready to look at it. I may need input from others.
As I thought, pretty much nothing. Some months you just have to get through.
June Goals
1. Start posting the web serial again, and keep working on it.
2. Do something fun and distracting to recharge.
3. Work on getting beta readers for my WIP. Opening up to people with my work is hard, and I need people I can trust. So yeah. This is quite a task.
What do you want to do this month? Where do you look for beta readers?