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rsharvey's Avatar Joined over 5 years ago
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Pope can no longer donate organs: Vatican - last commented 21 February 2012 01:39 AM

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Go to: Robert Wright promotes accommodationism, disses Dawkins

rsharvey's Avatar Jump to comment 5 by rsharvey

Comment 1 by rjohn19 :

Methinks Robert Wright is a sheep in wolf's clothing.

Don't feed the troll..

Fri, 30 Mar 2012 00:54:04 UTC | #931268

Go to: The "So" meme

rsharvey's Avatar Jump to comment 109 by rsharvey

Comment 99 by ShinobiYaka :

Ha, there’s that word “portmanteau” again, meld is not a portmanteau, melding is the mixing of materials or ingredients (like in brewing) to meld is to mix, at a guess I would think the word is probably rooted in Middle English, welding and melting are unrelated.

I know what it means!..

And the root of meld is commonly thought to be a combination of weld and melt. Its at least up for debate.

Thinking about it, I'm not sure portmanteau is precisely the right word, since the new meaning isn't precisely a compound of the origin words - though for what its worth, wiktionary backs me up on both the etymology and the use of portmanteau. http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/meld

I agree, having read the wiki article that it seems similarly plausible that meld is derived from the old english 'mell' which could have become bastardised in the manner "a napron" gradually turned into"an apron". But its not as straight foward as you claim.

Mon, 05 Mar 2012 21:12:43 UTC | #924722

Go to: The "So" meme

rsharvey's Avatar Jump to comment 93 by rsharvey

Comment 87 by mirandaceleste :

The use of "contaminated" in this context is both inaccurate and unnecessarily hyperbolic. I don't really have any "pet peeves" when it comes to language usage, but I do find the all-too-common rhetoric about the "contamination" or "decline", etc., of English to be frustratingly ridiculous and uninformed.

Seriously, English will be just fine. Keep calm and carry on and all that.

I don't think I buy this argument.. I've heard it a lot in recent years, and I was persuaded by it too for a long time. (I think Steven Pinker is responsible for starting the meme).

But I find it to be an "unweaving the rainbow" type of situation.

Just because you realise that the evolution of the rules of language is inevitable, that doesn't mean you should/can stop caring about it. Language is rich both as a result of the lazy evolvers and the frustrated pedants.

I think English is richer because, for example, whilst we are reminded by the grammer nazis never to write a sentence which ends with a preposition, almost literally everybody finds it more natural, when speaking, to reverse the rule.

Also, facts such as that the word "meld" is actually a portmanteau of melt and weld, or that "willy-nilly" used to mean "willing or unwilling", would be lost to us were it not for some furious pedant somewhere..

So I'm with the pedants! We don't need to encourage linguistic laziness, we all do that naturally.

Now whom's with me!..

Mon, 05 Mar 2012 04:30:53 UTC | #924514

Go to: The "So" meme

rsharvey's Avatar Jump to comment 92 by rsharvey

Comment 85 by the great teapot :

rsharvey, not quite on topic but the word gotten which you used jars on English ears, we often label it an americanism forgetting the fact that we share a common language and it could well be us, the britsh, who have contaminated the language.

Interesting. Well I'm Scottish... but funnily enough its one of those words, neither variant of which (gotten or got) comes out as the obvious choice in my mind.. It might be more common in Scotland than in England.

There are lots of minor variations like that within the UK. I remember my first Northern Irish friend from University would use "whenever" to start sentences like "whenever I was in the park the other day", which struck me as just incorrect usage. But I catch myself doing it sometimes now, a decade later.

I also have Irish friends who don't think it sounds right to say "cheers" when you really mean thanks, as in "cheers for that!". Thinking about it, that makes very little sense.. Its like we've just decided that the sentiment we want to evoke when thanking someone is similar to the one that "cheers" traditionally evokes, and just swapped it.

It reminds me of Steven Pinker's explanation of swear words. How certain curses like "F you", and, a specialty up in Scotland "get to f", only make sense once you realise which word we have swapped for "f***" - in those cases "damn you" and "get to hell". We have clearly just swapped in some more offensive words, once the religious taboos faded.

But its all part of the fun.

Mon, 05 Mar 2012 03:56:13 UTC | #924510

Go to: The "So" meme

rsharvey's Avatar Jump to comment 84 by rsharvey

An interesting variant of this - I noticed about 2 years ago that American academics have gotten in the habit of answering questions with "So...".

It was jarring at first, because it sounds, to virgin ears, as though you are disregarding the question. Like you are trying to continue what you were saying before they asked the question.

Has anyone else noticed this?

Sun, 04 Mar 2012 21:54:31 UTC | #924431

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