4.0458 More Words and Trademarks (3/84)

Elaine Brennan & Allen Renear (EDITORS@BROWNVM.BITNET)
Thu, 6 Sep 90 17:52:50 EDT

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 4, No. 0458. Thursday, 6 Sep 1990.

(1) Date: Wednesday, 5 September 1990 2358-EST (56 lines)
From: Bob Kraft <KRAFT@PENNDRLS>
Subject: Fun with words

(2) Date: Wed, 05 Sep 90 15:46 PDT (9 lines)
From: Daniel Boyarin <BOYARIN@UCBCMSA>
Subject: 4.0455 Trademarks and Loanwords

(3) Date: Thu, 6 Sep 1990 02:55:14 +0200 (19 lines)
From: Kjetil T. Homme <kjetilho@ifi.uio.no>
Subject: Trademarks

(1) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: Wednesday, 5 September 1990 2358-EST
From: Bob Kraft <KRAFT@PENNDRLS>
Subject: Fun with words

Thanks to our editors for putting together such nice and variegated
packages of HUMANIST comments on words. Since the subject is, at least
to me (and obviously to some of you), quite addictive, please forgive
the following tidbits (as we would say in Connecticut -- my Webster's
[1951] says "tidbit" is "U.S." for a "titbit" -- it then unhelpfully
defines "titbit" as "...a choice morsel; a tidbit" and refers to the
first definition of "tit," to whit, "a small inferior horse; a nag;
jade" -- which frankly leaves me feeling lost!):

On creating a word for loan-words-not-known-at-home (where they
originated), how about loanonownahome words? It has a ring to it.

On Anna/Anne Frank, in my experience she is "best known" as Anne, not as
Anna. Have I missed something?

On Grace Logan's catch-up query, yes, the question was how often an
etymology is explained as a frozen trademark (and thanks to Bob Krovetz
for the Longman dictionary data).

On US use of "bugger" (etc.), I think that uses such as "look at the
little bugger go" (about a skittery tadpole, for example) is probably
historically derived from the derogative "British" use rather than from
our slang about nasal clots -- and indeed, the latter is
probably/possibly derived from bug (a bug in my nose)? Colonial America
also had its semantic breadth regarding this term, as the following item
from the Sept 1990 YANKEE Magazine, in an article on "The History of Sex
in New England" shows: "1642 A man is 'found in buggery' with a cow on
the Lord's Day in Salem, Massachusetts, and is promptly put to death.
So is the cow." (Was the problem the timing?!) Compare the wide range
of meaning for "sodomy" in more recent American law and speech.

On million/billion, etc., that really is screwed up between what my
Webster's calls the "French and US system" as over against the "British
and German." Did you know that in the former, a vigintillion has only
63 zeros, but in the latter, 120! Who to blame? Probably those old
Latins, for whom a thousand was a "mille" -- maybe we can't even hope
for this to be cleared up in the millenium!

On ambiguity between American and British English, I once developed a
talk on such things as a reflection of my two years of teaching at
Manchester, as I recall, some key examples of the same "word" with quite
different meanings were: biscuit, caravan, napkin, squash, yard -- and
many more. Look 'em up; check 'em out. Also frustrating were
equivalent sounding phrases with quite different meanings, such as when
my wife was asked by the hotel clerk when she wanted to be "knocked up"
in the morning, or the startled and quizzical look on my face when I
telephoned (uh, I mean "phoned up") someone and was asked "are you on the
phone?" (what did he think! -- but the question meant, do I have a
telephone in my home). Etc.

Enough. Who started all this, anyhow? Ian Lambert, I think!
Bob Kraft, U. Penn (and fascinated by words)
(2) --------------------------------------------------------------17----
Date: Wed, 05 Sep 90 15:46 PDT
From: Daniel Boyarin <BOYARIN@UCBCMSA>
Subject: 4.0455 Trademarks and Loanwords

On interdialectcal confusion: The Talmud has an anecdote based on the
fact that in Palestinian Aramaic a word which means pumpkin, means
candle in Babylonian Aramaic. It seems that a Babyloniam woman married
a Palestinian man (Imay have the whole thhing backwards), and when he
asked for a pumpkin, she brought him a candle, and the mcp divorced her.
(3) --------------------------------------------------------------30----
Date: Thu, 6 Sep 1990 02:55:14 +0200
From: Kjetil T. Homme <kjetilho@ifi.uio.no>
Subject: Trademarks

Leafing through our electronic Webster (7th ed.), I found 121
trademarks. Among a lot of chemical substances there were some commonly
used words, e.g.:

Bakelite, Burberry, Caterpillar, Celluloid, Dictaphone, Dry Ice, Freon,
Gramophone, Mah-Jongg, Photostat, Ping-Pong, Polaroid, Teletype,
Windbreaker and Yo-Yo.

The only trademark I found that could lead to any ambiguity, was
Caterpillar(tm)... Neither Colt nor Coke was listed in my dictionary as
trademarks. Let's hope this passes Coca-Cola Company(tm) by ;-)

Kjetil T. Homme, University of Oslo, Norway.