4.1110 Words (5/144)

Elaine Brennan & Allen Renear (EDITORS@BROWNVM.BITNET)
Thu, 28 Feb 91 23:06:04 EST

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 4, No. 1110. Thursday, 28 Feb 1991.

(1) Date: Thu, 28 Feb 91 20:38:45 +0100 (MET) (43 lines)
From: garof@sixcom.sixcom.it
Subject: berghem

(2) Date: Thu, 28 Feb 91 12:24:14 cet (12 lines)
From: Daniel Ridings <daniel@glader.hum.gu.se>
Subject: Swedish loanwords in English

(3) Date: Thu, 28 Feb 91 08:23:39 EST (29 lines)
From: Steve Mason <SHLOMO@VM1.YorkU.CA>
Subject: ho anthropos/man

(4) Date: Thu, 28 Feb 1991 11:01:04 EST (35 lines)
Subject: RE: 4.1100 Words: Degendering them

(5) Date: Thu, 28 Feb 91 14:17:10 EST (25 lines)
Subject: Search for a needed word

(1) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: Thu, 28 Feb 91 20:38:45 +0100 (MET)
From: garof@sixcom.sixcom.it
Subject: berghem

As some HUMANISTs might know, Italy is rich in a variety of dialects. A person
becomes a part of the culture if they demonstrate an adeptness at dialectic
profanity. For example, the managers of a Corsico (MI) bicycle racing team
would often halt mid-sentence, turn to me and say, "first in Milanese, and then
I explain to you," and then launch into a string of profanities and bestemities
(unrefined, maybe, but hearts of gold). At many a party, too, the converation
turned to the richness of "cussing" in Italian, and if that does not work, how
to do it better in dialect.

The dialects, in their vocabulary and accent, may vary even in the same city.
The ability to speak a dialect often becomes a matter of prejudice and pride.
My Milanese landlord has a passion for teasing me. One of his earliest
backhanded compliments was, "You speak Italian with a Bergamasco accent!"
Well, I thought it was a compliment until I repeated this to others and they
burst out laughing, explaining that I should not repeat this any more.

There are many gems of Italian dialect, and a colleague just passed me this
one. I thought that I would share it with the group. It is a phrase in
Bergamasco (50km north of Milano), without any consonants:

(the Bergamaschi call their dialect "Berghem")

B> Eccoti una frase dal dialetto bergamasco:

B> a' a`e' i ae` ie`
B> -----------------
B> 1 2 3 4 5 6

B> trad. it. "vai a vedere le api vive"
B> ------------------------
B> 1 2-3 4 5 6

B> trad. usa "go to see the living bees"

B> Enjoy it!

Cheers and Ciao!
-Joe Giampapa

(2) --------------------------------------------------------------20----
Date: Thu, 28 Feb 91 12:24:14 cet
From: Daniel Ridings <daniel@glader.hum.gu.se>
Subject: Swedish loanwords in English

Gunhild Viden was much too modest when she wrote that the Swedish
language had contributed both words and phenomena to the English
language in two cases. I just happened to remember another word:
"nag" (cf. Swedish "nagga", to gnaw, irritate). Granted, there are
synonyms, such as "henpeck" and "fishwife" so it would be precarious
to try and maintain that the Swedes are even responsible for the

(3) --------------------------------------------------------------37----
Date: Thu, 28 Feb 91 08:23:39 EST
From: Steve Mason <SHLOMO@VM1.YorkU.CA>
Subject: ho anthropos/man

Robin Smith writes, in response to Tom Rusk Vickery, "Of course,
the Greek word 'anthropos' does not imply male gender." Quite right.
But here's what I don't understand: anthropos *is* masculine in
gender, as is the much-beloved German Mensch (of which there is also a
neuter version, but it means something quite different!). Those who
favour what they are pleased to call "inclusive" language like to point
out that, although these words have a masculine form, they do not imply
masculine gender. But then, how is the English "man" any different?
When I was in school, we were quite plainly taught that the word had
two distinct senses: in some contexts, it meant males, in others it
referred to humanity (who *ever* really thought that "man and animals",
"God and man", or "man's inhumanity to man" referred exclusively to
males?). I have asked my three sisters, who shared my education, about
this -- to make sure that I hadn't totally misunderstood what was
taught me, and they remember it the same way. The English word "man",
although obviously masculine in form (but not as obviously as in
languages with gendered articles), has two distinct senses that anyone
with an elementary education or (failing that) a little imagination
used to be able to see. So my question is: how is "man" any different
from 'anthropos'? Both are masculine in form, and both can mean either
a male or a human being. Yes, Greek also has "anhr", but English also
has "male".

Steve Mason
Humanities, York U.

(4) --------------------------------------------------------------44----
Date: Thu, 28 Feb 1991 11:01:04 EST
Subject: RE: 4.1100 Words: Degendering them (3/45)

Robin Smith makes obvious that my attempt at humor obscured the
irony that I saw in the use of a Greek word that is almost
exclusively translated as "man" in my dictionary to mean all humans,
even though the English word "man" itself is objectionable to some.

As one of our graduate students observed, tongue planted in cheek,
perhaps it is objectionable only if you use the English word "man"
but not if you use the foreign equivalent.

But seriously, folk, if we can use wildcards with facility and
understanding on our computers, why not in our language. Of course
the result make be like a large reference-sized book I had many
years ago on called a Dictionary of Slang or some such. It replaced
the vowels in "offensive" words with asterisks so gentle readers would
not be offended. The only problem was I never could figure out what
some of the offensive words were, and the definitions were so wonderful
that I would have loved to use the words themselves.

Peace advocates could use "*fare" to describe what the rest of us call
"warfare" and "fe*s" could name themselves without any hint of the
hated "m-" word.


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
* Tom Rusk Vickery, 265 Huntington Hall *
* Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY 13244-2340 *
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

(5) --------------------------------------------------------------29----
Date: Thu, 28 Feb 91 14:17:10 EST
Subject: Search for a needed word

The discussion of "ombuds?" reminds me of a search of mine that
has, so far, been feckless. "Uxorious," meaning "overly fond
of one's wife," is a perfectly good English word. When I first
encountered it, it occurred to me that many people, given the
high divorce rate, would get more use from a word meaning "overly
fond of one's children." I have sought such a word for years,
stopping classicists and strangers and occasional wedding guests.
All the offered options either have been previously coopted for
undesireable uses ("pedophile") or are jarringly macaronic
("filophile"). Can any one out there supply a) a good English
word with this meaning, or b) a classically-rooted word that
we can coin as English, or c) a word in another language
that already has this meaning and which, after the fashion
of English, we can simply steal?

Eric Rabkin
Department of English
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor MI 48109-1045