jm + etymology   10

Distilled Identity
Gabriel recently bought a distillery in Barbados, where he says the majority of his team is of African descent. “The sugar industry is a painful past for them, but my understanding, from my team, is that they do see it as the past,” Gabriel explained. “There was great suffering, but their take is like, ‘We built this island.’ They are reclaiming it, and we are seeing that in efforts to preserve farming land and not let it all go to tourism.”

I rather liked this narrative, or at least the potential of it. Slavery was appalling across the board, but countries and cultures throughout the African Diaspora have managed their paths forward in ways that don’t mimic the American aftermath. A plurality of narratives was possible here, which was thrilling to me. I am often disappointed by the mainstream perception of one-note blackness. One could easily argue the root of colonization is far from removed in the Caribbean. But if I understood Gabriel, and if he accurately captured the sentiments of his Barbadian colleagues, plantation sugarcane offered career opportunities to some, and was perhaps not solely a distressing connection to a shared global history. We chewed on this thought, together, in silence.
history  distilling  rum  barbados  african-diaspora  slavery  american-history  booze  language  etymology 
4 weeks ago by jm
Frankly Useless Crank “Knowledge,” Only For Fools
A wonderfully-sweary post on the etymology of swear words, and how they're not derived from acronyms, really.
shit? Also from an old Germanic root, descended equally to modern German Scheiss (which sounds closer to Scots shite). It shows up in Old English, fully inflected: “Wiþ þon þe men mete untela melte & gecirre on yfele wætan & scittan” (that scittan is an infinitive form of ‘shit’ and was said like “shit-tan”). I can assure you that an acronym Ship High In Transit – supposedly meaning that manure was to be loaded in the upper parts of ships – was not possible in the language in the Old English period, not just because transit was not borrowed from Latin until half a millennium later, or because they didn’t use acronyms like that then, but because what the fuck are you even thinking. They didn’t need to ship manure. Animals produce it on the spot everywhere. Holy shit, fucking seriously.
shit  funny  words  etymology  acronyms 
july 2016 by jm
Numeronyms
ie. "i18n", "a11y" etc.
According to Tex Texin, the first numeronym [..] was "S12n", the electronic mail account name given to Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) employee Jan Scherpenhuizen by a system administrator because his surname was too long to be an account name. By 1985, colleagues who found Jan's name unpronounceable often referred to him verbally as "S12n". The use of such numeronyms became part of DEC corporate culture.[1]
numbers  names  etymology  numeronyms  history  dec  i18n  a11y  l10n  s12n 
december 2013 by jm
on the etymology of "Ketchup"
'the story of ketchup is a story of globalization and centuries of economic domination by a world superpower. But the superpower isn't America, and the century isn't ours. Ketchup's origins in the fermented sauces of China and Southeast Asia mean that those little plastic packets under the seat of your car are a direct result of Chinese and Asian domination of a single global world economy for most of the last millenium.'
ketchup  china  nam-pla  food  etymology  condiments  history  trade 
march 2013 by jm
"Whataboutery"
Great neologism from Mick Fealty:
Familiar to anyone who’s followed public debate on Northern Ireland. Some define it as the often multiple blaming and finger pointing that goes on between communities in conflict. Political differences are marked by powerful emotional (often tribal) reactions as opposed to creative conflict over policy and issues. It’s beginning to be known well beyond the bounds of Northern Ireland. [...]

Evasion may not be the intention but it is the obvious effect. It occurs when individuals are confronted with a difficult or uncomfortable question. The respondent retrenches his/her position and rejigs the question, being careful to pick open a sore point on the part of questioner’s ‘tribe’. He/she then fires the original query back at the inquirer.
words  etymology  whataboutery  argument  debate  northern-ireland  mick-fealty  slugger-otoole 
march 2013 by jm
The trench talk that is now entrenched in the English language
'From cushy to crummy and blind spot to binge drink, a new study reveals the impact the First World War had on the English language and the words it introduced.' Incredible comments, too...
english  etymology  history  wwi  great-war  via:sinead-gleeson  words  language 
november 2012 by jm
Fuchsia MacAree — A-Z of Untranslatable Words
Lovely poster by fantastic Irish illustrator Fuchsia MacAree, who's launching her first exhibition of art and drawings at the Bernard Shaw tonight.

See also "Learn To Swear With Captain Haddock": http://fuchsiamacaree.bigcartel.com/product/captain-haddock-print
want  art  prints  fuchsia-macaree  words  etymology  home 
october 2012 by jm
The meanings and origins of ‘feck’
It's a "minced oath", apparently:

'Feck is a popular minced oath in Ireland, occupying ground between the ultra-mild expletive flip and the often taboo (but also popular) fuck. It’s strongly associated with Irish speech, and serves a broad range of linguistic purposes that I’ll address briefly in this post.'

It doesn't derive from the obvious source:

So where does the curse, the not-quite-rude word, come from? It’s commonly assumed to stem from its coarser cousin fuck, the simple vowel change undercutting its power and making it more suitable for public expression. But Julian Walker, an educator at the British Library, offers a more roundabout route: “In faith” becomes the improbable “in faith’s kin” shortened to “i’fackins”, which gradually shrinks to “fac” and “feck”.
feck  swearing  ireland  irish  hiberno-english  father-ted  etymology  cursing 
september 2012 by jm
Scram
noun: an emergency shutdown of a nuclear reactor. It has been defined as an acronym for "Safety Control Rod Axe Man", due to this story from Norman Hilberry: "When I showed up on the balcony on that December 2, 1942 afternoon [at the Chicago Pile, the world's first self-sustaining nuclear reactor], I was ushered to the balcony rail, handed a well sharpened fireman's ax and told, "if the safety rods fail to operate, cut that manila rope." The safety rods, needless to say, worked, the rope was not cut... I don't believe I have ever felt quite as foolish as I did then. ...I did not get the SCRAM [Safety Control Rod Axe Man] story until many years after the fact. Then one day one of my fellows who had been on Zinn's construction crew called me Mr. Scram."
scram  nuclear  reactor  history  etymology  words  shutdown  emergency  wikipedia  1942  science  acronyms 
june 2012 by jm

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