Author Topic: Linguistic peculiarity  (Read 3513 times)

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Offline Fiji

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Linguistic peculiarity
« on: June 11, 2013, 09:01:44 AM »
Riddle me this ...
In English, the word for "ground up stuff" and "sex parts of a plant" is in both cases 'flower', right?
In Dutch, these two meanings also have one word for both.
Makes sense, right? Either English and Dutch got it from the same ancestor language, or one got it from the other.
Except, the word in Dutch looks nothing like 'flower' ... it's 'bloem' (pronounced 'bloom')
Dafuk?

Did English borrow the "sex parts" word, 'fleur', from French and simply keep using it for both meanings, even if the French for ground up stuff is completely different 'farine'?

One does wonder!
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Offline neopagan

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Re: Linguistic peculiarity
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2013, 10:17:20 AM »
English word is actually "flour" for ground up stuff (wheat)... which looks even more similar
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Online Mrjason

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Re: Linguistic peculiarity
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2013, 10:19:50 AM »
English word is actually "flour" for ground up stuff (wheat)... which looks even more similar

It used to be "flower" for both until quite recently (1800's), the spelling was changed to avoid confusion

Offline neopagan

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Re: Linguistic peculiarity
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2013, 10:25:54 AM »
always heard the French have a different word for everything :)  guess not in this case!
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Offline hickdive

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Re: Linguistic peculiarity
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2013, 10:26:53 AM »
English is full of words either directly taken or derived from other languages.

Where there is no English word then it is quite acceptable to use one from a different language. For example, there are no direct English equivalents of schadenfreude or entrepreneur so those words are just used instead with their original meanings intact.

There is no pressure to "preserve" English in the same way as, say, French.
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Offline Fiji

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Re: Linguistic peculiarity
« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2013, 12:40:28 AM »
See? I should post stuff like this more often. It's a good way to learn things!

btw, if there were an English word for entrepreneur ... it'd be 'undertaker'
Can you imagine Mark Calaway in a suit and tie ... his finisher, the "124 page powerpoint side".
EVERYONE taps out to the 124 page powerpoint slide.
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Offline neopagan

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Re: Linguistic peculiarity
« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2013, 08:56:49 AM »
There's a coffee/bakery here in the US called "Au Bon Pain" and while I don't speak French, I get a special thrill hearing people talk about going there. 

They butcher the pronunciation in any number of ways and usually just say meet me at ABP.  I at least asked a French speaker how to say it.

He said it means "Fake French food served pretentiously"   :laugh:
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Offline Ambassador Pony

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Re: Linguistic peculiarity
« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2013, 08:06:25 PM »
I like this kind of thread. Make more.
You believe evolution and there is no evidence for that. Where is the fossil record of a half man half ape. I've only ever heard about it in reading.

Offline screwtape

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Re: Linguistic peculiarity
« Reply #8 on: June 14, 2013, 10:02:09 PM »
Julius Caesar walked into a bar and said, "I'll have a martinus"

The bartender said, "don't you mean a martini?"

Caesar replied, "If I'd wanted a double, I'd have asked for it."


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Offline Chronos

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Re: Linguistic peculiarity
« Reply #9 on: June 14, 2013, 10:53:58 PM »
There's a coffee/bakery here in the US called "Au Bon Pain" and while I don't speak French, I get a special thrill hearing people talk about going there. 

I knew someone who thought it was the name of a French sex toy shop.

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Offline neopagan

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Re: Linguistic peculiarity
« Reply #10 on: June 14, 2013, 11:36:04 PM »
There's a coffee/bakery here in the US called "Au Bon Pain" and while I don't speak French, I get a special thrill hearing people talk about going there. 

I knew someone who thought it was the name of a French sex toy shop.
well, they do sell bagels...
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Offline kin hell

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Re: Linguistic peculiarity
« Reply #11 on: June 15, 2013, 06:44:22 AM »
There's a coffee/bakery here in the US called "Au Bon Pain" and while I don't speak French, I get a special thrill hearing people talk about going there. 

I knew someone who thought it was the name of a French sex toy shop.
well, they do sell bagels...

restaurant in ?Bondi

How the Focaccia
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Offline Graybeard

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Re: Linguistic peculiarity
« Reply #12 on: June 15, 2013, 07:02:32 PM »
Riddle me this ...
Except, the word in Dutch looks nothing like 'flower' ... it's 'bloem' (pronounced 'bloom')
In fact, the English word for a flower head (i.e. the "bloem") is a bloom.

From the Oxford English Dictionary (on line edition subscription only)

bloom, n.1 Pronunciation:  /blu?m/
Forms:  ME blom, ME–15 blome, ME–15 Sc. blwme, 15 bloume, Sc. blume, 15–16 bloome, 16– bloom.
Etymology:  Middle English blom , blome , only northern (or northern midl.); < Old Norse blóm neuter ‘a flower, bloom, blossom’, and blómi masculine ‘bloom, prosperity’, plural ‘flowers, blossoms’, the latter = Old Saxon blômo (masculine) (Middle Dutch bloeme , Dutch bloem feminine), Old High German bluomo (masculine), bluoma (feminine) (Middle High German bluome masculine and feminine, modern German blume feminine), Gothic blôma masculine < Germanic *blômon- (masculine), from the verb stem *bl?- ‘blow’, with the suffix -mon- of nouns of action. The Old English blôma (masculine), in form the same word, had only the sense of bloom n.2, the sense ‘flower’ being expressed by blóstm , blóstma , blósma , blossom n.(Show Less)

 1. a. The blossom or flower of a plant. (Not extended like ‘flower’ to a whole ‘flowering plant’, and expressing a more delicate notion than ‘blossom’, which is more commonly florescence bearing promise of fruit, while ‘bloom’ is florescence thought of as the culminating beauty of the plant. Cherry trees are said to be in blossom, hyacinths in bloom.)


More of the same:


Now look here: http://www.translationdirectory.com/glossaries/glossary159.htm You see, all that Dutch speakers are doing is speaking perfect English but with a strange accent.
« Last Edit: June 15, 2013, 07:09:13 PM by Graybeard »
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Offline Fiji

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Re: Linguistic peculiarity
« Reply #13 on: June 17, 2013, 01:43:39 AM »
I knew bloom as a verb was still in use. But as a noun ... beyond the realm of Winx?[1]

Ah, Frisian, written, I can' t make heads or tails of it, but spoken some of it does sound halfway intelligible.
Oh who am I kidding ... my Frisian doesn't pass the 'order a beer' test ... I'm crap at Frisian.
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Offline Ambassador Pony

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Re: Linguistic peculiarity
« Reply #14 on: June 19, 2013, 07:52:04 AM »
How does a Frisian turn a light off?

He throws a rock at it.

Ha ha ha Frisians.
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Offline neopagan

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Re: Linguistic peculiarity
« Reply #15 on: June 19, 2013, 08:40:53 AM »
So, are you saying Orlando Bloom has flower sex parts?
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Offline Fiji

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Re: Linguistic peculiarity
« Reply #16 on: June 24, 2013, 04:28:15 AM »
rather than start a new thread, I'll perform some CPR on this one.

Can someone explain the word vanguard to me?
It seems counterintuitive.
The van is the rear, right? So the vanguard is the rearguard ... right? So why is it used for the guys heading into machinegun[1] fire FIRST?!

"Going forward in reverse"? "Forward ... we have to retreat"?
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Online Mrjason

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Re: Linguistic peculiarity
« Reply #17 on: June 24, 2013, 04:44:43 AM »
Its another word we have stolen from the french, of course we got it backwards!

Offline Fiji

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Re: Linguistic peculiarity
« Reply #18 on: June 24, 2013, 05:24:04 AM »
Hm, could indeed be. The French would be avant-garde ... which does translate back into English as FRONTguard. So, avant being similar to van ... the two could very well have gotten mixed up.
Thanks Mrjason.
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Online Mrjason

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Re: Linguistic peculiarity
« Reply #19 on: June 24, 2013, 05:58:48 AM »
English seems to "borrow" quite a lot from french. I can only imagine that this is because of the norman occupation of 1066 and subsequent ruling classes (certainly the plantagenetsWiki) speaking french as a 1st language.
where you take the french influence out of English it does appear to have more in common with dutch than other European languages.  Take the example of the word for "Sea"
French = Mer
Italian = Mare
Spanish = Mar
Portuguese = Mar
...
Dutch  = Zee

Perhaps this is why Afrikaans works so well?
« Last Edit: June 24, 2013, 07:19:55 AM by Mrjason »

Offline Fiji

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Re: Linguistic peculiarity
« Reply #20 on: June 24, 2013, 06:27:33 AM »
Much of the same happened to Flemish. From the late 18th century onwards, if you wanted to be someone in Flanders, you had better speak French (bonus points if you spoke Latin too) Even when the Dutch were in charge here (1815-1830) French was the way to go. Even when I was a kid, the prevailing message in the media was people who speak French are the important ones. A 'good' example of that would be Jean-Claude Vandamme ... the mussel from Brussels. He was born in Aalst, Flanders, grew up there and only moved to bilingual Brussels as an adult ... and remember the dreadful English he spoke in his early movies ... that's a million times better than his Dutch. The man could not order a beer in the native language of his hometown.
All of this only began to change towards the late eighties. As a result, much of what a Dutchman would consider 'southern Dutch dialect' is actually borrowed French words.
Still we did manage to avoid going French wholesale.

OK, now you've made me curious ... how intelligible is Afrikaans to an English speaker? To a native Dutch speaker, it's pretty readable and even halfway intelligible when spoken.
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Online Mrjason

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Re: Linguistic peculiarity
« Reply #21 on: June 24, 2013, 06:45:49 AM »
Ah Jean-claude, a hero to me when I was a kid :) You mean muscles from Brussels though? he doesn't come across as shellfish  :P

I found Afrikaans incredibly easy to learn (at a basic level) as there are so many words that are close to the English equivalent.
Reading it is difficult though, why use one vowel when you can use three? Also the pronunciation of letters doesn't match the English spelling (if you see what I mean)
Edit I mean if it was written phonetically I think most English speakers would get the general drift.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2013, 06:52:33 AM by Mrjason »

Offline Fiji

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Re: Linguistic peculiarity
« Reply #22 on: June 24, 2013, 06:54:54 AM »
That's what we call him 'round here ... the mussel from Brussels ;) (wanted to mark it in the previous post 'intentional')

I see, pronounciation is indeed pretty much identical to Dutch ... which will trip up a native English speaker.
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Online Mrjason

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Re: Linguistic peculiarity
« Reply #23 on: June 24, 2013, 06:57:08 AM »
That's what we call him 'round here ... the mussel from Brussels ;) (wanted to mark it in the previous post 'intentional')

Didn't know that, but I like it :)

I see, pronounciation is indeed pretty much identical to Dutch ... which will trip up a native English speaker.
sorry I put the edit in whilst you were posting - I mean if Afrikaans were written phonetically I think most English speakers would get the general drift

I've been told by native dutch speakers that Afrikaans is like a very antiquated version of dutch i.e. bakkie (pickup truck) is more synonymous with a horse and cart than a motor vehicle.
Afrikaans speakers (the ones that I know anyway) find dutch quite hard to get on with.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2013, 07:02:15 AM by Mrjason »

Offline Fiji

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Re: Linguistic peculiarity
« Reply #24 on: June 24, 2013, 07:22:09 AM »
Afrikaans grammar is a good deal simpler than Dutch grammar. Virtually no conjugation of verbs which explains why it's hard for Afrikaners.
Many modern words (or, even older ones) are quite descriptive in Afrikaans.
Crash helmet = pletterpet = crushing bonnet
Going for a walk = voetslaan = foot pounding
Bakkie, I had never heared before ... In Dutch, a bakkie is a cup of coffee ... but that's a different story entirely.
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Offline pianodwarf

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Re: Linguistic peculiarity
« Reply #25 on: June 24, 2013, 07:41:04 AM »
Language can definitely be odd -- but it's usually in interesting ways, not annoying ways.  At least, that's how I see it.  As some people already know, I'm fooling around a bit with studying Irish (not anything I'll ever study seriously, just something that I find interesting for various personal reasons).  I recently learned about one way in which Irish has an interesting oddity.

In English, there are two verb tenses which have somewhat similar, but not identical meanings.  For example:

1)  The woman wears a dress.
2)  The woman is wearing a dress.

In the first sentence, it means that the woman wears a dress in general but does not necessarily mean she's wearing one at the moment, whereas in the second sentence, it's the other way around: the woman is wearing a dress, but might not wear a dress in general.  Irish makes the same distinction, but the way they do it is completely different from English.

1)  An bean ag caitheamh gúna.
2)  Tá an bhean ag caitheamh gúna.

The word "tá" is Irish for "yes", so very roughly translated: "The woman wears a dress" and "The woman [yes is wearing] a dress."  I wonder how that particular construction evolved.
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Online Mrjason

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Re: Linguistic peculiarity
« Reply #26 on: June 24, 2013, 07:45:46 AM »
Afrikaans grammar is a good deal simpler than Dutch grammar. Virtually no conjugation of verbs which explains why it's hard for Afrikaners.
And why Afrikaans is so much easier for English speakers!
The hardest part of Dutch and Afrikaans is the (for want of a better description) "throat" sound as in "Gaan". This sound occurs quite a lot in Arabic too. Who'd have thought knowing Dutch would help with Arabic :)
Many modern words (or, even older ones) are quite descriptive in Afrikaans.
Crash helmet = pletterpet = crushing bonnet
Going for a walk = voetslaan = foot pounding
Is this comparable with modern German do you think?

Bakkie, I had never heared before ... In Dutch, a bakkie is a cup of coffee ... but that's a different story entirely.
I don't know where that comes from then. Flemish maybe?

Online Mrjason

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Re: Linguistic peculiarity
« Reply #27 on: June 24, 2013, 09:06:05 AM »
The word "tá" is Irish for "yes", so very roughly translated: "The woman wears a dress" and "The woman [yes is wearing] a dress."  I wonder how that particular construction evolved.

I don't know how that type of linguistic construction came about but you can hear it in the way Irish (from the republic) speak English. It's something in the way a possessive noun is expressed.

I can't think of a particularly good example at the moment (without saying "speak" to the woman sitting behind me) however this is an example;

"Your Man" Most English speakers interpret that phrase to mean "your boyfriend/husband"
For Irish nationals this is a more generic "that man over there"

Offline LoriPinkAngel

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Re: Linguistic peculiarity
« Reply #28 on: June 24, 2013, 09:37:27 AM »
Much of the same happened to Flemish. From the late 18th century onwards, if you wanted to be someone in Flanders, you had better speak French

So I was  mislead then.  When I was in Saint Niklaus I was told not to bother speaking French, to stick with English.  (I didn't have tiime to learn Flemmish, all I remember is "kip", "pomme frites - isn't that reallly french"  and "dank u")
It doesn't make sense to let go of something you've had for so long.  But it also doesn't make sense to hold on when there's actually nothing there.