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Word Nerd! 
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Post Word Nerd!
I'm a word nerd.

I'm interested in words and how they come to be what they are, where they came from, and how they are used.

I'm always interested in language translations, for instance.

When people say that "Buenos dias" means hello, they are right. But literally translated that's "Good Day".
Which is a greeting, true, but is not a pure hale, like the word "Hello" is.

How about the words coincide and coincidence?

One means that one thing goes with another consequently, the other means that the going together is arbitrary and without causation.

Today I was thinking about the word "Just".

Like, the Police officer's behavior was just.

Then there is the other ways to use just, which seem on the surface unrelated to that usage.

I just made it to work on time.
Which means something like "barely attained the status of blank"

And then the usage like "This is just terrific!"
Which means something like "extremely blank"

Or maybe when it's used as an amplifier it is actually referring to the first usage of the word, as in "righteously terrific"

This is "Just edible" This is "Just Delicious"

Funny how a word serves two functions like that.

Got any word nerd moments you want to share?


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In the absence of God, I found Man.
-Guillermo Del Torro

Have you tried that? Looking for answers?
Or have you been content to be terrified of a thing you know nothing about?

Are you pushing your own short comings on us and safely hating them from a distance?

Is this the virtue of faith? To never change your mind: especially when you should?

Young Earth Creationists take offense at the idea that we have a common heritage with other animals. Why is being the descendant of a mud golem any better?

Confidence being an expectation built on past experience, evidence and extrapolation to the future. Faith being an expectation held in defiance of past experience and evidence.


Sat Mar 05, 2016 11:06 am
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Post Re: Word Nerd!
One thing I hate is words that mean the opposite based on context. I couldn't think of examples immediately, so had to google it.

Sanction for example. That action was sanctioned (approved) by the VP. The U.S. imposed sanctions (penalties) on Iran.
Here are 13 more:
http://mentalfloss.com/article/49834/14 ... -opposites



Sat Mar 05, 2016 7:06 pm
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Post Re: Word Nerd!
johnson1010 wrote:
I'm a word nerd.

I'm interested in words and how they come to be what they are, where they came from, and how they are used.



If you've not already, you should read the "Professor and the Madman" aka "The Surgeon of Crowthorne" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Surgeon_of_Crowthorne

It's about the making of the Oxford English Dictionary.



Sun Mar 06, 2016 4:15 pm
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Post Re: Word Nerd!
I also think it's interesting how we'll say certain phrases without the slightest idea of why they express the idea that's in our heads." Man, he was three sheets to the wind! " " You need to make that guy toe the line" (or is it tow the line). We just love to say things metaphorically, and it doesn't matter that we often have no idea why, or whether, our words truly express the thought. We're happy to follow convention.



Wed Mar 09, 2016 7:10 am
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Post Re: Word Nerd!
A really interesting modifier in my opinion is "What".

As in, "What a catch!"

What exactly are we saying when we use the word "what" like that?

Lets see.


What, as in inquiring about an object.

Robby, what works at the book store.
Heard this kind of usage in Brittish tv.
Is this an answer to an assumed question?

What a day!
What a beautiful smile!
is this maybe also a response to a presumed rhetorical question?
Like, "What? A beautiful smile!"

This one really has me stumped.
I can more or less make sense of the uses of Just in a modifier context, but what is throwing me a bit.


_________________
In the absence of God, I found Man.
-Guillermo Del Torro

Have you tried that? Looking for answers?
Or have you been content to be terrified of a thing you know nothing about?

Are you pushing your own short comings on us and safely hating them from a distance?

Is this the virtue of faith? To never change your mind: especially when you should?

Young Earth Creationists take offense at the idea that we have a common heritage with other animals. Why is being the descendant of a mud golem any better?

Confidence being an expectation built on past experience, evidence and extrapolation to the future. Faith being an expectation held in defiance of past experience and evidence.


Wed Mar 09, 2016 4:12 pm
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Post Re: Word Nerd!
johnson1010 wrote:
I can more or less make sense of the uses of Just in a modifier context, but what is throwing me a bit.

What is throwing you a bit,Johnson? I don't know! What is?



Last edited by Flann 5 on Wed Mar 09, 2016 4:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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johnson1010
Wed Mar 09, 2016 4:36 pm
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Post Re: Word Nerd!
How 'bout what in that context means "that's a great example of..." Even works for "What a jerk!"



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Wed Mar 09, 2016 6:21 pm
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Post Re: Word Nerd!
LanDroid wrote:
How 'bout what in that context means "that's a great example of..." Even works for "What a jerk!"


Why so snarky Mr Moderator? I wasn't attacking Johnson. Just a play on words. I knew what he meant in context.



Wed Mar 09, 2016 6:51 pm
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Post Re: Word Nerd!
How many languages have this usage corresponding to English "What a day!" French does with "Quelle journee!," and Spanish with "Que dia!" It doesn't appear to be just an English idiom. Stephen Pinker might be good for the answer to this question in terms of psycholinguistics.



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Wed Mar 09, 2016 10:02 pm
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Post Re: Word Nerd!
I don't think that was a dig at you, Flann.

OOh, that's good stuff, DWill!

I agree that "What" in that instance serves for "That's a great example of..." or something along those lines.

I just don't know how the other uses of "What" lend themselves to be used that way.

Where in "Just amazing" I can kind of see how that could be swapped with a synonym like "righteously amazing"


"What a day this has been!" can either mean it was a great day, a horrible day, or a strange day but not necessarily good or bad.

I don't know if what really has synonyms. It's almost implied, though if you have a question mark after a word. So maybe the question mark is the synonym for what?

That? = What, that? = what's that?

But in context that could mean different things.

"I love this shirt!"
.... "That?"

A day? = What a day?

...hmmmm, not quite right.


_________________
In the absence of God, I found Man.
-Guillermo Del Torro

Have you tried that? Looking for answers?
Or have you been content to be terrified of a thing you know nothing about?

Are you pushing your own short comings on us and safely hating them from a distance?

Is this the virtue of faith? To never change your mind: especially when you should?

Young Earth Creationists take offense at the idea that we have a common heritage with other animals. Why is being the descendant of a mud golem any better?

Confidence being an expectation built on past experience, evidence and extrapolation to the future. Faith being an expectation held in defiance of past experience and evidence.


The following user would like to thank johnson1010 for this post:
Flann 5
Fri Mar 11, 2016 4:19 pm
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Post Re: Word Nerd!
Flann 5 wrote:
LanDroid wrote:
How 'bout what in that context means "that's a great example of..." Even works for "What a jerk!"

Why so snarky Mr Moderator? I wasn't attacking Johnson. Just a play on words. I knew what he meant in context.

I don't know what snark you're talking about, I wasn't even talking to you? I merely tried to answer a question for johnson1010 and looks like he agrees with the answer.



Sat Mar 12, 2016 12:58 pm
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Post Re: Word Nerd!
Ok. Landroid. Sorry. I misunderstood and blamed you wrongly.



Sat Mar 12, 2016 3:41 pm
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Post Re: Word Nerd!
This might not be exactly on point, but it does have to do with words. I've tried to find out why languages sound different from each other and haven't found a satisfactory answer. I'm told that languages evolved, kind of like living things, but still, why does Chinese sound so different from English? It can't be anything to do with different vocal apparatus one group to another, because a baby born to Chinese parents but raised here has no problem imitating the English sounds it hears. So why, exactly? Is it something about the sounds present in the original environments that the evolving humans imitated in their fist efforts at speech? I don't have a clue, really, and would appreciate some bright ideas.



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Post Re: Word Nerd!
Being a bit of a word nerd myself, I've wondered about this myself. More specifically, How is it that different languages have widely different words for the sounds made by animals?

As a child growing up in a bilingual community in Quebec, Canada, I recall being puzzled as to why my French speaking friends were using different words for the same animal sound. I especially recall the words used for the rooster sound. I would say "cock-a-doodle-doo", my French speaking friends would say "co-co-ri-co". It was confusing. After all, we were hearing the same animal sound.
Derek Abbott, a professor at the University of Adelaide in Australia is conducting research on the subject. He may have something for us in a few years. In the meantime you may want to have a look at this short article on the subject:

mnn.com/lifestyle/arts-culture/stories/ ... me-animals

If you go to the end of the clip you will see people speaking many different languages saying the word for different animal sounds along with the animal speaking in its own tongue. It's a hoot!



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Sun Mar 13, 2016 5:18 pm
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Post Re: Word Nerd!
I don't get a "C" sound from a rooster, so maybe the English word "cock" influenced how the sound was captured. Not really, I guess, because other languages also have the word beginning with a hard "C." The snake sound is an interesting one mainly because it's hard to imagine many people hearing a snake "say" anything at all. Do they really go "hiss,", as almost all languages have them doing, or is the hiss mythical?

Thanks for the helpful hint.



Sun Mar 13, 2016 7:53 pm
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