It never occurred to me before that the French term for the English Channel, La Manche, means ‘the sleeve’. Interestingly, the English too used the term, although OED marks it as obsolete (’except as nonce-use) now.
Here’s OED’s first and last citations:
1574 W. BOURNE Regiment for Sea xxii. (1577) 59b, It is a dangerous place to hit or fal with, to enter into the sleue, comming homewardes out of Spaine or Portugall.
1909 Daily Chron. 14 Aug. 4/4 When he learned that a Frenchman had aeroplaned the Sleeve.
The name of ‘La Mancha’ comes from the words in antique arabian “ma-ansha” which means “no-water” (and it is not related to “al-manxa”, meaning “the balcony"). It has no relation to the Spanish word (la) mancha, which means “stain” or more specifically, “spot”. (Wikipedia)
Clearly, then, La Manche and La Mancha have nothing in common.
Well, this is true in the same vein that ice cream has no bones. Notwithstanding that French ‘manche’ and Spanish ‘mancha’ are unrelated, I am curious if ‘manche’ and Spanish ‘manga’ are cognates, as that word corresponds to English ‘sleeve’.
The etymologists of the Real Academia Española reveal ‘manga’ to be among the progeny of Latin ‘manica’; I am uncertain if this word is in turn descended from or related to the aforementioned Arabic etymon.
Q: Why is a mouse when it spins?
A: Because the higher the fewer.
It’s not meant to mean anything.
BTW: the English Channel is, in fact, called in Spanish “El canal de la mancha” --- don’t know why; “sleeve” is in Spanish “manga”, as Thews points out (it may once have been “mancha” --- who knows?). I don’t think it’s anything to do with the “La Mancha” of Don Quijote,either. That La Mancha is nowhere near the sea.
the English Channel is, in fact, called in Spanish “El canal de la mancha” --- don’t know why; “sleeve” is in Spanish “manga”, as Thews points out (it may once have been “mancha” --- who knows?). I don’t think it’s anything to do with the “La Mancha” of Don Quijote,either. That La Mancha is nowhere near the sea.
On an interesting side note, the meaning of ‘mancha’ or ‘manxa’ is something like ‘no water’. About 18,000 or so years ago, the Channel was a full land bridge between what are now England and France, and so there was no water in the region. Of course I don’t mean to suggest that there might be a link (pun intended) here, but intriguing nonetheless.
Guess I should read the full thread a little more carefully next time! I see the Spanish meaning has been mentioned above. Silly Shmegege.
To attempt an explanation, in other words, would be a sleeveless errand. And bootless to boot.
Except that we kind of expect round here to understand what a post is all about and hence what relevance it has, and to be able to get an explanation if we don’t. If Thews’s joke meant nothing at all, what was the point of posting both that and the equally confusing Chomsky reference?
His second Chomsky reference has some relevance but would have been better placed in the Chomsky thread. If it is some sort of explanation of why it’s OK to be absurd, then the point is lost on me.
“Colorless green ideas sleep furiously” is a sentence composed by Noam Chomsky in 1957 as an example of a sentence whose grammar is correct but whose meaning is nonsensical. It was used to show inadequacy of the then-popular probabilistic models of grammar, and the need for more structured models.