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Posted: 12 August 2011 06:18 AM   [ Ignore ]
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A bumper crop this year

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Posted: 12 August 2011 06:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I would not have guessed that the guppy was named after a Mr Guppy, or that it was so new

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Posted: 12 August 2011 05:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Well, this is nit-picky, but I’ve heard and have personally used “cuppa” in leftpondia to indicate a ‘cup o’ joe’ over a table for talk or discussion. 

I once owned a wonderful Leica 35mm that took marvelous pictures of Jupiter and Jupiter’s moons and Saturn and Saturn’s rings and the Aurora Borealis.  This puts that bit of my personal history into a newly nice perspective for me. 

Thanks, Dave; you’ve managed another winning series that included words of special worth to me, personally.

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Posted: 12 August 2011 06:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I note that Britishism gets a lot more googlits than Briticism. Is the latter preferred “in the trade”?

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Posted: 13 August 2011 12:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I had always assumed that the character William Guppy in Dickens’ ‘Bleak House’ had an intentionally humorous name. Apparently not (or at least not as humorous as it appears to modern readers).

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Posted: 13 August 2011 04:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I note that Britishism gets a lot more googlits than Briticism. Is the latter preferred “in the trade”?

As noted in other threads, Google’s counts are utterly unreliable. You can’t draw any conclusions from them.

Well, this is nit-picky, but I’ve heard and have personally used “cuppa” in leftpondia to indicate a ‘cup o’ joe’ over a table for talk or discussion. 

I did say “all but unknown.” It’s not at all common in North America, from my experience, and when you do see it, it is almost always used as a British affectation.

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Posted: 13 August 2011 04:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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I’ve heard and have personally used “cuppa” in leftpondia to indicate a ‘cup o’ joe’ over a table for talk or discussion. 

You astonish me.  Where was this?  I’ve lived in various parts of these United States and never heard such a thing; it strikes me as purely UK.

Edit: Another nitpick: “A connolo is an Italian desert” should be cannolo.

[ Edited: 13 August 2011 10:29 AM by languagehat ]
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Posted: 13 August 2011 07:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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I note that Britishism gets a lot more googlits than Briticism. Is the latter preferred “in the trade”?

As noted in other threads, Google’s counts are utterly unreliable. You can’t draw any conclusions from them.
----

True enough, but is Briticism preferred among linguists?

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Posted: 14 August 2011 03:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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I don’t know about frequency of use among linguists, but the OED makes a distinction in definition. Briticism is confined to words and phrases, while Britishism has a more general application for all things British. One amusing bit: the big dictionary marks Briticism as “orig. U. S.”

Re: cannoli typo. I stared and stared at that one, thinking that it looked wrong. But I never picked up on the typo. Thanks.

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Posted: 14 August 2011 04:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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One amusing bit: the big dictionary marks Briticism as “orig. U. S.”
---

Makes sense. I would expect the converse to be true of Americanism.

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Posted: 14 August 2011 06:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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I stared and stared at that one, thinking that it looked wrong. But I never picked up on the typo.

This is why we copyeditors get paid the big bucks!*

*For values of “big” that do not include actual living wages.

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Posted: 14 August 2011 04:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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languagehat - 13 August 2011 04:57 AM

I’ve heard and have personally used “cuppa” in leftpondia to indicate a ‘cup o’ joe’ over a table for talk or discussion. 

You astonish me.  Where was this?  I’ve lived in various parts of these United States and never heard such a thing; it strikes me as purely UK.

To wit:

It was either the 29th or the 30th anniversary of the hydrogen bomb that was dropped on Albuquerque, New Mexico, detonating* one mile southeast of the Albuquerque Airport.  Thus, the year was either 1986 or 1987.**

[Caveat: some of my friends claim to have irrefutable proof that I live in an alternate universe, or even, alternate universes.]

I spent the latter part of the fall and most of winter that year at a school of philosophy in the Pocono Mountains resort area of Pennsylvania.  Most westerners would call this school an ‘ashram.’ There were swamis, etc. 

As a matter of general policy, coffee (itself among other unhealthful items) was excluded from the school’s cafeteria and discouraged from student use.  There were exceptions, and since there was no absolute prohibition, sometimes coffee and rarely wine or beer was enjoyed among the staff and long-term (graduate?) students. 

I had a small camp-stove, a stainless steel stove-top espresso machine, and a small supply of excellent coffee.  My roommate and closest friend was a fellow who had been an actor and also a writer for national (US) radio shows.  Those senior students and staff who discreetly enjoyed the occasional coffee and the attendant animated discourse far, far into the night, often until past dawn, were frequent guests of ours. 

These gatherings were nothing regular like once a week; rather they were from time to time, maybe three times a month or so.  Our code-word for these gatherings was “cuppa"--though I think I would have spelled it “cup o’” at the time.  My roommate, the retired writer and former actor, introduced the term to me.  It was accepted and understood with ease by all. 

“Cuppa?” was the challenge.

“Cuppa!  Cuppa!” was the enthusiastic response, if the time was right; and the word spread like wildfire if so. 

Granted, there were many international students, some from the UK, some from India, and also from Australia, Canada, and diverse places.  And so, for all practical purposes, it really was an alternate universe.  I took the term “cuppa” and made it my own.  Subsequently, I have used it nearly everywhere I have been for any length of time. 

I used it discreetly yesterday in real life, as a test.  The meaning of “cuppa” was instantly understood.  After a few several minutes had passed yesterday, I asked my companions how common the term was in their experience.  “Have heard and used it for years” was the consensus.  But they are fairly well traveled and cosmopolitan by nature, so it may be considered another example from one of many alternate universes my friends claim I inhabit. 

.

*partially

**The time, within two years, is easy for me to fix because one of the two major daily newspapers in Denver ran a story on the event the year in question.  I am sure of the story (I read it when it was freshly printed) but not sure of the exact year.  I haven’t been able to find the article in question to settle the issue.  It is the best I can do on the fixing the year. 

NOTE:
The La Times ran an article on the 29th anniversary which would have been 1986.  For some reason I forget now, I felt that the Denver article was probably put out on the 30th anniversary.  I kept a very lengthy and detailed journal that I often drew material from for writing, musical composition, and performance throughout the years, but it was lost or stolen some years ago.  Also, parts were earlier destroyed due to poor choice of writing inks and weather-related moisture.  (I traveled via motorcycle for years and most of everything I carried routinely was exposed to the elements.)

Another link about the bomb that was dropped, the Mark 17 hydrogen bomb: the largest bomb ever made by the United States. Over 24 feet long, 42,000 pounds, and with an explosive power of 15-20 megatons (equivalent to over 1,000 Hiroshima size bombs).

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Posted: 14 August 2011 05:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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From the first link:

In May of 1957 a thermonuclear bomb fell out of airplane and landed on Mesa del Sol, one mile southeast of the Albuquerque Airport. The hydrogen bomb, a Mark 17 model, was one of the largest and most powerful weapons ever made by the United States. It weighed 42,000 pounds and had a design yield of 15 to 20 megatons of TNT, 1,000 times more powerful than the atomic bombs used in World War II. The bomb fell through the closed bomb bay doors of the plane, which was approaching Kirtland at an altitude of 1,700 feet. It was destroyed on impact. Though a chain reaction was impossible, as the plutonium pits were stored separately on the plane, the accident spread radioactive fuel material and parts over a wide area. The Air Force cleaned up the site in secret, though fragments of the bomb - some radioactive still - can be found in the area. It is one of more than 30 known “Broken Arrow” incidents involving the accidental loss or destruction of a nuclear weapon.

I, for one, feel a lot safer now. As I did several years ago after finding a 1950’s Sunday newspaper insert with (?) Secretary of State Dulles on the cover. The headline: “Does Nuclear Testing Affect Our Weather Patterns?” The answer: No, hardly at all ... Imagine, however, the few moments of anticipation experienced by the crew on board the aircraft that day, as they felt the plane lighten slightly and watched the bomb plummet to earth.

“Cuppa” strikes me as a Britishism that is easily understood by Americans. Except we have Cup-O-Noodles etc., so, as you point out, it isn’t limited to tea.

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Posted: 14 August 2011 05:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Saying the bomb “detonated” (even “partially") is very misleading. More accurate would be “the non-nuclear trigger exploded, destroying the bomb and scattering radioactive material.” If a 15-20 MT weapon had even “fizzled” (i.e., partial detonation), Albuquerque wouldn’t be there any more. Detonation in the context of a nuclear weapon means a nuclear detonation, not the setting off of the trigger. A really good (in terms of technical accuracy) cinematic example is the detonation of a trigger in downtown Manhattan in the George Clooney/Nicole Kidman movie The Peacemaker. In the movie it blew out a few windows of the building. It’s equivalent to a few sticks of dynamite.

And of course, any American would understand cuppa. The meaning is pretty transparent. And asking for their recollections after you have prompted them with the term is not a good way to get accurate survey results. Instead, go to your friends (different ones, since you’ve already influenced the ones you’ve talked to) and without prompting ask them to list terms for a cup of coffee/tea. I guarantee you that not one North American will respond with cuppa in their list.

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Posted: 14 August 2011 06:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Saying the bomb “detonated” (even “partially") is very misleading.

Yes. 

I knew and know that. 

I carefully considered and weighed those words and the placement of the asterisks.  I confess, I intended the effect. 

If it is judged offensive, or objectionable, and or too far out of the commonplace, or outside of our common courtesy on this board, I stand guilty, beg forgiveness and offer to repent. 

If deemed necessary, I shall withdraw the parts of the post found offensive.

I thought it to be a convenient device and warranted by the nature of the goodhearted challenge posed by the venerable languagehat…

I have been severely wrong in the past, so maybe now I am wrong as well. 

.

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Posted: 14 August 2011 06:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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A really good (in terms of technical accuracy) cinematic example is the detonation of a trigger in downtown Manhattan in the George Clooney/Nicole Kidman movie The Peacemaker. In the movie it blew out a few windows of the building. It’s equivalent to a few sticks of dynamite.

Yes, although they kind of glossed over the fact that, since they’d only managed to make the implosion around the trigger asymmetrical, they probably wound up seriously contaminating the area with plutonium.  Yes, it’s way better than having the thing go off properly, but Clooney and Kidman’s characters don’t seem too concerned about what they’re breathing after the boom.

In the Albuquerque case, if the pits had been removed, then the radioactive material would probably have been primarily tritium (hydrogen-3), which is relatively innocuous (compared to Pu).

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