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HD: 1951 Words
Posted: 15 February 2012 05:41 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Finished catching up, not we’re back the straight chronological progression.

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Posted: 15 February 2012 08:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Some antedates:

falafel, n. Fast food in 1951 is not limited to hamburgers.

From The Law Reports of Palestine (1944): “at the present he sells falafel (a kind of food) and earns enough for the support of himself and his children.”

hangul, n.2 The name for the Korean alphabet is from the Korean han “Korea” + kul “script.” The Korean name was coined in 1912, but took several decades to work itself into English.

From Conversational Korean (1944), three hits, including from p. 145: “This appendix on Hangul and its construction is inserted here for those students who may be interested to know how the Hangul is constructed and spelled out in Korean.”

Yupik, n. and adj. Linguists start to write about the Yupik language in 1951.

If we can trust the 1945 date on this: “Throughout its recorded history, the settlement was occupied by Yupik speakers of the Western Eskimo language stock.”

And a minor correction:

November: Direct dial, coast-to-coast telephone service is inaugurated in the United States; Gigi, starring Audrey Hepburn, makes its Broadway debut.

Gigi should be in ital, not bold.  (There are a number of other missing itals sprinkled throughout that I was too lazy to make note of.)

An unnotable event from July: the birth of languagehat!

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Posted: 15 February 2012 09:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Fulbright, n. Senator J. William Fulbright passed a law in 1946…

A powerful man to be sure, but it took 49 Senators (at that time) to pass a bill, plus a majority in the House, plus the President’s signature to make it a law.

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Posted: 15 February 2012 12:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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many happy returns of the day, languagehat.

Fulbright, n. Senator J. William Fulbright passed a law in 1946

well, we don’t know what he did beforehand - maybe he ate it? We’ve all heard about the cannibal, who passed his ex-wife in the street.......

falafel

for those who don’t know: falafel is an Eastern Mediterranean food: small, oblate spheroids (about chestnut size) of a paste made from coarsely-mashed chick-peas (houmous in the Arabic spoken down my way), fried in deep oil until brown and crunchy on the outside. Eaten as a street food, inside a circular pocket of flatbread (pita), with salad and various pickles (pickled turnip, dyed red with beetroot, is a favourite of mine), sometimes a dollop of tehina (made from fine-ground sesame seed), and various spicy sauces. There are many variations on the theme of falafel. It’s been around ages before reaching the OED. Backpackers in Israel sometimes live for weeks on falafel and not much else; it’s inexpensive and nourishing.

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Posted: 15 February 2012 12:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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And delicious, especially with the garnishes lionello describes.  (Pickled turnip is essential, IMHO.)

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Posted: 15 February 2012 12:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I greatly enjoyed this list (and have greatly enjoyed every other one, too).

A few nitpicks (some pickier than others):

Re: manga: you state that the art style originated in the late 18th century, and was applied to comics in the 1920s.  Do you mean 19th century, or was there a 120-year-ish gap between the two?  I am not trying to be a smart Alec: both possibilities seem plausible to me, but a late 19th century showing for the art style seems more likely.  But many things that “seem” likely to me turn out to be utterly false.

Re: nerd.  In the big list you note two possible origins: dr. Seuss’s book and the “Mortimer Snert” act, and note, there, that Mortimer seemed like a stronger candidate (and the analysis in the big list seemed persuasive to me).  But this entry says signs point to Dr. Seuss’s book.  Have you changed your mind about where the term probably came from?  Or are you paraphrasing the oed’s explanation?  Or just noting one of the things that some signs point to?

Re: paralegal.  This is probably the most nitpicky of all, but my sense of this word is that it refers to a specific type of assistant to a lawyer who has some training in, and some knowledge of, the law, and who performs tasks requiring a higher degree of knowledge than the work done by a typical “assistant”.  But they certainly are “assistants” to lawyers, so what you said is certainly not wrong.  I only point out the distinction because I am curious of whether, in the 1960s, the term was applied to any assistant to a lawyer, or whether at that point it was already a term of art which refered to a fairly specific type of assistant (I.e., one who had specialized training regarding the law, and who typically performed services other than basic clerical/paperwork support.).  And, of course, this is a bit of a tangent in any event, since the 1951 sense of the word did not refer to any type of assistant to a lawyer.

[ Edited: 15 February 2012 12:22 PM by Svinyard118 ]
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Posted: 15 February 2012 02:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Patti Page’s single “Tennessee Waltz” hit #1 on the Billboard charts and would stay there for over a year;

Which chart? I’d have to see the proof before I’d believe that one. It could easily have been on the Top 100 for over a year, but I can’t believe it was #1 on the Top 100 for over a year. In the era of the Hot 100 (post 1958) the longest run at #1 has been 16 weeks.

the first UNIVAC computer is sold, to the U. S. Census Bureau.

We went from Kittyhawk to the Sea of Tranquility in about 60 years and we’ve gone from UNIVAC I to Android in about the same amount of time. If all we had done was to shrink the UNIVAC I to the size of a smart phone, that would be an impressive achievement, but of course we’ve also improved performance by roughly 3 orders of magnitude at the same time. Truly amazing.

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Posted: 15 February 2012 03:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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happydog - 15 February 2012 02:32 PM

Patti Page’s single “Tennessee Waltz” hit #1 on the Billboard charts and would stay there for over a year;

Which chart? I’d have to see the proof before I’d believe that one. It could easily have been on the Top 100 for over a year, but I can’t believe it was #1 on the Top 100 for over a year. In the era of the Hot 100 (post 1958) the longest run at #1 has been 16 weeks.

The single was on the Billboard charts for 30 weeks, peaking at the Number 1 position where it stayed for 9 weeks before dropping down the chart. See Wikipedia.

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Posted: 15 February 2012 11:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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From The Law Reports of Palestine (1944): “at the present he sells falafel (a kind of food) and earns enough for the support of himself and his children.”

I don’t think that really counts as an antedate. The addition of a sketchy definition makes quite clear that ‘falafel’ was not expected to be understood by English-speakers. Legal cases and the reports thereof in the mandated territory of Palestine would necessarily require any local term that didn’t have a precise English equivalent to be used with a definition appended, as here. If you read widely in them you’d probably find any number of obscure terms for Bedouin blood-feud customs and Samaritan inheritance practices, but that wouldn’t mean these words were understood, let alone used, in English.

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Posted: 16 February 2012 04:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Yeah, I screwed up the Patti Page thing. I somehow got it into my head that Dec 1950 to Feb 1951 was a span of over a year.

Manga does indeed go back to the eighteenth century in Japan. Although the style has changed markedly. It’s not a gap, though. The word was always there, but it wasn’t applied to comic books until the twentieth century.

I updated the nerd entry to include Mortimer Snerd.

And I wasn’t trying to be precise with the paralegal definition. Words like this may have precise technical definitions, but rarely are those distinctions observed beyond a particular circle. For instance, in the United States the certification and education requirements for paralegals vary wildly, and since no state requires licensing or certification, anyone can be hired as a “paralegal.”

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Posted: 16 February 2012 07:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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I don’t think that really counts as an antedate. The addition of a sketchy definition makes quite clear that ‘falafel’ was not expected to be understood by English-speakers.

So?  Many early citations for borrowed words are like that.  The fact remains that it is used in an English sentence and not marked as a foreign word (as in “Arabic falafel denotes a kind of food").  And yes, there are probably obscure terms for Bedouin customs used in such documents, and they too are English words, if on the fringes of the lexicon.  Not every English word has to be understood by average English-speakers, or there would be no need for the OED.

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Posted: 16 February 2012 09:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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The fact remains that it is used in an English sentence and not marked as a foreign word

It seems to me that the implication of what Syntinen Laulu wrote, is that “felafel” should have been written in italics, as a foreign language word, and the fact that it isn’t, proves (if anything) only that the person writing the law report knew what felafel is, but wasn’t all that well up on English language niceties (any English-speaking person who was really well qualified, and in his/her right senses, would be looking for a job just about anywhere in the Empire, rather than in Palestine in 1944 ;-).

...."at present he sells rahat lokum (a kind of food) and earns enough”....

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Posted: 16 February 2012 11:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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My point was not that it was not italicized but that it was not specifically said to be a foreign word, as in my example.

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Posted: 16 February 2012 03:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Presumably there is some kind of grey zone, lionello, in which something is considered an English word but still sufficiently obscure that an explanation is need for some audiences.

Heck, I dare say that an author today might still want to explain that a felafel is a kind of food, if the audience was expected to somewhat insular and non-cosmopolitan.

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Posted: 17 February 2012 02:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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My point was not that it was not italicized but that it was not specifically said to be a foreign word, as in my example.

So if the clerk had written “at the present he sells falafel (an Arabic word for a kind of food)...” you wouldn’t consider that an antedate?

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Posted: 17 February 2012 05:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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This is an issue of when do you consider a word to have been assimilated into English, which is a subjective judgment and for which differences of opinion are to be expected and even welcomed.

Some things to look for:

--Is the word used without explanation or marking as being non-English?
--Is the word used in translation, as a non-translatable word?
--For names of food and other cultural concepts, is the word being used in a foreign or domestic context? (e.g., a description of falafel on the streets of New York is greater evidence of assimilation than on the streets of Jerusalem)
--Is the word used productively to form other words?

I could go either way on this citation. The word is defined in the text (you’d have to look at the editorial practice of the entire document to determine whether or not the absence of italics meant anything), and it is in a foreign context. There is no indication that the word is used by English speakers. But it is also very close in time to unambiguous, assimilated uses. It’s not like this is a lone citation fifty or a hundred years earlier. So it is extremely likely that falafel was indeed used in 1944 by English speakers who were familiar with the Middle East. I wouldn’t be surprised if Barry Popik had a 1940s menu from New York City that included falafel.

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