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HD: 1959 Words
Posted: 12 March 2012 03:47 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Barbie, go-karts, and Muppets

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Posted: 12 March 2012 04:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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53 years of the Muppets!

Can we revive long dead filk religions? Yes, wiccan.

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Posted: 12 March 2012 07:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Another entertaining installment!

capo, n. The Mafia term for “boss,” from the Italian for “head,” breaks out.

Google book search turns up a host of earlier instances of Capo-mafia, as in Southern Italy and Sicily and the Rulers of the South by F. Marion Crawford, 1907, p. 376 (first published in 1900).

If, on the other hand, the inquiry shows that the man has once failed in his duties as a Mafioso, the Capo-mafia refuses all help, not a witness will dare to appear in his favour, and he is dealt with by the law without opposition.

Presumably this was the favoured Italian term which eventually became shortened to capo in English?

down and dirty, adv., int., and adj. The adjective meaning “devious, unscrupulous” appears by 1959, but the poker term, used in stud games to refer to the final face-down card, is recorded in Wentworth and Flexner’s 1960 slang dictionary. So it seems likely that down and dirty had earlier currency in poker circles and that may be its origin.

Diegogarcity or what? I’d just read the 1959 words and posted the above then went back to watching The Man With the Golden Arm, 1955, starring Frank Sinatra. He plays an addict who turns a buck by dealing cards at the poker games. When I went back to the movie Sinatra, after being sprung from jail, is seen at a game and what are the first words from his mouth as he starts dealing the cards? “Here we go, down and dirty.” A few minutes later another guy takes over from Sinatra and uses exactly the same words as he deals. They weren’t using it in the way Dave describes, ie the final face-down card, but I got the impression the scriptwriters were just throwing poker phrases in for verisimilitude, not worrying too much whether they had the sense right. (Sinatra also; says things like, “It don’t mean a thing if you ain’t got the king” and “you bet four you get poor”, again with no seeming relevance to the state of play.) I tried to find a copy of the script online but no luck. The scene occurs 25 minutes into the movie.

[ Edited: 12 March 2012 07:38 AM by aldiboronti ]
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Posted: 12 March 2012 09:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Miles Davis records Some Kind of Blue

Just Kind of Blue, surely

binge eating, n. Psychiatrists coined this unjargonish bit of jargon in this year.

I looked at the etymology of “binge”, originally a Lincolnshire/East Midland dialect word meaning “to soak (a wooden vessel)”, here. Strangely, although “to binge” meant “to drink a lot” by the 1850s, “binge eating” as an expression turns up a decade before “binge drinking”: The Times (of London) seems to have the first use of the expression “binge drinker”, in 1969, in an article about alcoholics.

Polari is a slang cant once used among British gay men.

Not just gays - actors, circus and fairground showmen, criminals and prostitutes, according to Wikipedia.

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Posted: 12 March 2012 09:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Zythophile - 12 March 2012 09:28 AM

Strangely, although “to binge” meant “to drink a lot” by the 1850s, “binge eating” as an expression turns up a decade before “binge drinking”: The Times (of London) seems to have the first use of the expression “binge drinker”, in 1969, in an article about alcoholics.

Not so strange.  Until bingeing took on another meaning from the drinking to excess meaning there would be no reason to specify drinking in the use of the term.  I don’t know if ten years is an excessive time for the binge-eating usage to get from jargon to common use.

Edit:  Fixed tag.

[ Edited: 13 March 2012 04:21 AM by Faldage ]
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Posted: 12 March 2012 01:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Faldage - 12 March 2012 09:55 AM

Zythophile - 12 March 2012 09:28 AM
Strangely, although “to binge” meant “to drink a lot” by the 1850s, “binge eating” as an expression turns up a decade before “binge drinking”: The Times (of London) seems to have the first use of the expression “binge drinker”, in 1969, in an article about alcoholics.

Not so strange.  Until bingeing took on another meaning from the drinking to excess meaning there would be no reason to specify drinking in the use of the term.  I don’t know if ten years is an excessive time for the binge-eating usage to get from jargon to common use.

“Binge drinking” as retronym - you’re right, of course.

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Posted: 13 March 2012 05:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Re: Polari. Paul Baker’s Polari—The Lost Language of Gay Men defines Polari on page 1: “a secret language mainly used by gay men and lesbians, in London and other UK cities with an established gay subculture, in the first 70 or so years of the twentieth century.” He goes to say that non-gays, especially in the theater, also used Polari, but those who did had strong social connections to the gay subculture. Baker is a linguist with a research focus on Polari, and I’ll take his definition over Wikipedia’s any day.

Regarding capo, it can indeed be antedated to the nineteenth century, although all the early citations I’ve seen are in a Sicilian context. But the search has convinced me that something is seriously wrong with Google Book’s date-delimited search algorithm. The search for capo turned up, in the top ten hits, magazine articles that were clearly from the last decade. The metadata on this articles were correct; Google had them dated and labeled correctly, but it included them nonetheless. In conclusion, I have absolutely no confidence in any dates that Google Books returns. If you are doing any analysis that involves dates of usage, Google Books is worthless. It’s still useful for individual hits when the “full view” option is selected, but even then the number of false hits is so high, that finding the gold amid all the dross is problematic.

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Posted: 13 March 2012 05:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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In the last few years the British Government has introduced a new definition of binge drinking: “drinking more than double the daily recommended units of alcohol in one session” - in other words, simply heavy drinking. This is quite out of line with all previous uses of binge, which contained a sense of ‘occasionalness’, of splurging. For people who normally never drink at all, a small glass of sherry can be a binge; but four or five pints of beer is not, if that’s what you routinely drink.

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Posted: 13 March 2012 07:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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The metadata on this articles were correct; Google had them dated and labeled correctly, but it included them nonetheless. In conclusion, I have absolutely no confidence in any dates that Google Books returns.

I don’t know what’s going on with Google Books; I’m getting lots of “hits” that don’t even include the term I’m looking for.  I hope they fix whatever they screwed up.

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Posted: 13 March 2012 07:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Dave Wilton - 13 March 2012 05:16 AM

Re: Polari. Paul Baker’s Polari—The Lost Language of Gay Men defines Polari on page 1: “a secret language mainly used by gay men and lesbians, in London and other UK cities with an established gay subculture, in the first 70 or so years of the twentieth century.” He goes to say that non-gays, especially in the theater, also used Polari, but those who did had strong social connections to the gay subculture. Baker is a linguist with a research focus on Polari, and I’ll take his definition over Wikipedia’s any day.

Mmmm, well, Polari was certainly heavily intertwined with gay subculture in the 20th century, but gay subculture (in the UK, especially in London) was heavily intertwined with the theatrical world, and the OED definition of Polari puts the theatre, historically, before the gay world as the place where Polari was found - to quote, “A form of slang incorporating Italianate words, rhyming slang, cant terms, and other elements of vocabulary, which originated in England in the 18th and 19th centuries as a kind of secret language within various groups, including sailors, vagrants, circus people, entertainers, etc. ... In the mid 20th cent. a form of the language was taken up by some homosexuals, esp. in London.” (2006 version)

Did theatrical people, who mixed with/were gays, use Polari because gay people used it, or did gay people, who mixed with/were theatrical people, use Polari because the theatrical world used it? Certainly it seems to me, from what very little I know, to be pushing it too hard to claim Polari as primarily a language of the gay sub-culture in its origins, whatever it became later. Still, any excuse to listen to yer actual Polari as voiced by the wonderful Julian and Sandy.

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Posted: 13 March 2012 09:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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I’m getting lots of “hits” that don’t even include the term I’m looking for.

My WAG would be that they’re using “semantic indexing” like they do for web pages these days. The search term is nothing more than a guide to what you want and synonyms will return hits. And when I say “synonyms” what I mean is words that Google’s algorithms consider relevant to the search term.

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Posted: 13 March 2012 12:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Well, as an example, the first result for a Google Books search on “languagehat” is The Posthumous Memoirs of Bras Cubas.  As you might expect, “languagehat” does not occur in it, and I have not the faintest idea what connection Google thinks there might be.

(The “search” link isn’t working; you’ll have to do the search yourself, I guess.)

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Posted: 13 March 2012 01:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Well it does have the word language ... and the word hat ...

but yes.

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Posted: 14 March 2012 12:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Entertaining and edifying as usual!

Jaguar

Jaguars have been around since about 1938, so “Jag” should be easy to antedate in the motoring magazines. I remember reading that on its first appearance, the car cost UKP 400. Doesn’t sound like much, until you remember that an unskilled worker in Britain in 1938 would have been lucky to earn more than 2 pounds a week.

high-street

I was surprised to see the hyphen - it strikes a jarring note. Even if I were using the term figuratively, I might write it in inverted commas, but certainly not with a hyphen.

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Posted: 14 March 2012 04:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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I was surprised to see the hyphen - it strikes a jarring note. Even if I were using the term figuratively, I might write it in inverted commas, but certainly not with a hyphen.

Note that this is specifically the adjectival use, as in “a high-street shop.”

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Posted: 14 March 2012 05:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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languagehat - 14 March 2012 04:51 AM

I was surprised to see the hyphen - it strikes a jarring note. Even if I were using the term figuratively, I might write it in inverted commas, but certainly not with a hyphen.

Note that this is specifically the adjectival use, as in “a high-street shop.”

The first four cites (out of six) in the OED for “high-street” as an adjective all use “High Street”, no hyphen (and, indeed, initial caps). Seems the OED may be prescriptively deciding that its own rules on the forms adjectival usages should take must trump the actual majority usage by writers ...

Strangely, until the 1950s, UK newspaper style for “High Street” as a noun, took the form “High-street”, as it did for other streets and roads: “A girl was killed and two men were injured in a collision at Ealing yesterday between two motor-cars at the junction of Uxbridge-road and Gunnersbury-avenue.” (The Times, March 3 1930, p16 - the “girl”, incidentally, was 23 ...) I have also seen the hyphen used in street names in old cast-iron street signs.

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