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Rasher
Posted: 15 February 2013 04:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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donkeyhotay - 15 February 2013 07:58 AM

Well, you know, a “rash” of something means “a lot”, so maybe, to us left-pondians a “rasher” of bacon just feels like it should be A LOT of bacon.

I’ve always felt that way.  It just seems like that’s what it should mean.  This is, of course, not a good way to understand the meaning of some words.  [I]Chuffed[/I] just “seems” like it should mean ‘mildly irritated’.

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Posted: 16 February 2013 02:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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New to me, too. Thanks, Syntinen Laulu! You are an amazing fount of delicious droplets of exotic information.

and I note that my available American on-line dictionaries (AHD, M-W, Etymonline) do not give “a root of ginger” as one of the definitions of “Race”, but the Compact Oxford English Dictionary does (with the qualification: “dated")

The OED doesn’t say ‘dated’ but I’m prepared to believe it. I got it from my mother, born 1921 in Essex into an old Quaker family - ‘old’ in that they had been part of an established Quaker community since the 17th century but also in that they had a persistent tendency to marry late, so that the generations tended to be unusually long. Their speech was full of slight oddments. (Also, her mother came from the Somerset branch of the family, and brought some West Country words with her, such as whortleberries for bilberries.) My mother used to call orange segments ‘pigs’, which is in the OED - but I’ve never heard anyone else use the term, and learned early not to use it outside the family, as I found it just puzzled people.

Chuffed just “seems” like it should mean ‘mildly irritated’.

And guess what - it does! Here’s the OED entry on chuffed:

slang (orig. Mil.).

a. Pleased, satisfied.
1957 P. Wildeblood Main Chance ix. 163 Aren’t you pleased? There’s not many kids of your age what owns a factory. You ought to be dead chuffed about it.
1960 A. Waugh Foxglove Saga xii. 218 He was chuffed at this new monumental skive he had discovered.
1961 S. Price Just for Record iv. 29 My beard is black, all-black. That makes me pretty chuffed.
1967 Crescendo May 6 (advt.) I cannot express too much just how ‘chuffed’ I am with the drums.

b. Displeased, disgruntled.
1960 D. Storey This Sporting Lifei. ii. 59, I felt pretty chuffed with myself.
1964 C. Dale Other People viii. 158 Don’t let on they’re after you, see, or she’ll be dead chuffed, see? She don’ like the law.

How the word came into use to mean two opposite things, more or less simultaneously, is a complete mystery as far as I know.

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Posted: 16 February 2013 03:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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How the word came into use to mean two opposite things, more or less simultaneously, is a complete mystery as far as I know.

The people using the words probably didn’t really know what they originally meant. It happens all the time, especially among people who write for the mass media. I suspect that’s one of the main reasons for a whole lot of changes of meaning of words nowadays. Standards of literacy have declined. The standard of wordorigins.org and its participants is way out of sight of that of the average English speaker; that’s one of the reasons that it’s such a pleasure to take part.

(end of rant; takes deep swig.)

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Posted: 16 February 2013 04:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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I suspect that’s one of the main reasons for a whole lot of changes of meaning of words nowadays. Standards of literacy have declined.

Sigh. Language has not “declined.” It has merely changed. Complaints about the decline of English probably go back to Cerdic’s disgust with Cynric’s use of the language.

I do here in the Name of all the Learned and Polite Persons of the Nation, complain to your Lordship, as First Minister, that our Language is extremely imperfect; that its daily Improvements are by no means in proportion to its daily Corruptions; and the Pretenders to polish and refine it, have chiefly multiplied Abuses and Absurdities; and, that in many Instances, it offends against every Part of Grammar. (Jonathan Swift, “A Proposal for Correcting, Improving and Ascertaining the English Tongue,” 1712)

As for the dual meaning of chuffed, that’s pretty easy to see. The two meanings arose about the same time, so close that it’s impossible to definitively state which came first. Because they’re not fixed in writing or firmly established in the vocabulary of a particular group, new slang words have a tendency to radically shift in meaning. Someone hears the word chuffed, is unfamiliar with it, but can interpret it based on context, and gets it “wrong.” They start using it in the “wrong” sense, and others hear it, who may have heard the word elsewhere but also not completely understood it, begin to also use it in the “wrong” way. So you end up with two very different senses. Long-established words, whether slang or standard, are less apt to radically shift in meaning, although they still can.

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Posted: 16 February 2013 04:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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Dave: be fair. I did not say that language has declined, nor do I think so (and I think the “sigh” was uncalled for). I said that standards of literacy have declined, which (to me, at least) means something completely different. And as for the reasons for a word being used with two opposing meanings, you gave essentially the same reasons that I did.

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Posted: 16 February 2013 05:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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Knowledge of the meaning of chuffed has nothing to do with “standards of literacy.” It’s a slang term, primarily oral. Slang has nothing, and has never had anything, to do with literacy.

What evidence do you have for and what standard are you using to measure this so-called decline in “standards of literacy”? It sounds exactly the same as the age-old claim that the English language is going to hell.

Do we see more sloppy usage nowadays? Perhaps. But that’s not necessarily because more people are writing badly. I would suggest that actually the standards are rising, but we don’t notice it because:
1) Thanks to the internet, almost everyone can get “published” today. It’s not that we have a higher percentage of marginal writers, we just see the marginal writing more than we used to.
2) The internet and mass media expose us to slang, regional dialects, and jargon that in past ages we never would have heard. There are more opportunities to misuse these non-standard locutions.
3) Professional media have gutted the copy desks. Copy editors are a vanishing breed. Reporters make as many and the same errors as they always did, but those errors are now making their way into print.
4) The time from setting pen to paper to publication has been greatly reduced. The news cycle is now measured in minutes. That leaves little time for editing and getting the language right.
5) Since secondary schools stopped teaching Latin, we’ve lost the canon of works that make up “what every educated person should know.” In its place is now a bewildering array of cultural memes ranging from the Simpsons and Battlestar Galactica to Shakespeare and Aristotle to Toni Morrison and David Foster Wallace. The idea that any one person can read or write widely and have a hope of understanding every reference is laughable.

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Posted: 16 February 2013 07:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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Objectively measured literacy levels have improved slightly in the USA over the past 30 years.
http://www.heinemann.com/shared/onlineresources/e00063/7myths.html
futureofchildren.org/futureofchildren/publications/docs/22_02_02.pdf

and significantly, over longer time lines.
http://nces.ed.gov/naal/lit_history.asp

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Posted: 16 February 2013 08:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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I took the “standards of literacy” to mean something different than scores on reading tests, although exactly what is open to interpretation.

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Posted: 16 February 2013 10:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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I suppose everyone has their own notion of what is meant by “standards of literacy”.  When I use the word “literacy” I refer only to the written word. “Literacy” as far as I’m concerned has nothing at all to do with spoken language. It has to do with the written word --- with letters. For me, the term means (among other things) not using a word in print unless you’ve got a good idea of what it means to other people who use it. And this includes slang words, too. A professional translator (I happen to be one) has to take a whole set of written words, phrases, sentences, and ideas in one language, and produce as close a version as possible, in another. Choice of words becomes terribly important, and so does their meaning. I can’t help feeling sickened when a journalist uses the word “mitigate” when what he should be saying is “militate”. My gut reaction is “the phony pretentious asshole doesn’t know the meaning of either word. Why can’t he leave them both alone when he writes?”.  “Literate” to me also implies having read a great deal, written by people who in their turn have read a great deal. It means having as large as possible a vocabulary, of words which you’re not only familiar with, but are able to define. And it means using them (above all, in print) carefully and judiciously. I think this applies equally, if not more so, to slang—particularly with regard to people who are writing, for those are the people whose words get cited by dictionaries.

I lived in England after WW2 and many, many times heard the word “chuffed” used in speech, usually by war veterans, and always in the sense of “pleased, delighted” --- never anything else. Those veterans never made it into the OED - but the printed words of D. Storey and C. Dale did, and will henceforth help to define the meaning of “chuffed” for generations of readers. I’ve no way of knowing who D. Storey and C. Dale are/were, or how well informed they were as to the meaning, or meanings, of “chuffed” (I have my own doubts regarding this, and have already stated them).

Reliance on printed sources is a sine qua non for a dictionary like the OED. But it has its concomitant weaknesses, which we should always remain aware of.

The two sites listed by OP Tipping haven’t a lot to do with what I’ve said. The first is about reading ability (which isn’t “literacy” in my book), and the second is about the number of people who’ve been to school, and about the percentage of people who are able to read and write, not about how they use that ability.

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Posted: 16 February 2013 11:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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I agree that, by that definition, the standards of professionally produced written work have declined in recent years, but, as I stated, it’s not because people are becoming more inept as writers, but rather in a drive for increased profits, professional publishing outlets have slashed their editorial staffs. Odds are just as many reporters were making the mitigate/militate error fifty years ago, it’s just now there are no copy editors left to correct them before the error sees print.

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Posted: 16 February 2013 05:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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What Dave said.  Also, one’s instinctive dislike of an unfamiliar usage does not equate to the sky falling, or even declining standards.

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Posted: 16 February 2013 09:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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Ah well, print media surely only has a few years left…

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Posted: 18 February 2013 03:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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OP Tipping - 16 February 2013 09:00 PM

Ah well, print media surely only has a few years left…

Oh, I don’t know. All the invoices I send out by email are produced by clicking on the ‘print’ button…

Paper? Ha, that’s another thing. That will obviously be replaced by hennep in the medium term.

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Posted: 19 February 2013 11:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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They use rasher in Ireland too. I’m guessing the following from At_Swim-Two-Birds by Flann O’Brien refers to bacon:

It is a great pity, observed my uncle, that you don’t apply yourself more to your studies. The dear knows your father worked hard enough for the money he is laying out on your education. Tell me this, do you ever open a book at all?

I surveyed my uncle in a sullen manner. He speared a portion of cooked rasher against a crust on the prongs of his fork and poised the whole at the opening of his mouth in a token of continued interrogation.

Description of my uncle: Red-faced, bead-eyed, ball-bellied. Fleshy about the shoulders with long swinging arms giving ape-like effect to gait. Large moustache. Holder of Guinness clerkship the third class.

I do, I replied.

He put the point of his fork into the interior of his mouth and withdrew it again, chewing in a coarse manner.

Quality of rasher in use in household: Inferior, one and two the pound.

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Posted: 20 February 2013 02:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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venomousbede - 19 February 2013 11:23 AM

... Quality of rasher in use in household: Inferior, one and two the pound.

Now there’s a reference that will be opaque to anyone much under 50 - O’Brien is, of course, referring to the price of the bacon, one shilling and two pence to the pound weight. Decimalisation of the currency in the British Isles in 1971 wrecked one of James Joyce’s finest puns in Finnegans Wake, that Ireland at independence had been “sould” for “a price partitional of twenty six and six”.

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