HD: The Value of Translators
Posted: 05 September 2013 02:32 AM   [ Ignore ]
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It’s not a palindrome. I don’t know what you would call this.

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Posted: 05 September 2013 03:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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How about a metapalindrome?

Is miniscule on its way to becoming correct?  I never did buy the logic behind the “think ‘minus’, not ‘mini’” argument.

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Posted: 05 September 2013 05:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Dave Wilton - 05 September 2013 02:32 AM

It’s not a palindrome. I don’t know what you would call this.

How about calling it an example of ‘emordnilap’*, that class of metapalindrome revealing different sense in opposite directions.

A one-word example is Dog/God.

From: http://www.jamesrobertwatson.com/palindromes.html palindromecartoon.jpg

EDIT:
*Martin Gardner may have coined the word ‘Semordnilap’ according to wikipedia

[ Edited: 05 September 2013 05:40 AM by sobiest ]
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Posted: 05 September 2013 07:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Is miniscule on its way to becoming correct? 

I hope not; at any rate, it certainly bothered me to see it here.

I never did buy the logic behind the “think ‘minus’, not ‘mini’” argument.

Why not?  Minusculus (the origine of minuscule) is in fact the diminutive of minus.  It has nothing to do with “logic” (and in fact, hardly anything linguistic has much to do with logic).

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Posted: 05 September 2013 07:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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And, with all due acknowledgement that etymology is even less determinative of meaning and usage than logic is, it’s interesting to note that miniature and the derived mini (as a prefix or stand-alone word) do not ultimately derive from minimum or minor or any Latin word relating to smallness, but from minium, a term for red minerals such as cinnabar (vermilion) and red lead oxide.

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Posted: 05 September 2013 10:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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do not ultimately derive from minimum or minor or any Latin word relating to smallness, but from minium, a term for red minerals such as cinnabar (vermilion) and red lead oxide.

True, but it was their use in producing small pictures (miniatura) that gives us a logical bridge from minerals to smallness.

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Posted: 05 September 2013 01:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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And, with all due acknowledgement that etymology is even less determinative of meaning and usage than logic is, it’s interesting to note that miniature and the derived mini (as a prefix or stand-alone word) do not ultimately derive from minimum or minor or any Latin word relating to smallness, but from minium, a term for red minerals such as cinnabar (vermilion) and red lead oxide.

Thank you, Dr. Techie, for that little gem of trivia.  I’d no idea.

Re miniscule:  the spelling may be debatable (the AHD on-line offers miniscule as an alternative spelling), but the sentiment (in one direction, at least) went straight to my heart. In my country, there are millions of people who know inadequate English and require translations, and what must be millions more, who know inadequate English and provide translations for a fee. The result is that bad and good translations into English (and into Hebrew from English) are equally wretchedly paid. My neighbours are no longer surprised at seeing me rummaging in their garbage cans.

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Posted: 05 September 2013 01:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Regarding the palindrome-like item that started this, there is something similar in Hofstadter’s Goedel, Escher, Bach.  In one conversation between Achilles and the Tortoise, the second half repeats, in reverse order, all the sentences that made up the first half.

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Posted: 05 September 2013 02:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Dr. Techie - 05 September 2013 01:55 PM

Regarding the palindrome-like item that started this, there is something similar in Hofstadter’s Goedel, Escher, Bach.  In one conversation between Achilles and the Tortoise, the second half repeats, in reverse order, all the sentences that made up the first half.

I was a big fan of Hofstadter’s. See “J.S. Bach - Crab Canon on a Möbius Strip” for a musical analogue here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xUHQ2ybTejU

[ Edited: 05 September 2013 02:54 PM by sobiest ]
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Posted: 05 September 2013 07:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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languagehat - 05 September 2013 07:28 AM


I never did buy the logic behind the “think ‘minus’, not ‘mini’” argument.

Why not?  Minusculus (the origine of minuscule) is in fact the diminutive of minus.  It has nothing to do with “logic” (and in fact, hardly anything linguistic has much to do with logic).

My point was that as a mnemonic “minus” is pretty poor.  I understand the etymology of minuscule but I don’t care much for trying to think of a relation to minus rather than mini to remember how to spell it.

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Posted: 06 September 2013 04:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Try minute (adj.).

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Posted: 06 September 2013 06:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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My point was that as a mnemonic “minus” is pretty poor.  I understand the etymology of minuscule but I don’t care much for trying to think of a relation to minus rather than mini to remember how to spell it.

Well, to each his own, but I find it a fine mnemonic and don’t really understand why “mini” works better for you (especially since it’s misleading in terms of the spelling).

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Posted: 06 September 2013 03:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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languagehat - 06 September 2013 06:17 AM

My point was that as a mnemonic “minus” is pretty poor.  I understand the etymology of minuscule but I don’t care much for trying to think of a relation to minus rather than mini to remember how to spell it.

Well, to each his own, but I find it a fine mnemonic and don’t really understand why “mini” works better for you (especially since it’s misleading in terms of the spelling).

That’s the point.  The, to me, sensible mnemonic leads one astray in the spelling.  FWIW, the “minus” mnemonic came from the (in)famous Robert Hartwell Fiske.  The “minute” one works.

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