2 of 2
2
Uncleftish Beholding by Poul Anderson
Posted: 22 May 2014 02:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4611
Joined  2007-01-03

I don’t buy that argument. For another, Anglo-Saxon isn’t a “pure” language. It’s heavily influenced by Old Norse. For another, for centuries after the Conquest English remained fairly impervious to borrowing, except from French. It isn’t until the 16th and 17th centuries that you start seeing borrowing from Latin or Greek in large numbers. And other languages pretty much follow the expansion of the empire. It’s the Anglo-American empire that has made English receptive to borrowing. Another factor might be the early-modern understanding that English was a minor, regional language spoken in a small, backwater nation occupying the extreme northwest of Europe, and that the nation had to look outside its borders for knowledge and culture.

I’m in the midst of collating all the OED data on origins, sorted by century, into a spreadsheet. I’ve just completed all the data entry, but it will be some days before I get to really looking at the data. For one thing, I’ve got to figure out a way to smooth out some of the more obvious biases in the OED citations (e.g., lots from c.1600 and the 19th century, damn few from the 18th or 20th centuries).

Profile
 
 
Posted: 22 May 2014 03:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2995
Joined  2007-02-26
languagehat - 22 May 2014 08:11 AM

For heaven’s sake, it’s perfectly obvious he’s trying to write using only native forms; it seems oddly picky to speculate on the precise degree of borrowing that might have happened under various alternative circumstances, just because he put it in terms of the Norman Conquest.

Ease up, it’s just a bit of fun…

Profile
 
 
Posted: 22 May 2014 03:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3421
Joined  2007-01-29

I thought that’s what I was saying!

Profile
 
 
Posted: 22 May 2014 07:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  345
Joined  2012-01-10

There’s two types of fun to be had here (at least): the fun of re-engineering technical terms with Germanic-Englishy roots (whether that’s what non-Norman-Conquered English would actually be like or not) and the fun of wondering, “Well, what WOULD English be like without the Norman Conquest?” One form of fun need not diminish the other.  For myself, I am sadly under-equipped to play either game with any skill, but am pulled more towards the “what if” side of things (with no intention of picking on Anderson in doing so) and readily appreciate the fun of binding uncleft Germanic wordstuffs into worldken word-bindings.  (Yes, I had to look up “word” to see if it was German enough for this particular game, and it appears to me that it is).

[Edit: should have looked up “German” though...]

[ Edited: 22 May 2014 07:47 PM by Svinyard118 ]
Profile
 
 
Posted: 22 May 2014 08:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2995
Joined  2007-02-26

There’s so much fun to be had

Profile
 
 
Posted: 23 May 2014 05:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3421
Joined  2007-01-29

One form of fun need not diminish the other.

True!

(with no intention of picking on Anderson in doing so)

Well, there’s the rub.  I had the impression that the comments about how borrowings would have taken place anyway were picking on Anderson (what a dummy! didn’t he realize?).  If I misunderstood and people were simply taking the idea and running in a different direction, I withdraw my accusation of pickiness.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 23 May 2014 06:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2995
Joined  2007-02-26
languagehat - 23 May 2014 05:55 AM

One form of fun need not diminish the other.

True!

(with no intention of picking on Anderson in doing so)

Well, there’s the rub.  I had the impression that the comments about how borrowings would have taken place anyway were picking on Anderson (what a dummy! didn’t he realize?).  If I misunderstood and people were simply taking the idea and running in a different direction, I withdraw my accusation of pickiness.

Well I don’t think anyone was saying Anderson was a dummy or even that he didn’t know everything we are saying. He had fun writing it, we had fun playfully nitpicking it, you had fun bailing us up on it, I’m having fun typing this ...

Profile
 
 
Posted: 23 May 2014 11:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2785
Joined  2007-01-31

There’s also the fun of recognizing (or, depending on how much you knew beforehand, discovering the reasons behind) Anderson’s brilliant calques, like “bernstonebits”.

Profile
 
 
   
2 of 2
2
 
‹‹ Vagina      Slate article on bogus quotations ››