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BL: chauvinism
Posted: 26 January 2015 12:08 PM   [ Ignore ]
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I never realized that Nicholas Chauvin was fictional.

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Posted: 26 January 2015 02:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Most interesting, Dave, I’d always been under the impression that he was a real person, although I may well have muddled him up with Jean Martinet, the soldier who became the type, fairly or unfairly, of the rigid disciplinarian, and who apparently did exist.

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Posted: 26 January 2015 11:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Dave Wilton - 26 January 2015 12:08 PM

I never realized that Nicholas Chauvin was fictional.

This seems to be more of a speculation than a verifiable fact?

Regarding the surname chauvin, I found this to be an interesting etymological link:

Daily Kos

SAT APR 13, 2013 AT 08:18 AM PDT

Origins of English: Chauvinism

In terms of etymology, there’s also another thread for us: the meaning of the surname Chauvin. This name seems to come from “chauve” meaning “bald” and originates from the Latin “calvus.” The Northern French version of this name is “Calvin,” the surname of Jean Calvin who founded Calvinism. Thus, “chauvinism” and “Calvinism” are linguistically intertwined.

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Posted: 27 January 2015 02:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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This seems to be more of a speculation than a verifiable fact?

There is no evidence that he actually existed. No writings of his own, no military records of his service, etc. Since you can’t prove a negative, it is speculation to say that he existed rather than the opposite.

Daily Kos

SAT APR 13, 2013 AT 08:18 AM PDT

Origins of English: Chauvinism

In terms of etymology, there’s also another thread for us: the meaning of the surname Chauvin. This name seems to come from “chauve” meaning “bald” and originates from the Latin “calvus.” The Northern French version of this name is “Calvin,” the surname of Jean Calvin who founded Calvinism. Thus, “chauvinism” and “Calvinism” are linguistically intertwined.

An interesting factoid, but not really indicative of anything real. The names are coincidental. Note that The Daily Kos is a political website and they’re using the coincidence to make a partisan point. While there may be an etymological link, there is no ideological link between chauvinism and Calvinism.

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Posted: 27 January 2015 07:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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There is this story from the New Yorker of 13 April 1940

You should really credit the author, Joseph Mitchell, one of the best writers ever to grace the magazine.

An interesting factoid, but not really indicative of anything real. The names are coincidental.

Well, that’s a bit supercilious, isn’t it?  As I wrote when we discussed the same topic back in 2004, “It’s always amused me that the names Chauvin and Calvin are etymological doublets.” I’ve pointed that out to people a number of times over the years, and they’ve at least pretended to be interested and amused.

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Posted: 27 January 2015 07:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Another usage, somewhat differentiated in sense from those Dave discusses, crops up in the astrobiology community to describe (what the user regards as) unwarranted assumptions about the possible occurrence and nature of extraterrestrial life: G-star chauvinism, temperature chauvinism, oxygen chauvinism, even planetary chauvinism.

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Posted: 27 January 2015 10:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Well, that’s a bit supercilious, isn’t it? 

I said it was interesting, and my use of factoid is a reference to this thread (perhaps too subtle, perhaps I should have linked it, but I thought it recent enough that a link wasn’t necessary). But it’s just a curious coincidence. Unlike other doublets, there isn’t a substantive connection.

[ Edited: 27 January 2015 11:01 AM by Dave Wilton ]
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Posted: 28 January 2015 06:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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My first encounter with the word was in a Shelly Berman routine in which he said that he was accompanying his own singing on a “Jews’ Harp” which “was a bit of a chauvinistic choice, I know.” That was a bit before (1964 or so) the word was taken over by it’s “male” modifier.

As for interesting “factoids,” Calvus means bald-headed, as we’ve discussed, Latin calvāria means skull and, calva the scalp (according to the OED). Calvāria, in its turn, is used to translate the Aramaic/Greek gogulþō or gogolþā and Greek γολγοθά. Thus golgotha becomes the mount of Calvary in the AV derived, I suppose, ultimately (via other extent translations) from the Vulgate.

I don’t suppose that Calvin can be connected to Calvary in any way, but it is intriguing to me, a Calvinist, knowing his theology as I do.

By the way Calvin did NOT “Found” Calvinism. That may be, as Dave points out, a polemic on the part of Daily Kos. Later theologians called themselves that, but hardly at Jean Chauvin’s instigation.

[ Edited: 28 January 2015 07:07 PM by Oecolampadius ]
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Posted: 29 January 2015 03:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Thus golgotha becomes the mount of Calvary in the AV derived, I suppose, ultimately (via other extent translations) from the Vulgate.

The Vulgate has:

Mark 15:22: “in Golgotha locum quod est interpretatum Calvariae locus” (to the place Golgotha, which is translated as ‘the place of the skull’)

Matthew 27:33: “in locum qui dicitur Golgotha quod est Calvariae locus” (to the place which is called Golgotha, that is ‘the place of the skull’)

Luke 23:33: “in locum qui vocatur Calvariae” (to the place which is called ‘of the skull’)

In each instance it’s clearly presented as a translation of the Greek toponym into Latin.

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Posted: 29 January 2015 01:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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FWIW, in both Biblical and modern Hebrew, gulgolet means “skull” (Judges 9:53). I don’t know when the Book of Judges was written, but it may have been a bit early for gulgolet to have been a Greek loan-word; the reverse might be true. The word galgal is sometimes used in the OT to mean “a wheel” (Isaiah 5:28, a reference to chariot wheels), though ofan is also used in a similar context in other places. The gal root in Hebrew is associated with concepts such as roundness and rolling, not with baldness.

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Posted: 29 January 2015 02:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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lionello - 29 January 2015 01:39 PM

FWIW, in both Biblical and modern Hebrew, gulgolet means “skull” (Judges 9:53). I don’t know when the Book of Judges was written, but it may have been a bit early for gulgolet to have been a Greek loan-word; the reverse might be true. The word galgal is sometimes used in the OT to mean “a wheel” (Isaiah 5:28, a reference to chariot wheels), though ofan is also used in a similar context in other places. The gal root in Hebrew is associated with concepts such as roundness and rolling, not with baldness.

best scholarly guess is that Judges (as with much of the first 6 books of the Bible if not much more) was written in the 5th century BCE, during the Babylonian exile and therefore before Alexander. Good catch Lionello.

Love the quote (AV):

53And a certain woman cast a piece of a millstone upon Abimelech’s head, and all to brake his skull. 54 Then he called hastily unto the young man his armourbearer, and said unto him, Draw thy sword, and slay me, that men say not of me, A woman slew him. And his young man thrust him through, and he died.

Fun stuff!

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Posted: 29 January 2015 08:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Oecolampadius - 28 January 2015 06:46 PM


As for interesting “factoids,” Calvus means bald-headed, as we’ve discussed, Latin calvāria means skull and, calva the scalp (according to the OED). [

According to my ancient copy of the AHD, callow used to mean bald in Middle and Old English, but the Indo-European Roots section doesn’t mention Calvary as a related word. One wonders if they are cognates.

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Posted: 29 January 2015 09:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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OED for what its worth on Callow:

Old English calu (definite calw-e) < West Germanic kalwo-, whence also Middle Low German kale, Middle Dutch cāle (calu, genitive caluwes), Old High German chalo (definite chalwe, chalawe), Middle High German kal (kalwe), German kahl, by Kluge thought to be cognate with Lithuanian gŏlŭ naked, blank; but not improbably an adoption of Latin calvus bald. Compare Irish and Gaelic calbh bald.

The leap to Calvary is intriguing, but not conclusive.

[ Edited: 29 January 2015 09:32 PM by Oecolampadius ]
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Posted: 31 January 2015 05:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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I’ve added callow to the Big List.

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Posted: 31 January 2015 06:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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(I do not have on my head elegantly curled blond locks, but I am very bald; I have no use for eyelids or brows, but the creator deprived me of all; now wondrously there grows on my head tight locks that may shine on my shoulders most marvelously.)

The answer to the riddle is ‘creation.’

Creation?!  I know this is off-topic, but how does that work?  What does any of that have to do with creation?

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Posted: 31 January 2015 09:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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perhaps a reference to creation in the sense of “in an instant, something is, where nothing was before” --- the way the days of creation are described in the Book of Genesis, as an Act of God, not subject to the usual rules of cause and effect? But I agree with Languagehat. This is really obscure.  Perhaps Englishmen a thousand years ago were taught differently, in ways which would make the riddle more readily comprehensible.

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