I’ve just blown a perfectly good hour reading those old threads.
We have so many new folks, maybe we should do this again. Or not. The ground rules in those forums seem to have been to reveal as much or as little as we care to.
I’m a Protestant minister in the state of Wisconsin, US. I serve a church out of the German and Swiss Reformation, thus the name Oecolampadius. I have a distant acquaintance with German, biblical Greek and Hebrew.
I am a lawyer in Massachusetts and, as is apparent to anyone who is a regular visitor to this forum, I have no specialty dictionaries and no particular expertise with etymology. However, I enjoy basking in my little brother’s shadow.
I am a Buddhist (Kagyu/Nyingma) for the past 25 some years, and have watched as a few Buddhist words have come into English (often with different or distorted meanings)—dharma (dhama), karma, mandala, mantra, yoga, guru, lama, Zen or zen. There are also a large number of words that are familiar but still consigned to academia or American Buddhist argot at this point—shamatha, shine, Hinayana, Theravadin, Mahayana, Vajrayana, Dzogchen, tonglen, yidam, paramita, shunyata, trekcho, togal, prajna, jnana, ngondro, samadhi, vipashyana (vipassana), vajra, ghanta, kapala, mala, umdze, chopon, bodhicitta, dakini, heruka among others.
I’m a self employed graphic designer/typesetter from Devon in England. As well as the true origins of words I’m also interested in history and politics and long arguments about them in pubs. I grow some of my own food, recycle and buy fairtrade when possible because those things are important to me. I go to football regularly and enjoy noisy crowded football pubs and beer and the songs football fans make up round the ground. Flynn is a nym I’ve used for 20 odd years for writing and (lately) blogging. I’m female, vegetarian and atheist.
I’m a former. Former teacher,Peace Corps Volunteer, motorcycle mechanic, motorcycle shop owner, parts guy, service manager, truck driver, trucking company safety man, and a few other things I can’t remember. Presently I am a night dispatcher with a small trucking company. This gives me plenty of time for my hobbies of vintage wrench collecting, photography, and amateur entymology.
I have no special expertise in word origins, just have always been interested.
I’m a fairly recent arrival here. I was nearly an architect, but got seduced by computers and now run a small computer graphics company in Edinburgh. (We do maps, visualisations and photomontages in connection with environmental impact analysis.) I like to bill myself as an artist and computer programmer when I’m feeling awkward.
‘Dr’ indicates that I do actually have a PhD (it’s in computer-aided visual impact analysis, which is an absolute, guaranteed, copper-bottomed conversation stopper). ‘Fortran’ celebrates the fact that I write our in-house graphics software mostly in that venerable language.
My only formal qualification in anything to do with words is an ‘O’ level in English Language in 1973, but I’m an avid reader with a fascination for words and their history.
Given the strong religious undercurrent in this thread, I should declare that I’m an elder in my local Church of Scotland parish. Religious schism is practically a national sport in Scotland (it really should be in the Olympics) but I shall curb my hereditary contentiousness in this august forum. :-)
Thanks for starting this, Jim—high time we did it again! (And thanks for linking to the earlier threads, though it was a pleasure not unmixed with sadness, since it reminded me of former posters I miss, like Syntinen Laulu.)
My name is Steve Dodson, I’m a freelance copyeditor who was a linguistics grad student in a former existence, giving me a fairly unusual perspective on language, mixing prescriptivism and descriptivism in a way guaranteed to annoy almost everyone from time to time. I still live in Massachusetts with wife and cats. (And having been confirmed in the Lutheran Church, I join Richard in condemning those who have fallen into quasi-Calvinist heresies, though having been a stone atheist for forty years or so I can, alas, no longer promise them a future in the eternal flames.)
I’m Dave Wilton, your gracious host. By day, I’m a marketing writer and editor for a large Silicon Valley chip maker, NVIDIA to be specific (and no, I can’t get anyone deals on a graphics card--we don’t even get an employee discount). In past lives, I’ve worked as a US Army chemical officer (nukes, bugs, and gas) and did arms control work for the Pentagon. Lately, I’ve been taking some English Lit courses at UC Berkeley and am considering going back to school to get my Ph.D. in the subject.
I was raised on the New Jersey shore and I currently live in Emeryville, California, a small hamlet nestled between Berkeley and Oakland at the east end of the Bay Bridge.
As I was raised Presbyterian I would be expected to side with Oecolampadius and denounce Richard and language hat ("we own no miscreants"--inside joke to my brother Jim), but I’m a stone-cold atheist now and am rather indifferent. Politically, by local Berkeley standards I’m a fascist, jack-booted thug; which means I’m actually somewhat to the left of Barack Obama.
Making a token effort at anonymity is such an ingrained habit by now that I don’t think I can bring myself to break it, but anybody who really wants to know my true name can find it in Dave’s book, Word Myths (and I hope this doesn’t boost sales in the crazed stalker demographic).
Like Dr Fortran’s, the Dr on my pseudonym is genuine; I have a PhD in one of the natural sciences (for reasons I’ve explained before, I decline to say which, but if you buy Dave’s book* and do a little Googling, you can probably figure it out). I teach that and related subjects at a small southern private college.
I don’t know how our religious affiliations bear on etymology, but in the spirit of cooperation I’ll say that I’m the son of a minister in the same denomination as Jim, but churches of that faith are sparse where I now live, so I’m now a member (and deacon) of the local Presbyterian (USA) congregation.
It’s not difficult to find out who I am in real life either: people who Google my real name end up at the Zythophile blog (but why are they Googling me? that’s scary ...)
As to what I am, mid-50s journalist, writer and beer enthusiast (and enthusiast for other things as well, but the beer bit explains the pseudonym), only a Master’s degree, sixth-generation Londoner, far too many “extreme male brain” characteristics for my own good, militant Dawkinsite with a young daughter at a Roman Catholic school (Dublin-born wife) and, just like Dave Wilton, owner of Judith Bennett’s Ale, Beer and Brewsters in England, women’s work in a changing world 1300-1600. (An excellent book, btw, from which I have nicked, I mean quoted extensively).
I am a British male with a degree in English literature and philosophy who has long had an interest in language and linguistics at a very amateur but enthusiastic level. I teach English language and literature privately mostly to kids at International Schools where it is often their second language, also to Japanese businessmen and their wives, and have done some freelance features writing. As a militant-atheist I get extremely exercised about religion and now realise that this is not the place in which to do this especially after reading the above posts. Sorry for past transgressions in this regard! I get carried away sometimes.
I would like to thank Dave for making this forum available to us, and thank all the contributors far wiser and well-informed about language than I am who have taken the trouble to post on numerous fascinating subjects (and even dignify my more stupid threads with answers).
Updating and fleshing out my 2002 post, I’m male, English, living in Portsmouth on the English south coast, BA in English and European Literature, retired now from teaching, and approaching 60 at a far faster clip than I’d like. (Within hailing distance now, actually).
I’ve been a voracious reader since early childhood. All else follows from that really.
As a militant-atheist I get extremely exercised about religion and now realise that this is not the place in which to do this especially after reading the above posts. Sorry for past transgressions in this regard! I get carried away sometimes.
For my part, a militant atheism is far better than a passive Christianity, which is what I deal with more days that I care to admit. One of my great philosophical heroes is Ernst Bloch. And then there is a dearly missed old friend Michael Harrington.
I didn’t mean to get this going in a religious direction. Only to explain my reasons for my painful studies in Greek and Hebrew and to explain my nym. But our explorations into that sometimes tendentious territory in this thread have been fun and enlightening.