Unusual Interests

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Unusual Interests

Postby Catherine-aka-Cat » Wed Apr 23, 2003 9:58 am

I have some unusual interests which I can't bring myself to categorize as "boring"! One of my favorites is the origin of words. I have a dictionary of word origins/histories and a dictionary of slang word origins. Examples (quoted from "Dictionary of Word Origins" by John Ayto): 1) "Omelette" evolved from the Old French "amelette," a thin sheet of metal 2) "Career." Originally a "career" was a road or racetrack for vehicles. Its ultimate source was Latin "carrus," 'wheeled vehicle' (from which we get car), which produced the Vulgar Latin derivative "cararia" 'track for wheeled vehicles.' This passed into English via Provencal "carreira," Italian "carriera," and French "carriere." Its earliest meaning was 'racecourse,' and hence, by extension, 'swift course'; the main present-day sense 'course of someone's working life' did not develop until the 19th century, probably owing to renewed influence of French "carriere." I also love how word roots and pieces of meaning get combined to create words. Ie., "co" means "together." Co plus operate equals cooperate. What does "vene" mean? We can make an educated guess if we look at words like contravene, convene, intervene, intravene. I'm sure I'll think of other interests to add to this list. I've learned to keep my balance by also making time for non-intellectual, non-abstract interests that involve movement and my 5 senses. Cat
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Postby MDG » Thu Apr 24, 2003 9:21 am

Have you seen the Readers' Digest lovely book on American word usage, Catherine? I think it was put out by them. It's a beauty. And loads of fun.
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Postby BarbaraSher » Thu Apr 24, 2003 9:43 am

I once had a client who was training to be an opera singer, and she told me her teacher told her to take the German libretto and look up the definition and root of every word so she'd really understand what it meant. I loved that so much, I held my first-ever "soiree" where he gave us a lecture on opera.
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Postby StacyL » Thu Apr 24, 2003 11:56 am

My 4 yr olds are always asking what words mean and why we call things certain things. Normally I don't know the answer to the second part. That Dictionary of Word Origins would be handy. They get mad when I tell them I don't know something. I think they think I am lying. Image
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Postby MDG » Thu Apr 24, 2003 12:16 pm

I'm laughing out loud, Stacy. That tickled my fancy! - Image -
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Postby Catherine-aka-Cat » Thu Apr 24, 2003 3:05 pm

Yay! I'm not the only one. MDG, thanks for the reference. I will look for that book. Barbara, I LOVE comparing syllables and word roots among the romance languages. I think I would have enjoyed that soiree intensely! Stacy, your post made me laugh too. Aren't kids great? And endlessly entertaining. I like when they come up with their own words. Their logic can be interesting. Cat
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Postby BarbaraSher » Thu Apr 24, 2003 4:20 pm

Kid's own words: My brother called the telephone the "phony tell"
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Postby BarbaraSher » Thu Apr 24, 2003 4:21 pm

Cat, so good to have you back on the bbs. Missed you. I'd love to hear about grad school.
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Postby StacyL » Fri Apr 25, 2003 6:41 am

If you only knew how often they say, "Mommy just tell me!" as if I'm holding out on them when I really just don't know the answer. They think grown ups know everything and everyone. Image Kids....
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Postby Catherine-aka-Cat » Fri Apr 25, 2003 10:50 am

Barbara, you've made my day. Image And "phony tell" is a pretty accurate description of a lot of what occurs via telephone! Stacy, I've helped care for younger brothers and sisters and niece and nephew and I just love that age when they're young and sweet. They still believe in our omniscience and they have such high standards for us. This age flies by so quickly. When my little sister was still in the womb, I was so excited about her existence, I started keeping a journal about her (feeling her kicks, etc.), and my feelings about her. I kept up this journal for several years and recorded her funny comments and actions, beautiful times we had together, and even some of the other stuff, like her constantly asking questions. I gave this journal to her when she was about 13. She read it over and over and over. We laughed. We cried. Some day when you tell your children about all the questions they ask and their suspicions about you, you will all share some beautiful laughter. Watching my niece and nephew metamorphose into adults has been awe-inspiring. I also loved their curious, idealistic, independent teenager phase. Cat
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