Friday, December 19, 2008

To stop a journey=to mend a day

The English verb ”to stop” once upon a time evidently did not mean ”hold back” or ”make ... cease” or - intransitively ”cease”. Its cognates in German and Swedish* mean ”mend”, which in turn is a French word, and if you have ever mended a hole in a pair of socks or a knitted pullover you know what the verb ”stop” used to mean. As far as I have gathered, the word is now obsolete in that sense, and every English speaker - at least in the Standard Dialects - uses ”mend” for it.

A wound is a hole in the skin and the ”walls” of a bloodvessel. If you can ”mend” - I mean ”stop” - a hole in a garment, you can also ”mend” - I mean ”stop” - the hole you call a wound. When you ”stop” the wound, you hold the blood back from running. Hence:

”stop a wound”+”make a bleeding cease”=”stop a bleeding/bloodflow” - a phrase that is still current.

And, if you consider it rightly, there already you have the modern English sense of the verb ”to stop”, though as far as that is concerned, only applied to blood as yet.

Of course, you might equally ”stop” (old sense) a hole in a wallet or sack to ”stop” (new sense) the coins or beans from running out.

I do not pretend to know which situation (mending a wound or a sack) first saw this extension of the word ”to stop”. If I had been C. S. Lewis or J. R. R. Tolkien I would have known. I would most likely have known other ramifications of the sense as well, and I would have been able to cite texts where the old sense i still extant or the new already there (at least ambiguously or maybe without ambiguity, which it is, is sometimes impossible to know), or when and where the new gets widened from liquids and other amorph objects to animals and men running on legs.

The English word ”journey” is just a synonym of voyage, nowadays. Once it was the French word ”journée”.

”Au sens de ’temps pendant lequel il fait clair’, jour a un dérivé, JOURNÉE, n. f. (v. 1150, journee), avec lequel il entretient des rapports analogues (mais non identiques) à ceux qui existent entre an et année : la journée est plus pleine, plus étoffée que le jour. Le mot se rapporte en particulier à un jour de voyage, à un jour de travail (1155), d’où, par métonymie, à la rémunération d’une telle journée de travail (1267 - 1268).”

Dictionnaire Historique de la Langue Française.

Briefly: le jour means day (as opposed to night) and la journée is what you do in it: how far you walk or ride, how much you work, how much you get paid for it (all in a day).

A journeyman has as such nothing to do with making journeys in the geographical sense, it was a man who made his living essentially on daily wages.

And the oldest voyage to be called journey in England was of course: the voyage you do riding or walking one day.

If French speakers could make ”day’s march” a typical meaning of a word meaning essentially ”what you do in a day” druing the times 900 years ago, when English nobility spoke French, it means that walking or riding was one very typical content of one day. And if ”travel” is the same word as ”travail” (=”child birth pains” - the verb ”travailler” did not take the sense ”work” until the Renaissance, according to same lexicon), it was not always pleasant to voyage. So stopping a journey would really mean mending a day that had tired and sweated you.

But the fact that journeymen were paid daily and could leave any day they wanted without loss of wage, as well as the fact that voyages were typical enough contents of a day to give us the word journey convey the idea of a freedom that has been lost since back then.

Hans Lundahl
Aix en Provence
22/9 févr. 2008

*stopfen, stoppa; the Dictionnaire Historique gives us the entry:

”ÉTOFFER v. tr. est issu (v. 1190) du francique °stopfôn ”mettre, fourrer, enfoncer dans” (cf. ancien haut allemand stopfôn de même sens) issu d’un ancien stoppôn (cf. le néerlandais stoppen)...”

In brief: ”stopping” a hole means stuffing it with something.

Speaking of right format ...

On blogs older messages tend to get into a "black hole". They get difficult to find for yourself and for your readers. The more posts you have, the harder some of them are to find.

Two tips:

  • 1 make an index to all of the blog, either on a separate blog post to which you link from main page or on a text (in which you can link, which you do) as added item on margin or bottom of main page.
  • 2 make minor, partial indexes to serialised blog posts, attach them to each of the blog posts concerned, either by reediting or as comments.

Series on writing, English: 1 Verse drama today 2 Scott McCloud - The invisible Art 3 Some Inklings' Children's books' statistics 4 Speaking of right format ...

Series on etymology, word meanings and comparative linguistics (including orthograhy), English: 1 Milk and Gollum, and Nostratic M-L-Q 2 On the "grey" of grey-friars ... 3 To stop a journey=to mend a day 4 From Jesus to Coelho 5 Pronoucing Swedish, two common phrases

Series on literary criticism, English: 1 "Antigone's flaw" 2 Review of an adverse criticism 3 Promo: "Against Readings" (i e Marxist Readings, Freudian Readings, et c)

Historical and such: 1 Marriage sole carreer? 2 Austrian flag means: "Thou shalt not pass" 3 When was Beowulf written? 4 Astrology may well be astrolatry, BUT not because of geocentrism "of Babylonians" or of extra month in Pagan Greek calendar.

Tolkien lingustics and language philosophical questions: 1 Milk and Gollum, and Nostratic M-L-Q 2 Is Boromir a mimsy borogove? 3 "If God spoke a language" - to correct Grimm

Accusative and Dative for English speakers ...

Lloyd Chudley Alexander, mémoire éternelle

Série d'étymologie et d'autres questionnettes: 1 Diverses questionnettes de philologie 2 Le Chocolate ... hein? (prénez-en une cuiller) 3 Les Montiliens sont d'où? 4 Dimanche n'est pas un nom personnel français ... 5 Les Gogo sont basques? 6 Lundahl, pas Lindhal, s v p! 7 Pronoucing Swedish, two common phrases

Patois, argot ou langue littéraire - z'ont tous une structure.

Série sur la bonne écriture, français: 1 En tout art ... 2 Escapisme 3 "repli identitaire" - tenèbres du laïcisme"

Tyskans kasus
"Claude Gérard", författare-pseudonym
om svenska: Pronoucing Swedish, two common phrases

Der Gau oder das Auenland?

"photograpsit" an "photegrapse"?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Some Inklings' Children's books' statistics

For people who would like to get the format right when writing for children.

Ten books:
The Seven Chronicles of Narnia, by C. S. Lewis
The Hobbit, Farmer Giles of Ham, Smith of Wootton Major, by J. R. R. Tolkien

Ten chapters:
Two each from end of Horse and His Boy and beginning of Prince Caspian.
One from Voyage of the Dawn Treader, two from Silver Chair.
Three from The Hobbit (6, 7, 8)

List of chapter numbersList of paragraph numbers List of speech numbers List of verse numbers


Upper quartan


Lower quartan


Chapters per book:






Paragraphs per chapter, excepting dialogue:






Dialogue paragraphs per chapter:






Verses per chapter






Monday, December 8, 2008


En Dinamarca soy monarquico, en Suiza republicano.

Dinamarca es un reino despues del tiempe del rey Frothón I aunque ciertos le consideran y consideran otros reyes nordicos como aliases de dioses.

Suiza es una federación de republicas bastante pequeñas.

Hay constituciones un poco mas complicados, por ejemplo ser los dos a la vez, como el Imperio Romano Cristiano despues de San Constantino - una constitución heredada de tiempos paganos, entonces después César Agosto, contemporaneo de Frothón I.

En algunos lugares, como los Reinos antiguos en los pireneos se añaden también parlamentos o cortes.

En algunos paises se añaden también querelas sobre la constitución correcta. En una situación de consenso no forzado no hay duda que la succesión legitima en el poder es la succesión constitucional.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Review of an adverse criticism

...of an adverse criticism

The Monster:

And behold! it was a winged creature: if bird, then greater than all other birds, and it was naked, and neither quill nor feather did it bear, and its vast pinions were as webs of hide between horned fingers; and it stank. A creature of an older world maybe it was, whose kind, lingering in forgotten mountains cold beneath the Moon, outstayed their day, and in hideous eyrie bred this last untimely brood, apt to evil.

The Critic:

There's something hesitant and tentative in such passages, suggesting a writer whose imagination is not all that sharply focused on what he wants us to see.

My comment:
It has not occurred to the eminent (or otherwise) critic, that Tolkien is describing, what in a letter to a reader he called "something perydactylish": and that the hobbit who is supposed to have written this in Westron could hardly have heard about this Greek and scientific name of it. Supposing this to describe a live pterodactyl (ridden by a demonic ghost) to someone who has never heard that name, the description is economical:

"And behold!" - you'd say that too, if you had to face a live pterodactyl with a demon rider

"it was a winged creature:" - bird, bat or, as is the case here, something pterodactylish

"if bird, then greater than all other birds," - in fact bigger than a bird

"and it was naked, and neither quill nor feather did it bear," - not a bird then

"and its vast pinions were as webs of hide between horned fingers;" - but a "reptile" except that such crawl and do not fly: i e a pterodactyl

"and it stank." - as a creature ridden by a demon [or demonic ghost] ought to do

"A creature of an older world maybe it was, whose kind, lingering in forgotten mountains cold beneath the Moon, outstayed their day," - a guess about what the darwinist reader is supposed to "know": if pterodactyls survived to meet men (and hobbits) they were by then "living fossiles"

"and in hideous eyrie bred this last untimely brood, apt to evil." - an understatement, considering the rider.


Tiffany verkar så engelskt namnet bara kan bli, och dertill en smula franskt och totalt ogenomskinligt. Men det är faktiskt rena rama grekiskan.

Epiphania betyder uppenbarelse och Theophania betyder gudomlig uppenbarelse.

På franska blir det andra namnet Théophanie eller (med fransk stafning)Téofanie. Detta sednare lånas in i anglosaxiskan/engelskan som Teofanie, hvarpå eo fölger stafningsfenomenet eo=ö eller ljudlagen eo>ö. Och långt ö blir långt e, som sedan blir långt i, precis som i ordet people (inlånadt med franskt ö-ljud och omstafvadt enligt ofvan). Dervid har Teofanie kommit att uttalas Teefanee eller Teefany. Återstår bara att förkorta första ee till kort i, hvilket sker p g a att det är i tredje stafvelsen från slutet: ord på två korta stafvelser förlänga den första, ord med tre stafvelser och första lång förkorta den, altså blir Teefany Tiffany. Hade Epiphania funnits som egennamn i engelskan hade det blifvit Piffany (med bortfall af stafvelsen före betoningen), men det namnet saknas, mig veterligen. Likaså saknar engelskan maskulina former af namnen. Grekiskan har deremot i hvart fall Epiphanios, förmodligen äfven Theophanios.

Deremot är det engelska litteraturen, så vidt jag mins serietidningar, som kommit med Tiffany Jones - helyllepangbönan i hippieeran.

les francophones, voir source de confirmation rétroactive

Lindrig correction, enligt den franska artikeln: tydligen är Tiphaine en existerande gammal fransk form, så jag hade vist fel om namnets historia, något.


Sud Ouest, dimanche 25 septembre*, citation à la conclusion de l'article "Le gout des autres mondes" p 10 - 11:

"'Cet incroyable retour du fantastique dans l'édition jeunesse pourrait faire redouter chez les jeunes une évasion du réel; mais libraires et éducateurs constatent un impact positif sur la lecture des jeunes' note Guillemette Tison...'N'est-ce pas parce que, symboliquement, ces autres mondes vers lesquels ils se dirigent sont ceux de l'âge adulte, proches et lointains à la fois?'"

D'abord: qu'est-ce que veut dire réel?
  • A: Dieu, la réalité éternelle, sans début ni fin.

  • B: Toutes les réalités éternelles ou sempiternes créés: qui ont début mais pas fin.

  • C: Toute la création et histoire temporelles, qui a début et fin.

  • D: Chaque aspecte ou partie génuine de chaque catégorie ci-dessus.

Chaque oeuvre fictive, fantastique ou non, se trouve dehors de les catégories mentionnées. Sherlock Holmes est aussi irréel qu Frodon.

continué en 2008:
Ou plutôt, les oeuvres ont une réalité précisement comme oeuvre de construir une fiction et comme livres contenant les lettres exprimant ceces fictions, sur papier ou sur internet. Mais ce qu'est une fiction réelle est précisement par ça un documentaire ou une histoire irréelle.

Ensuite: qu'est-ce éviter le réel?

D'abord, les gens (souvent jeunes) qui lisent "le Seigneur des Anneaux", "Harry Potter", ou "Le Monde de Narnia" n'évitent pas les livres, ni l'internet, qui sont des réalités incontestables.

Ensuite, le fait de lire des fiction ne les pousse pas forcément à éviter des livres ou sites internet qui traitent de la réalité documentaire ou historique. Si on évite les télénouvelles, on n'évite pas forcément pour ça les histoires de Robert E Lee ou des Chouans, qui sont belle et bien des réalités historiques.

Enfin, si on considérait qu'il soit "évasion du réel" de lire les biographies de Robert E Lee ou de Taram (vrai biographie et fictive), par le fait que les lecteurs évadent leur travail réel ou leurs ambitions personnelles réelles, ou encore leur situation réelle, c'est faux car c'est un usage abusif du mot "réel". La vie passée sur les livres est autant réelle comme vie que la vie passé sur le champ, qu'il soit du travail, ou encore de l'honneur.

Enfin: est-ce que les "mondes irréels" sont symboliquement sont ceux de l'age adulte?

C'est à chacun à choisir de vivre ou de ne pas vivre comme adulte ce qu'il y a de vivable dans les livres. Et à la Providence de Dieu d'accorder ou de ne pas accorder les choix faits.

Mais normalement, les livres donnent accès à quelque chose d'autre que le vécu futur probable. Ce n'est pas à tous de réussir de vivre ses rêves.

Et normalement, le lu diffère du vécu en tant qu'histoire finie, avec debut, milieu et fin. Notre fin réelle et totale n'arrive pas avant le jour de la Ressurection. Le lu peut, par là, donner un prégout de la réalité oublié que la vie a une finalité. Et aussi un arrière-goût, souvent caché dans le quotidien des gens qui ont la chance d'être lecteurs, ce quotidien censé être plus réel, de la futilité des ambitions, et de l'hazard quant à réussite et faillite.

Hans Lundahl

*2005, je présume: l'année que je pouvais lire le Sud-Ouest

From Jesus to Coelho

the story of an H pronounced Y

In ancient Rome and Greece the usual sign for the first sound of yard, use, yield was I. And in Greek and Latin the words we borrow with the first sound of january, june, Geneva had either the sound of yard, use, yield - written I - or the sound of guard, good, give, written G.

The Sweet and Holy Name of Jesus belonged to the words beginning with I. Our J is simply a long I to start with. But later on words in consonantal I and in G before the slender vowels began to be pronounced like our january, june, Geneva: in Italian, in Old French, in English. So also the name of our Saviour.

But in Latin Jesus was still pronounced with the sound of yard, use, yield. And in Greek it was the same. The Greek spelling looks like: IHCOYC or IHCOVC. Because in Greek H was a sign for long E. And in Greek, as much later in English, long E came to be pronounced like the first sound of Italy, only longer. So maybe it is not surprising even from the linguistic view, that the name of our Lord was written Ihesus in Medieval Latin manuscripts. In Cyrillics, borrowed from Greek, H has become the standard sign for I or the sound of yard, use, yield. Though Cyrillic H has got the horisontal line slanted like a backward N, because in N the slanted line has become less slanted till it looks like an H.

Greek words in "hiero" - holy(where the h is from the Latin transcription) were originally pronounced something like he a ro-, but in the Latin of the period they were rather pronounced like yea ro-. This means that Jerusalem, the second element of which was of course Hebrew Salem, meaning peace, but the first element of which was reinterpreted as holy, was variously spelled Hierosolyma or Iherosolyma. The pronunciation was the same. Jerome was spelled Hieronymus or Iheronymus.

Now, the languages that had lost the sound of yard, use, yield in separate position, where it was either lost (Enero from Ianuarius) or smudged (January from Ianuarius) still had something like it in combination with L and N: like lli in million or ni in minion. (I will spell the LY and NY for short.) And J, having become a sign for the sound of English January, June, Geneva, was no use expressing it. In Scandinavian languages, where J is the sign for the sound of yard, use, yield, these sounds are spelled LJ and NJ. But in Old French, Italian and English, as well as Old Portuguese and Old Occitan which concern us now, that would have tempted to the pronunciation of ldi in soldier or ng in manger, so it could not be used.

English had William the conqueror, which meant that LY is commonly spelled LLI before vowel. It does not occur before consonants or at the end of a word. Correspondingly NY is spelled NI before vowel.

Spanish had caballo and año from Latin caballus and annus: LL and NN had become pronounced LY and NY. Which made LL and NN useful signs for LY and NY even in other connections. Since Latin annus was regularly written ãnus or añus in manuscripts, and since ãnus could theoretically be pronounced as non-existing amnus rather than the correct annus, the Spanish Latin manuscripts already provided a useful shorthand for NN in the word añus or the phrase añoDñi, pronounced anno Domini. Spanish reflex of Dominus being dueño (min>m'n>ñ) of course helped. Though the Spanish word for Dominus was Señor (ni before vowel>ñ) from Latin Seniorem. In Dñus and Sñr as abbreviations for Dominus/Señor we are dealing with abbreviations of respect, which is why the Spaniards call the sign over the N a tilde, meaning title.

Italian had agnello from Latin agnus (lamb): the spelling was retained whereas the pronunciation was changed to NY. Maybe gli for LY is a parallel, or maybe it reflects an intermediate pronunciation between Latin cul (KL) in articulus (articulation) and Italian gli (LY) in artiglio (claw): (kul > k'l > gl > gli/ly).

French GN for NY agrees with Italian - and with French agneau. French ILL for LY agrees rather closely with Spanish LL, and we will soon come to a reason why an I is inserted before LL unless the preceding vowel is already I.

And now we come to the solution of Old Provençal and Portuguese: LH and NH for LY and NY. Why H? Here in Aquitaine I came across the memorial of the Augustinian abbey or prior Alain de Solminihac. Here NY is spelled NIH: N and the IH of Ihesus. Since IH stood for our sound in yard, use, yield and LY and NY sound nearly as L and Y, N and Y: LIH and NIH. But since most often the preceding vowel - always, unless it was the last, or last except for feminine e, or the word had another form in which it was thus placed - had been adapted to the yard, use, yield sound and yielded short I, in Provençal (as well as French) had an I before the NIH and LIH: meaning that the middle I was felt to be superfluous and maybe even irreverend, taking the letters IH of the Holy Name in vain. Therefore: LH and NH. Portuguese adopted these spellings from Old Provençal, which was at the time an highly influential language. And that is the reason why a certain Brasilian author by name of Coelho spells the LY in his name LH: he got it from Jesus, so to speak.

Since French (as well as Provençal) often had an I before the LL that meant LY, in words like travail, travailler an extra I was inserted, to remind of the pronunciation in these contexts. In French LY has since developed to be pronounced like the sound in yard, use, yield.

En tout art ...

... on n'invente pas seulement, on dispose aussi. En rhétorique on enseigne souvent comme s'il fallait finir l'invention des matériau avant de les disposer. Or, il n'est pas ainsi. J'ai lu chez Marx (le musicologue, évidemment), j'ai lu en How to Write and Sell a Novel (je ne retrouve pas le titre exacte sur, j'ai entendu un reportage sur Cézanne, qui donnent la même chose:

On peut très bien disposer les choses dès qu'on les invente. Surtout, ça aide les inventions ensuivantes, de savoir entre quelles choses déjà inventées et disposés on doit disposer ce qu'on invente après. Entre un cliffhanger déjà écrit et une soirée déjà écrite, c'est pas trop d'intercaler le sauvetage, chronologiquement. Entre tel arbre et telle toit, on trouve l'angle exacte du mont Sainte Victoire. Et entre tel tonique et tel dominante (si entre il y a) on retrouve p ex une sousdominante.

Parfois l'essentiel est la disposition, puisque les éléments en sont identiques. On sait qu'on va-t-avoir dix noeuds sur un fil, on commence avec ceux en extrème (2), puis on intercale encore deux (2+2=4) et encore deux noeds en chacune des trois espaces (4+6=10). Même principe pour poser les lettres d'un layout.

Les techniques sont évidemment combinables entre eux.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

On the "grey" of grey-friars ...

When coffee, though a dark brown drink
Was named a coffee "black",
Was beige too "grey"
Since grey-friars' way
Of clothing
Is beige both front and back?

The cappucino gives a hint
Since beige it is no doubt:
Named after them,
(Their mantle hem
And hood too)
It should colour all their "clout"!