Xah's Belles-lettres Blog Archive 2012-02 to 2012-03

Updated. If you haven't done already, install a dictionary browser extension now. See: Online English Dictionary Tools.

Etymology of Predicate (grammar). quote:

There are two competing notions of the predicate in theories of grammar. Traditional grammar tends to view a predicate as one of two main parts of a sentence, the other being the subject, which the predicate modifies. The other understanding of predicates is inspired from work in predicate calculus (=predicate logic, first order logic). On this approach, the predicate of a sentence corresponds mainly to the main verb and any auxiliaries that accompany the main verb, whereby the arguments of that predicate (For example, the subject and object noun phrases) are outside of the predicate. The competition between these two concepts has generated confusion concerning the use of the term “predicate” in theories of grammar. This article considers both of these notions.

Predicate (mathematical logic). Quote:

In mathematics, a predicate is commonly understood to be a boolean-valued function P: X→ {true, false}, called the predicate on X. However, predicates have many different uses and interpretations in mathematics and logic, and their precise definition, meaning and use will vary from theory to theory. So, for example, when a theory defines the concept of a relation, then a predicate is simply the characteristic function or the indicator function of a relation. However, not all theories have relations, or are founded on set theory, and so one must be careful with the proper definition and semantic interpretation of a predicate.

predicate

Etymology: One-upmanship

Etymology: One-upmanship

The term originated as the title of a book by Stephen Potter, published in 1952 as a follow-up to The Theory and Practice of Gamesmanship (or the Art of Winning Games without Actually Cheating) (1947) and Lifemanship titles in his series of “tongue-in-cheek self-help books”, and film and television derivatives, that teach various “ploys” to achieve this.

In that context, the term refers to a satiric course in the gambits required for the systematic and conscious practice of “creative intimidation”, making one's associates feel inferior and thereby gaining the status of being “one-up” on them.

This satire of self-help style guides manipulates traditional stuffy British conventions for the gamester, all life being a game, who understands that if you're not one-up, you're one-down. Potter's unprincipled principles apply to almost any possession, experience or situation, deriving maximum undeserved rewards and discomforting the opposition.

Using Google Translate to Hear Musical Quality of Foreign Languages

Etymology of Gambit

Etymology of Gambit.

A gambit (from ancient Italian gambetto, meaning tripping) is a chess opening in which a player, most often White, sacrifices material, usually a pawn, with the hope of achieving a resulting advantageous position. A gambit used by Black may also be called a gambit, but is sometimes called a “countergambit”.

The word “gambit” was originally applied to chess openings in 1561 by Spanish priest Rúy López de Segura, from an Italian expression dare il gambetto (to put a leg forward in order to trip someone). Lopez studied this maneuver, and so the Italian word gained the Spanish form gambito that led to French gambit, which has influenced the English spelling of the word. The broader sense of “opening move meant to gain advantage” was first recorded in English in 1855.

Gambit

English Idiom: All But!

These days, of course, high-capacity flash drives and cloud computing have helped make those giant slices of square-shaped storage all but obsolete.

(source: 〔 http://www.itworld.com/business/260490/20-iconic-tech-sounds-next-generation-wont-know 〕. (the site is ad-ridden))

The “all but” there is a idiocy.

Highbrow Vocabulary in Creative Writing

Today's big list of big words:

thesis, codification, epitome, gist, perpetually, obscurity, aghast, drill, foolhardiness, propensity, tiresome, argumentation, cohorts, mecca, epithet, brute, dictates, transcends, aloof, exuding, phantasmagorical, dire, retorted, sullied, ganged, propound, imbecile, gaggle, nonchalant, sole, cannibals, bucks, doe, ply, subterfuge, Feign, rhetoric, verbose, elated, meritable, reiterate, pragmatics, one-upmanship, soliloquy, plebeian, contradict, bout, missives, deeds, persona, tact, theatrical, logorrhea, credential, contemplation, regurgitation, peruse, patronizing, officious, acquainted

go thru each, see if you have any inkling, and look it up! Don't forget Online English Dictionary Tools.

For examplary usage, in creative writing, at: comp.lang.lisp Fight on the Meaning of Closure.

English Idiom: “Pissing Fight”

when we say that 2 guys are doing a “pissing fight”, note that there's depth in the phrase.

it's funny to note why females do not do pissing fight. On the surface: ① they don't. ② they can't.

Both reasons are intertwined and intriguing. They “can't” because their pissing organ isn't like a pipe that can aim and spray. And they don't anyway, because they don't need to in order to attract males. Mate attraction for female, lies in youth. Mate attraction for male, lies in power. Therefore pissing fight.

Follow Wordy English for Your Daily Vocabulary Fix

It's, like, coffee — addictive. It's like tea — calms you down and energizes you. Like honey, you can suck on and is sweet.

Once mastered, it's like pheromone in your mouth — puff it and chicks come all over.

And, among your friends and colleagues, those who don't understand you can only esteem you.

Tell your friends, spread the word! (Wordy Englishg+twitter)

Chinese pun: 计算姬

“计算姬课……”

It's a pun on 计算机.

姬 (ji1) = imperial concubine; beauty

TranslateWiktionaryhistory

Chinese language related articles now has a index, at: Index to Chinese Language Articles.

Advanced Chinese: 汕

汕 (shan4) = ① basket for catching fish. ② bamboo. ③ But mostly known as a word in the city name: 汕头市 (Swatow, Guangdong, China.)

TranslateWiktionaryhistory
TranslateWiktionaryhistory

Advanced Chinese: 潇洒,倜傥

«张韦建演的韦小宝中他常说的那句话是什么?»

凉风有性,秋月无边,亏我思娇的情绪好比度日如年,虽说我不是玉树临风、潇洒倜傥,但我有广大的胸襟加强劲的臂弯

亏=虧,傥=儻

TranslateWiktionaryhistory
TranslateWiktionaryhistory
TranslateWiktionaryhistory
TranslateWiktionaryhistory
TranslateWiktionaryhistory
TranslateWiktionaryhistory
TranslateWiktionaryhistory

韋小寶. Quote:

韋小寶是金庸小說鹿鼎記的主角,是一個虛構人物。

韋小寶的母親韋春花是一揚州妓院「麗春院」的妓女,韋小寶自小在妓院中長大,為人好賭、好色,罵人、騙人、賭錢作弊更是家常便飯,卻又有江湖义气。

韋小寶並不識字,但愛聽說書,受說書故事中英雄人物影響,個性頗有義氣。

韋小寶生財有方。賭錢作弊手段高明,在皇宮生涯初期即以作弊手段贏了賭友太監溫有道溫有方兄弟等不少銀子。在奉旨抄鳌拜家時與索額圖協議私吞鰲拜部份家產而發了大財……

韋小寶曾拜陳近南(即历史上的陈永华)和九難師太(小说记载为明朝崇祯皇帝的次女)為師。

他也曾向不少高手如海大富、洪安通、澄觀等學過武功,但因個性懶惰而只學得一鱗半爪。唯獨跟九難師太學的「神行百變」卻學得不錯。

韋小寶有七個妻子,兩個兒子和一個女兒,妻子分別為建寧公主、 雙兒、沐劍屏、曾柔、方怡、蘇荃、阿珂,子女分别为长女韋雙雙、長子韋虎頭和次子韋銅錘(因擲骰子擲到一和六,名為 “銅錘一六”,故取名為 “韋銅錘”)姐弟。

前幾個版本中,七個妻子本來無分大小,但阿珂是他眾多妻子中最美和最愛的一個。然而在新修版中,康熙下旨把建寧公主配為韋小寶正妻,惟韋小寶心中思量最愛者為雙兒。

Slang: Grease Monkey

grease monkey = mechanics.

A mechanic is a craftsman or technician who uses tools to build or repair machinery. Many mechanics are specialized in a particular field such as auto mechanics, bicycle mechanics, motorcycle mechanics, boiler mechanics, general mechanics, industrial maintenance mechanics (millwrights), air conditioning and refrigeration mechanics, aircraft mechanics, diesel mechanics, and tank mechanics in the armed services.

Source: Mechanic

Mikaela Banes, Megan Fox
Grease monkey. (actress Megan Fox, as Mikaela Banes in movie Transformer)

Humorous Chinese for “thumb up” “thumb down”

Found this on a Chinese blog site, so funny.

On many English websites, you have a thumb up icon and thumb down icon. On this Chinese site, it has 2 characters instead: {顶, 踩}.

So, a funny English version would be: {raise over head, stomp it}.

TranslateWiktionaryhistory
TranslateWiktionaryhistory