Xah's Belles-lettres Blog Archive 2012-09 to 2012-09
learned a new word, Numeronym.
the word embargo is historically related to “bar”, “barricade”.
embargo «1590s, from Sp. embargo “seizure, embargo,” noun of action from embargar “restrain impede,” from V.L. *imbarricare, from in- “into, upon” (see in- (2)) + *barra (see bar). As a verb, from 1640s.»
'Tis all a Chequer-board of Nights and Days Where Destiny with Men for Pieces plays: Hither and thither moves, and mates, and slays, And one by one back in the Closet lays.
locomotion, quadrupedal, knuckle-walking
Knuckle-walking is a form of quadrupedal walking in which the forelimbs hold the fingers in a partially flexed posture that allows body weight to press down on the ground through the knuckles.
Anthropologists once thought that the common ancestor of chimpanzees and humans engaged in knuckle-walking, and humans evolved upright walking from knuckle-walking: a view thought to be supported by reanalysis of overlooked features on hominid fossils.
Since then, scientists discovered Ardipithecus ramidus, a human-like hominid descended from the common ancestor of chimpanzees and humans. Ar. ramidus engaged in upright walking, but not knuckle-walking. This leads scientists to conclude that chimpanzees evolved knuckle-walking after they split from humans 6 million years ago, and humans evolved upright walking without knuckle-walking.
comprise, eponymous, extant, solicitation
Gorillas comprise the eponymous genus Gorilla, the largest extant genus of primates. They are ground-dwelling, predominantly herbivorous apes that inhabit the forests of central Africa. The genus is divided into two species and either four or five subspecies. The DNA of gorillas is highly similar to that of a human, from 95–99% depending on what is counted, and they are the next closest living relatives to humans after the bonobo and common chimpanzee.
Females will purse their lips and slowly approach a male while making eye contact. This serves to urge the male to mount her. If the male does not respond, then she will try to attract his attention by reaching towards him or slapping the ground. In multiple-male groups, solicitation indicates female preference, but females can be forced to mate with multiple males. Males incite copulation by approaching a female and displaying at her or touching her and giving a “train grunt”. Recently, gorillas have been observed engaging in face-to-face sex, a trait once considered unique to humans and bonobos.
solicit «early 15c., “to disturb, trouble,” from M.Fr. soliciter, from L. solicitare “to disturb, rouse,” from sollicitus “agitated,” from sollus “whole, entire” + citus “aroused,” pp. of ciere “shake, excite, set in motion”»
dromedaries, nomadic, peripatetic
The 14 million dromedaries (one-humped camel) alive today are domesticated animals (mostly living in Northern Africa, Middle East). The Horn of Africa region alone has the largest concentration of camels in the world, where the dromedaries constitute an important part of local nomadic life. They provide peripatetic Somali and Ethiopian people with milk, food and transportation.
The Bactrian camel (2-humps) is now reduced to an estimated 1.4 million animals, mostly domesticated. About 1,000 wild Bactrian camels are thought to inhabit the Gobi Desert in China and Mongolia.
vocabulary: diffused, parable, lore
The story of the blind men and an elephant originated in India from where it has widely diffused. It has been used to illustrate a range of truths and fallacies. At various times it has provided insight into the relativism, opaqueness or inexpressible nature of truth, the behaviour of experts in fields where there is a deficit or inaccessibility of information, the need for communication, and respect for different perspectives.
It is a parable that has crossed between many religious traditions and is part of Jain, Buddhist, Sufi and Hindu lore. The tale is also well known in Europe. In the 19th century the poet John Godfrey Saxe created his own version as a poem. Since then, the story has been published in many books for adults and children, and interpreted in an ever-increasing variety of ways.
vocabulary: doppelgänger, harbingers, sinister, portends, omen
effervescence, aqueous, fizzing, fermentation
“Fondling,” she saith, “since I have hemm'd thee here Within the circuit of this ivory pale, I'll be a park, and thou shalt be my deer; Feed where thou wilt, on mountain or in dale: Graze on my lips; and if those hills be dry, Stray lower, where the pleasant fountains lie.”
from William Shakespeare, Venus and Adonis, Stanza 39, line 229
- inaugural «1680s (adj.), from Fr. inaugural (17c.), from inaugurer “to inaugurate” (see inauguration). The noun meaning “an inaugural address” is recorded from 1832, American English.»
- inauguration «1560s, from Fr. inauguration “installation, consecration,” and directly from L. inaugurationem (nom. inauguratio) “consecration, installment under good omens,” noun of action from pp. stem of inaugurare “take omens from the flight of birds; consecrate or install when such omens are favorable,” from in- “on, in” (see in- (2)) + augurare “to act as an augur, predict” (see augur).»
star-crossed lovers, thwarted, malign
In the fictional story The Hunger Games , the protagonists, girl Katniss Everdeen and boy Peeta Mellark, are described in the fiction as star-crossed lovers. What is star-crossed lovers? Quote from Wikipedia:
“Star-crossed” or “star-crossed lovers” is a phrase describing a pair of lovers whose relationship is often thwarted by outside forces. The term encompasses other meanings, but originally means the pairing is being “thwarted by a malign star” or that the stars are working against the relationship. Astrological in origin, the phrase stems from the belief that the positions of the stars ruled over people's fates, and is best known from the play 〈Romeo and Juliet〉 by the Elizabethan playwright William Shakespeare. Such pairings are often but not always said to be doomed from the start.
ambience, drudgery, laureate, larger-than-life, aplomb, pulp-fiction
Ethology (from Greek: ἦθος, ethos, “character”; and -λογία, -logia, “the study of”) is the scientific study of animal behavior, and a sub-topic of zoology.
Although many naturalists have studied aspects of animal behaviour throughout history, the modern discipline of ethology is generally considered to have begun during the 1930s with the work of Dutch biologist Nikolaas Tinbergen and Austrian biologists Konrad Lorenz and Karl von Frisch, joint winners of the 1973 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Ethology is a combination of laboratory and field science, with a strong relation to certain other disciplines such as neuroanatomy, ecology, and evolution. Ethologists are typically interested in a behavioral process rather than in a particular animal group, and often study one type of behavior (For example, aggression) in a number of unrelated animals.
They weren't kidding when they called me, well, a witch
But you'll find that nowadays
I've mended all my ways
Repented, seen the light and made a switch
Linguistics Excursion: phonology: mora
Mora (linguistics). Quote:
Mora (plural moras or morae) is a unit in phonology that determines syllable weight, which in some languages determines stress or timing. As with many technical linguistic terms, the definition of a mora varies. Perhaps the most succinct working definition was provided by the American linguist James D. McCawley in 1968: a mora is “Something of which a long syllable consists of two and a short syllable consists of one.” The term comes from the Latin word for “linger, delay”, which was also used to translate the Greek word chronos (time) in its metrical sense.
A syllable containing one mora is said to be monomoraic; a syllable with two moras is said to be bimoraic. Also, in rarer cases, a syllable with three moras is said to be trimoraic.
Japanese is a language famous for its moraic qualities. Most dialects, including the standard, use moras (in Japanese, haku (拍) or mōra (モーラ)) rather than syllables as the basis of the sound system.
For example, haiku in modern Japanese do not follow the pattern 5 syllables/7 syllables/5 syllables, as commonly believed, but rather the pattern 5 moras/7 moras/5 moras.
As one example, the Japanese syllable-final n is moraic, as is the first part of a geminate consonant. For example, the word Nippon (one of the pronunciations of 日本, the name for "Japan" in Japanese) has four moras (ni-p-po-n); each of the four characters used in the hiragana spelling にっぽん represents one of the four moras.
Thus, in Japanese, the words Tōkyō (to-u-kyo-u とうきょう), Ōsaka (o-o-sa-ka おおさか), and Nagasaki (na-ga-sa-ki ながさき) all have four moras, even though they have two, three, and four syllables, respectively.
ingénue, wholesome, candid, cunning, vamp, foil
The ingénue (/ˈænʒənuː/) is a stock character in literature, film, and a role type in the theatre; generally a girl or a young woman who is endearingly innocent and wholesome. Ingenue may also refer to a new young actress or one typecast in such roles. The term comes from the French adjective ingénu meaning “ingenuous” or innocent, virtuous, and candid. The term may also imply a lack of sophistication and cunning.
Typically, the ingenue is beautiful, gentle, sweet, virginal, and often naïve, in mental or emotional danger, or even physical danger, usually a target of The Cad; whom she may have mistaken for The Hero. Due to lack of independence, the ingenue usually lives with her father or a father figure (although in some rare cases she lives with a mother figure). The vamp (femme fatale) is often a foil for the ingenue (or the damsel in distress).
charter, vernacular, monarch, statute
depictions, raunchier, portrayals, pudenda, genitalia
For many years, Penthouse fell between Playboy and Hustler in its explicitness and general attitude toward sexual depictions, with Playboy being visually softer and less focused on female genitals and with Hustler going for a raunchier look and content often consisting of toilet humor. Almost from the start, Penthouse pictorials showed female genitalia and pubic hair when this was considered by many to be obscene.
Up until 1973, the depiction of female genitalia offered fuzzy portrayals of the pudenda, without the inner labia parted, after which sharper views of the vulva were shown.
Simulated sex, but not penetration or male genitalia, followed; then, several years later, male genitalia, including erections, could be seen. In addition, Penthouse attempted to maintain some level of reading content, although usually of a more sexually oriented nature than Playboy.
what's ontology? how it relates to materialism?