Xah's Belles-lettres Blog Archive 2015-04 to 2015-08
etymology of lemon
etymology of lemon
“worthless thing,” 1909, American English slang; from lemon (n.1), perhaps via criminal slang sense of “a person who is a loser, a simpleton,” which is perhaps from the notion of someone a sharper can “suck the juice out of.” A pool hall hustle was called a lemon game (1908); while to hand someone a lemon was British slang (1906) for “to pass off a sub-standard article as a good one.” Or it simply may be a metaphor for something which leaves a bad taste in one's mouth.
Chinese is the Most Ambiguous Spoken Language
In recent years, due to contact with online communities in China, i find that, spoken Chinese, is filled with ambiguities. That is, if we rank ambiguity of languages, as in, how many times people have to ask “what did you say” or “what do you mean”, then, Chinese would rank number 1, among all existing spoken languages that are still in use.
Here's a joke, that came from ambiguity.
A pasigraphy (from Greek pasi ‘to all’ and graph ‘write’) is a writing system where each written symbol represents a concept (rather than a word or sound or series of sounds in a spoken language). The aim (as with ordinary numerals 1, 2, 3, etc.) is to be intelligible to persons of all languages.
The term was first applied to a system proposed in 1796, though a number of pasigraphies had been devised prior to that; Leopold Einstein reviews 60 attempts at creating an international auxiliary language, the majority of the 17th-18th century projects being pasigraphies of one kind or another, while Arika Okrent includes a list of 500 in her book on the subject, with samples of many. Leibniz wrote about the Alphabet of human thought and Alexander von Humboldt corresponded with Peter Stephen Du Ponceau (1760-1844) who proposed a universal phonetic alphabet.
Examples of pasigraphies include Blissymbols and Real Character.
serif vs sans-serif font legibility debate. Conclusion: there's no conclusive scientific evidence showing one is better.
vocabulary: merry, maurading, tutelage
While Cooper and his merry gang of astronauts are maurading around the furthest reaches of the galaxy, Cooper's daughter Renesmee grows up into brilliant astrophysicist Jessica Chastain. Chastain spends her entire life under the tutelage of Michael Caine, attempting to solve an apparently unsolvable equation.
〔 Let's talk about the plot of “Interstellar” By Darren Franich. At http://www.ew.com/article/2014/11/07/interstellar-plot-explained〕
“They say! What say they? Let them say.” (Scotch).
“This was the motto of the Keiths, Earl Marischal, one of whom founded Marischal College, in the University of Aberdeen.”—Andrew Cheviot.
The Tale of Genji (源氏物語 Genji monogatari)
i'm thinking, not to Capitalize Titles or First word of a sentence anymore. As in, banish it in my writings all together. Language and English Language and English
On the Ignorance of the Learned
The description of persons who have the fewest ideas of all others are mere authors and readers. —William Hazlitt
〔 Table Talk : Essays on Men and Manners. Essay viii. On the Ignorance of the Learned By William Hazlitt. At https://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/h/hazlitt/william/table-talk/v1.8.html〕
What is a Tech Geeker? see comment by Peter Johnson What is a Tech Geeker?#comment-2044408048
William Hazlitt (10 April 1778 – 18 September 1830) was an English writer, remembered for his humanistic essays and literary criticism, as the greatest art critic of his age, and as a drama critic, social commentator, and philosopher. He was also a painter.
He is now considered one of the great critics and essayists of the English language, placed in the company of Samuel Johnson and George Orwell. Yet his work is currently little read and mostly out of print. During his lifetime he befriended many people who are now part of the 19th-century literary canon, including Charles and Mary Lamb, Stendhal, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, William Wordsworth, and John Keats.
Faust, Selling Your Soul to the Devil
Faust is the protagonist of a classic German legend. He is a scholar who is highly successful yet dissatisfied with his life, which leads him to make a pact with the Devil, exchanging his soul for unlimited knowledge and worldly pleasures. The Faust legend has been the basis for many literary, artistic, cinematic, and musical works that have reinterpreted it through the ages. Faust and the adjective Faustian imply a situation in which an ambitious person surrenders moral integrity in order to achieve power and success for a delimited term.
How to Increase Your Vocabulary? (repost)
Online English Dictionary Tools (updated)