English Language - what "Does your head in" ??

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Mike Sales
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Re: English Language - what "Does your head in" ??

Postby Mike Sales » 14 Apr 2018, 9:12pm

brynpoeth wrote:Usually there are three or more different words for any part of the body or bodily functions, euphemisms are fun, toilet costs 50c now, not a penny, but what are the wee wee frees in Scotland, is that a veiled reference to free toilets?
I use p******e, for tyres, obvious reasons :!:

Did Uncle jack win the grand national?


A euphemism is a word that is felt to be more acceptable than another, naughty one. It is curious what qualifies a word as being sayable in more polite places. Often the Latin derived word is more genteel than the Anglo-Saxon one. Sometimes it seems arbitary. When words refer to the same thing why should one be usable in front of the vicar, but not the other?
Another aspect of this is the magic of actually using a word being more taboo than the thing named.
In the years before dog owners had been trained to clear up after their turd dispensers I upset an old lady by asking why she let her dog sh1t in the street. Me saying the word was more offensive to her than leaving the foul object where someone could tread in it!

Bmblbzzz
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Re: English Language - what "Does your head in" ??

Postby Bmblbzzz » 16 Apr 2018, 12:40pm

Mike Sales wrote:Not all changes in the language are improvements.
Some seem to come from a need to disguise the unpleasant.
I see "pass" for "die" as mealy mouthed. My mother died recently and I made sure to say "she died".

I'm with you 100% on this.
An Americanism I dislike is "ass" for "bottom". We are loosing a good old Anglo-saxon word. Earwig (arsewiggler) and wheatear (whitearse) both derive from it.
I think that problems have all changed into issues from a desire to soften the sense.

I see "ass" and "a-r-s-e" as being different pronunciations of the same word. I've never heard arsewriggler or whitearse and would have guessed the first meant threadworms that children get in their (to use another somewhat twee euphemism) "sit-upons." But "asswriggler" and "whiteass" would presumably work just as well.

Mike Sales
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Re: English Language - what "Does your head in" ??

Postby Mike Sales » 16 Apr 2018, 12:45pm

Bmblbzzz wrote:I see "ass" and "a-r-s-e" as being different pronunciations of the same word. I've never heard arsewriggler or whitearse and would have guessed the first meant threadworms that children get in their (to use another somewhat twee euphemism) "sit-upons." But "asswriggler" and "whiteass" would presumably work just as well.


I was not suggesting anyone says arsewiggler or whitearse these days, merely tracing the etymology as an explanation of the word.

Bmblbzzz
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Re: English Language - what "Does your head in" ??

Postby Bmblbzzz » 16 Apr 2018, 12:54pm

Oh, I thought they must be Fenland dialect! Slightly disappointed in fact... :D

Mike Sales
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Re: English Language - what "Does your head in" ??

Postby Mike Sales » 16 Apr 2018, 1:00pm

Bmblbzzz wrote:Oh, I thought they must be Fenland dialect! Slightly disappointed in fact... :D


If the fen slodgers used the words they would pronounce them with a long "a".

thirdcrank
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Re: English Language - what "Does your head in" ??

Postby thirdcrank » 16 Apr 2018, 1:00pm

Mike Sales wrote: ... An Americanism I dislike is "ass" for "bottom". ...


I'd always assumed that it was a different way of pronouncing the same word. :?

I'm a bit bemused by the expression "fess up." I'm not sure whether it's just another way of pronouncing "face up" or something to do with confessing. I can't help noting the similarity with the French for buttocks and I do wonder if some of those using the expression feel they are being frightfully naughty.

Mike Sales
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Re: English Language - what "Does your head in" ??

Postby Mike Sales » 16 Apr 2018, 1:06pm

thirdcrank wrote:
Mike Sales wrote: ... An Americanism I dislike is "ass" for "bottom". ...


I'd always assumed that it was a different way of pronouncing the same word. :?

I'm a bit bemused by the expression "fess up." I'm not sure whether it's just another way of pronouncing "face up" or something to do with confessing. I can't help noting the similarity with the French for buttocks and I do wonder if some of those using the expression feel they are being frightfully naughty.


They also spell it differently. I am bemoaning the loss of the Anglo-Saxon but I do assume it is down to the their residual Puritan prissiness.
My assumption is that "fess" comes from "confess". Just my guess.

thirdcrank
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Re: English Language - what "Does your head in" ??

Postby thirdcrank » 16 Apr 2018, 1:32pm

Like it or not, of all those alive today who would consider English as their first language, I think it's correct to say that those actually born in the UK are in a minority and those born in England even more so. I suspect that many of the people who come here to learn English do so because it's nearer to home than the US, rather than any preference for the Queen's English.

In years gone by, Brits learning Russian often went to Prešov in what used to be Chekoslovakia because it's near to what was the Soviet Union and the language was a version of Russian.

The word hegemony seems appropriate.

Bmblbzzz
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Re: English Language - what "Does your head in" ??

Postby Bmblbzzz » 16 Apr 2018, 2:12pm

Fess up is a contraction of confess.

Bonefishblues
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Re: English Language - what "Does your head in" ??

Postby Bonefishblues » 16 Apr 2018, 2:29pm

Bmblbzzz wrote:Fess up is a contraction of confess.

Takes longer to type, mind, especially when one insists on using an apostrophe to signify missing letters :wink:

This modern vernacular - it takes real effort to produce irony these days!

Mike Sales
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Re: English Language - what "Does your head in" ??

Postby Mike Sales » 16 Apr 2018, 7:41pm

Bmblbzzz wrote:Oh, I thought they must be Fenland dialect! Slightly disappointed in fact... :D

From today's Guardian Country Diary,
One of the first summer migrants to grace the Highland moors is the wheatear, a dressy little insectivorous “chat” so often seen at the roadside, and instantly identified by its white bottom as it flits delicately to the next perch, never very far away. Just how “white bottom” evolved into “wheat ear” over the centuries is a mystery to me. It has nothing to do with wheat or ears and everything to do with its flashy white rump.


Edit. Bother, I forgot about the electric nanny which has made a nonsense. For "bottom" read a naughty word in its English English spelling.

Bmblbzzz
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Re: English Language - what "Does your head in" ??

Postby Bmblbzzz » 16 Apr 2018, 8:06pm

Thanks! Interesting and timely.