Pseudonyms

A pseudonym [ˈs(j)uː.də(ʊ).nɪm / ˈsu.də.nɪm] is a false or fictitious name, especially one used by an author. It comes from the Ancient Greek words ψευδής [pseu̯.dɛ̌ːs] (false, lying, untrue) and ὄνυμα [ó.ny.ma] (name) [source].

Pseudonym

Hyponyms* include:

  • stage name (used by actors)
  • pen name, pen-name, nom de plume (used by writers)
  • nom de guerre (used by military types)
  • allonym = another person’s actual name adopted as a pseudonym

* a term that denotes a subcategory of a more general class [source].

Related words include:

  • ananym = a pseudonym derived by spelling one’s name backwards
  • anonym = an anonymous person, or an assumed or false name
  • cryptonym = a secret name, or code name

An antonym of pseudonym is alethonym, which is the true name of an individual. From the Ancient Greek ἀλήθεια [aˈli.θi.a] (truth) and ὄνυμα [source].

I was inspired to write about pseudonyms today after seeing this joke on Facebook:

I used to go out with a girl called Sue Denim, until I found out that it wasn’t her real name.

It took me a while to get the joke, as I actually know someone called Sue Denim, a singer-songwriter who was part of the band Robots in Disguise. I always thought it was her real name, but now I realise that it’s actually an onomatopoeic pseudonym.

Do you have a pseudonym / nom de plume / stage name? If not, what pseudonym might you use?

I suppose the usernames I use online are kind of pseudonyms: Omniglot, Omniglossia and Ieithgi. Some variations of my name that I use, or friends use, include Sai, Simi and Saimundo.

Antidry

Recently I came across the French word antisèche [ɑ̃.ti.sɛʃ]. At first glance I would guess that it meant something like “anti-dry”, so maybe it’s a moisturiser or something similar that prevents dryness.

While that would be an accurate literal translation – it comes from anti- and sécher (to dry) – what it actually means is a cheat sheet or crib sheet. That is, a sheet of paper used to assist on a test [source].

antiseche

As well as meaning to dry, sécher also means to skip or miss (class), to dry out, to wither, to dry up or to be stumped. So an antisèche is something that prevents you from being stumped or drying up when asked difficult questions [source].

I have a number of antisèches, or maybe they’re more feuilles de référence, that summerise grammatical information for Irish and Russian. They’re very handy when I’m trying to write anything in these languages. You can find a variety of these for languages and other subjects on Amazon.

Are there interesting names for such things in other languages?

Short on

Have a look at the English sentences below and see if anything stands out for you.

This comes from the Japanese course on Duolingo, by the way.

For me, the use of short on in these contexts seems odd. I would use short of here. When I saw this, I wondered if this is a difference between British English and American English – the English on Duolingo is generally American English.

I’ve noticed other subtle differences in the ways prepositions and other words like articles are used as well. For example, would you say I’m on the beach or I’m at the beach?

One Japanese way to say you’re short of/on something is 不足している (fusoku shite iru). 不足 (fusoku) on it’s own means insufficiency, deficiency, shortage, lack, scarcity, deficit, dissatisfaction, discontent or complaint​. It appears in such expressions as:

  • 不足分 (fusokubun) = shortage, amount outstanding (on a loan), deficit
  • 不足前 (tarazumae) = deficit, shortage
  • 不足勝 (fusokugachi) = needy circumstances
  • 不足を言う (fusoku o iu) = to complain, express one’s dissatisfaction

(fu / bu) on it’s own means negative, non-, bad, ugly, clumsy, (ashi) means foot, paw, arm, leg, gait or pace, and (soku) it is used as a counter for pairs of footwear. The verb 足りる (tariru) means to be sufficient or enough, and 足る (taru) means to be sufficient or enough, to be worth doing, to deserve, serve or answer. If you don’t have quite enough of something, you could use the word 足らず (tarasu). It means just under, a little less than or just short of.

Source: jisho.org

Pepper and Salt

There are some pairs of words that often go together, and usually in a particular order. For example, the title of this post, Pepper and Salt, might seem a bit strange to native English speakers, as we usually say salt and pepper. There are many ideas about why we do this, but it might just be an old habit that developed over time.

pepper en zout

To Dutch speakers zout en peper (salt and pepper) would sound strange, as they usually say peper en zout (pepper and salt). Are there any other languages that do this?

The linguistic term for such pairs of words is binomials, and pairs of words that always, or almost always, appear in the same order are known as frozen binomials.

Some ideas about why these words are ordered in this way include:

  • More powerful and important words go first: kings and queens, boys and girls, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, mum and dad, granny and grandpa, mother and child, ladies and gentlemen, cat and mouse, bread and jam, fish and chips
  • General words go first: rules and regulations, terms and conditions
  • Marked words go first: horse and carriage, trial and error, friend and foe (concrete before abstract, living before nonliving, positive before less positive, etc)

Pairs of words that always go together in a particular order and have a collective meaning in addition to their individual meanings are known as irreversible binomials.

Examples include: rock and roll, and legal terms like law and order, (last) will and testament and:

  • goods and chattels = any property that is not freehold, usually limited to include only moveable property
  • kith and kin = one’s acquaintances and relatives – kith (friends and acquaintances) only appears in this context
  • aid and abet = to assist another in the commission of a crime by words or conduct.
  • let or hindrance = having no impediment or obstacle to progression

Are there any language in which black and white is usually white and black, or other common pairs are reversed compared to English?

More about binomials
https://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/frozen-binomials-why-do-we-cringe-at-pepper-and-salt
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irreversible_binomial
https://www.learngrammar.net/english-grammar/irreversible-binomials-definition-types-with-examples
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legal_doublet

Moose

Yesterday I added a page about the Moose Cree language to Omniglot. Moose Cree (ᐃᓕᓖᒧᐧᐃᓐ / ililîmowin) is a Central Algonquin language spoken mainly in the town of Moose Factory on Moose Factory Island on the Moose River in Ontario, Canada. That’s a lot of moose, or is it mooses, moosen or even meese? (see below)

Moose

A moose is:

“a ruminant mammal (Alces alces) with humped shoulders, long legs, and broadly palmated antlers that is the largest existing member of the deer family and inhabits forested areas of Canada, the northern U.S., Europe, and Asia” [source]

A moose can also be “a member of a major benevolent and fraternal order [Loyal Order of Moose]”.

The word moose was discussed in a previous post, along with the word elk and related words.

Today I thought I’d look into moose-related words in more detail.

Moose was first used in writing in English in 1603, and is thought to come from an Eastern Algonquian language such as Massachusett (moos), Narragansett (moos) or Penobscot (mos), from the Proto-Algonquian *môswa (it strips), referring to how a moose strips tree bark when feeding [source].

The standard plural of moose is moose, although mooses and meese are also used informally. I think a good alternative plural would be moosen, like oxen, children and aurochsen. What do you think?

In Moose Cree there are quite a few words moose-related words, including:

  • ᒨᓱ / môso = moose; human prey (in traditional stories about cannibals)
  • ᓈᐯ ᒨᓱ / nâpe-môso = a male moose
  • ᐊᔮᐯᐤ / ayâpew = a (fully grown) buck, bull
  • ᓅᓭ ᒨᓱ / nôse-môso = a female moose
  • ᒨᔓᔑᔥ / môšošiš = a moose calf
  • ᐱᐳᓈᔅᑯᔥ / piponâskoš = a one-year-old moose or caribou
  • ᒨᒨᓶᐤ / mômôswew = s/he eats moose

Source: The Dictionary of Moose Cree

There are also plenty of moose-related words in Plains Cree:

  • ᒨᓴᐧ / môswa = moose
  • ᔮᐯᐤ / yâpew = bull moose
  • ᒥᐢᑎᔮᐯᐤ / mistiyâpew = a big bull moose
  • ᔨᑭᐦᒐᐊᐧᓭᐢ / yikihcawases = a one-year-old bull moose
  • ᐊᐧᐢᑫᐤᒉᓭᐢ / waskewceses = a two-year-old bull moose
  • ᐅᑭᓄᒪᐧᒐᔦᓭᐢ / okinomwacayeses = a three-year-old bull moose
  • ᐅᓃᒐᓂᐤᒨᓴᐧ / onîcaniwmôswa = a female moose
  • ᓅᓭᐢ / nôses = a mother moose with one calf
  • ᐅᓃᓴᐧᐢᑯᒣᐤ / onîswaskomew = a mother moose with two calves
  • ᐅᐢᑳᔨᐢ / oskâyis = a young/baby moose

Source: Online Cree Dictionary

While there are pages about Massachusett (Wôpanâôtuwâôk) and Narragansett (Nãikanset) on Omniglot, there isn’t one about Penobscot (Pαnawάhpskewi), which is a variety of Eastern Abenaki that was spoken mainly in Maine in the USA until the 1990s, and which is currently being revived. I’ll be adding details soon.

There is an online Penobscot Dictionary which includes quite a few moose-related words.

Update: there is now a page about Penobscot on Omniglot.

Podiums

In Dutch the word podium [poː.di.(j)ʏm] means stage, and also podium or platform. It comes from Latin word podium (balcony, especially in an amphitheatre, parapet, podium), from the Ancient Greek πόδιον (pódion – base), a diminutive of πούς (poús – foot, leg), from the Proto-Indo-European pṓds (foot) [source].

AIAA NASA 60th Anniversary Reception (NHQ201809200009)

Some related words include:

  • hoofdpodium = main stage
  • podiumbeest = someone who enjoys being on stage and is often on stage (“stage beast”)
  • podiumkunsten = performing arts
  • poppodium = a venue where pop music is performed live

The English word podium (a platform on which to stand, as when conducting an orchestra or preaching at a pulpit; any low platform or dais) comes from the same root [source], as does the word pew, via the Middle English pewe, from the Middle French puie (balustrade), from the Latin podia, the plural of podium [source].

Other words from the same Latin root include poggio (hill) and podio (podium) in Italian, puig (hill, peak) in Catalan, and poyo (stone bench) in Spanish [source].

By the way, in English (and Dutch) the plural of podium can be either podiums or podia. Which do you prefer?

The diminutive of podium in Dutch is podiumpje, which means little or imaginary stage – I find Dutch diminutives like this very cute.

Babyfoot

Apparently the game pictured below is known as babyfoot in French. Which is kind of cute.

Table soccer game

According to the Belgian magazine, Le Soir illustré, the French inventor Lucien Rosengart (1881–1976) came up with the game of table football in the 1930s when he was looking for things to keep his grandchildren entertained during the cold winter months. He called the game “baby foot”.

The name babyfoot, which is also written baby-foot is used in France, Canada and Switzerland. It is also known as football sur table or football de table in Canada, as kicker in Belgium, foot-foot in Switzerland, and football de table in France.

I would call it table football, which is the usual name for this game in the UK, and was patented by Harold Searles Thornton in 1921.

It was brought to the the USA in the 1950s by Lawrence Patterson, and it is called foosball [ˈfuːzbɔːl], which comes from the German name tischfußball (table football).

In German it is known as Tischfußball (table football), Tischkicker (table kicker) or Kicker.

What do you call it?

Do you know any interesting names for this game in other languages?

Sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Table_football
https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baby-foot
https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/TischfußFball

Befrogged

If you have a crush on someone or you are infutated with them, in Dutch you might say that je bent verkikkerd op iemand, which could be translated literally as “you are befrogged of someone”.

The word verkikkerd means ‘in love with (someone)’ or to ‘love (someone) very much’ [source]. It comes from kikker [ˈkɪkər] (frog, toad, cleat), from kikken (to croak, sound like a frog; utter, mention), which is onomatopoeic [source].

Groene kikker

Some other frog-related words and expressions in Dutch include:

  • kikkerbad = shallow children’s pool (“frog bath”)
  • kikkeren = to jump around crouching (like a frog)
  • kikkerland = a small, unimportant and rather wet country, virtually exclusively said of the Netherlands (“frog land”)
  • blitskikker = a person (usually young) who follows fashion closely, a fashionista (“fashionable frog”)
  • mafkikker = a werido, goofball, nutjob (“weird/crazy frog”)
  • Een koele kikker zijn = to be a cold-blooded person / a cold fish (“to be a cool frog”)
  • Een kikker in de keel hebben = to be hoarse (“to have a frog in the throat”)
  • Een opkikkertje = a pick-me-up (something that makes you happy, or a small glass of hard liquor)

Source: Wiktionary

In English the word frog means:

  • A small tailless amphibian of the order Anura that typically hops
  • Part of a violin bow
  • Road, as in frog and toad (Cockney rhyming slang)
  • The depression in the upper face of a pressed or handmade clay brick
  • An organ on the bottom of a horse’s hoof that assists in the circulation of blood.

It comes from the Middle English frogge [ˈfrɔɡ(ə)] (frog, toad, wretch, mushroom), the Old English frocga [ˈfroɡ.ɡɑ] (frog), and the Proto-Germanic *fruþgô (frog), from *fruþ (frog) [source].

Do you know any interesting frog-related expresssions?

Smile 🙂😃😄😎🙃

A Japanese word I learnt recently that made me smile is 微笑む (ほほえむ) [ho.ho.e.mɯ], which means to smile 😃.

微笑寶寶

The character (kasu / bi) means delicate, minuteness, insignificance, and (wara / e / jō) means laugh, laughter, smile or sneer. So 微笑 could be translated literally as a “delicate laugh”.

Some related words include:

  • 微笑み (hohoemi), 微笑 (bijō) = smile
  • 微笑みかける (hohoemikakeru) = to smile (at someone)
  • 微笑み返す (hohoemikaesu) = to smile back (at someone), to answer someone’s smile
  • 微笑を浮かべて (bijō o ukabete) = with a smile
  • 微笑ましい (hohoemashī) = pleasant, charming

The existence of 微笑み返す suggests to me that answering smiles with smiles is a common thing in Japan. That makes me smile. Are there words in other languages that mean something similar?

(wara) [ɰaɺa] on it’s own is apparently used as internet slang to mean LOL (laugh out loud) or haha.

Some related words include:

  • 笑う (warau) = to laugh, smile, sneer, ridicule, be flabbergasted
  • 笑顔 (ekao) = smiling face, smile
  • 笑み (emi) = smile
  • 笑い声 (waraigoe) = (sound of) laughter, laughing voice
  • 笑いもの, 笑い物 (waraimono) = laughingstock, butt of ridicule
  • 笑い話 (waraibanashi) = funny story, funny anecdote
  • 笑い出す (waraidasu) = to burst into laughter
  • 笑い事 (waraigoto) = laughter matter

Source: jisho.org

Long Time

If you haven’t seen someone for a while, you might greet them by saying “long time no see”. Have you ever wondered where that phrase comes from?

Long time no see

According to NPR, if was first used in print in 1900 in a book by William F. Drannan called Thirty-One Years on the Plains and in the Mountains, Or, the Last Voice from the Plains An Authentic Record of a Life Time of Hunting, Trapping, Scouting and Indian Fighting in the Far West – a nice snappy title. In the book the phrase is used in the following context:

“I knew he had recognized me. When we rode up to him he said: ‘Good morning. Long time no see you,’ and at the same time presented the gun with breech foremost.”

Another idea is that it is comes from Chinese phrase 好久不见 [好久不見] (hǎojǐu bújiàn), which means “quite a while, not see/meet”.

The character (jǐu) means ‘(long) time’, and appears in Japanese equivalents of the phrase: 久しぶり (hisashiburi) and お久しぶりですね (o hisashiburi desu ne). In this context, the ぶり (buri) part, which can also be written 振り, means after (a period of time), again or for the first time in (a period of time) [source].

always appears in expressions like:

  • 久しい (hisashii) = long (time that has passed), old (story)
  • 久々 (hisabisa) = (in a) long time, long time (ag), while (ago)
  • 久しく (hisashiku) = for a long time, for ages, for a good while
  • 久懐 (kyūkai) = long-cherished hope
  • 久闊 (kyūkatsu) = not having met or contacted someone for a long time; neglect of friends​ [source]

There’s a nice equivalent of this phrase in Russian: Сколько лет, сколько зим! (Skol’ko let, skol’ko zim!), which means literally “How many years, how many winters!”.

How to say ‘long time, no see’, or something similar, in many languages: https://omniglot.com/language/phrases/longtimenosee.htm.