Adventures in Etymology 22 – Fence

Today we’re looking at the word fence [fɛns], as my slate fence is being replaced with a wooden one, mainly to stop my neighbour’s dog from getting in my garden.

Fences

Definition:

  • a barrier enclosing or bordering a field, yard, etc, usually made of vertical posts connected with horizontal sections of sturdy material such as wood, metal or wire, used to prevent entrance, to confine, or to mark a boundary

[source]

It comes from the Middle English word fence/fens, from the Old French defens(e) (defence), from the Latin dēfensa [d̪ɛˈfɛnsɑ] (defense, protection), from dēfendō [d̪eːˈfɛn̪d̪oː] (to defend, guard, protect), from dē- (of, from) and *fendō (hit, thrust) [source].

The English word defend comes from the same root, as do related words in other European languages, such as défendre (to defend, forbid) in French and amdiffyn (to protect, defend) in Welsh [source].

The Old English word for fence was edor [ˈe.dor], which also meant enclosure, hedge, shelter, dwelling, house, protector or prince. This became edder, an now obsolete word that refers to flexible wood worked into the top of hedge stakes, to bind them together. [source].

Here’s a video I made of this information:

Video made with Doodly – an easy-to-use animated video creator [affiliate link].

I also write about etymology, and other language-related topics, on the Omniglot Blog.

You can also listen to this podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, TuneIn, Podchaser, PlayerFM or podtail.

If you would like to support this podcast, you can make a donation via PayPal or Patreon, or contribute to Omniglot in other ways.

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Omniglot News (08/08/21)

This week’s new languages are: Uduk, Bardi, Kumandy and Lun Bawang

  • Uduk (‘Twāmpā) – a Nilo-Saharan language spoken in Sudan and South Sudan.
  • Bardi – a Western Nyulnyulan language spoken in the Kimberley region in the north of Western Australia.
  • Kumandy (куманды) – a Northern Altai language spoken mainly in the Altai Republic and Altai Krai in the south of the Russian Federation.
  • Lun Bawang (Buri’ Lun Bawang) – a North Bornean language spoken in Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei.

There’s a new phrases page in Tuvan (тыва дыл), a Turkic language spoken in the Republic of Tuva in Siberia in the south of the Russian Federation.

There’s a new numbers page in Wichita (Kirikir’iis), a Northern Caddoan language that was spoken in Caddo County in Western Oklahoma in the USA, and which is currently being revived.

There’s a new article about How to Learn a Language Using Stories.

This week’s Omniglot blog posts were about Funny Grips, and the usual language quiz.

The answer to last week’s language quiz was Arakanese (ရခိုင်ဘာသာ), a Burmese language spoken in Rakhine state in the southwest of Burma/Myanmar.

This week’s Celtiadur post was about hurdles, fences and related words.

This week’s Adventure in Etymology looks at the origins of the word circle.

For more Omniglot News see:
https://www.omniglot.com/news/
https://twitter.com/Omniglossia
https://www.facebook.com/groups/omniglot/
https://www.facebook.com/Omniglot-100430558332117

You can also listen to this podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, TuneIn, Podchaser, PlayerFM or podtail.

If you would like to support this podcast, you can make a donation via PayPal or Patreon, or contribute to Omniglot in other ways.

Blubrry podcast hosting

Adventures in Etymology 21 – Circle

Today we are looking at the word circle [ˈsɜː.kəɫ / ˈsɝ.kəɫ].

Circles made with fire poi on Brighton beach

Definition:

  • A shape consisting of a curved line completely surrounding an area, every part of which is the same distance from the centre of the area.

[source]

It comes from the Middle English word circle, cercle, from the Old French cercle [ˈtser.klə] (circle), from the Latin circulus [ˈkɪɾkʊɫ̪ʊs̠] (circle, orbit, ring, hoop, necklace, chain, company, group), a diminutive of circus [ˈkɪɾkʊs̠] (orbit, circle, ring, racecourse, circus), from the Ancient Greek κίρκος [kír.kos] (type of hawk, or falcon, type of wolf, circle, ring, racecourse, circus), from the PIE *(s)ker- (to bend, turn) [source].

Some English words from the same root include: ring, rink, cross, crown, corona, curb, curtain, curve, crisp and crest [source].

Here’s a video I made of this information:

Video made with Doodly – an easy-to-use animated video creator [affiliate link].

I also write about etymology, and other language-related topics, on the Omniglot Blog.

You can also listen to this podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, TuneIn, Podchaser, PlayerFM or podtail.

If you would like to support this podcast, you can make a donation via PayPal or Patreon, or contribute to Omniglot in other ways.

Blubrry podcast hosting

Omniglot News (01/08/21)

This week’s new languages are: Juang, Ye’kuana and Sandawe.

  • Juang (ଜୁଆଙ୍) – a Munda language spoken in Odisha state in eastern India.
  • Ye’kuana – a Cariban language spoken mainly in southern Venzuela, and also in northwest Brazil
  • Sandawe (Sàndàwé kì’ìng) – a language isolate spoken in the Dodoma Region of central Tanzania.

There’s a new constructed script Thai-ResPriv, an alternative way to write Thai devised by Jay and Pailin Strong.

This week’s Omniglot blog posts were about The Pull of Pandas, and the usual language quiz.

The mystery language in last week’s language quiz was Chulym (ӧс тили), a Siberian Turkic language spoken in the Republic of Khakassia in the south of the Russian Federation.

This week’s Celtiadur post was about kitchens and related words.

This week’s Adventure in Etymology looks at the origins of the word distract.

I finally made a new episode of the Radio Omniglot podcast this week about Japanese, and while I was doing that I got a bit distracted and made improvements to the Japanese language page on Omniglot.

For more Omniglot News see:
https://www.omniglot.com/news/
https://twitter.com/Omniglossia
https://www.facebook.com/groups/omniglot/
https://www.facebook.com/Omniglot-100430558332117

Adventures in Etymology 20 – Distract

Today we are looking at the word distract [dɪsˈtɹækt], that’s if I don’t get distracted, as often happens.

Distracted

Definition:

  • to draw away or divert, as the mind or attention
  • to disturb or trouble greatly in mind, beset
  • to provide a pleasant diversion for; amuse; entertain
  • to separate or divide by dissension or strife

[source]

It comes from the Latin word distractus (divided, scattered; sold), from the distrahō (I draw, pull, drag asunder), from dis- (asunder, apart, in two), and *trahō (I drag, pull), from the PIE *dʰregʰ- (to pull, draw, drag) [source].

From the same Latin root come such words as traire (to milk) in French, traer (to bring, fetch, attract, pull) in Spanish, trazer [tɾɐ.ˈzeɾ/tɾa.ˈze(ʁ)] (to bring) in Portuguese, and tractor, tract and traction in English [source].

From the same PIE root, via Proto-Germanic draganą [ˈdrɑ.ɣɑ.nɑ̃] (to draw, pull, carry) and the Old English dragan [ˈdrɑ.ɣɑn] (to draw, drag), we get the English words draw drag [source].

As I mentioned in this episode, I often get distracted. I even wrote a song about this, called Distraction – I was planning to write one about owls, but got distracted and wrote this one instead. Later I did write an owl-related song called The Little Green Owl.

Here’s a video I made of this information:

Video made with Doodly – an easy-to-use animated video creator [affiliate link].

I also write about etymology, and other language-related topics, on the Omniglot Blog.

Episode 45 – Japanese (日本語)

In this episode I talk about Japanese, giving an overview of the history of the language, its vocabulary and grammar, and how and why I learnt it.

日本語 (nihongo/nippongo) = Japanese

  • 日 (nichi, jitsu, hi, bi, ka) = day, sun, Japan, counter for days. E.g. 日曜日 (nichiyōbi – Sunday), 日々 (hibi / nichinichi – daily), 日陰 (hikage – shade, shadow, sunlight), 日外 (jitsugai – once, some time ago)
  • 本 (moto, hon) = origin, source, base, foundation, root, cause, ingredient, material; book, volume, script; counter for long cylindrical things. e.g. 本木 (motoki – original stock
  • 語 (go) = word, language, speech
  • 語る (kataru) = to talk about, speak of, tell, narate, recite, chant, indicate, show
  • 日本 (nihon/nippon) = Japan (“sun’s origin”) – nippon is used in official uses, such as on banknotes and stamps, while nihon is used in everyday speech.

Japan used to be called 倭 (wa) or 倭國 (wakoku) in Chinese – a name first used in the 3rd century AD. 倭 means “dwarf” or “submissive”. Later the Japanese changed the character 倭 to 和 (peaceful, harmonious) and combined it with 大 (big, great) to form 大和 (yamato) or “Great Wa”, which possibly originally referred to a place in Japan – 山戸 (yamato) or “Mountain Gate”.

絵文字 (emoji) = pictorial symbol, pictograph or pictogram. Also written 絵もじ or エモジ.

  • 絵 (e, kai) = picture, drawing, painting
  • 文 (fumi, aya, bun, mon) = sentence, text, letter
  • 字 (aze, azana, na, ji) = character, letter, written text

More information about Japanese
https://www.omniglot.com/writing/japanese.htm
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kanji
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Names_of_Japan
https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Category:Japanese_terms_derived_from_Portuguese
https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Category:Japanese_terms_derived_from_Dutch
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_sound_symbolism
https://www.fluentu.com/blog/japanese/interesting-facts-about-japanese-language/

Music featured in this episode

Hedge Cats / Cathod y Gwyrch

See the score for this tune.

幻想的の曲 (gensō-teki no kyoku) – a sort-of Japanese-sounding improvisation played by me on the tenor and descant recorders.

If you would like to support this podcast, you can make a donation via PayPal or Patreon, or contribute to Omniglot in other ways.

Blubrry podcast hosting

Omniglot News (25/07/21)

This week’s new languages are: Banjarese, Bukid, Surigaonon and Bilaspuri.

  • Banjarese (Bahasa Banjar) – a Malayic language spoken mainly in Kalimantan in Indonesia.
  • Bukid (Binukid) – a North Manobo language family spoken mainly in the Province of Bukidnon in the Northern Mindanao region of the Philippines
  • Surigaonon – a Southern Bisayan language family spoken in the Caraga region in the north of Mindanao island in the Philippines.
  • Bilaspuri (बिलासपूरी) – a Western Pahari language spoken in the states of Himalchal Pradesh and Punjab in northern India.

There are a number of new numbers pages in West Flemish, Old English and Banjarese.

This week’s Omniglot blog posts were about chaises longues, the most popular languages to learn and the usual language quiz.

The mystery language in last week’s language quiz was Sandawe (Sàndàwé kì’ìng), a language isolate spoken in the Dodoma Region of central Tanzania..

This week there were two Celtiadur posts – one about land, and another about grass and related words.

This week’s Adventure in Etymology looks at the origins of the word mask.

I also made improvements to the Chakma language page.

For more Omniglot News see:
https://www.omniglot.com/news/
https://twitter.com/Omniglossia
https://www.facebook.com/groups/omniglot/
https://www.facebook.com/Omniglot-100430558332117

Adventures in Etymology 19 – Masks

Today we are looking at the word mask [mɑːsk/mæsk].

Me in a mask

Definition:

  • a covering for all or part of the face that protects, hides, or decorates the person wearing it
  • appearance or behaviour that hides the truth [source]

It comes from the Middle French word masque (a covering to hide or protect the face), from the Italian maschera [ˈmas.ke.ra] (mask, disguise), from the Medieval Latin masca (witch, hag, spectre, nightmare, mask), from the Proto-West Germanic *maskā (mesh), from the Proto-Germanic *maskwǭ (loop, knot, mesh, netting, mesh used as a filter, facemask). The English words mesh and mascara come from the same root [source].

Here’s a video I made of this information:

Video made with Doodly – an easy-to-use animated video creator [affiliate link].

I also write about etymology, and other language-related topics, on the Omniglot Blog.

Omniglot News (18/07/21)

This week a new writing system appeared on Omniglot: Badlit, which is also known as the Bisaya or Visayan Script, Sulat Bisaya, Suwat Bisaya or Baybayin Bisaya. It looks at lot like the Baybayin script for Tagalog, and is used to write languages spoken in the Visayas region of the Philippines, such as Cebuano and Hiligaynon.

This week’s new languages are: Doteli, Kinabalian and Yawuru.

  • Doteli/Dotyali (डोटेली) – an Eastern Pahari language spoken in Sudurpashchim province in western Nepal.
  • Kinabalian – a Visayan language spoken in Leyte province in the Eastern Visayas region of the Philipines.
  • Yawuru – an Eastern Nyulnyulan language spoken in and around Broome in the Kimberley region in the north of Western Australia.

There is a new collection of silly phrases in Welsh, most of which involve Owen and his parships. Most of them come from the Welsh course on Duolingo and were sent to me by a friend who is studying Welsh. This inspired this week’s Adventure in Etymology, which is about parsnips. Another podcast that looks at the origins of words, and other things, is English with Stephen.

There are new numbers pages in Mòcheno and Coptic.

This week’s Omniglot blog posts were about subjects, fonts and the usual language quiz.

The mystery language in last week’s language quiz was Rukai, a Formosan language spoken in parts of southern Taiwan. The recording was from YouTube.

This week’s Celtiadur post is about words in Celtic languages for stones, rocks and related words.

I also made improvements to the Eastern Pomo language page and the Alsatian phrases page.

For more Omniglot News see:
https://www.omniglot.com/news/
https://twitter.com/Omniglossia
https://www.facebook.com/groups/omniglot/
https://www.facebook.com/Omniglot-100430558332117

Adventures in Etymology 18 – Parnips

Today we are looking at the word parsnip [ˈpɑː.snɪp/ˈpɑɹ.snɪp].

Parsnips

Definition:

  • A plant (Pastinaca sativa) in the parsley family, native to Eurasia, cultivated for its long, white, edible, fleshy root.
  • The root of this plant.

It comes from the Middle English word passenep a version of the Old French word pasnaie, with influence from the Middle English word nepe [neːp] (turnip), from the Latin pastināca [pas.tiˈnaː.ka] (parsnip, carrot, stringray) from pastinum [ˈpas.ti.num] (two-pronged fork/dibble), which is of unknown orgin [source].

Words for parsnip are similiar in quite a few other languages, including pastinaca in Italian, pastinaak in Dutch and panais in French.

One exception is Spanish, in which parsnip is chirivía [t͡ʃi.ɾiˈβ̞i.a], from alcaravea [al.ka.ɾaˈβ̞e.a] (caraway), from the Arabic كَرَاوِيَا‎ (karāwiyā, caraway) [source].

This adventure was inspired by a friend who sent me a collection of ‘useful’ phrases from the Welsh course on Duolingo concerning Owen and his parsnips.

Here’s a video I made of this information:

Video made with Doodly – an easy-to-use animated video creator [affiliate link].

I also write about etymology, and other language-related topics, on the Omniglot Blog.