Friday, 22 December 2017

a history of the the word 'orange'

What's the word for 'orange' in your language?
Jay Doubleyou: why is english so different from other languages? part one: vocab
Pain in the ananas: etymology maps | News |

Here's another piece from the New European:

Peter Trudgill: A pithy history of the word orange

PUBLISHED: 18:00 07 October 2017

Oranges. Photo: Archant

PETER TRUDGILL traces the clockwork progress of the word ‘orange’ from southern India to northern Europe, and finds the odd detour

The Democratic Unionist Party are having difficulty coming to terms with the official use in Ulster of Irish Gaelic, the indigenous Celtic language of Ireland. They also have a predilection for the colour orange.

Belfast is a long way from Andhra Pradesh, but the Indian subcontinent is where we need to start if we want to explain the attraction this colour has for certain Irish Protestants.

Oranges seem to have originated in southeast Asia. Our modern English word orange probably goes back very many centuries to one of the Dravidian languages of southern India like Tamil or Telugu: the modern Telugu word for orange is narinja. The ancient Dravidian word for this fruit eventually made its way north into the classical North Indian language Sanskrit as naranga. It then travelled on across the mountains of the Hindu Kush into Persian as narang, and from there it made its way into Arabic in the form of naranj.

Oranges were probably first introduced into Europe by Portuguese traders – the Greek word for orange is portokali – but English speakers most likely acquired the word for the fruit via the language of the maritime Venetians, who called it naranza, or the Spanish, where it was naranja. The word then travelled north into France, where it passed into French as orange: the initial n went missing as a result of une norange being re-interpreted by speakers as une orange.

Some time around 1400, orange came into the English language from French, having of course made the 5,000 mile journey from southern Asia to our island along with the fruit itself.

The first known usage of the word as the name of a colour dates to about 1600. Prior to the arrival of oranges on these shores, the colour was most often regarded as a kind of red: the ‘red’ breast of the European robin is often actually closer in hue to what English speakers these days would most likely label ‘orange’ in other contexts.

Orange is also the name of a town in the Vaucluse, in southern France. The town was the centre of a principality which in the 16th century passed into the ownership of a branch of the Dutch aristocratic dynasty, the House of Nassau. That led to this particular branch of the family being known as the House of Orange.

In the following century, the Dutch aristocrat William of Orange married Mary Stuart, the Protestant daughter of James II & VII, the Catholic King of England, Ireland and Scotland.

After James was deposed in the Glorious Revolution of 1688, William and Mary became joint monarchs of the three kingdoms. James then attempted to regain his crown by raising an army in Ireland, but the victory of William’s army over James’ forces at the Battle of the Boyne in northern Ireland in 1690 established William as a champion of the Protestants.

This led to the name ‘Orangemen’ being used to refer to members of anti-Catholic groups in the north of Ireland who regarded him as a hero. They also came to adopt the colour orange as a symbol of their group membership; the tricolour flag of modern Ireland still has orange as one of its colours to represent the Protestant section of the island’s population.

But it is of course a complete and utter coincidence that the English-language word for the colour (and the fruit), and the name of the town in southern France, just happen to be identical.

And there is also an irony here which anti-Gaelic-language members of the DUP may not be aware of. It is true that the originally Dravidian word for the citrus fruit came into English via French.

But the original Latin word which the name of the French town of Orange descends from, Arausio, came into Latin from ancient Celtic, where it was the name of a Celtic water-god.

Chinese apple

The Low German word for ‘orange’ is Appelsien. High German speakers in northern Germany say Apfelsine (other German speakers have Orange).

The Low German word spread into Danish and Norwegian where it is applesin. In Icelandic it appears as appelsína, in Faroese appilsin, and Swedish apelsin. These words recognise the Asian origins of the fruit, meaning literally ‘apple (from) China’.

Where did the word 'orange' come from? - European Culture - The New European

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

english is not transparent

English is not an easy language:
Jay Doubleyou: plain guide to english
Jay Doubleyou: pragmatics: it ain't what you say it's the way that you say it

Compared with other languages:

If only English was as easy to read as other languages

PUBLISHED: 18:59 08 February 2017 | UPDATED: 18:59 08 February 2017

Amador Loureiro

The English might claim their language is clear and straightforward, and mock the complexities of others. But when it comes to opacity, it is English which leads the way

A German word recently made it into our news. The word was Bundespräsidentenstichwahlwiederholungsverschiebung. It was deemed to be newsworthy because of its extreme length, fifty-one letters.
But it only looks so amazingly long to English speakers because we have adopted the practice – which is not followed by many other European languages – of separating out the different components of compound words when we write them. In German, all the different elements of compounds are joined together to form a single written word.
This particular German example, which relates to the recent election of the Austrian president, can easily be rendered into English as “federal presidential election rerun postponement”, a phrase which is not difficult to analyse or understand. The only difference between the Austrian word and the English-language version is that we leave gaps between the component parts so that it appears as five words instead of one.
We don’t always agree in English about where and how to do this separating: I have just written “English-language”, but I could just as well have omitted the hyphen. In German, on the other hand, the equivalent word would have to be englischsprachig. Similarly, in Swedish it would be engelskspråklig; and in Polish angielskojęzyczny.
But there is another more serious point to be made here about compound words in German and other languages. I was once briefly ill with a condition called hyponatraemia. English friends enquired anxiously about what this rather scary-sounding term meant. Greek friends, on the other hand, understood immediately that it simply meant there was not enough sodium in my blood stream. In Greek, aema means ‘blood’, natrio is ‘sodium’, and hypo means ‘under’, so for them the meaning was totally transparent.
The same would have been be true for speakers of Icelandic, where the condition is called blóðnatríumlækkun, literally ‘blood-sodium-lowness’. The meaning of the English word is opaque, while the Greek and Icelandic words are completely transparent.
Ironically, the German word for opacity, Undurchsichtigkeit, is completely transparent to German speakers. The different elements of un-durch-sicht-ig-keit correspond to English ‘un-through-sight-y-hood’, so German speakers can immediately tell that it means ‘unseethroughableness’. Our word opacity, on the other hand, really is opaque: English-speaking children hearing word for the first time can’t work out from its structure what it means, while a German child can do so easily with their version.
This aspect of English has been called “the lexical bar”. Anglophone children are at a disadvantage because of the way English has expanded its vocabulary over the last few centuries by borrowing elements from Greek and Latin, rather than through creating words from our own resources so they are easy to understand and learn.
We can see how English compares with other languages in this respect by looking at a few examples. The English word omnivorous corresponds to Norwegian altetende, ‘all-eating’. Compare the opaque English term ambidextrous with the transparent German beidhändig, ‘both-handed’. And we have the word incoherent while Dutch version is onsamenhangend, ‘un-together-hanging’.
This problem of opacity and the lexical bar could have been avoided if we had followed the example of our European neighbours. Unlike their continental counterparts, the English-speaking men who carried out the important work of expanding our vocabulary in the 1600s and 1700s, introducing new scientific, philosophical and cultural terms to the language, looked to Latin and Greek for help because they thought their own vernacular language was inadequate and inferior. They were wrong about that, which is a real pity.
It has been argued that this strategy of borrowing words from the prestigious languages of antiquity has kept important areas of English vocabulary out of the reach of large sectors of our population, and has led to the notion – very well known in the English-speaking world – of the difficult and feared elitist category of “long words”. But, as the fifty-one-letter Austrian word shows, it isn’t the length of the words which is the problem; it’s their unseethroughableness.
Peter Trudgill is honorary professor of 
sociolinguistics at the University of East Anglia

If only English was as easy to read as other languages - European Culture - The New European

Monday, 11 December 2017

making it memorable

Marliee Sprenger has looked at how the memory works when we try to learn something:
Educational Leadership:How the Brain Learns:Memory Lane Is a Two-Way Street
Strolling Down Memory Lanes: Memory and Storage Systems

And she suggests there are five 'memory lanes':

Here are five nice little videos:

Taking Information to Long-term Memory

The brain has lanes that act as file cabinets storing information, skills, and facts from learning experiences.

The information is filtered, interpreted and stored in various parts of the brain using these lanes.

It has at least five of these lanes that can be used for long-term memory; automatic, emotional, episodic, procedural and semantic.

We will investigate each of these lanes and give practical techniques on how to use and integrate these lanes into your teaching to help students take information to long-term memory. 


Teacher Ana Leiguarda wrote a piece for the English Teaching Professional magazine:
Making it memorable - ETp

With a presentation here which takes us through the five lanes:
making it memorable - special didactics by Nerea Villarruel on Prezi

Finally, it's actually a very practical way to deal with everyday and work situations:

Making Meaningful Meeting Memories: Using The Five Memory Lanes

Have you ever lost your keys? Your wallet? Your cell phone? Your favorite pen?
I have. Well, I didn’t really lose them. I just forgot where I put them.
I have a ritual of walking into my house and always placing my keys, wallet, favorite pen and cell phone in the same spot. That way I always know where they are.
But every now and then, they aren’t where they are supposed to be. They seem to have vanished.
I’ve noticed that if I walk into my home and my hands are full, I may unintentionally put them down along with the other items in my hands. Or if my mind is distracted with something important and I neglect to follow my usual routine, I’ll put my keys and wallet in an obscure place. Or if my phone rings as I enter the house, I get distracted and set them down.
So what do I do when I’ve lost my keys? I’ve already tried using my automatic memory (see below for more info). I failed my automatic memory by not following my regular routine of placing them in the same spot.
Maybe my episodic memory will work. I go back to where I last remember having my keys, wallet and cell phone in my hand. That location may help me remember.
Or I try retracing my steps by using my procedural memory. I pick up anything I had with me, go out to my car and start over. I walk the same path again hoping that helps me find them.
As a last resort, I may access my semantic memory and use my higher order thinking skills. “What could I have done with my keys? Did I drop them by accident? Are they in the grass, on my porch, in my mailbox? If I were a set of keys, where would I be?”
I may become rather emotional if I can’t find my keys, wallet and cell phone although my emotional memory won’t help much in finding them. But, we all recall the emotional experience of losing our wallet and trying to find it, right? That emotional highjack triggered by our amygdala is hard to forget.
This scenario illustrates how our five long-term memory lanes can be used to recall information. The challenge for conference and meeting organizers is to design event and education that access these five memory lanes to increase learning and retention.
Making Meaningful Meeting Memories: Using The Five Memory Lanes - Velvet Chainsaw
Improving The Annual Meeting Experience By Strolling Down [Semantic] Memory Lane - Velvet Chainsaw

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

turner prize won by lubaina himid

The Turner Prize is Britain's biggest modern art prize:
Jay Doubleyou: turner prize won by duncan campbell

This year's winner has just been announced:
Lubaina Himid becomes oldest artist to win Turner Prize... | Daily Mail Online
Lubaina Himid first black female Turner Prize winner | Daily Mail Online

Turner prize winner Lubaina Himid: 'I have more things to say – this gives me the chance'

The oldest artist ever to win the prize talks about turning Guardian pages into art, being forced out of London, and how she’ll be spending the prize money on funding her friends – and buying really fancy shoes
Bittersweet victory … Himid with Le Rodeur: The Exchange, 2016, at Ferens Gallery in Hull
 Bittersweet victory … Himid with Le Rodeur: The Exchange, 2016, at Ferens Gallery in Hull Photograph: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian
Lubaina Himid is bright-eyed and ferociously on the ball the morning after winning the Turner prize. Perhaps one advantage of being the oldest-ever winner, as the headlines baldly put it (she is 63), is the ability to receive the award with immense, mature poise. As the £25,000 cheque was presented in Hull Minster on Tuesday evening, the Preston-based artist thanked, among others, the art historians who had supported her work “during the wilderness years”; “my mother, for letting me do what I wanted as long as I came home by 10pm”; and “all the people who stopped in the streets of Preston and Hull to wish me luck – it worked”.
Still, she tells me as we talk in the Ferens Gallery, where the Turner-prize exhibition has already received 90,000 visitors as part of Hull’s year as UK city of culture, her victory is “bittersweet. I think to myself what I could have done if I’d won it at 40. That would have been good. But I guess there are more things I’ve got to say now, and it gives me a good opportunity to say them. But there aren’t that many years left. Twenty years in front of you is not the same as 63 years behind you.”
She doesn’t feel “old” though – or didn’t until the news coverage started to emphasise her age, perhaps inevitably, given that this is the first time in many years the prize has been open to artists over 50.
Echoes of May and Trump … the cut-outs based on Hogarth’s Marriage à la Mode.
 Echoes of May and Trump … the cut-outs based on Hogarth’s Marriage à la Mode. Photograph: David Levene for the Guardian
Himid’s room in the exhibition is a riot of colour, drama and joyfully exuberant works that reveal darker – even dangerous – aspects the more you look. There is a stage-set of larger-than-life, cut-out figures based on William Hogarth’s Marriage à La Mode. First exhibited in 1987, it shows Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan locked in a wild flirtation, while hideous figures from the art world look on, the critic sporting at his neck a frill made out of condoms. (“I’ve never had a great relationship with critics,” Himid says.) The two black slave-servants from Hogarth’s original have become giant, serene figures, regarding the scene with baleful dignity. Himid decided to show it again for the exhibition “because I could not believe that we had a female prime minister and a laughable US president in power again”.
Then there is a wall of pages from the Guardian, with which Himid has intervened in one way or another, painting out pictures or text, and adding images here and there. In 2007, as the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade in the British empire approached, she decided to look in detail at the paper. It had plenty of images of black people in it, she noted – unlike the first time she studied it, in 1983, when she found only one photograph of a black person in a year’s worth of editions.
But, she says, the Guardian “has this extraordinary habit of placing negative texts, about something else entirely, next to images of black people”. Wait, I say, isn’t that to be expected? Papers convey news, after all, much of which is bad. “But the juxtapositions are always to do with either violence, prisons, or theft,” she says. No one in the Guardian, she argues, can possibly be looking at the paper page by page, “as an object”. This enrages her. “I believe in the Guardian in the way that other people stick by their football team, but it makes me really, really angry.”
She is probably right, in that editors do think about balance and pace of stories, about choice of pictures, about avoiding stereotypes and tropes, but they don’t look in the same way Himid does – with an artist’s eye for the whole effect of a page, at how unconnected stories and images, including adverts, bleed into one another.
‘Now come on!’ … Himid’s doctored Guardians.
 ‘Now come on!’ … Himid’s doctored Guardians. Photograph: David Levene for the Guardian
One of the most striking of her Guardian works shows a front page with an article by Irish novelist Anne Enright about Ugandan midwives, who are photographed in an impressive phalanx, arms clasped in front of them, ready to serve. The headline at the top of the page, however, is about violent crime: “Gangs are getting younger and more violent, Met chief warns.” Hamid blocked out the story associated with that headline, as well as the masthead, and inserted paintings of three long, brutal knives. She left an advert intact at the bottom – for a Caribbean holiday.
I’m still unconvinced, I tell her. The main picture on the page, after all, was of a group of powerfully competent black women, surely a positive image. But she blasts me with further examples. There was a Weekend magazine with the late poet and activist Maya Angelou on its front cover; and on the back, she remembers, was an advert for an insurance company featuring an image of a spade. “People of my generation know ‘spade’ is the same as the word ‘nigger’. I know you need the advert: but could you think twice about putting the word spade next to an image of a black person?”
Swallow Hard: The Lancaster Dinner Service, 2007.
 Swallow Hard: The Lancaster Dinner Service, 2007. Photograph: David Levene for the Guardian
Then, she says, she would find an image of tennis star Venus Williams, “with the headline ‘Venomous Venus’. Now come on!’” She has an archive, in her house, of 10 years’ worth of such pages. “It’s not so people will give up reading the Guardian. What the hell would we read if we didn’t read the Guardian? We’d be fucked. It’s important we carry on reading, but that Guardian readers are on it – that they think, ‘We see this now.’ That they see this kind of undermining was going into our heads and we didn’t realise it.”
Himid was born in Zanzibar, home to her father’s family. He died from malaria when she was very young, after which her Lancastrian mother, a textile designer, returned to Britain and set up home in Maida Vale in London with her aunt, a teacher who had studied music (both women were hard workers but “had a capacity for wild parties”).
Her aunt made sure she could read at the age of four, but her mother’s teaching came in other ways. One weekend, there would be a trip to the V&A museum, the next to a department store. Himid has written of these 1960s outings, remembering the sensuousness of the museum’s “voluminous floral tapestries, heaving with dancing yearning bodies”, and then the gorgeousness of Liberty, where she would find herself “trailing a finger over fragile milky German crockery, lying down on piles of soft Persian rugs, wanting to unfurl bolts of fabric”.
Later, she yearned to make political theatre that could be encountered by chance – on the street, in public places – and so she studied stage design at Wimbledon School of Art, but found herself learning from deeply traditional men whose gaze was fixed on the ballet or the opera. “I tried to turn every brief into a political statement – it was miserable in a way,” she says. Art gave her a different route: museums are a “continuation of the street”, she says, or should be, “and everything in them belongs to you: every item, every jewel, every painting, every lamp”.
Himid moved to Preston in Lancashire when she was 36. She had to get out of London: she was broke and “art schools were not employing black women to teach in 1990”. She found a happy place to work at what is now the University of Central Lancashire, where she is now professor of contemporary art. She has a strong network of friends and colleagues, many making work away from the limelight or, like her, waiting until late on in their careers to be offered big shows at prominent venues. Younger curators in their 30s and 40s, she says, are beginning to look back on the art they were brought up on and saying: “Hang on, just a minute, something’s missing.”
She plans to spend a bit of the £25,000 to buy some really fancy shoes, but most of it on helping out other artists. There is so much to do, she says, given the enormous gap between the huge public appetite for art and the press’s limited imagination in covering it. She talks about colleagues she would like to see receiving more attention: photographer Ingrid Pollard “who is well thought of by people who know her but hasn’t had a great show in a great place – she makes deep, quiet, beautiful work.” Or Claudette Johnson, who makes “beautiful pastel drawings”. Or Magda Stawarska-Beavan, who has just made a haunting film “about place, belonging, not belonging”. Or Rebecca Chesney, whose environmentally aware work might involve transforming a space into a riot of wildflowers.
Himid’s fondness for drawing the conversation away from herself and towards others is not unlike the joyful, lively invitation of her art. “I want to have a conversation,” she says. “My way of getting conversation going, or getting people to take action, is by drawing them in and saying: ‘You bring your baggage, your opinion, your life and I’ll bring mine – and let’s try to talk about it.’ I don’t see the point, otherwise.”
  • The Turner prize exhibition is at Ferens Gallery, Hull, until 7 January.

Turner prize winner Lubaina Himid: 'I have more things to say – this gives me the chance' | Art and design | The Guardian
A cross word: Turner prize winner Lubaina Himid's Guardian headline mashups | Art and design | The Guardian
Turner Prize 2017: Lubaina Himid's win makes history - BBC News