The Tumble

I discovered a new word this morning! Dégringolade, which is a rapid decline or deterioration (as in strength, position, or condition)

I was searching for a synonym for dropped or tumbled, something more spectacular to describe the descent of twirling, sparkling snowflakes, when I found this word. Thought I’d share it with you word lovers, though I doubt it will ever make anyone’s most-frequently used word list.

To me dégringolade sounds half Spanish-half French. According to M-W this noun is derived from the French verb dégringoler (“to tumble down”) … from the Middle French desgringueler. Gringueler being a twist from the Middle Dutch crinkelen, to make curl. Origin of Kriss Kringle?

According to M-W, dégringolade tends to be applied to more metaphorical situations – a rapid fall from a higher position in society, for example. These days, dégringolade is fairly rare in American English. We rely far more heavily on its familiar synonym downfall.

The example sentence struck a chord with me:
“…the sad dégringolade of the holiday from a solemn day of remembrance to just another excuse to go shopping.”

I’m guessing this quote refers to the US Armistice Day – has it become a big SALE day in the States? This could also apply to the drop from the Thanksgiving “counting blessings” to Black Friday sales.

“Black Friday” is a new thing here in Canada – like in the last 25 years – and the idea hasn’t gone over that well. Now it appears that Canadian merchants are distancing themselves from the actual US Black Friday. Last Friday I opened e-mails from both Fabricland and Michael’s, announcing that This is Black Friday. Well, okay. I’m missing it.

But the last half of November seems to be one long sale. I see that:
Fabricland’s Black Friday Weekend is from Nov 18 – 21.
Michael’s B.F. Sale is Nov 18 – 27th. And it’s all Christmas stuff!
Staples B.F. Sale is Nov 16 – 24th.
Samsung is offering a B.F. Promo Period Nov 9 – Dec 1st
Searching for shoes online, I see that Quarks B.F. Sale is Nov 14 – 23rd
Home Depot is really generous. B.F. Sale is Nov 17 – Dec 7th
Rona’s B.F. Sale is Nov 17 – 23
Chapters is slow; their B.F. Sale only starts Nov 24th
And now as US Black Friday approaches, American companies like Corel are kicking in with their sales mail. My Heritage is offering DNA test kits for $52 as their B.F. promo.

This is the economic climate we live in. Everyone wants a bargain, so spectacular sales have become the order of the day. I just wish we could give them upbeat names. Why not a BRIGHT MONDAY, GOLDEN WEDNESDAY, or FELICITOUS FRIDAY?

Ragtag Daily Prompt: SPECTACULAR

More of Montréal

I’m having fun recalling things about Montréal. Hope you these linguistic trials give you a smile.

French 1 newbie
Je suis née…
not je suis nue!

La rivière march?
Well my dictionary says
marcher means to run

Centre d’achats
sounds like sang de chat.
My tutor shrieks

Sound bites…
“Did you hate your supper?”
“No, I liked it!”

Notes for non-francophones:
Né (M) née (F) means born; nu (M) and nue (F) means nude.

Marcher means to walk like a person walks, or to run like a machine/car would run. La rivière coule, meaning flows. (Better as la rivière s’écoule.) Le camion (truck) s’écoule would get you a chuckle, too, I think.

Centre d’achats is a shopping center; sang de chat means cat’s blood. Yes, my tutor did shriek a bit over that one. 🙂

Francophones have trouble getting the right vowels, too, at times, plus they tend to tack on an “h” now and then. The hair is cool this evening. I hate pizza for supper. Did you hate some, too? Or leave it off, like Cockneys. ‘ave you seen ‘im today?

Dictionaries can bring such chaos. I corrected a French-to-English translator who used remove the apple heart, meaning core, because in the dictionary celery had a heart, so the apple must, too. Our word “fit” can mean like a garment fits, but also someone had a seizure. That has brought some intriguing translation woes.

Crumbles in the Kitchen

The Ragtag Daily Prompt yesterday was CHAMBER. I had a few thoughts lined up on that subject, but didn’t get them down. Today’s prompt is CRUMBLE; maybe I can combine the two.

Pixabay image

Chambre is the French word for room, which is where we got it. According to my book on word etymology CHAMBRE + CHAMBER are derived from the Greek word kamara, which meant something with an arched cover or a room with a vaulted roof. This entered Latin as camara, which in turn slipped into English as CAMERA and brought its cousin COMRADE, which originally referred to someone sharing a room.
The Germans did their part, too, in contributing to the diversity of English. The Greek kamara became the Frankish word kamerling, which hopped across the Channel, morphing into chamberlain en route and, in England, reshaped itself into a chimney.

Though the ancient Greek and Roman worlds have crumbled over time, linguistic bricks have been scattered far and wide, gathered up, and cemented into many other languages.

The word CHAMBER immediately reminded me of that old nursery rhyme, Goosey Goosey Gander. According to Wikipedia, the earliest recorded version of this rhyme was published in a London nursery rhyme book in 1784 and there have been several additions through the years. In keeping with today’s prompt, I’ll add a new verse to the story myself:

Goosey goosey gander
wither shall I wander
upstairs and downstairs
and in my lady’s chamber.


And did you check the kitchen, too
my pretty roaming goosey?
Oh yes! I found the pastry cook,
where lovely little Lucy
was in the midst of mixing up
a dish of apple crumble
and when I tipped it on the floor
you should have heard her grumble!

Image by Gerrit Horstman — Pixabay

Fun & Intriguing Words

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is DOPPELGANGER

Image by Frank Winkler — Pixabay

According to Lexico a DOPPELGANGER is “an apparition or double of a living person.”
As well as a double or a spirit double, M-W allows for the wider definition of “an alter ego” and “a person with the same name.”
This last is an overly broad definition. When I began searching the 1840 Ontario Census for records of my great-great grandfather John Smith. In 1840 there were 1770 men named John Smith living in Ontario, and probably all shapes and sizes — no two alike.

While visiting Mr Webster, I noticed their Word of the Day: FUNAMBULISM
Funambulism, they say, means tightrope walking. “The Latin word for tightrope walker is funambulus, from Latin funis, meaning rope, and ambulare, to walk.” That sense led to people applying the word for “a show of mental agility.” Squirrels, I have observed, are master funambulists.

Image by Alexas_Fotos Pixabay

The other day I was wending my way through M-W in search of the word VERBIAGE and specially took note of one synonym: GARRULOUS. Such an intriguing and colourful word, don’t you think? According to Merriam-Webster this refers to prosy, rambling, or tedious excessive speech; pointless or annoying talk.

Image by Logan N — Pixabay

Some Days You Feel Like…

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is RESIDUE, a word which means that which remains.

Image by adege — Pixabay

Residue comes to us, along with many cousins, from the Middle French sedentaire and ultimately from the Latin verb sedere, meaning to settle. Through the years we’ve made much of this verb, stretching it out into words like dissident, sedition, preside, reside, sedentary, sediment, session, and even subsidy.

Reservoir, coming from reserve, refers to an extra supply held back, kept in store for future use. Sometimes when we feel fatigued, we are still able to draw from a reservoir of energy to give that last boost that helps us complete the task.

I’d like to have a full reservoir of energy, the oomph to accomplish tasks, especially now that it it’s spring, but with my CLL, my energy level feels more like the last bit left than an extra supply.

Image by Couleur — Pixabay

The Mother Tongue

Here’s my response to this week’s Six Sentence Story, where our prompt word is HARMONY. You may need a dictionary to enjoy my quick tale. 🙂

Image by GirlieOnTheEdge

SPEAKING THE MOTHER TONGUE

“How is your sister making out at her new legal secretary job,” Kenzi asked her friend Pansy.

“Sad to say, the harmony in our home has been totally off since she started there,” Pansy replied. “Yesterday she said ‘You wore my best sweater again last night – and don’t try to obfuscate or prevaricate because I have credible witnesses to substantiate your culpability.’

“When I asked her what that meant in English she huffed and puffed and told me I’d need to ‘cultivate the thorough knowledge of a worthy dictionary’ if I want to get any sort of decent career.”

Three weeks later when Kenzi met her friend again, she could tell Pansy was in a much better mood.

Asked if things had improved at home, Pansy said, “Sis’s legal secretary position was terminated, so she got a job as sales clerk at Deandra’s Ladies’ Wear – and are we ever glad to have her speaking the mother tongue again!”

🙂

Image by astize — Pixabay