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

No Encroaching Here!

The Ragtag Daily Prompt for today is ENCROACH

To me this is such an old-fashioned sounding word, like something Chaucer or Shakespeare might have used. Like the branches of Burnham wood slowly encroaching on Macbeth’s castle. Anyone remember that scene?

According to my book of word meanings, encroach and crochet have a common root. To encroach on something is to try snagging the thing, or attempt to catch it with a hook, coming from the French word, encrochier : “to seize with a hook.” Even more interesting, the French borrowed the root word “croc” from the Norwegian krokr, meaning hook – the word that has streamed off into the English crook, someone who snatches things wrongfully.

We got a little demonstration of encroachment yesterday afternoon. I’ve been feeding a stray cat that somehow landed on this property at some point in spring and likely found a safe place to stay in one of the farm buildings next door. He’s very timid – in fact that’s what I’ve named him. Since he doesn’t belong to the neighbours, they don’t include him when they put out food for their several tame farm cats. So, since I have a soft heart for cats, I’ve been feeding him all fall.

Yesterday one of the neighbour’s cats, a pretty calico, wandered over to our yard and happened to be near the garage when I set out a bowl of food for Timid. The calico took a notion that she could encroach on his food dish. He didn’t attack her, but expressed his displeasure quite sternly. No encroaching of any kind tolerated here!

Image by ArtTower — Pixabay

Had she reached out a claw and snagged some of his food, the calico would have been encroaching in the true sense of the word. Doesn’t work very well with dry cat food, though.

We’ve enjoyed a long mild fall with almost no snow, in fact last week was delightfully mild for this time of year. It has worked so far to feed the stray. But a cold wind is blowing from the northwest today and the temp is dropping steadily, so I suppose we won’t see so much of Timid once winter really settles in. Hopefully the mice around wherever he shelters are well fattened.

But We’re Canadians

A few days ago I received an e-mail from Merriam-Webster listing all the new words they’re adding to the dictionary this month. I see Heather at Ragtag Daily Prompt has decided to use one of these for today’s prompt. AMIRITE isn’t a word as much as a slurring together of several –something that’s been going on for quite awhile, as you will see in my little dialogue.

Mom squeezed Lanny’s shoulder. “You know our rules, Lanny. None of your friends stay here overnight without us knowing. When we’re away we want to know what’s going on here.”

“So I’m grounded,” Lanny mumbled. “Amirite?”

“Yes, you’re grounded. And can you please pronounce your words properly. It’s Am. I. Right.”

His sister Bella spoke up. “Don’t you know, Mom, that amirite is now a proper word? You can even look it up; it’s one of the newest words is Webster’s dictionary.”

“What next! People just can’t jumble a bunch of words together and call it a new word. The English language will degenerate into a series of mumbles that no one understands.”

“Too late, Mom,” Lanny replied. “People have been jamming words into each other for centuries. Like however. That’s in the dictionary.”

“And henceforth,” Dad put in. Mom glared at him.

“And moreover,” Bella added.

Mom sighed. “Nevertheless…”

“See! How many eons ago did someone run that one together?”

Bella grinned. “Yeah. Whensoever did that happen?”

Lanny waved his hand dramatically. “And furthermore, old Daniel added it to his dictionary.”

Mom shook her head. “I give up.”

“BUT,” Dad said sternly, there’ll be no amirites here. We’re Canadians and ‘EH’ will do nicely.”

“So I’m grounded, eh?”

“You got it.”

“Come on, Lanny,” said Bella. “Lets make ourselves some fluffernutters.”

Dad’s eyebrows went up. “What in the world…”

Lanny smirked. “You’ll have to look it up in the dictionary.”

Mom looked helplessly at Dad. “Will we ever understand them?”

Up, Off, and Back Again

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is the simple word OFF.

My first thought was of the way we English speakers use prepositions to add new meaning to verbs. So this little sort-of-tale will be my response to this prompt.

Blow up
Tell off
Tear up
Stomp off
Sober up
Cool down
Think through
Grieve for
‘Fess up
Make up
Work out
Carry on

My dear hubby told me yesterday that he’s having trouble adding an image to his post, so I’ll give it a try. (No problems here.) We’re finding that Word Press has been throwing some wrenches in our gears lately. How about you?

This photo comes from Pixabay, submitted by Steve Buissinne. The words are my adaptation of an old quote.

The Letter I: Uniquely Ours

Rye Regular

I’m not sure there’s another language where the I is pronounced like we English pronounce ours. (Though we must make allowances for the Cockney OY.) There are some dialects that pronounce AYE like our I, but I don’t know of any other language where it stands alone.

However, most of our words that start with I come from Latin, carried across the English Cannel by Roman soldiers, or coming into English via the French adaptation of a Latin word.

Even our simple word INK comes from the French encre, adapted from the Latin encaustum, meaning burned in. The Romans in turn borrowed it from the Greek word encaustos, which is where we get our word CAUSTIC

Actually, many of our IMPORTANT, INTERESTING, INFORMATIVE, and INTRIGUING words start with an I. Im- heads off a number, Imm- some more, and In- starts off a host of words.

Some of these are combos, while others maybe once were, but have become detached from their roots:
We have INERT, but no ERT; INVITE but no VITE.
INVOKE still shows its roots; the –voke comes from vocation.
INVESTIGATE comes from In + vestige, or trace. So you’re looking for traces of the facts when you investigate something.

Rye Regular

Awhile back I started reading a book about the history of Europe from the fall of the Roman Empire, through the Middle Ages, up until the Enlightenment. It was heavy slogging but one thing was clear: the history of Europe has been a long stream of invasion and bloody conquest.

Constant waves of invaders came from the east, the steppes, the Ural mountains: the Franks, the Goths, the Gauls, the Vandals, and a host of others. A lot of these had their turn sacking poor Rome, and then moved on to various other conquests, including the British Isles. Plus there was the era when a good part of Europe was overrun by Muslim armies. Land grab, power grab: this is the history of mankind.

The news this past year has been disturbing to many of us, and leads us to wonder if INSIDIOUS INVADERS are at work behind the scenes. Not wielding swords and charging forth, but playing from the shadows, slinging ink and using social media, hacking, spying. Fueling discord, attacking authority, wishing to bring down the society we have now and replace it with something “better.” But who is really behind the turmoil and mud-slinging we’re seeing today? People may not be such willing puppets if they could see who’s really pulling the strings.

I believe it would be a good thing for us all to read George Orwell’s book, Animal Farm, and refresh our minds as to the possible consequences of “throwing off the yoke of oppression and bringing in a new social order.” If we lose our guiding star in these chaotic times, some power will step in and take control – and they may not be so nice to live under, either.

Our Poor, Neglected H

And now for one of the most misunderstood letters in the English language…

Rye Regular

Accused of being HIGH-BROW or even HAUGHTY, the use of an H is at least controversial. Some groups of English speakers do an automatic delete, and for sure the French do. We can’t blame the use of H and TH on the Norman invaders. Lately I heard a Cockney speaker explaining that if you want to sound like them, “Get rid of the H’s. Don’t need ’em.” Ditto with the TH’s. “Oo needs an H? Ged along royt wew wivoud ’em, we can.”

The other linguistic foible is to stick them in where they don’t belong. “H’Irvin h’Armstrong was here today. He wanted to h’ask you h’if you’d gotten his message?”

But H is here to stay, because we need to HALF– so many things, and because it starts out so many short everyday words we can’t do without:
HURT + HEAL
HOLD + HURL
HELP + HINDER
HIM + HER

Doing some research on the origins of our letter H, I discovered that our H words are mostly Germanic in origin, that their roots go back to a common Indo-European language, and they mostly began with a k or kh sound.
Here, Who, How < kho
Hind (deer) < Kemi
Hip < kheup
Heart < kadia or kerd
Hearth < kherthaz
Help < kelp

The Japanese are fond of their H, giving us words like HONCHO and HAIKU, and who knows how many more if the current linguistic melange continues.

Rye Regular

Dorothy Sayers, in her book, THE FIVE RED HERRINGS, waxed merry with various accents and dropped or added aitches in a realistic way. The book was published in 1931 and she died in 1957, so I’m hoping I’ll be okay reprinting this bit.

Investigating the suspicious death of Mr Campbell, Inspector Macpherson called on Mr. Gowan. When the haughty English butler opened the door, the Inspector asked to speak to the gentleman.
“Mr Gowan is h’out. He’s gone to London.”
In his Broad Scots accent, the inspector explains…
“I will tell ye, wi’oot circumlocution, that there is mair than a suspeecion that the puir gentleman was murdered.”
“So I h’understand.”
“Your name is Halcock, is’t no?”
The butler corrected him. “H’alcock,” he said, reprovingly.
“H, a, double l?”
“There is no h’aitch in the name, young man. H’ay is the first letter, and there is h’only one h’ell.”

Then the Inspector goes on to question Hammond, Mr Gowan’s chauffeur, described as a small, perky man, mongrel in speech, but betraying a strong streak of the fundamental cockney.

“Did ye drive Mr. Gowan onywhere on Monday last?”
“Drove ‘im ter Dumfries. Mr. Alcock comes down when I was ‘avin’ me supper, and says Mr. Gowan wanted the saloon round at 8 o’clock ter tike ‘im ter Dumfries. And I says, ‘Right-oh!’ I says, ‘an’ I can pick up them there pitchers at the same time.’ That’s what I says and that’s what I done.”

As I understand Cockney, this would have sounded like, ” ‘At’s Royt. Drove ‘im ter Dumfries. Mr. Alcock comes down when Oy was ‘avin’ me suppah and says Mr. Gowan wanted the saloon round at oyt o’clock… ‘at’s wha’ Oy says and ‘at’s wha I dun.”

(The WordPress Spell-checker doesn’t like this colloquial post. There are red lines everywhere!)