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French Translation (The History of Britain Revealed)
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alincthun



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Oh! I had not dared to link this word with English "nicety"/"niceness". Rather curiously for it's written en fran├žais dans le texte.
It's interesting that there was "nesc" in old English.
I have also found the word "nesh":
"Tender, delicate, weak," now only a Northern England dialect word, from O.E. hnesce "soft in texture" (cognate with early modern Du. nesch, Goth. hnasqus), of unknown origin.
Or elsewhere:
The generally accepted origin is that it is from the Old English hnesce meaning feeble, weak, or infirm. Again, though, the Oxford English Dictionary goes its own way and ascribes the origin to a 16th century Dutch word nesch typically meaning damp or foolish.
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alincthun



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Damn! I rashly had forgotten that your Old English noticeably differs from my Old French, which is just the vulgar written tongue of the Middle-Ages. As I really don't know what to do with Anglo-Saxon sources, I prefer not to go further (if you leave me all alone).
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Nick


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When did French begin to use -s to make its plurals (chat-chats)? Is there any point in so-called "Old French" where the plurals are mostly not -s?
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Rocky



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Mick Harper wrote:
It is a fact though that English is way, way, way better than any other language in terms of verbal resources. We always have ten words for things that everyone else has one for (and we add to them on a daily basis with elan). It's why we're toppo notcho in novels, poetry, drama, song-writing, advertising etc etc but crap at music and art.

Why does this make us crap at music and art? (And you must be excluding pop music in the music category, right?)
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Rocky



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Nick wrote:
When did French begin to use -s to make its plurals (chat-chats)? Is there any point in so-called "Old French" where the plurals are mostly not -s?

I googled this and tried to find evidence of the plurals being mostly not -s at some time in written French. I couldn't find anything about this in articles about Old French or the transition to Middle English. (I found one mention that says this about French nouns in the Old French period: "With a few exceptions, all nouns have number marking (singular vs. plural); and they are either masculine or feminine".) Anyway, since there is no mention of written examples of French plurals gaining the -s, the esses must generally have been there when Old French became a written language.

Anyway, this wikipedia page lists all the latin noun declensions :
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latin_declension

If you look, there are lots of occasions where latin nouns end in an "s".

So clearly, when the shift from Vulgar Latin to Old French occurred this is what happened:

1) It was recognized that it was confusing to have some nouns end in "a", some in "m", some "i", some in "e", some in "s", etc.
2) The people got together and decided that all plural nouns would end in "s". (So "agricolarum" would become "agricolarus", "agricolae" would become "agricolas" for the plural nominative and vocative, for example.)
3) They also decided any singular nouns ending in "s" had to drop the "s". (So "servus" became "servu", for example.)
4) They made some exceptions for words like "fils" and "animaux" and "croix".
4) But this change messed up the Latin case system. So they dropped the case system altogether, except for the use of "li" here and there.
5) After they dropped the case system, Vulgar Latin words like "servu" changed to a more French sound like "serve" and then to "serf".
6) Then Old French became a written language.
7) Then Middle English developed and they stopped using "li" altogther.
8) Then the French stopped pronouncing the "s" at the end of plural words.
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Mick Harper
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Why does this make us crap at music and art? (And you must be excluding pop music in the music category, right?)

I was citing an orthodox argument that when "the arts" was a minority business the Brits specialised in the verbal rather than the non-verbal arts. {Name a Brit artist before Turner; name a Brit composer before Britten.)

But as you point out, when everything's popular culture we're the bestest at everythingest. English-speakers that is.
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Mick Harper
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when the shift from Vulgar Latin to Old French occurred

Sorry to be a nuisance, Rocks, but can you let us know when this happened (with some evidence attached) so we can get down to tackling your very erudite list.
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Rocky



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Mick Harper wrote:
when the shift from Vulgar Latin to Old French occurred

Sorry to be a nuisance, Rocks, but can you let us know when this happened (with some evidence attached) so we can get down to tackling your very erudite list.


It was my ham-handed attempt to get to the THOBR point of view via reductio ad absurdum.

How do the scholars propose that oculum changed to oeil?

Eye comes from the OE ege/eage.

It's interesting that eye and oeil sound more like each other than the respective languages they are apparently derived from.
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Rocky



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Mick Harper wrote:
{Name a Brit artist before Turner; name a Brit composer before Britten.)

Interesting. There aren't any painters in Ireland either who are earlier than Turner.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irish_art#Early_Irish_masters

Due to ongoing wars, occupation and poverty much of the Irish arts were restricted to music and literature. Yet beginning in the late 17th century, Irish painting began to take foothold. These painters typically looked outside of Ireland for influence, training and clients who were wealthy enough to afford the purchase of art. For example, Walter Frederick Osborne developed his open air painting in France whereas Sir William Orpen studied in London.


Though there was an Irish composer in the 1700's:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matthew_Dubourg
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Mick Harper
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There are no Irish painters full stop. There are no Irish composers full stop. Anybody who was anybody was part of the 'English' Ascendancy anyway. Wordsmiths and generals is all. And mathematicians for some reason.

Due to ongoing wars, occupation and poverty much of the Irish arts were restricted to music and literature

A typical piece of special whingeing. The 'Celts' are a bunch of chronic under-achievers generally.
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Nick


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I'm sorry but you're being silly and ignorant. Barry was a great Irish painter. His Death of Lear is awesome. Jack Yeats is considered a great Irish modern painter, though not personally to my taste. Ireland was a world leader artistically during the Dark Ages.

Francis Bacon - the British painter who commands the highest prices BY FAR - was Irish-born. English painters before Turner? Hilliard, Reynolds, Wilson.... the name Gainsborough ring a bell? The fact that the English felt insecure about their painters compared with foreign painters doesn't mean there weren't some great ones.

The comment about musicians is even sillier. Purcell not good enough for you? Elgar is still internationally recognized.

The reason that English literature tends to dominate is because of the English language, period. Half of the great works of Spanish literature, for instance, are not in print because the number of literature-reading Spanish-speakers cannot justify their being in print. It is practically impossible to compare literatures, especially poetry. (For example, Italian and Spanish have multitudes of words that rhyme, English doesn't, hence the need to invent blank verse, etc.).

The dominance of English has lead to most of the "English canon" being available in film version. That's why your average bloke in Grenoble and Mumbai has heard of Vanity Fair, Beowulf and The English Patient - not because they are "better" than their equivalents in other languages with a long literary tradition.

Having a long list of synonyms can be seen as a weakness - a lack of decisiveness - rather than a "richness". The article that Dan just quoted from on the other side of this forum mentioned that we have "belicose" as a synonym of "warlike". Does anyone ever use "belicose" in a way that could be described as comfortable or natural?

Please, nationalism is a disease of the immate.
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Nick


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And don't give me the Ascendancy argument, Mick. Most British and Americans who achieve anything in life have a posse of non-English grandparents. If Irish Protestants aren't Irish then half your writers in the glorious English literary tradition aren't really English, either. Chaucer's dad was French, damn it!
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Mick Harper
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This is complete rot, Nick. Let me put you straight
1. Barry and Jack Yeats....that's one for me if they're the best you can come up with.
2. "Ireland was a world leader artistically during the Dark Ages" is something I trumpet in THOBR if you recall. I hardly think the Book of Kells is germane to this particular argument.
3. "Francis Bacon - the British painter who commands the highest prices BY FAR - was Irish-born." Well, I suppose you can just about squeeze in with this...pah!
4. Hilliard, Reynolds, Wilson.... Gainsborough -- well, I considered Gainsborough and Reynolds (and Constable for that matter) to be essentially contemporaneous with Turner for the purposes of this argument and the fact that you can only produce a miniaturist from the sixteenth century, apart from these gentlemen, clinches the argument for me.
5. And Purcell and Elgar! Is that really it? For three hundred years? Round Five to Mick!
6..
The reason that English literature tends to dominate is because of the English language, period. Half of the great works of Spanish literature, for instance, are not in print because the number of literature-reading Spanish-speakers cannot justify their being in print

It's unfortunate that you should choose Spanish, the second most favoured language! Polish? Dutch? I would have given you some house-room, though I am baffled that anyone would question English's status of Numero Uno when it comes to a) novels b) plays c) poetry. In fact the only literary form where English is an also-ran is of course libretti. Case closed!

Please, nationalism is a disease of the immate.

Nick, I am an experienced Applied Epistemologist. I haven't been affected by nationalism (though anti-nationalism is by far the worse disorder) for many, many years.
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Nick


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God you get dogmatic and high-and-mighty when you don't know what you're talking about.

1. Reynolds (born 1723) a contemporary of Turner (born 1775), really? Only in the sense that you are a contemporary of George Orwell.
2. The fact is the English novel started bloody late. Things like Pamela are NOT VERY GOOD NOVELS. English painting, music and literature take off at very much the same time. Purcell was definitely "pre-contemporary" to Reynolds or Turner. The difference is that while foreigners like Holbein, Handel and van Dyck went to Britain where the money was and tended to dominate the market and stifle local talent, the same didn't happen with literature. Why oh why? Let's have a really hard think. Perhaps because it's the one area where a non-English-speaking foreigner is at a disadvantage (Fuseli could cross the Channel to paint (badly) but not to write.
3. I am admittedly more ignorant about music than art and literature but I don't see how John Dowland fits into your rigid view of culture.
4. Don't accuse me of anti-nationalism. I'm DEFENDING the value of British painting and British music against a simplistic, schematic view. Hardly, anti-nationalist.
5. You are forgetting history in your description of "national character". There was an event known as the Reformation in England which disrupted art in all sorts of ways. Famously, the theatres were closed during the Republic but more importantly mass amounts of images were destroyed. Unless there was a huge fashion for building empty niches in the 16th Century as you may no doubt argue.
6. You dig your own pit when you talk about Britain being numero uno in poetry.
7. Why talk about Poland and Holland? One country that disappeared during an important period of modern history (that's why the Polish national gallery is in Dulwich) and another that is not of a comparable size. Why not talk about Italy? No literary tradition there, right? And what about Russia. Are you seriously saying that Britain's contribution to the novel and the short story leaves pre-Soviet Russia so very far behind? Notice we are talking in your nationalist terms about Britain, not literature in English which of course outweighs literature in Russian and in Italian. But once English has gained a critical mass you end up having Poles like Conrad and Russians like Nabokov (and, yes, Irishmen like Yeats and Joyce) CHOOSING to write in English BECAUSE OF THE AUDIENCE not because of some innate superiority of the language.

I hope that being an applied epistemologist does not imply having rigid schematic views of how the world works.

P.S. Mick in the past you corrected my spelling in a rather patronizing way. In the same spirit I ask: "Did you really mean to write 'effected'?
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Mick Harper
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P.S. Mick in the past you corrected my spelling in a rather patronizing way. In the same spirit I ask: "Did you really mean to write 'effected'?

I just correct spelling. I don't know how to do it in a patronising or in a non-patronising way. Hatty corrects mine (and yours if she gets there before me). If you insist we will leave your work alone, though you will have to agree to paragraph with a line space in accordance with House Rules.
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