BLOG ETYMOLOGY.

Claire Bowern, in her shiny new blog Anggarrgoon (“Anggarrgoon is Bardi for ‘on the web’. From time to time I’ll rant about various linguistic things here”), has posted this intriguing entry:

It’s a little-known fact that Blog has an etymology in Bardi. It’s a place name. It’s between (if memory serves) Jojogarr and Gonorr. So next time you’re in a tinny surrounded by crocodiles on your way to Koolan Island, think of how much cooler this is than “weblog” > “blog”, which doesn’t even obey the regular rule of metrical truncation.

I like it, and I think I’ll start seeing if I can convince people of it.


Bardi, by the way, is spoken in the One Arm Point Aboriginal Community, Western Kimberley Region, Western Australia, and I hope Claire will be blogging about Australian languages, which I find most interesting.

Comments

  1. Thanks for the ad and the links! I’ve been looking for my favourite One Arm Point link, but it’s passed into web history, unfortunately. It was about the opening of the new store in the community and it made my day at the time because it meant you could get more than one type of tinned veggie. sic transit…

  2. My girlfriend informs me that she once took a hike through the everglades, wading waist-deep through the muck: an activity she says was described by the guide as ‘blogging.’
    I’ve not been able to verify this usage.

  3. apropos ‘blog’ not following the rules of metric truncation, there is precedent – the movie Zardoz.
    The word Zardoz is a remembered, truncated version of Wizard of Oz – not that zardoz has become common usage, thought it might/oughta (maybe), as in ‘to zardozi reality’.
    Pete Edler
    Stockholm, Sweden

  4. I mean ‘to zardoz reality’ of course (not ‘zardozi reality’)
    Pete Edler
    Stockholm, Sweden

  5. Anggarrgoon is now here.

  6. zardoz sounds vaguely Farsi:

    FEṬRAT ZARDŪZ SAMARQANDĪ, SAYYED (also, mistakenly, Saʿīd; Miklukho-Maklaĭ, No. 2825) KAMĀL (b. about 1070/1660 in the Zardūzān quarter of Samarkand; d. after 1110/1699, probably in Bukhara), Tajik poet. Little is known about his life. Our main source on his biography is Malīḥā Samarqandī, according to whom (fol. 93b) Feṭrat was born into the family of a gold-thread embroiderer (hence his designation Zardūz).

    http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/fetrat-zarduz-

  7. Suggesting that John Boorman took the name “Zardoz” from Farsi could easily be construed as an anti-Iranian slur.

    If you haven’t been (un)lucky enough to see the actual movie, this clip sums it up pretty well.

  8. Trond Engen says:

    And zard- is cognate with <i<gold, of course, so -ūz must mean “embroiderer” or “worker”, Wiktionary tells me it’s Turkish (edited for layout):

    Alternative forms: uzman, usta

    Etymology: From Old Turkic (uz, “to make, to be able to”), from Proto-Turkic *ūŕ (“master, craftsman”).

    Adjective uz (comparative daha uz, superlative en uz) “professional, proficient, skilled”

    Noun uz (definite accusative ?, plural uzlar) “adept, authority, craftsman, expert, master, specialist”

  9. Trond Engen says:

    Me: (edited for layout).

    Maybe, but not with great skill.

  10. Interestingly deletion of initial syllables is a reasonably common sound change in Australian languages (perhaps including Bardi?), much less so elsewhere, which provides a certain sense of synergy for the Bardi and English etymologies of blog.

  11. David Marjanović says:

    I can’t find a Bardi etymology for blog…?

    (FAQ is of course foire aux questions. But I digress.)

  12. Maybe J Pystynen found a version of the original Anggarrgoon post? I wasn’t able to myself, but I’m terrible at that sort of thing.

  13. Trond Engen says:

    I read it as a comment about

    think of how much cooler this is than “weblog” > “blog”, which doesn’t even obey the regular rule of metrical truncation

    I.e., Australian deletion of initial syllables applied on the English compound weblog would yield blog,

  14. “Blog” reminds me of “shroom” for “mushroom”, though “mushroom” isn’t a compound.

  15. David Marjanović says:
  16. John Cowan says:

    deletion of initial syllables is a reasonably common sound change in Australian languages

    As shown by that most famous of examples, *gaduga > Mbabaram dog ‘dog’.

  17. David Marjanović says:

    Also reported as *gudaga and *guduga. I hope somebody has access to a primary source and can set us straight.

  18. John Cowan says:

    **Gaduga was just a brain fart. This post from 2006 quotes Dixon in extenso, but here’s the money quote:

    Ken [Hale] suddenly saw the etymology for dog “dog”. It came from an original gudaga, which is still the word for dog in Yidin[y] (Dyirbal has shortened it to guda). The initial g would have raised the a in the second syllable to o, the initial gu dropped and so did the final a (another common change in the development of Mbabaram).

    I here write ** for an incorrect reconstruction, as in this sentence from Tolkien Gateway: “A mistaken form would be Primitive Quendian **aladâ instead of the correct *galadâ. They both would bring Quenya alda but the former would bring Sindarin *aladh instead of the proper galadh.”

    By the way, how do the quotation marks work around glosses? I always understood that they were invariably single quotes independent of the rules for quotations in the surrounding text, but I see this sentence, as well as the whole of Etymonline, using double quotes.

  19. David Marjanović says:

    I’ve always thought the same rules are used as for quotations in the same text.

  20. Yes, Trond got it right.

    I did poke about Anggargoon’s new site a bit to see if older posts from that era were around, but to no avail. Have not yet made the trek to Internet Archive. So alas I have for now no idea what the Bardi etymology of Blog actually is (nor if Bardi ever drops any initial syllables).

  21. By the way, how do the quotation marks work around glosses? I always understood that they were invariably single quotes independent of the rules for quotations in the surrounding text

    That’s the way I use them, and it’s traditional in (traditional) linguistics, but there’s no such thing as “invariably” in style matters.

  22. Which led me to Claire’s Twitter account, which led me to this paper, which has the prettiest graphs ever, because it’s a large-scale study of vowel-color synesthesia.

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