INTERACTIVE JOHNSON.

You never know what you’re going to find when you visit the eudæmonist; today’s post reproduce a couple of Boswellian quotations about Dr. Johnson’s working methods, of which this is the first:

The words, partly taken from other dictionaries, and partly supplied by himself, having been first written down with spaces left between them, he delivered in writing their etymologies, definitions, and various significations. The authorities were copied from the books themselves, in which he had marked the passages with a black-lead pencil, the traces of which could easily be effaced. I have seen several of them, in which that trouble had not been taken; so that they were just as when used by the copyists.

The second has italics in it, which I’m feeling too lazy to reproduce (long day), so you can go on over there if you want to read it.

Comments

  1. “Call no man eudaimon until he is dead.”

  2. Also interesting is: how does he justify an eudaimonist

  3. how does he justify an eudaimonist
    Maybe he pronounces it /udaimonist/, instead of /yudaimonist/ – like some people (myself) say /nutral/ instead of /nyutral/ for “neutral”.

  4. Or the ancient way, with /eu-/.

  5. marie-lucie says:

    Perhaps the writer has never tried to pronounce the word? This happens with visually-oriented readers and unusual words. But initial eu, pronounced /yu/, is not uncommon, as in Eugene, Europe, eulogy or eucharist. (I confess that I am not 100% sure how to pronounce euchre, since I have read the word but never heard it said, but I guess /yuker/). It may be that even though the writer knows how to pronounce /yu/daimonist, he hardly ever says it, and it is the initial vowel letter e, rather than the sound of the word, which triggers the article an in writing.
    North American /u/ instead of British /yu/ only occurs within words, after the first consonant (eg in “New York” vs “United” or “ukulele”), not at the very beginning, and the consonant has to be a dental/alveolar, such as /d/ or /t/, /n/ or /l/, as in duty, tube, neutral and lieutenant but not puke, mule or huge.

  6. … not puke, mule or huge.
    What about “muesli” ? I think I’ve heard both /myusli/ and /musli/ as English words on TV, but am not sure whether it was a native English speaker in each case.
    I don’t know how I would pronounce it, because in my experience it’s a German word. I had never heard of it before coming to Germany.

  7. эвдемонист – ehvdemonist.
    Can’t we just call them happynistics?
    If someone today used the inverted sentence structure that Boswell uses – The words… he delivered.., wouldn’t they be told off by stylisticians?

  8. I have in fact met the writer, who certainly knows how to pronounce the word (being a very learned person indeed); I suspect the “an” is an allusion to the style of the eighteenth century, when it was commonly used in phrases like “an universal.”

  9. marie-lucie says:

    Thanks, LH. But the “style” of the 18th century might reflect the pronunciation of the time: perhaps they pronounced /u/ not /yu/. What seem to us to be irregularities or idiosyncrasies on the part of authors in past centuries were often normal at the time they wrote.
    muesli: People who are aware that this is a German word know that it should not be pronounced as “moozly” or “muzzly”, and /yu/ is a common way to render German or French /ü/.

  10. m-l, what’s an example of a French ü? Is it pronounced similarly to the German one?

  11. marie-lucie says:

    AJP, I am using a phonetic symbol. It is written just “u” in normal French spelling, but it sounds like the German “ü”.

  12. Often I fret about how to pronounce English proper names of apparent German or French origin that I have rarely heard in English-speaking contexts, if at all. My disposition is to pronounce them as I would in the language in question, but I hesitate because I don’t want to be unintelligible or appear pseudy.
    I am equally uncertain, of course, as to how to pronounce, in an English-speaking context, really-truly German and French names like Angela Merkel, Guido Westerwelle or Ségolène Royal. In a political discussion with an English speaker I might try to head off problems by using, say, “batch-man” for (Michelle) Bachmann, or “fränsywah holland” for François Hollande.
    Having unburdened myself thus explicitly (mich ausgekotzt, as the delightful German idiom has it), I see that the easiest thing might be to just let it happen, that is, to pronounce the names as I do in German and French, risking unintelligibility and pseudiness. I have enough other stuff to fret about.

  13. When I can check the WiPe in advance I learn, as just now, that Bachmann is /ˈbækmən/. I wouldn’t have guessed that the “ch” is pronounced /k/.

  14. In my (limited) experience most people around here say “myoozly”. My wife gives it the authentic German ü even though she does not speak German: probably because she got it from her mother, who does.
    I think people here pronounce the composer Bach with about the right vowel but final consonant more like a k than the echt German ch.
    Michele (one “l”) Bachmann is presumably like that as far as the first syllable goes.
    But I was startled just now to find that the band “Bachman Turner Overdrive” properly has a different vowel in the first syllable of its name”, and that this is related to something called the Canadian Shift.

  15. marie-lucie says:

    Grumbly: In French, Bachmann also has a /k/, just like Bach (as in Jean-Sébastien).
    “fränsywah holland”: what is the “y” doing there?

  16. “fränsywah holland”: what is the “y” doing there?
    It must have snuck in when I wasn’t looking …

  17. marie-lucie: In French, Bachmann also has a /k/, just like Bach (as in Jean-Sébastien).
    But it’s a sort-of-angehaucht “k”, isn’t it (angehaucht = slightly breathed) ? I’ve heard it on TV5, and don’t remember anything as hard-edged as the English sound in “back”.

  18. marie-lucie says:

    Grumbly, it is likely that with increased foreign-language instruction and exchanges throughout Europe, more French people are aware of the pronunciation of other languages and capable of imitating it, but that is hardly true of the majority of speakers, including in the media.
    Several members of my family are/were quite involved in classical music and I never heard Bach pronounced the German way (except by Germans of course). Similarly, Beethoven was usually pronounced as if written “Bettov”, occasionally “Bettovenn”.

  19. marie-lucie, it’s not that the pronunciation sounds like an attempted imitation of a German one. It just sounds, well, “breathy”, in a French sort of way.
    Another, much more pronounced (!) kind of French breathiness is audible at the end of merci, as uttered by presenters on the arte TV channel. The “i” is followed by a prolonged, voiceless constricted flow of air across the back of tongue as it is pressed firmly against the very back of the palate. At least that’s how I have been able to reproduce the sound, more or less.
    I often wonder whether this is a phantom consonant from an earlier stage of the language, or perhaps just a piece of préciosité – which is how it actually strikes me, but it is so easy to mis- or overinterpret things when you’re on the outside listening in.

  20. OT: In the English-speaking countries, in my experience, we say simply Mendelssohn. On the Continent, however, it seems to be normaly Mendelssohn Bartholdy. Anyone know why the difference?

  21. I always attributed it to anti-Semitism (“Mendelssohn” being so obviously Jewish); I note that (per Wikipedia) his father, who added the more genteel-sounding surname, said “There can no more be a Christian Mendelssohn than there can be a Jewish Confucius,” and his sister Fanny wrote “Bartholdy [...] this name that we all dislike.”

  22. J.W. Brewer says:

    Yeah, down here in the Lower 48 we don’t cotton to no weird Canadian pronunciations and have always pronounced the first syllable in Bachman Turner Overdrive with the LOT vowel rather than the TRAP one, with the pronunciation of the more-recently-prominent Congresswoman following suit.

  23. After I’d lived there for a little while, a German made sure I knew how to say Bach the normal German way, i.e. with a short, Yorkshire-sounding A. He rightly said that the usual English pronunciation was “bark”. Bach means brook, of course.

  24. I can’t brook Bach. His music is too mathematical for my taste. Give me Morton Feldman, Dolly Parton or Schnittke any day.

  25. You guys have got me all mixed up: Now I’m hearing Yorkshire terriers barking.
    Also, I never knew what Becher’s Brook was until I looked it up just now. Good lord. I always imagined that it was something like Agincourt or the Rubicon or the Doomsday Book.

  26. Grumbly: I find Schnittke challenging but interesting in concert, but I can’t listen to him on record or radio, which in itself I find an interesting distinction.

  27. marie-lucie says:

    Grumbly: (Bach in French) It just sounds, well, “breathy”, in a French sort of way.
    Since this sounds different to you from the German word, I think what you hear is not restricted to this one word but is characteristic of French final consonants (the sounds, not the letters): there is an “aspiration” (rather, an expiration) after such consonants, we don’t just clip off the sound at the end of the word but exhale loudly, so the name sounds not just like “back” but like “back-hh”.
    Paul: In the English-speaking countries, in my experience, we say simply Mendelssohn. On the Continent, however, it seems to be normaly Mendelssohn Bartholdy. Anyone know why the difference?
    I have seen many music books, and one some of them the name is Mendelssohn and on others (perhaps German editions) Mendelssohn Bartholdy. In France I have always heard the composer referred to as Mendelssohn, and that is the name that is normally listed on concert programs, CD’s, etc.

  28. John Emerson says:

    Canadians also say Newfoundland “Newfin-land” with “land” pronounced like the word land and given a secondary accent.

  29. John Emerson says:

    Or maybe a primary accent.

  30. John Emerson says:

    Or maybe a primary accent.

  31. “Mendelssohn” in isolation might be taken to refer to Moses Mendelssohn.
    And what about that guy who is known only as “the son of Moses Mendelssohn and the father of Felix Mendelssohn” (his name, as it happens, was Abraham)? What a pathetic way to be remembered. Still, most people aren’t remembered at all, so that’s something.

  32. Though I’ve always known what it was, I’d never seen Becher’s Brook written down until just now. I thought it was Beechers, like the tree.

  33. And Ø, it is like Agincourt or maybe the Battle of Waterloo. Just watch the Grand National sometime.

  34. marie-lucie: I think what you hear is not restricted to this one word but is characteristic of French final consonants … there is an “aspiration” (rather, an expiration) after such consonants, we don’t just clip off the sound at the end of the word but exhale loudly, so the name sounds not just like “back” but like “back-hh”.
    Yes, that’s it. Is there an IPA symbol for this rampdown aspiration of consonants in final position ? I don’t think I’ve seen such a thing in Petit Robert – but then I suppose there aren’t many words in French ending in “-ach”, apart from proper names. Would this aspiration be considered inessential in an IPA rendering, say because it occurs only in the pronunciation of certain proper names from another language ?
    Now only “merci-hhh” needs explaining. Do you know this phenomenon that I’m trying to describe ? Not every arte presenter (to take only these) says it. I noticed last night that there are at least two who do – a man and a woman – and that they appear in “arte journal”.
    (Or rather: they were not in “arte journal” last night, but when I saw the studio decor I remembered that that’s where I’ve seen them. I almost never trouble myself to fix in my mind the names of programs on TV, and the channel on which they appear. To me TV is an electronic fountain where words and images of uncertain import jaillissent.)

  35. Now only “merci-hhh” needs explaining. Do you know this phenomenon that I’m trying to describe ?
    It’s very common, and often associated with the word “oui” (because that’s even more common than “merci”). I don’t know the history or geographic spread of the phenomenon, but I’ve heard it a lot.

  36. Stu, why single out TV? Isn’t all the world a fountain where words and images of uncertain import do whatever that French word means?

  37. “oui-hhh” ! I just knew there was another familiar word pronounced like that, but couldn’t think of it. I wonder whether the pronunciation has a semantic function, say like the idiomatically drawn-out “yeahhhhhh …” (which can signal all kinds of stuff: doubtfulness, grudging assent …). “merci-hhh” seems to be aiming at extra politeness or Verbindlichkeit – but, as I said, I may be overinterpreting.

  38. empty: why single out TV? Isn’t all the world a fountain where words and images of uncertain import do whatever that French word means ?
    I figured somebody would challenge me on that image, so I am all prepared and rarin’ to go. There are various kinds of “world”. In my immediate, appresented “world”, when someone says something or shows me a picture I can grab him by the collar and ask him just what does he mean by that. TV is a squawk box without a collar – you can’t talk with it or pin it down.
    As to jaillissent: it’s the 3rd p. plural of jaillir, a word which crops up a lot in the French prose I read. Apparently it means “surge up”, “gush up”, “spring (up)” like water in a fountain, but also in extended senses.
    Until I found myself casting about for a word to describe what an electronic fountain does, I was doubtful about the utility of jaillir. Now it seems perfectly right, and sounds more elephant than “… up”. I just hope it is the right word …

  39. marie-lucie says:

    Grumbly: Is there an IPA symbol for this rampdown aspiration of consonants in final position ?
    In a “narrow” IPA transcription (noting every little phonetic detail) you write aspiration as a little “h” in “superscript” after the main letter (you need to do this in English and German after initial p, t and k also – look at transcriptions of names in Wikipedia for instance).
    I don’t think I’ve seen such a thing in Petit Robert
    No, because it is automatic for most French speakers, so it does not need to be written in a “broad” transcription.
    - but then I suppose there aren’t many words in French ending in “-ach”, apart from proper names. Would this aspiration be considered inessential in an IPA rendering, say because it occurs only in the pronunciation of certain proper names from another language ?
    I did not mean to give the impression that this only occurred in foreign words, it is normal in the language with words pronounced carefully at the end of an utterance. For instance, take the word “pipe” which exists in both languages (ignoring the difference in the pronunciation of the vowel). In English the first p is aspirated, but not the second, which is barely audible, but in French it is the opposite, so the first p sounds much softer than the second, which is released with a more or less strong expiration.
    GS, LH: ouihh, mercihh
    I confess that as a native speaker I had not noticed this phenomenon, but you both seem to be right: I tried to do it and indeed I did. I am not a phonetician, so I don’t know all the physiological details, but I think that it must relate to the fact that French pronunciation tends to be quite tense, and it seems that the glottis sometimes closes after a vowel which ends a word-group, and it needs to open again to release the breath and that causes the sound “h”. (This may be especially noticeable on the radio since speakers are not as relaxed as in a normal conversation, and also the mikes pick up sounds that speakers or listeners don’t normally pay attention to). In English on the other hand, tension occurs mostly at the beginning of a (main) word and is almost immediately relaxed.
    These two modes of using the breath while talking are perhaps the main reason why French and English speakers find it so difficult to acquire a decent pronunciation of the other language: mastering the individual sounds is not enough, changing one’s mode of breath control is needed too. (Germans seem to do fine with both languages – perhaps they use an intermediate mode).

  40. marie-lucie says:

    jaillir : Grumbly is right. The major concrete image for this verb is that of a public fountain where the water shoots up into the air in multiple thin streams (if that is the right word). Figuratively, jaillir or the noun jaillissement apply to strong, spontaneous creativity in ideas, words, images, etc.

  41. changing one’s mode of breath control is needed too.
    No book bothers to point out such a thing, only marie-lucie can be relied upon !
    I had suspected something like that, but in connection with something else – the “singsong” ductus of spoken French, which still sounds unnecessarily melodramatic to me. I concocted a little hypothesis to make sense of that singsong: namely that it helps to pick out words in the otherwise seamless flow of vowels and consonants-suppressed-whenever-possible.
    I was unable to find any evidence for or against that hypothesis, and will now probably never be able to. What has happened is this: having left the TV running in the background for several months, tuned to arte 24/7, I find that I now hardly ever draw blanks in the middle of a flow of words, with or without the singsong.
    Out of a corner of my mind, I can currently observe myself automatically making sense of things by supplying words that I haven’t actually heard clearly. It’s all very radical-constructivist: but I can’t watch this process of understanding too closely, because that distracts me from understanding. Know what I mean ?
    At some later time I won’t know what I was talking about in the last paragraph with regard to French. I couldn’t be expected to remember such a phase with English, and now in fact can’t remember such a phase with German, although it must have occurred. Objectivity and ability maintain an uneasy peace with each other.

  42. Well, good, Grumbly: that’s one less word of uncertain import. But I’m afraid now we have another. Did you make up the word “appresented” while you were preparing yourself for that last challenge?

  43. It’s a technical term in Husserl’s phenomenology. Which see.

  44. I imagine that Husserl created it in a compare-and-contrast spirit, with reference to Leibniz’ Apperzeption and Kant’s empirische/transzendentale Apperzeption. As the link says, the modern notion of “cognition” is not far away from all that.

  45. John Emerson:
    In my experience as a Canadian speaker of English, Newfoundland is pronounced with stress on the first syllable, no vowel in the second, and a schwa in the third, with no stress of course.
    In its early life it was New Found Land, which was merely a description. Which reminds me (for some reason) that Nome (its location need not be stated since there is only one on the planet) is said to have originated in the notation ‘Name?’

  46. I’ve heard the version of Newfoundland where the last syllable sounds like land, maybe even with primary stress on the final syllable!

  47. Does John’s and iakon’s pronunciation of Newfoundland originate with French speakers of the word?

  48. marie-lucie says:

    JE: Canadians also say Newfoundland “Newfin-land” with “land” pronounced like the word land and given a secondary accent.
    iakon: In my experience as a Canadian speaker of English, Newfoundland is pronounced with stress on the first syllable, no vowel in the second, and a schwa in the third, with no stress of course.
    I live in Nova Scotia, which is (relatively) close to Newfoundland, and the pronunciation I am most familiar with is a mix of both of these. The main stress is on the first syllable, no vowel in the second, and a weakly stressed “land” on the third.
    I have heard NewFOUNDland, but not from Canadians (I associate this with a British accent).
    The inhabitants of NEWfoundland are called NEWfoundLANDers , with main stress on the first syllable and definite secondary stress on the third.
    AJP: Does John’s and iakon’s pronunciation of Newfoundland originate with French speakers of the word?
    French people of all descriptions would tend to stress the last syllable while speaking English. But the name of the island in French is “Terre-Neuve”, literally ‘New Land’.

  49. My understanding is that this page has it right:

    Newfoundlanders pronounce Newfoundland to rhyme with ‘understand,’ placing emphasis on -LAND, not New or found-. It sounds something like “newfin-LAND.” Canadians outside of the Atlantic provinces (therefore, discluding Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia as well as Newfoundland) and tourists are noted for their incorrect pronunciation of Newfoundland as “new-FOUND-lind”, “NEW-fin-lind” or “NEW-found-lind.”

    Of course, the word “incorrect” should be ignored.

  50. From the Dictionary of Newfoundland English, entry Newfoundland, a couplet suggesting the local pronunciation:
    The Carey being our schooner’s name as you may understand,
    With a crowd of brave young fishermen brought up in Newfoundland.

  51. John Emerson says:

    Iakon’s pronunciation is my own American pronunciation. My Canadian brother (BC) informed me of the other pronunciation, which I googled up for this thread.

  52. marie-lucie says:

    This is how Wikipedia indicates the pronunciation:
    1. Under Newfoundland Island:
    Newfoundland (pronounced /ˈnjuːfən(d)lænd/ ( listen); French: Terre-Neuve) is a large Canadian island off the east coast of North America
    I listened (presumably to a local inhabitant):
    - the first syllable (stressed according to this transcription) was higher in pitch, and there should have been a secondary stress mark before the third syllable, which was lower in pitch but with the full vowel of the single word land (not the schwa vowel as in England);
    - for the first syllable I did not hear /njuː/ (as in British English), but only /nuː/ (as in the transcription below).
    2. Under Newfoundland and Labrador (the province, a political and administrative unit)
    Newfoundland and Labrador /nuːfənˈlænd ənd ˈlæbrədɔr/
    Here the stress is placed on the third syllable, and the first syllable is /nuː/, which is unstressed (there is no listening feature to check the pronunciation).
    Summary: Some Newfoundlanders place the main stress on the first syllable, others on the third; the second is always unstressed. The syllable which could carry the main stress but does not receives secondary stress.
    Origins of the variations in pronunciation:
    - Extralinguistic factors: Newfoundland was long isolated geographically, culturally and politically from the mainland of Canada (it was a separate British colony for over 300 years, eventually joining Canada as a province in 1949, by referendum with a very slim majority). As a result of this isolation, speech patterns on the island are quite conservative (and there is a lot of local variation since communities were also separated from each other by the very rugged terrain and the rough seas along the coast).
    - Linguistic factors: It is relevant that the name is a compound word, made up of otherwise independent words. Stress on the last scomponent of a compound word (therefore NewfoundLAND) is an older pattern in English, found also in the Caribbean (among other places). The more recent tendency is to place stress on the first syllable of a word of two or three syllables, including the first word of a compound (hence NEWfoundland). This is why both pronunciations are found in Newfoundland, probably correlating with older, rural speakers still using the older stress pattern (represented in the song), vs younger, urban speakers, whose pronunciation approximates that of the Maritime provinces.
    - Wider linguistic geography: Note that both types of speakers use a secondary stress on the other syllable, while speakers from areas farther from the Atlantic coast (such as Ontario or BC) only have a single stress on the first syllable, agreeing with the general English pattern (at least in North America), with the vowel of the last component also reduced, unlike the pronunciation in Newfoundland itself and in the neighbouring provinces (see the first transcription in 1. above). As for NewFOUNDland, it seems to occurs in the speech of people who know the name from reading it, not from hearing it said.

  53. I don’t think the secondary stress mark has any place in English phonemic transcription: there are stressed and unstressed syllables, and the latter may have unreduced vowels or reduced vowels. So the third syllable of Newfoundland is unstressed and unreduced, just as Wikipedia shows.

  54. marie-lucie says:

    JC, did you listen to the two recordings?

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