JUGHEAD’S HAT.

The time has come once again to justify the “hat” portion of Languagehat’s name. Any kid growing up in America during the last two-thirds of a century has surely encountered Archie Comics, and has probably wondered what the deal was with that strange jagged object Jughead wears on his head. Now, thanks to dogged sleuthing by “the in crowd” at I’m Learning To Share!, we learn from this copiously illustrated post that it was an actual style of headgear, developed after World War I by “mechanics, welders and other workmen who found they could get the same ‘safety’ function of a factory worker’s beanie by altering an old worn-out fedora. The method was to turn a fedora upside-down, push the hat’s crown inside-out, then turn up the brim and trim away its excess with a scalloped cut.” It was quickly imitated by kids who wanted to look cool. After WWII the style began to die out, leaving Jughead’s lid as an increasingly incomprehensible remnant. (Jeff Goldblum, however, wore one as “‘Freak #1″ in the 1974 revenge flick Death Wish; there’s a deceptively goofy image at the I’m Learning To Share! page.) This may be the single best piece of information I’ve ever gotten from MetaFilter.
Totally unrelated, but I thought I’d pass it along: did you know that the given name Elmer was originally a surname (derived from Old English æðel ‘noble’ and mær ‘famous’)? It “has been used as a given name in America since the 19th century, in honor of the popularity of the brothers Ebenezer and Jonathan Elmer, leading supporters of the American Revolution” (in the words of Patrick Hanks and Flavia Hodges, A Dictionary of First Names, p. 101).

Comments

  1. Ron Irving says:

    Jeff Goldman? Surely you mean Jeff Goldblum.

  2. Wow, cool. I have an old worn-out Fedora; perhaps it is time for an arts & crafts project… Or maybe there is another year or two in the lid beforehand.

  3. So I’m guessing that Elmer is a form of Aylmer? (uptalk inflection at end)

  4. Jeff Goldman? Surely you mean Jeff Goldblum.
    D’oh! Don’t know how that happened, except that my head is still fairly full of mucus.
    So I’m guessing that Elmer is a form of Aylmer?
    Excellent guess! Other variants are Aimer, Amer, Amar, Aylmore, Aymar, Eymer, and Elmar.

  5. Huh, I was sure Elmer derived from the common Swiss surname (from Elm, canton Glarus). You learn something new, etc.

  6. Charles Perry says:

    And I had assumed Elmer had something to do with Elmo, but that name turns out to be derived from Erasmus.

  7. FWIW, there are ten times as many people in the UK with the surname Elmer (1,200) as with the first name (120) which makes it a quite rare surname but an extremely rare British first name: if it wasn’t for the film Elmer Gantry (and the ’60s British rock band Elmer Gantry’s Velvet Opera – oh, and Elmer Fudd, of course – I’m not sure I would ever have heard the name.

  8. Interestingly Funny!
    Here I thought it was something from his Mom’s kitchen.

  9. Thanks for the Jughead link, LH. The phrase “incomprehensible remnant” nicely describes my reaction to what I had always just assumed was a crown. I never could figure out why he was wearing a crown.

  10. derived from Old English æðel ‘noble’ …
    That word is perpetuated in the name Ethel. It is a close cognate of edel, as in Edelweiss. And let’s not forget odal (OED: “Land held in absolute ownership without service or acknowledgement of any superior, …”).

  11. An ancestor of “allodial”? In Marc Bloch the first time around I always misread “allodial” as “alluvial” and wondered why that was such an important legal category.

  12. An ancestor of “allodial”? In Marc Bloch the first time around I always misread “allodial” as “alluvial” and wondered why that was such an important legal category.

  13. A hat also worn by Gomer Pyle, when he was just a mechanic on the Andy Griffith show, if I remember right. Very much in the style, at any rate.

  14. I always thought it was just a paper party hat like those found in Christmas crackers.

  15. Americans don’t have Christmas crackers. Just soda crackers and animal crackers.

  16. rootlesscosmo says:

    Ezra Elmer was a freight conductor I knew on the Southern Pacific RR Coast Division in the 1960′s–seniority dating from the mid-30′s as I recall.

  17. An ancestor of “allodial”?
    A good question, John. I harbour doubts. OED records several words immediately connected with allodial, but the best account is given for allodium:

    [a. med.L. al-, allōdium (frequent in Domesday Book,) f. Ger. *alôd, allôd, ‘entire property,’ found in the Salic Law in latinized form alod-is, ‘in W.Goth. documents alaudes’ (Diez), f. all + OLG. ôd (OHG. ôt, OE. eád, ON. auðr), ‘estate, property, wealth’ (Goth. *auds in audags, OE. eádiȝ wealthy, fortunate, happy). With allōdium cf. med.L. clenōdium a trinket, f. Ger. kleinod, lit. a ‘little piece of property.’ Occasionally englished as al(l)od, al(l)ody. Usage varies, in this word and its derivatives, between al- and all-. In med.L., forms in al- are more usual.]

    An estate held in absolute ownership without service or acknowledgement of any superior, as among the early Teutonic peoples; opposed to feudum or feud.

    1628 Coke On Litt. 1b, For in the law of England we have not properly Allodium, that is any subject’s land that is not holden, unlesse you will take Allodium for Ex solido, as it is often taken in the Booke of Domesday. Ibid. 5a, In Domesday, Alodium (in a large sense) signifieth a free mannor. a1660 Hammond Serm. (T.) Allodium, not from any ἀλλ’ ἐκ Διὸς but from God, as the lawyers have derived that word. 1751 Chambers Cycl., Allodium and patrimonium are frequently used indiscriminately. 1839 Keightley Hist. Eng. I. 77 Allodium, land held in full propriety.

    That’s for background information. When I have time I’ll look into the matter more closely. (I wish one could simply cut and paste the nonstandard characters – the Greek, yogh, and some others  – from the OED. I have to put them in manually.)
    Meanwhile, my copy of the Clark-Hall Concise Anglo-Saxon Dictionary has just now arrived from Amazon. Ach! A joy. A drēam, that is. Who would have thought that drēamcræft means “art of music”, or that a drēamere is a musician? (See the relevant page at Googlebooks – the fourth edition, also listed at Amazon for $US18.99; I can’t immediately see any difference between the fourth and the third, which is what I have. Mine includes a supplement that is not visible at Googlebooks.)
    A mere $US9.99, for around 500 pages guaranteed to delight any wordglēaw LH-frequenter. Get one!

  18. A picture of someone wearing a hat for the Christmas-cracker-deprived.

  19. Filed in the mental category: things I hadn’t realized I didn’t know, but am very pleased to finally know. Thanks!

  20. Noetica: With allodium cf. med.L. clenodium a trinket, f. Ger. kleinod, lit. a ‘little piece of property.’

    Not literally, not even remotely “property”, Mr. N, according to Grimm. The quite long Kleinod entry starts with the briefest of summaries, as always: “a special noun-formation from klein”. If there is any cf.-ing to be done, it is with Heimat (which is not a homely Hat).
    I don’t know if you have immediate access to Grimm, so here’s the first bit:

    KLEINOD [Lfg. 11,5], n. eine eigne substantivische bildung von klein.
    I. Die formen.
    a) die eigentliche form ist kleinot, wie noch im 16. jh. vorwiegend geschrieben (aus andern gründen doch auch jetzt noch gesprochen) wird. den nhd. lautgesetzen entsprechend ist aber vielmehr das volksmäszige kleinet (s. e), und das alte volle -ôt fürs nhd. eine auffallende erscheinung (s. h).
    b) mhd. kleinôt, daneben aber und wol öfter da? kleinœte oder kleinœde. ahd. nicht bezeugt, es ist anzunehmen chleinôt und chleinôti, chleinôdi, mit derselben doppelform wie in da? heimôt und heimôti (heimuodi), älter mhd. da? armôt und armôte (wb. 1, 58b), während in andern entsprechenden bildungen nur die zweite form erscheint, wie ahd. hêrôti herschaft, mitilôdi mitte, einôti, einôdi, vielleicht nur durch einen zufall der überlieferung; von der bildung s. gramm. 2, 257. so sind nhd. kleinod, heimat, armut, einöde verspätete reste éiner alten bildung mit doppelform, erhalten durch zufällige einflüsse, wie einöde durch das sehr frühe denken an öde, armut durch anklang an mut. ist etwa in dem myne clinote En. 322, 14 var. (vgl. sp. 1087) auch ein fem. erhalten, wie es die andern bildungen oft neben dem n. haben? vgl. beste kleinot Nürnb. chr. 2, 558a (s. II, 6), das doch auch n. sein kann, doch s. die erste kl. u. II, 3 zuletzt

    The “?” is a character like a z with a tail, I’m sure you know what I mean when I say that “da?” would today be “daß”.

  21. Not literally, not even remotely “property”, Mr. N, according to Grimm.
    Well don’t attribute that to me, Stumann! I simply provided the entire OED entry, for people’s interest.
    The “?” is a character like a z with a tail, I’m sure you know what I mean when I say that “da?” would today be “daß”.
    “Duh”, I think is the expression. You mean daჳ, perhaps?
    The dictionary you mention is available freely for everyone’s perusal here. Our host has linked it on the Languagehat main page. See “Language resources“, down on the right side.
    Anyway, in defence of OED, its wording is this: “Ger. kleinod, lit. a ‘little piece of property.’” For an English dictionary so to summarise, when off on an early Germanic excursus, is not too bad. If the kleinod is like a “kleines ding“, as the Grimm resource has it, we must reflect on the Ur-meanings of thing, must we not? See for example OED’s entry “thing, n1″:

    12. †a. A collective term for that which one possesses; property, wealth, substance. Obs.

    And similarly, one may reasonably assume, in other Germanic tongues. Cf. also Latin res, one sense of which Smith gives as “effects, substance, property, possessions”.
    Cf. also French chose, to which Petit Robert accords this legal acceptation: “Objet matériel susceptible d’appropriation. -> 2. bien, 2. capital, patrimoine, propriété, richesse.”
    That’s the way with thing, isn’t it? Many meanings.

  22. O, and of course from the Grimm entry “Ding”:

    8. eigenthum, vermögen, hab und gut, geld; …

  23. (I wish one could simply cut and paste the nonstandard characters – the Greek, yogh, and some others – from the OED. I have to put them in manually.)
    And thank you for taking the trouble! It annoys me when people cut-and-paste from the OED and simply leave the odd strings (or, worse, blank spaces).
    Meanwhile, my copy of the Clark-Hall Concise Anglo-Saxon Dictionary has just now arrived from Amazon… A mere $US9.99, for around 500 pages guaranteed to delight any wordglēaw LH-frequenter. Get one!
    Indeed. I was lucky enough to pick up a copy of the Fourth Edition at a used book store back in 1996, and I use it regularly with great enjoyment. (1st ed. 1894, 2nd ed. revised and enlarged 1916, 3rd ed. further revised and enlarged 1931, 4th ed. with Supplement 1960, reprinted 1962, 1966, 1969, 1970… Now, that’s what I call a time-tested work.)

  24. Zhoen, you seem to be confusing Gomer with Goober. See the photo in the I’m Learning To Share post.

  25. Yes, LH. Strange that your list does not show the third edition as having a supplement. My copy has one. It is of course a reprint; it doesn’t give the edition, but reproduces prefaces to the second and third edition, so I deduced that it must be a reprint of the third edition. I guess I was mistaken. Shoddy practice on the publisher’s part.

  26. I wasn’t attributing the OED statement to you, Noetica. I put your moniker at the beginning of the OED quote simply to draw your attention.
    The Grimm entry is saying, as non-phonologist I would formulate it, that the “od” in Kleinod is a phonological “formation” (bildung), not a word or something that derives from a word, a fortiori no word meaning “property”. The diminutive form “-chen” is also such a formation, I suppose.
    What you write about “the Ur-meanings of thing” is all very well, but not really à propos, si j’ose dire. Everything is a thing, but this doesn’t imply that “od” means “thing” means “property”, so explaining the etymology of allodium.

  27. Oddly enough though, Stu, it remains plausible that the od element in Kleinod is indeed cognate with the OE element eád mentioned by OED. This seems to be supported by some of the evidence before us. And eád does mean “estate, property, wealth”, as OED has it. How are we to judge between such Titanic agonists as Grimm and OED? There seems to be little agreement even about the ultimate source of -chen that you mention, along with its English cousin -kin. No one seems to know if it is inflectional or derivational (and grammaticalised).
    I shall resist the temptation to limn an entrechatistic connexion with Hungarian állat (“animal”, so “cattle”, so “property”; cf. pecunia). But perhaps John can help us here, because we are so far missing the requisite Dravidian angle.
    As for the generality of thing, it is perfectly germane. And German, come to think of it. (Ha! Heidegger wrote a piece called “Was ist ein Ding?”, bless ‘im. Great generalists, your Germans. Some fine generals, too. But enough with the caviare, alrædiȝ.)

  28. Your cavilry is in fine form today, Generalistissimo! But there’s no use our engaging in a bad-tempered pah! de deux. As usual, I got into fretting about the overall argumentative choreography, whereas after a certain point you were just improvising your nous off. For me it’s a long, long way to Covent Garden.

  29. A few hours ago I tried the Grimm link chez Hat for the first time and found it broken, because the University of Trier site had recently been revamped. it’s now working again.

  30. Would someone care to remind me of the name of the rhetorical figure exemplified by “I shall resist the temptation to …[goes on to do it anyway]“?

  31. Grumbly Stu: it’s praeteritio, well instantiated in Cicero in Catilinam I. 3, thus: nam illa nimis antiqua praetereo, quod C. Servilius Ahala Sp. Maelium novis rebus studentem manu sua occidit.
    (My translation: “For I omit, as too out-of-date to mention, how Gaius Servilius killed Spurius Maelius with his own hands for plotting revolution.” Apparently, “new things” in the political sphere were very disturbing to the Romans.)

  32. Heidegger wrote a piece called “Was ist ein Ding?”
    Which received a very convincing response from The Pipkins.

  33. Praeteritio! Thanks for that treasured informatino, John Cowan. A kleindoch for my collection, at least. See also Apophasis at Wikipedia, which appears to survey the variants reasonably well.
    Stu, sure. A matter on which there is disagreement that we are not about to resolve. I am certainly not committed on either side. Why should I be? Interesting though.
    [A low bow, knees flexed exactly 35°. Receives bouquet of bay leaves. Exit screen left.]

  34. Slip of the overflexed left temporal lobe. I meant Kleinod, of course.

  35. John: I would be amiss in failing to thank you for the preteritio!
    Noetica: No, you must have meant Kleindoch, because it made me laugh out loud: klein-”oh, but it is!”. As in

    - Ich glaube nicht, daß das richtig ist.
    - Doch, doch!

    - I don’t think that’s right.
    - Oh but it is, it is!

    Moving right along,

    It annoys me when people cut-and-paste from the OED and simply leave the odd strings (or, worse, blank spaces)

    Hat, if you will tell me where to find an IPA keyboard mapping, or a convenient tool that will give me these ჳ things, I undertake not to incur your displeasure in future. We’re talking Windows XP here.

  36. Praeteritio

  37. We’re talking Windows XP here.
    Then you have a Character Map, ¿no?

  38. Supongo que sí, if it’s part of XP standard stuff. Trouble is, I’ve always used German Windows, so I don’t necessarily recognize off the bat the English names of features. I have Textdienste und Eingabesprachen, which give me human language character sets, no IPA so far as I know. I just looked on the net and saw there’s a Windows tool called Character Map.

  39. How curious that Kleinod made an appearance at Languagehat in January this year:

    By the way, the top spot in that vote for most endangered German word was taken by “Kleinod”.

    We have done our bit to keep it in circulation.
     
    Stu, try these wonderful tools, which our host has recently pointed us to.
    Since I write in the southern hemisphere and I am read in the northern hemisphere (now that we speak of temporal lobes), I prepare my text with this handy facility first.
    noʎ oʇ ‘sıɥʇ ǝʞıl ʞool plnoʍ ʇı ʇ,upıp ı ɟı

  40. Those tools are really wonderful. Finally I can type the occasional Russian word. That must be modern Greek there, in view of the use of dieresis as in ΰ.
    I downloaded Character Map, which turns out to be totally useless. A few compiled Java classes, no start program, and a “documentation” which drones on about how Java works, but has not a word about how to use the tool. Very strange. As a programmer, I refuse to do anything with it on my machine, because it has obviously been created by a raw novice.

  41. Noetica, your antipodean facility has a flaw. Upside-down text would depend from an imaginary line, like Devnagari from a real one. As it is, the text stands on the usual imaginary line. When you turn your monitor upside down, you see that “el” has slipped down.

  42. On second thought, in that hemisphere your monitor is already upside down, so if you turned it upside down again, it would be in the same position as mine, and you might not immediately notice the flawed typesetting.

  43. Grumbly Stu: downloaded Character Map, which turns out to be totally useless.
    What. You don’t “download” it; it’s in the utilities: programs > accessories > system tools > character map. Then you will see a graph with all the characters that you can click, select, and copy. Not IPA, though, but you can probably copy and paste those from wikipedia; there’s a widget with a link to it in my right sidebar.

  44. I would just worry about falling off the earth entirely. I admire Noetica’s courage.
    Our true antipodean, or almost, is Siganus, who is antipodal to San Diego, almost. Almost all of the US is antipodal to the open sea, except Hawaii. Northernmost Alaska is antipodal to Antarctica. Medicine Hat is antipodal to French Southern and Antarctic Lands, with no permanent population.

  45. I would just worry about falling off the earth entirely. I admire Noetica’s courage.
    Our true antipodean, or almost, is Siganus, who is antipodal to San Diego, almost. Almost all of the US is antipodal to the open sea, except Hawaii. Northernmost Alaska is antipodal to Antarctica. Medicine Hat is antipodal to French Southern and Antarctic Lands, with no permanent population.

  46. On second thought, in that hemisphere your monitor is already upside down, …
    Stu, it does take a little while to get the “hang” of these dependencies (whether we speak of those pendent devanagari entities, or the upstart ex-dependencies that now bear names like Mars, Australia, and the like). On the question of slippage from the Urlinie, remember that we are all relativists now (just as we are all Keynesians, and – increasingly – socialists; to say nothing of Schenkerians). The hemispheres in question are spatiotemporal rather than merely temporal lobes. Nothing is as it seems. All this would have been explained if Heidegger had got around to completing the sequel to “Was ist ein Ding?”, of course …
    John Emerson, we entertain the same fears for you Podeans.

  47. In Orkney and Shetland, it’s udal rather than odal, and there are ongoing debates on the continuing validity of udal property rights, especially to the foreshore (the part of the shore beyond the high tide mark) which everywhere else in the U.K. is Crown property.
    Orkney and Shetland are strange places legally anyway. They are mostly treated as part of Scotland, but they haven’t actually been annexed, and can’t be by international law. The British Crown, successor to the Scottish Crown, holds them in pawn from the Norwegian Crown, and the latter has the right to redeem the pledge at any time (although their actual attempts to do so haven’t worked so far). Since Norway did not have feudal ownership of the lands, neither does Britain.

  48. OBTW, a good source of IPA characters is at the Wikipedia IPA page. Scroll down to the IPA charts, which aren’t graphics, and you can copy and paste.

  49. Is Medicine Hat related to Language Hat?
    I expect that’s an old joke by now.

  50. JC (the other one)their actual attempts to do so haven’t worked so far
    I didn’t follow it (it must have been in the early ’70s), but I’ll bet the Norwegians tried hard. The Shetlands are very useful to Britain for collecting oil and natural gas.

  51. I wish I had a use for a voiced alveolo-palatal affricate: d͡ʑ or ʥ, from JC’s IPA wiki page. It makes a bit of a mockery of sans-serif typefaces, like Hell-vetica and Futura, by subverting their puritanical modernist intentions. You can take the serifs out of the culture, but you can’t take the culture out of the serifs. Or something.

  52. Of course the most popular characters called Elmer in the UK are “Elmer the Elephant” and “Elmer Phud”. It is very uncommon as a given name in the UK but these two characters are deeply entrenched in most children’s upbringing.

  53. In Orkney and Shetland, it’s udal rather than odal, …
    Yes, John Cowan. Udal and odal are cross-referenced in OED.
    What we still lack is OED-class evidence of cognation between these two and allodium (the essence of John Emerson’s question, above). Other sources are happy to make the link: The Scandinavians from the Vendel period to the tenth century (Judith Jesch, 2002; note the pleasing reference to the ubiquitous þing, near the bottom of the page); Wikipedia here and there makes a link between the allod- terms and odal or udal, but does not adduce hard evidence, so far as I can see. The question rests on the identity or otherwise of certain Germanic roots that take different forms in the various sources.
    It all looks very plausible. If I had to bet, I would say that these terms are all etymologically connected. But I hold back from a verdict, for now. My main reason for hesitation is that OED does not make the connexion, though it is certainly the sort of link it would want to record.

  54. And there’s so much more. The evidence mounts. John Emerson might appreciate this excerpt from A Sumer Aryan Dictionary, L. Austine Waddell, 1927.

  55. Almost all of the US is antipodal to the open sea, except Hawaii
    What about Puero Rico, American Samoa, and the other far flung scraps of the US Empire? Are their antipodes in open sea too? I’m a “true antipodean” more or less to any Madrileños reading this, which is cool because I think that few city designations sound more euphonious when spoken by natives than Madrileño.

  56. marie-lucie says:

    Stuart, when I was in school (in France) we were told that our antipodean counterpart was la Nouvelle-Zélande.
    The lovely word “Madrileño/Madrileña” refers to a person from Madrid.

  57. udal
    I thought that sounded familiar. Man, I talk about a lot of stuff here. In a few more years I will have exhausted the universe of possible topics and will have to close up shop (or switch to goats).
    (That was so long ago John Emerson was still zizka.)

  58. So is the Mormon political Udall family from the Shetlands or Orkneys?
    According ro random internet sites, it means “From The Yew Tree Valley” and traces to pre-Norman AS.

  59. So is the Mormon political Udall family from the Shetlands or Orkneys?
    According ro random internet sites, it means “From The Yew Tree Valley” and traces to pre-Norman AS.

  60. The Waddel dictionary traces ethel, etc. to Sumerian etil. Itil, in turn, was the old (probably Turkish) name for the Volga. When you realize that the Sumerians spoke a Dravidian language, it all makes sense.

  61. The Waddel dictionary traces ethel, etc. to Sumerian etil. Itil, in turn, was the old (probably Turkish) name for the Volga. When you realize that the Sumerians spoke a Dravidian language, it all makes sense.

  62. Never fear, there are many unexplored topics surrounding goats.
    Zizka wasn’t much of a disguise. If you click on it, it says John J. Emerson.

  63. Itil, in turn, was the old (probably Turkish) name for the Volga.
    we call Volga Ijil which means twin or resembling

  64. Zizka wasn’t much of a disguise.
    Sort of like a zebra jacket on a goat.

  65. Odal is also a Viking rune.

  66. marie-lucie says:

    I remember Zizka from when I first discovered Language Hat, but at the time it did not even occur to me to click on someone’s name. Where did that name come from? Why did it disappear?

  67. The lovely word “Madrileño/Madrileña” refers to a person from Madrid.
    Yes, which is why I used it, since Madrid is apparently the nearest major city to my “true antipodes” in the sort of more precise sense that John Emerson used it in his comment. :)
    Me: 39°39′0″S 176°50′0″E
    Madrid: 40°23′N 3°43′W

  68. Zizka wasn’t much of a disguise.
    Sort of like a zebra jacket on a goat.
    At least zebra jackets work. And they’re real scary.
    Where did that name come from? Why did it disappear?
    Answer. We demand an answer.

  69. Oh, he meant Žižka. No wonder we were confused. Why did he say Zizka when he meant Žižka?

  70. People kept confusing me with Žižek.

  71. People kept confusing me with Žižek.

  72. Grumbly Stu, Start -> Ausführen, type “charmap”, click OK. You’ll have to browse to the character you want, or search in the advanced view, for EZH in this case; if you’re an emacs user I can help you further, but that’s unlikely, unfortunately. If I were particularly short of things to do, I would convert that and other emacs input methods to work with JavaScript, and so with most browsers, but I don’t anticipate having that level of free time for the next decade or so.

  73. I’ve always found Charmap too small, and use a freeware alternative I highlight here

  74. Grumbly Stu has a Mac? That’s completely different.

  75. My character map (Windows XP) doesn’t look at all like the one in Stuart’s picture. I have Cyrillic, Arabic, many more characters.

  76. Nijma, the characters displayed in the window depend on the font selected. In that screenshot you will note the font is just plain old Arial, with a small character set. Had I selected Arial Unicode, there would have been many more.

  77. Stuart, I see it now, but it still isn’t the same as your screenshot. First the boxes for the characters are arranged differently, more of a square, 20 across and 10 down. Then there are more windows–separate ones to select font, character set…there’s a search window and more. The character boxes are also about twice as large as the ones in your screenshot. It looks like the character map has been improved quite a bit since you last looked at it. No colors though, and you can’t select font size.

  78. rootlesscosmo says:

    There’s a Lutheran hymn–the text turns up in a Bach cantata, I don’t recall the BWV number–with the line “Jesu, Kleinod reiner Seelen.” I’ve seen this translated as “jewel” or “treasure.”

  79. Noetica says:

    I have alternative mappings set up, but I never activate them. For me it’s more convenient to use ad hoc tools such as those from the Wandel site. If I’m doing a lot of work in French, or some other particular language or area requiring a certain suite of characters, I set up keystrokes using AutoHotKey. Incredibly versatile freeware; highly recommended. With it I devised a system for HTML markup, for use in this blog and elsewhere. I can highlight text, and with a keystroke apply blockquote to it, or whatever markup I fancy. (The way I do it, if there is no highlighted text the keystroke inserts the markup code, and positions the cursor for me to type some text in the middle. If text is highlighted, the same keystroke applies the markup and moves the cursor past the marked-up text, ready for me to type what comes next. Just a little programming, to achieve that flexibility. So quick and easy once it’s in place.)
    It is also possible to input special characters using the ALT key and numbers on the numeric keypad (for Windows; Macs are different, but you can still do it somehow). For example, ALT-130 yields é; ALT-0154 yields š; and so on. Here are some others, from the huge number available:
    To get these symbols, type ALT-[number given]
    _ 169
    ¡ 173
    ¿ 168
    « 174
    » 175
    ÷ 246
    ¢ 155
    £ 156
    ¥ 157
    170
    ° 248
    º 167
    µ 230
    227
    · 250
    • 249
    ¼ 172
    ½ 171
    ² 253
    ª 166
    á 160
    à 133
    â 131
    ä 132
    Ä 142
    å 134
    Å 143
    æ 145
    Æ 146
    é 130
    É 144
    è 138
    ê 136
    ë 137
    í 161
    ì 141
    î 140
    ï 139
    ó 162
    ò 149
    ô 147
    ö 148
    Ö 153
    ú 163
    ù 151
    û 150
    ü 129
    Ü 154
    ÿ 152
    ç 135
    Ç 128
    ñ 164
    Ñ 165
    ß 225
    ‘ 0145
    ’ 0146
    “ 0147
    ” 0148
    « 174
    » 175
    … 0133
    – 0150
    — 0151
    Of course such numbers can be implemented in all sorts of ways, as those savvy in such matters around here will tell you.
    For fun, you can type ALT-[any four digits] and see what turns up: «¸•ïkÚœ.µƒ^b;♀ü♠, and so on.
    [Meh.]
    Here is an array that I like to keep nearby:
    Α α Β β Γ γ Δ δ Ε ε Ζ ζ Η η Θ θ Ι ι Κ κ Λ λ Μ μ Ν ν Ξ ξ Ο ο Π π Ρ ρ Ῥ ῥ Σ σ ς Τ τ Υ υ Φ φ Χ χ Ψ ψ Ω ω
    Ά ά Έ έ Ή ή Ί ί Ό ό Ύ ύ Ώ ώ
    ᾼ ᾳ ᾴ Ὰ ὰ ᾲ ᾶ ᾷ Ἀ ἀ ᾈ ᾀ Ἁ ἁ ᾉ ᾁ Ἄ ἄ ᾌ ᾄ Ἂ ἂ ᾊ ᾂ Ἆ ἆ ᾎ ᾆ Ἅ ἅ ᾍ ᾅ Ἃ ἃ ᾋ ᾃ Ἇ ἇ ᾏ ᾇ
    Ὲ ὲ Ἐ ἐ Ἑ ἑ Ἔ ἔ Ἒ ἒ Ἕ ἕ Ἓ ἓ
    ῌ ῃ ῄ Ὴ ὴ ῂ ῆ ῇ Ἠ ἠ ᾘ ᾐ Ἡ ἡ ᾙ ᾑ Ἤ ἤ ᾜ ᾔ Ἢ ἢ ᾚ ᾒ Ἦ ἦ ᾞ ᾖ Ἥ ἥ ᾝ ᾕ Ἣ ἣ ᾛ ᾓ Ἧ ἧ ᾟ ᾗ
    Ὶ ὶ ῖ Ἰ ἰ Ἱ ἱ Ἴ ἴ Ἲ ἲ Ἶ ἶ Ἵ ἵ Ἳ ἳ Ἷ ἷ Ὸ ὸ Ὀ ὀ Ὁ ὁ Ὄ ὄ Ὂ ὂ Ὅ ὅ Ὃ ὃ Ὺ ὺ ῦ ὐ Ὑ ὑ ὔ ὒ ὖ Ὕ ὕ Ὓ ὓ Ὗ ὗ
    ῼ ῳ ῴ Ὼ ὼ ῲ ῶ ῷ Ὠ ὠ ᾨ ᾠ Ὡ ὡ ᾩ ᾡ Ὤ ὤ ᾬ ᾤ Ὢ ὢ ᾪ ᾢ Ὦ ὦ ᾮ ᾦ Ὥ ὥ ᾭ ᾥ Ὣ ὣ ᾫ ᾣ Ὧ ὧ ᾯ ᾧ
    Á á À à Â â Ä ä Ǎ ǎ Ă ă Ā ā Ã ã Å å Ą ą Æ æ Ǣ ǣ
    Ć ć Ċ ċ Ĉ ĉ Č č Ç ç
    Ď ď Đ đ Ḍ ḍ Ð ð
    É é È è Ė ė Ê ê Ë ë Ě ě Ĕ ĕ Ē ē Ẽ ẽ Ę ę Ə ə
    Ġ ġ Ĝ ĝ Ğ ğ Ģ ģ
    Ĥ ĥ Ħ ħ Ḥ ḥ ı Í í Ì ì İ Î î Ï ï Ǐ ǐ Ĭ ĭ Ī ī Ĩ ĩ Į į Ĵ ĵ Ķ ķ Ĺ ĺ Ŀ ŀ Ľ ľ Ļ ļ Ł ł Ḷ ḷ Ḹ ḹ
    Ṃ ṃ Ń ń Ň ň Ñ ñ Ņ ņ Ṇ ṇ
    Ó ó Ò ò Ô ô Ö ö Ǒ ǒ Ŏ ŏ Ō ō Õ õ Ǫ ǫ Ő ő Ø ø Œ œ
    Ŕ ŕ Ř ř Ŗ ŗ Ṛ ṛ Ṝ ṝ
    Ś ś Ŝ ŝ Š š Ş ş Ṣ ṣ ß
    Ť ť Ţ ţ Ṭ ṭ Þ þ
    Ú ú Ù ù Û û Ü ü Ǔ ǔ Ŭ ŭ Ū ū Ũ ũ Ů ů Ų ų Ű ű ǘ ǜ ǚ ǖ
    Ŵ ŵ
    Ý ý Ŷ ŷ Ÿ ÿ Ỹ ỹ
    Ź ź Ż ż Ž ž
    ~ | ¡ ¿ † ‡ ↔ ↑ ↓ • # ½ ⅓ ⅔ ¼ ¾ ⅛ ⅜ ⅝ ⅞ ∞ ‘ “ ’ ” «» ¤ ฿ ¢ ₡ ₢ $ ₫ € ₠ ₣ ƒ ₤ ℳ ₥ ₦ № ₧ £ ₨ ₪ ৳ ₩ ¥ ♠ ♣ ♥ ♦ m² m³
    p b t d t̪ d̪ ʈ ɖ c ɟ k ɡ q ɢ ʡ ʔ ɸ β f v θ ð s z ʃ ʒ ɕ ʑ ʂ ʐ ç ʝ x ɣ χ ʁ ħ ʕ ʜ ʢ h ɦ m ɱ n n ̪ ɳ ɲ ŋ ɴ β̞ ʋ ɹ ɻ j ɰ ʙ r ʀ ɾ ɽ ɢ̆ ʡ̯ l l̪ ɫ ɬ ɮ ɺ ɭ ʎ ʎ̯ ʟ ʟ̆ ʍ w ɥ ɧ ʼ ɓ ɗ ʄ ɠ ʛ ʘ ǀ ǃ ǂ ǁ i y ɨ ʉ ɯ u ɪ ʏ ʊ e ø ɘ ɵ ɤ o ə ɚ ɛ œ ɜ ɝ ɞ ʌ ɔ æ ɐ a ɶ ɑ ɒ ʰ ʷ ʲ ˠ ˤ ⁿ ˡ ˈ ˌ ː ˑ ̪
    That’s derived from Wikipedia’s editbox lists, which are however sorted in an absurd way, with ridiculous omissions and inexplicable inclusions – as you can see.
    We all find our own ways to work; I hope those hints will help some people here. If you see mere boxes for some of the characters above, you need to change your browser settings. Someone here will tell you how.

  80. Heidegger wrote a piece called “Was ist ein Ding?”
    Hvaða er a þing?

  81. ALT 3:

  82. Noetica, Since it’s now officially May Day in this part of the un-antipodes, I was looking for a hammer and sickle just to see if it exists (it does), and found this. Wasn’t able to get it the four digit codes to work on my keyboard though.

  83. It looks like the character map has been improved quite a bit since you last looked at it
    Yes, it certainly has. Thanks for the tip!

  84. About ‘thing’: as everybody knows, the Norwegian parliament is called ‘The Big Thing’ (Storting) and the Oslo courthouse is ‘The Oslo Thing Building’ (Oslo Tinghus. So, I was interested to read in Wiki:

    The evolution of the word thing from “assembly” to “object” is paralleled in the evolution of the Latin causa (“judicial lawsuit”) to modern French chose, Spanish/Italian cosa and Portuguese coisa (all meaning “object” or “thing”).

    Is there a specialist field in linguistics that observes similar developments or changes in meaning in different groups of languages? Because it seems to have significance in history and anthropology and all sorts of ‘things’.
    On Ding, don’t forget Kant’s Ding an sich. Unlike Descartes, who was a dwarf, Immamuel Kant was a fairly short man. Nevertheless, I think you will find his Ding extending into the work of others, like Wittgenstein; it is certainly more significant and memorable than Heidegger’s Ding.

  85. Noetica says:

    This one, Nijma: ☭? No, it wouldn’t work on mine either.
    The codes I gave above are for a pretty generically configured system under XP. They have worked for me on every system I’ve been involved with, but I know that different configurations give different results. I’m not the best person to ask about those details. One thing: the toggling of the NumLock key can sometimes make a difference.
    Kŕẃʼn, yes. Thing-Ding, causa-cosa-chose, res (as in for example respublica, which can be rendered in French as chose publique, as it commonly was in older French) – this cluster of meanings is widespread. What is the study of such evolutions called? Someone here will tell us precisely. It is rather generally a matter of lexicology (so “comparative lexicology“?; see also this), and perhaps more specifically of semasiology (in the second, non-obsolete sense that the Routledge Dictionary of Language and Linguistics gives to this term).
    However all of that works out, the evolution you speak of is striking because it is against a general tendency for words to start concrete and then to accrue more abstract meanings. Thing and its mates started off more abstract (as meaning “affair”, “matter”, and so on) and acquired meanings like “material object”. Hard to find others that do the same. Thews is an example I like to use. OED:

    “Thew n1″

    3. pl. Physical good qualities, features, or personal endowments. †a. generally (e.g. the fair features or lineaments of a woman). Obs.

    b. The bodily powers or forces of a man (L. vires), might, strength, vigour; in Shakes., bodily proportions, lineaments, or parts, as indicating physical strength; in modern use after Scott, muscular development, associated with sinews, and hence materialized as if = muscles or tendons. Also in sing. and fig. …

    And some words associated with sex, for meta-modesty: “He covered his manhood”; “Her gown slipped, revealing her sex”; “Francine! Cover your shame!”
    For shame as “concr. The privy members or ‘parts of shame’,” OED gives a first citation from 1000; but this sense was always heavily derivative; OED’s latest citation is from Joyce: “1922 Joyce Ulysses 533 And with loving pencil you shaded my eyes, my bosom and my shame.”
    As for Kant’s Ding, and the others’, I myself gave them up when I stopped studying Sartre’s en-soi, pour-soi, and that whole congeries of confusions. I am an analytical philosopher, of a rather maverick stripe. And proud of it.

  86. The verb “thingen” remains in Swedish, I am told, with the meaning “to discuss”. Icelandic Althing (=”parliament”) means something like “All discussions” — there were other regional gatherings where lesser topics were discussed, and appeal to the Althing was possible. (“Discussion” here affectively means something like “lawsuit” or “dispute” or better, “what’s disputed” or maybe “what’s in question”.)
    I have wondered whether the barbarism “You have another thing coming” for the colloquial “You have another think coming” might not be a reemergence of an old meaning. Likewise “Do your own thing” (R. W. Emerson, and stoners and antinomians more generally).
    The Chinese word translated “thing”, wu, has a similar breadth, classically at least. It was first attested to mean “sacrificial objects”, especially sacrificial animals, and the graph is formed with the “horned animal” classifier plus a wu phonetic. The wan wu “ten thousand things” includes all phenomena, including living beings, and if I remember rightly wu can mean “incidents” or “affairs”, not just physical objects.
    There’s a bit of speculation in the above, so I welcome elaboration or correction, but it is grounded on considerable evidence too.

  87. The verb “thingen” remains in Swedish, I am told, with the meaning “to discuss”. Icelandic Althing (=”parliament”) means something like “All discussions” — there were other regional gatherings where lesser topics were discussed, and appeal to the Althing was possible. (“Discussion” here affectively means something like “lawsuit” or “dispute” or better, “what’s disputed” or maybe “what’s in question”.)
    I have wondered whether the barbarism “You have another thing coming” for the colloquial “You have another think coming” might not be a reemergence of an old meaning. Likewise “Do your own thing” (R. W. Emerson, and stoners and antinomians more generally).
    The Chinese word translated “thing”, wu, has a similar breadth, classically at least. It was first attested to mean “sacrificial objects”, especially sacrificial animals, and the graph is formed with the “horned animal” classifier plus a wu phonetic. The wan wu “ten thousand things” includes all phenomena, including living beings, and if I remember rightly wu can mean “incidents” or “affairs”, not just physical objects.
    There’s a bit of speculation in the above, so I welcome elaboration or correction, but it is grounded on considerable evidence too.

  88. rootlesscosmo says:

    Turns out to be “Unschuld! Kleinod reiner Seelen,” a soprano aria from the Wedding Cantata BWV 210.

  89. My svensk-norsk ordbok has tinga as a verb, but now it’s dinner time.

  90. …Yes, å tinga is to order (something), or to make an agreement (bestille, avtale). Tinga på is make an appointment. Tinga bort sig is to make a promise you can’t keep.

  91. Isn’t the Isle of Man assembly, or parliament, or whatever, called the Tingvald?
    –Googles ‘Tingvald’–
    No. IOM Parl’t is ‘Tynwald’. But that’s close enough, isn’t it?
    I advise you not to get into a ‘discussion’, or lawsuit, with Icelanders, Pete. It’s a no-win ting.

  92. Oh, Noetica, thank you for that Philosophy of Grammar link. I’d heard of course of Otto Jespersen — a good Nordic name, that — but I had no idea the book existed. Thank you very much.

  93. That other link’s very funny.

  94. People came to the Althing armed and in organized military groups, at least during some periods.

  95. People came to the Althing armed and in organized military groups, at least during some periods.

  96. Pretty much like the US Congress, then.

  97. Not really, Kron–although the principle is the same. These days they’re armed with lawyers, (as the Vikings were–there was always a powerful chieftain behind every legal action)and with checkbooks for lobbyists and campaign contributions. Women were also prohibited from speaking at the Thing at about the same time the period of dual faiths ended.

  98. … it is against a general tendency for words to start concrete and then to accrue more abstract meanings. Thing and its mates started off more abstract (as meaning “affair”, “matter”, and so on) and acquired meanings like “material object”.

    That is not the only way to imagine what happens, and has happened over time, with language, thought and reality. In fact, Noetica, I believe that it is not a way productive of useful insights.
    I have whined more than once in these threads, but always briefly, about the unexamined “ontology” against which much of the linguistic dicussions here play out. I myself don’t have much use for the word “ontology” as a technical term. For me it is a short-hand for a clump of issues that are themselves not easy to think about. How can anyone write a book about ontology (what’s in the world) without necessarily dealing with epistemology (what we [can] know about what’s in the world) at the same time? The very idea that they can be defined separately is itself based on a red-neck ontology of res extensa and res cogitans.
    “Concrete” and “abstract” in the above are taken for granted. But what could be more concrete than “affairs” and “matters” as they were negotiated in political assemblies? JJ tells us:

    About ‘thing’: as everybody knows, the Norwegian parliament is called ‘The Big Thing’ (Storting) and the Oslo courthouse is ‘The Oslo Thing Building’ (Oslo Tinghus). So, I was interested to read in Wiki:

    The evolution of the word thing from “assembly” to “object” is paralleled in the evolution of the Latin causa (“judicial lawsuit”) to modern French chose, Spanish/Italian cosa and Portuguese coisa (all meaning “object” or “thing”).

    A gigantic number of issues are jumbled together in the Wiki quote, such as the historic and current legal/administrative use of Thing-Ding, causa-cosa-chose, res, which for “affairs” seems to be uncontentious, and on the other hand everything else related to the uses of “thing” to mean “object”. I will just make two remarks here. One: how is it that you think of “an object” as a static, dead thing, and not a “state of affairs”? Two: in German legalese, a causa is referred to as a “Sache” in locution patterns such as “in der Sache X gegen Y”. In English legalese, “in re” used to be common, and clearly “res” here does not mean “material object” – possibly because “thing” has been bleached out (!?). A legal “case” is not a “material object”.
    I am unable to make out which of the slightly mocking comments here about Heidegger’s Was ist ein Ding? are based on a reading of it. I couldn’t find it on the net, and my copy is still languishing unread in the shipping container. But no matter, because what I sense here is a general unfamiliarity with the fact that the observers-in-the-theater-of-the-world way of thinking about stuff is not the only one on offer. Tons of easily understood, absolutely fascinating stuff has been written about this, and is out there to be acquired for a few Euros the throw.
    From my own recent reading, I can list Bergson (L’évolution creatrice), Dewey (The Influence of Darwin on Philosophy), Sartre (L’Etre et le Néant and La Nausée), Heinz von Foerster (Der Anfang von Himmel und Erde hat keinen Namen), Henri Atlan (À tort et à raison), Edgar Morin (La Méthode), Bruno Latour (The Parliament of Things and We Have Never Been Modern ) Peter Sloterdijk (Du mußt dein Leben ändern), Rorty (Contingency, Irony and Solidarity). Many of the non-English books have been translated, and much has been written by British and American philosophers and sociologists – but I am not familiar with these.
    I just remembered that film about Helen Keller’s life, with Anne Bancroft in the role of carer. There is the famous water-pump scene in which Bancroft for the first time succeeds in conveying to Keller, but only simultaneously, what water is, what the concept-sign for water is, and what it is to ask and have given. Sign, water and conatus are grasped in an interaction. They come into existence for Keller as a complex unit. We may, as observers who do not take their observer status into account, watch the scene and say merely: “okay, so despite being blind and deaf, she finally got it”. But we were all blind and deaf at birth.

  99. Your defence and knowledge of Heidegger are welcome. Nobody’s mocking him, only his Ding, which I still maintain is less significant than Kant’s.

  100. Size is not all!

  101. Martin Heidegger, What Is a Thing? trans. W. B. Barton and Vera Deutsch (Chicago : Henry Regnery Company, 1967) is out of print and not online. It’s available for $45, though.

  102. Heinz von Foerster’s Der Anfang von Himmel und Erde hat keinen Namen is also available for $45.00. There are no coincidences.
    Another philosopher writing about these topics is Michel Meyer — “Rhetoric, Language, and Reason” is the place to start. He says some of the same things that Stu’s authors do, but he writes in the analytic style and is about to show how “continental” concerns relate to “analytic” concerns.

  103. Heinz von Foerster’s Der Anfang von Himmel und Erde hat keinen Namen is also available for $45.00. There are no coincidences.
    Another philosopher writing about these topics is Michel Meyer — “Rhetoric, Language, and Reason” is the place to start. He says some of the same things that Stu’s authors do, but he writes in the analytic style and is about to show how “continental” concerns relate to “analytic” concerns.

  104. bruessel says:

    “that film about Helen Keller’s life” = The Miracle Worker.

  105. Noetica says:

    “Concrete” and “abstract” in the above are taken for granted.
    In what relevant sense are they “taken for granted”, Stu? What does that mean? What is your intent, in fact? Do you imagine that I, or others here, are not familiar with certain besetting issues that attend these terms concrete and abstract? I for one have spent a good deal of my life researching such matters.
    As you should know (and as I like to imagine you do know), every conversation has to start with some assumptions, however provisional. It needs a point d’appui from which we may launch it. We always assume a set of basic terms, otherwise we would circle deeper and deeper into a quicksand of preliminaries, and never emerge to say anything.
    You wrote:
    That is not the only way to imagine what happens, and has happened over time, with language, thought and reality.
    Who ever claimed that it was?
    The OED uses the abbreviation “concr.” in about 2,000 of its articles. Its gloss on that abbreviation, explaining to the world what it has in mind? Let me quote it in full for you:

    concr.     concrete(ly)

    Now, does the philological community rise up in protest at the OED, tut-tutting in this manner: “In fact, OED, we believe that is not a way productive of useful insights”?
    No.
    The point I made was about abstractness and concreteness in a sense that is widely and well understood. I gave several examples. If you now want to divert the discussion to a different topic – one in metaphysics and epistemology, perhaps; perhaps one concerned with unexamined ontological assumptions – you know by now that we are a versatile and tolerant group.
    You will find that some of us are well equipped for the dialogue you envisage, and will join in if we feel like it. But please: do not think it compulsory so arrogantly to dismiss the contributions that others have already made, just because the direction they have chosen for the conversation is not fully to your liking.
    Meanwhile, I agree that no one is attacking Heidegger or Kant. I have impugned Sartre, and generally the French developments of the lines of thought that Heidegger, Husserl, and others had earlier pursued. I do so from a base of experience in research. The language is notoriously opaque, and having taken it as seriously as I could some years ago, I now want nothing more to do with it. It is amusing to me that Heidegger wrote a piece called “Was ist ein Ding?” only because it is a strikingly good question, marked by an uncontinental clarity; and I find that particularly refreshing. I have only skimmed it, some time ago; I remember little of the detail. I need hardly point out how difficult his texts are, in any language.
    Ah, if only he had completed the sequel …

  106. Noetica, I like you and I like Stu, but in this exchange your arrogance has been more evident than his. He said that he was raising at this point a question he’s wanted to raise for a long time, and you’re right that it’s a pretty fundamental question that goes outside the bounds of our specific topic here, but at LH we expand and develop topics a lot.

  107. Noetica, I like you and I like Stu, but in this exchange your arrogance has been more evident than his. He said that he was raising at this point a question he’s wanted to raise for a long time, and you’re right that it’s a pretty fundamental question that goes outside the bounds of our specific topic here, but at LH we expand and develop topics a lot.

  108. Noetica, you take what I said as an “arrogant” attack on “other contributors” (which would include you). But I don’t see that at all. My post has quite enough self-deprecating, cautious and shirt-sleeved formulations to put paid to such a suggestion (“whining”, “In fact, Noetica, I believe that …”, “I am unable to make out …”, “way of thinking about stuff”).

    The point I made was about abstractness and concreteness in a sense that is widely and well understood.

    As I explained, I’m not sure that they are understood well, albeit widely. I myself don’t understand them, despite their notorious transparency to the “versatile and tolerant group” you mention. For that reason I have picked up additional ways of thinkíng, which I adumbrate here.

    If you now want to divert the discussion to a different topic – one in metaphysics and epistemology, perhaps; perhaps one concerned with unexamined ontological assumptions

    Where is the diversion? I’m still on-topic, because I’m talking about semantics and language, as everyone here does. I merely generalized from the case of Thing. In the context of what you originally wrote, I find “abstract” and “concrete” to be interchangeable. As I asked, what could be more concrete than “affairs” and “matters” as they were negotiated in political assemblies? To complete the point now, I ask what could be more abstract than the notion of a “material object”? I am grateful to you (I fear you will not welcome this thanks) for having formulated the issue so concisely, thus allowing me to address it directly.
    So I challenge the omnipresent notions of concrete and abstract – so what? How can you take umbrage at my views on such a nubilous topic? Please accept that I have no axe to grind, Noetica, and particularly not with you. Our views may differ, but that’s all in the course of things.
    By the way, some people here have gotten the idea that I am a Heidegger adept. On the contrary, despite my enthusiastic description of his German style as densely allusive and Hopkins-poetic, I agree 95% with Noetica: “The language is notoriously opaque, and having taken it as seriously as I could some years ago, I now want nothing more to do with it.” None of the books I listed are at all opaque, though very unusual in content. Perhaps I shouldn’t have mentioned L’être et le néant. It has lots of funny bits, and is to me an elegantly written show-piece, if nothing else.
    What I’m getting at is not some single, alternative, new way of thinking about language and semantics. Rather, I am trying to connect up with ideas already on hand in various other areas of study, in order to reorganize my ways of thinking.
    I can’t stand the suspense any longer, Noetica: what might the title of the sequel have been??

  109. Now, now. Noetica was responding to Stu’s “In fact, Noetica, I believe that it is not a way productive of useful insights,” which was not calculated to produce soft words. I like them both too, but Stu was being especially Grumbly, and I don’t think it’s fair to blame Noetica for responding in kind.
    As for the philosophy, I am content to watch the ball being batted across the net and listen to the accompanying grunts.

  110. And while I was composing that little squib, Stu had already posted a long response! These guys are pros, make no mistake!
    *settles back with beer to watch overtime*

  111. Thanks for the Meyer tip, John. I’ll get it.
    45 buckaroos for Foerster!? That’s too much. All of these books are available as paperbacks. Foerster’s costs 10 Euros at amazon.de. Atlan’s books are to be had via amazon.fr, for 7.55 and 9.55 Euros. Also to be had there, for 14.25 Euros, is L’évolution creatrice and, for more or less the same price each, every other work by Bergson. Morin costs 7.55 Euros, Latour 8.84 and 11.40 Euros. The Sloterdijk is the only hard-cover, it set me back only DM 24,80. Dewey costs $16.98 at amazon.com.

  112. Oh my, I guess that “In fact, Noetica, I believe that it is not a way productive of useful insights” was after all not the most diplomatic sentence I’ve ever constructed. A tip of the Hat!

  113. I take it, from Hat’s remark, that not everyone is satisfied I haven’t been trying to “change the topic” to “philosophy”. I said trying to understand the evolution of meanings in Thing, thing is not best done in terms of “concreteness” and “abstractness”. You don’t need to “claim” a point of view to adhere to it, pace Noetica. I have not seen a single case at this site of someone’s deviating from the standard etymological principle: “the farther back in time you go, the more concrete meanings become”.
    That very principle throws up the question of what “abstraction” is supposed to be doing, i.e. what we are supposed to have been doing since then, and what we are doing now, when we use language. Are we “referring” to things, or to “abstractions”? Why would we want to do either of those things? It was Augustine, I think, who remarked that when you point at something, a dog will look in that direction, while a cat will just look at your finger. Sometimes cat and dog fights result, as nearly happened between Noetica and me. But is the cat wrong to look at my finger?
    The short answer is, on my view, that “abstract” and “concrete” are inseparable, and are always there together from the beginning that never was, and objects are states of affairs. That may not be clear, so let me give an example: my lamb madras curry on the stove is signalling readiness, so I have to do something about it.

  114. I’m not sure how this fits in, but …
    There’s (to me, anyway) a problem in architecture to do with abstraction. A modernist white building with a flat roof is said to be ‘abstract’, whereas a more old-fashioned house with a pitched, gabled roof (like in a child’s drawing of a house) is said to be figurative — as if it were a portrait, rather than a building. The ‘abstract’ part is okay, but ‘figurative’? What is the pitched-roof house representing?

  115. That’s pretty weird! The house with a pitched roof is said to be ‘figurative’ because it represents a pitched-roof house, in the tradition of pitched-roof houses. In fact it is a pitched-roof house, seen from a self-consciously modern standpoint.
    Before there were many modernist buildings around, I suppose you could get away with saying they were not ‘figurative’, because there was no tradition of white buildings with flat roofs. Nowadays, such a building could be called ‘modernist figurative’, but I think the fashionable thing is to talk of ‘citations’. So you can now be figurative, so long as you hold the style at the tips of your fingers, and raise your eyebrows knowingly, imitating quotation marks.

  116. Architects are just crazy. That’s about what you’d expect from them.

  117. Architects are just crazy. That’s about what you’d expect from them.

  118. To make one of my sentences clearer: In fact it is a pitched-roof house, seen from a self-consciously modern standpoint anxious to avoid any semblance of wanting to represent anything.

  119. I definitely agree with Stu, and while I haven’t read Heidegger, what he says sounds like paraphrases fiends have made. For example, one said “You are closer to me than my belt buckle is”.
    It’s a rejection of the idea that 1.) the most meaningful statements are statements of physical science and 2.) physical objects and knowledge about them are concrete and most real, whereas abstract and metaphorical objects, and “value judgments”, are tenuous and dubious extrapolations, conjectures, inductive or deductive conclusion, or constructions of the mind.
    Historically and in personal development, variosu sorts of culturally-charged realities like “Mommy” and “Family” and “Holy” and “unclean” come first, and the ability to speak “concretely” is painfully learned.
    There’s an additional factor, that the early stages of many languages are known only from writing, and what we get from that is the first things people thought to write down, which is usually a thin selection: edicts, rituals, hyms, scriptures, and business records and correspondence, of which only the last are “concrete”. Thus Chinese wu “thing” first was recorded as “sacrificial animals”, but we can’t be sure of what the word meant in other contexts.
    So if the first record of the word “thing” meant something like “lawsuit” or “legal contention” or “place and time when contentions were tried”, that doesn’t tell us about the scope of the word.
    And then, even “primitive” peoples of today aren’t primordial……

  120. I definitely agree with Stu, and while I haven’t read Heidegger, what he says sounds like paraphrases fiends have made. For example, one said “You are closer to me than my belt buckle is”.
    It’s a rejection of the idea that 1.) the most meaningful statements are statements of physical science and 2.) physical objects and knowledge about them are concrete and most real, whereas abstract and metaphorical objects, and “value judgments”, are tenuous and dubious extrapolations, conjectures, inductive or deductive conclusion, or constructions of the mind.
    Historically and in personal development, variosu sorts of culturally-charged realities like “Mommy” and “Family” and “Holy” and “unclean” come first, and the ability to speak “concretely” is painfully learned.
    There’s an additional factor, that the early stages of many languages are known only from writing, and what we get from that is the first things people thought to write down, which is usually a thin selection: edicts, rituals, hyms, scriptures, and business records and correspondence, of which only the last are “concrete”. Thus Chinese wu “thing” first was recorded as “sacrificial animals”, but we can’t be sure of what the word meant in other contexts.
    So if the first record of the word “thing” meant something like “lawsuit” or “legal contention” or “place and time when contentions were tried”, that doesn’t tell us about the scope of the word.
    And then, even “primitive” peoples of today aren’t primordial……

  121. David Marjanović says:

    Grumbly Stu, how to find the character map in German Windows XP:
    Start > Alle Programme > Zubehör > Systemprogramme > Zeichentabelle.
    No idea why Microsoft hid it so well, but there it is. Set the font to Arial Unicode MS, which has all IPA characters, and enjoy. I use it all the time.

  122. Na endlich. Those were the two missing pieces of information, David. Thanx, und ein keusches technisches Luft-Bussi!

  123. JE: Architects are just crazy.
    Would that necessarily be a Bad Thing?

  124. I’ve put up a long quote from Morin’s La méthode, in French, at my long-quote site. His “method” consists in a systematic, doubt-sustained, cercle virtueux examination of ways of knowing that don’t fly apart, ways of thinking about the natural sciences, biology and the human sciences, and ways of reorganizing that thought. It was published in 1977, around the time that Latour and Co. started deconstructing “science” with science, and Foucault was doing his bio-pouvoir number.

  125. vertueux

  126. Gosh, for a moment I thought you’d written all that yourself, Grumbly. I was pretty impressed by your French. I know you read it on your train rides and all, but even so.

  127. Thus Chinese wu “thing” first was recorded as “sacrificial animals”, but we can’t be sure of what the word meant in other contexts.
    I know it’s traditional for Chinese etymology to be character etymology. And so to propose that since 物 uses the ‘ox’ radical, oxen, possibly for sacrifice, were the most important things (cf. fee < feoh < *peku-). But GSR says “thing, object, article (Shï); colour of cattle (Shï); quality (Shï); divide acc. to quality, to sort, classify (Tso); class, sort (Tso); variegated person (Chouli).” And Schuessler follows this.
    On the philosophy / cosmology, Cikoski has a succinct note s.v. 氣 Qi (Vol. 1, p. 51). Google finds an aphorism, 聚则为物,散则为气。’together, it’s wu; loose, it’s qi.’ Actually, with several different punchlines.

  128. The entry on page 51 is for [graph] vapour, mass-energy. There’s nothing about concrete/abstract, but there is one of those ideas, such as in Pythagoras, music and “harmony of the spheres”, that provide the metaphorical background in popularizations of string theory, and originally in the field itself:

    To translate [graph], I sometimes use vapor, sometimes energy, sometimes gas and sometimes air. I have found other ad hoc renderings needed as well. But to grasp the concept we must bear in mind that [graph] is the basic stuff of the universe. There are a small number of pure types of it, lumps of which interact by resonance just as do the strings of musical instruments.

    In the introduction to Volume 1 cited by MMcM, Cikoski has some bracingly common-sense things to say, acerbic even, about the misuse of linguistic techniques such as etymology (p. xxi, section titled “Etymology is not meaning”) and phonology (p. lxii, section titled “If you are willing to utilize linguistics”).

  129. Silly old me! Rereading the Cikoski entry, I suddenly realized that this is the Ch’i/Chi/Qi stuff of current fashion, fame and fable. So what I noticed is probably old headwear to most people.

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