A couple of interesting posts at the Log:
1) Victor Mair tells you everything you could possibly want to know about gongfu, starting with Kung-fu Tea (“Should it be gōngfu chá 工夫茶 or gōngfu chá 功夫茶? And does the name mean ‘tea that requires a lot of effort and skill to prepare’ or ‘martial arts tea’?”) and going into truly impressive detail about the history of all the words, characters, and ideas involved. I’ll present his paragraph summarizing the basic facts (aside from the issue of tea):
To summarize: gōngfu 工夫 and gōngfu 功夫 both started out around the 3rd c. AD referring to laborers, corvée or otherwise. During the ensuing centuries, they acquired increasingly abstract meanings: effort, time expended at work, skill, knack, mental discipline, job. As they evolved, their second syllable lost its overt tonality, becoming neutral. For the most part — up to the late 20th century — gōngfu 工夫 and gōngfu 功夫 were basically (but not entirely) interchangeable, though with gōngfu 工夫 being used more for mental or abstract phenomena and gōngfu 功夫 stressing physical aspects. It was only late in the life of gōngfu 工夫 and gōngfu 功夫 that the latter took on the meaning of “martial art,” apparently beginning in the region of Canton. Following on the coattails of the Bruce Lee Kung-fu craze and the public infatuation with martial arts novels, the notion of gōngfu 功夫 as a designation for martial arts explosively spread outward from the Cantonese-speaking regions of China to envelop the whole nation. This is by no means to assert that there were no martial arts in China before gōngfu 功夫 acquired this meaning. Quite the contrary, martial arts have a long and distinguished history in China, but they went by other names (this already overly long blog is not the place to embark upon a consideration of their history or nomenclature).
But if you have any interest in any of this, you’ll want to read the whole thing; it’s a real tour de force of philological investigation.
2) Today Geoff Pullum has a post making the simple and indisputable point that the OED’s categorization of qua as an English adverb is completely loony. Which inspires me to follow up this lively 2007 thread by repeating its question: if you use this slightly obnoxious Latinism, how do you say it? KWAH or KWAY? (I, an inveterate Anglicizer, use the latter, but I expect the LH readership to show an overwhelming preference for the former, as they did for PAH-chay versus my own PAY-see.)
Oh, and if you want to read an amusing anecdote about my first visit to the U.K. forty years ago, Geoff quoted it at the end of this post.