Thursday, March 29, 2007

thing, dinc, ding, Ding, ting, causa, chose, cosa

A short history of 'thing':

The everyday word thing has a remarkable history that serves to illustrate the power of generalization. In Old English, thing meant "an assembly or meeting of people, such as a law court or parliament," a meaning shared by related Germanic words such as Dutch dinc, German ding (in modern German, Ding), and Norwegian, Danish, ans Swedish ting. After several centuries, the word's original meaning became narrowed down in all of these languages to "matter before an assembly or law court, lawsuit." This meaning, in turn, was gradually generalized to "any matter, any thing". Curiously, a similar development occurred in languages derived from Latin: The Latin word causa "legal matter, case, cause" was generalized in French chose and Italian and Spanish cosa to mean "matter, thing".

Thursday, March 22, 2007

How the Alphabet was made

The following is a paraphrases quotation from Rudyard Kipling's 'How The Alphabet Was Made':

Taffimai designs what she calls 'noise-pictures'. The letter 'A' is a picture of a carp with its mouth open; this, Taffy tells her father, looks like his open mouth when he utters the sound ah. The letter 'O' matches the egg-or-stone shape and resembles her father's mouth saying oh. The letter 'S' represents a snake, and stands for the hissing sound of the snake.

In this somewhat far-fetched way, a whole alphabet is created by Taffimai

Oh, we also have not yet revealed the Library of Language Specimen Studies' coat of arms (we are trying to make it a page element but are having some interesting times trying to place it within the layout)

*edit note: "Oh! fixed it!! Hooray!"

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


"Etymologically, 'consider' is a metaphor meaning "take the stars into account" (from Latin 'sider'-, sidus, "constellation")

* note: meaning can be defended as the sum of the responses to a word or phrase; words and phrases may be regarded as responses to stimuli. After a word has been associated for a long time with the stimulus that provokes it, the word itself picks up aspects of the response elicited by the stimulus.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

gift from a dear friend

Mr. Takashi Iwasaki (link provided)

Was genrous to gift the Library with this small collage. We are all very humbled by this gift. Hooray for Thursday! I believe was exclaimed in one of the research labs...

meaning of words according to Humpty Dumpty

"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said in a rather a scornful tone,"it means just what I choose it to mean --- neither more nor less."
"The question is," said Alice,"whether you can make words mean so many different things."
"The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master--- that's all."

Through the Looking Glass - Lewis Carroll

Sunday, March 11, 2007

assessment of the field

Here is one sample for us to share, although not final, this is a part of the process.(as referenced on February 13th, 2007 entry)


Sorry we haven't written an entry in a little bit of a long while. We are currently collecting samples of writing from dear friends and well-wishers begun processing some of the returned samples. Some of the samples are international for that we are very excited to be working on them.

Saturday, March 3, 2007


We found this in a book recently reviewed by some of our researchers.

"A vogue to create abbreviations broke out in the United States in the late 1830s. How this became fashionable, somewhat like slang, was studied and described in 1963-64 by the scholar Allen Walker Read in a series of articles in the journal 'Amercian Speech'. His greatest discovery was the origin of O.K., which started out as a jocular abbreviation, but became over time a nearly universal affirmative, used in many languages throughout the world. Professor Read traced the usage to the city of Boston, where in the late 1830s it became faddish to abbreviate certain common phrases, such as 'no go' or 'no good', which were rendered 'N.G.' and 'Our Men First' (meaning 'original settlers'), which was abbreviated O.F.M. The fad took a humourous turn when jocular misspellings of common phrases began to be abbreviated, leading to such forms as O.W. for 'oll wright' ("all wright"), K.Y. for 'know yuse' ("no use"), and O.K. for 'oll korrect' ("all correct"). While the other abbreviations vanished, O.K. achieved national currency in the name of the Democratic Party's "O.K. Club". This club was formed in New York City in 1840 to promote the reelection of President Martin Van Buren, and although the "O.K." in the club's name was actually an abbreviation of 'old kinderhook', a nickname of Van Buren's, whose birthplace was the village of Kinderhook, near Albany, N.Y., the abbreviation became firmly established in the sense of "all right" that is used today.

Postscript: 120 years later, in 1961, a group of astronauts on the Mercury Project popularized a fresh and more intensive variant of O.K. It was A-OK, meaning "excellent, perfect," and it was coined by blending a century-old adjective, A-one or A1, meaning "first class" with the equally old O.K. In effect, two old abbreviations were combined to create a new one. "

-"The Life of Language", p. 39