Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Gender (n.) - How many genders are there?



Gender
What is it? How many are there? Why does it matter? And who caused this mess?
-------------------------------------
Laci Green's gender video: https://youtu.be/t8S4hMjFTSI
Computerphile Binary video: https://youtu.be/thrx3SBEpL8?t=6m15s
-------------------------------------
Definition

Gender

noun
A class or grouping of grammatical words in a language. English has no grammatical gender, but does have three gendered pronouns he, she, and it.

It is also used interchangeably with sex.

-------------------------------------
History & Etymology:
We’re going to start back with the Proto-Indo-European root gene- which meant “to give birth or beget” This initial relationship with birthing would seem to imply a very close tie to sex and genitals in the development of the word gender, but even to my surprise, that wasn’t the case. 

Instead of taking a route through separating men and women by their intimate bits, it became the word genus which still means the same thing today, “race, stock, family, order or species.” It became a word that sorts things into any number of groups.

As Latin word moved in to Vulgar or Popular Latin changed and that became Old French genus became genre, another word that moved directly into english that differentiates groups of things. Due to a quirk of Old french another variant of this word came about gendre.

And as many words it finally came into english during the norman invasion of england, and became gender. At this time it was used purely in reference to grammatical classes of words, and it remained this way till late in the 20th century. 

In 1955 sexologist John Money introduced the confusion we’re running into today. Before his work it was uncommon at best for the word gender to refer to biological sex. Moneys usage of the word gender as interchangeable with sex didn’t catch on until the 1970s, when feminists in academia embraced his text book Man & Woman, Boy & Girl. With academias acceptance of this usage of the word gender it was only a matter of time before it would cause confusion relating to biological sex.
-------------------------------------
Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex_and_gender_distinction#History_2
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Money
https://www.etymonline.com/word/gender
https://youtu.be/t8S4hMjFTSI
https://youtu.be/thrx3SBEpL8
https://youtu.be/9edtHJMaws0
http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/77468
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grammatical_gender
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender#Etymology_and_usage
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_languages_by_type_of_grammatical_genders
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tuyuca_language
-------------------------------------

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Patron (n.) - Become a Patron!



Contribute:
BitCoin: 1LSD7TgLcYrhqTrdUCmtwvk4UtusL5PDv1

-------------------------------------

Definition:

Patron

Noun
A person who provides money or other assistance to an artist, writer, charity, cause or in my case an independent content creator.

-------------------------------------
History and Etymology

Before we go on, I’d like to thank my own patrons over on patreon.com. The word patron was nominated and selected by Mark Sperring my first patron. If you’re interested in becoming a patron please follow the link in the description.

The history of the word patron goes all the way back to the Latin word pater meaning father. As the legends go Romulus, founder of Rome selected 100 fathers of influential families to form the senate and in the same stroke creating a class system. From pater the romans derived the word Patronus, which means protector or guardian. You probably recognize that word from Harry Potter where it refers to spirit that can be summoned to protect the caster, but in Rome a real Patronus was a person that had a responsibility towards their cliens. The relationship of patronus to cliens was usually between someone of a higher class to someone in a lower class or between a freed slave and his former master. This relationship would go both ways. The Patronus would be expected to provide financial support for his cliens, and the cliens would be required to provide services such as political campaigning and physical labor.


Into the medieval and renaissance period in france and other European countries this become the system of patronage. Rulers, nobles, and very wealthy people would support artists to bolster their own political ambitions, social positions or prestige. This wasn’t limited to artist, patrons would also support early science, writers, alchemist, astrologers, scholars, and many other professions. Over time this system continued though the funds were provided through different sources ranging from the church, charitable foundations, and governments.


The word patron and the system of patronage found it’s way into english both through French patron and Latin patronus, and maintained it’s meaning.



Samuel Johnson the writer of the first comprehensive English dictionary added some humor to some of the entries in his dictionary. Some of them made his opinions very clear. He didn’t always get along with his patrons who were supporting his dictionary projecting.

His definition for patron went as follows: One who countenances, supports or protects. Commonly a wretch who supports with insolence, and is paid with flattery.



And today in this new world of social media and independent content creators patronage has transformed. No longer is it solely the domain of the elites and the wealthy. Thanks to technology patronage has become distributed, and anyone can help support the content, science, arts, music and more, that they love.

Websites like Patreon, Kickstarter, IndieGoGo, and PayPal have made it possible for large numbers of regular people to individually contribute a small amount of money. When those small individual contribution come together it can be enough to support an artist, musician, independent content creator, charities, or even a lexicographer.

-------------------------------------

Sources:


Friday, November 17, 2017

Embiggen (v.) Cromulent (a.) - The Simpsons have changed our language



Embiggen

Verb
To make larger.

Cromulent

Adjective
Staggeringly adequate and suitable.

-------------------------------------
Become a patron:
Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/lexikekographer
PayPal: https://www.paypal.me/Golfturat
BitCoin: 1LSD7TgLcYrhqTrdUCmtwvk4UtusL5PDv1

-------------------------------------
History & Etymology

Both of these words are neologisms, words that were created recently. In the case of embiggen and cromulent they both were introduced to the public on February 18, 1996 on a episode of the Simpsons. The episode was titled “Lisa The Iconoclast” and in one scene all of the students are gathered in the gymnasium watching an educational film about the history of Springfield.

[Simpsons clip]

The show runners had asked the writers to invent words that sounded like they were real but were completely made up, and embiggen and cromulent were the results.

As it turns out they only half succeeded in their goal of creating two new words. Embiggen had already been used once in 1884 in a British publication. This really isn’t that surprising. They may not have realized it but when they were creating embiggen they were following well established rule in the english language. You probably know these rules instinctively yourself.

It's a simple matter of adding a prefix and a suffix.

The prefix em-, a variant of the en- prefix when it comes before P or a B, makes the word it's attached to into a verb. And the suffix -en which when attached to a verb denotes is happening in the present or immediacy. Using these rules your mind can, almost without thinking about it, determine the meaning of embiggen.

This is a very common way people create new words everyday.

Cromulent, on the other hand, is far less rules based. The suffix -ulent seems to be an arbitrary borrowing from words adopted from Latin, and crom is literally a nonsense word with no previous meaning.

To determine the meaning of cromulent it takes a bit more thought, by looking at the context in which is used. The first instance of it's use, “it's a perfectly cromulent word,” would indicate a meaning similar to acceptable. The second usage, “He's embiggened that role with his cromulent performance,” implies that the object described as cromulent enhanced something. Which is more than I would expect from something that was merely adequate.  That’s the reason I modified my definition from the one usually given for cromulent, and added staggeringly.


-------------------------------------
Resources:
http://0-www.oed.com.catalog.multcolib.org/view/Entry/60686?rskey=AZD8u1&result=4#eid
http://0-www.oed.com.catalog.multcolib.org/view/Entry/61505?rskey=FHBHYf&result=8#eid
http://0-www.oed.com.catalog.multcolib.org/view/Entry/61499#eid5551343
http://simpsons.wikia.com/wiki/Lisa_the_Iconoclast

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Flower (n.) - Photos from The Butchart Gardens



Flower

Noun
The reproductive portion of a plant. Usually brightly colored and aromatic to attract various insects to spread assist in the plants reproductive process.


-------------------------------------
History & Etymology

The history of the word flower is traced back to the Proto-Indo-European word bhel- meaning to thrive or bloom. The meaning of the word Hasn’t changed much since then.  It has made it’s way through latin as florem, meaning flower, and as Popular Latin changed overtime into Old French it dropped the -em and became flor, which became the Modern French Fleur. The modern english word comes from the Old French word and became Flower, the word we have today.


-------------------------------------

Prescription

The word flower doesn’t have a very interesting history, but they are very pretty to look at. This last summer I visited the Butchart Gardens on Vancouver Island Canada, and it was one of the most beautiful places I have ever been.  As you can see from the background of this video I’m one of those annoying tourist that takes a picture of everything. One of my favorite subjects for photography is flowers. So please enjoy the slideshow.


-------------------------------------
Resources:
-------------------------------------

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Guy (n.) - Remember, remember the 5th of November

Guy

Noun
Man or fellow

When used in plural it may refer to a group of people regardless of sex.

History & Etymology

“ Remember, remember!
The fifth of November,The Gunpowder treason and plot;I know of no reasonWhy the Gunpowder treasonShould ever be forgot!Guy Fawkes and his companionsDid the scheme contrive,To blow the King and ParliamentAll up alive.”-The Fifth of November
That was V from V for Vendetta quoting a portion of a rhyme that commemorates the arrest Guido Fawkes the namesake of the mask he wears. The poem describes the events of November 5th 1605 when Guido, usually referred to as Guy Fawkes, was captured and arrested while actively attempting to assassinate King James I and destroy the parlement.
Guy Fawkes was a member of a group of Provincial English Catholics whose goal was to assassinate King James I, and instal a Catholic monarch in England.
You see relations between protestants and Catholics at that time, well saying they weren’t great would be an understatement; Catholics were being persecuted. When James King of Scotland became King of England after the union of the Scottish and English crowns there were hopes that he, being a moderate towards the catholic church, would put the kibosh on the persecution of Catholics. When there were no signs that this was occurring, Guy Fawkes and his companions took it upon themselves to do something about it.
Guy Fawkes and his companions, lead by Robert Catesby, attempted to execute their plot on November 5th 1605. Collecting wood and gunpowder beneath the House of Lords. That night Guy Fawkes was assigned to guard the explosives, and that’s where he caught and arrested.
Now every November 5th the people of Great Britain go out, light bonfires, shoot fireworks, and burn effigies of Guy Fawkes to celebrate. Over the years these effigies have been grotesque and ugly, and the Oxford English Dictionary sites the Guy Fawkes effigies as the initial definition of the word guy. Guy eventually became an insult, referring to people with a grotesque appearance in 1836. At this time the word was gender neutral and could be used to refer to men and women.
Men are often more willing to make fun of their own appearance and started using the word guy in a self deprecating fashion to refer to themselves and other men. When children learning english for the first time from their parents here their fathers and other men refer to each other as guys without being taken as an insult, they just assume it’s another word used to refer to a man or a mixed group of people.


Prescription


From time to time I’ll hear some say that guy is a gendered term and we should avoid using it to refer to a group of men and women. I can kind of understand this sentiment, as the word is generally used to refer to men when used in the singular. With that in mind I really don’t mind if someone chooses to avoid using the word guy in that way.
But when considering the words gender neutral history and usage there is really no reason for the plural usage referring to both men and women to be forbidden. If you really wanted to restrict the usage of the word guy it would make more sense to ban it outright considering its history as an insult, but that since of the word is so obsolete it’s almost completely forgotten.
This is where the spontaneously ordered nature of human language will resolve the issue of the gendered use of guy for us. If enough children grow up with parents that choose to avoid using the word guy in a gender neutral sense eventually the word will only refer to men, but if enough people keep using the word to refer to mixed groups of people guy will maintain its current definition.
It’s all really all up to the children.
Resources:
http://oed.comhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guy_Fawkeshttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gunpowder_Plothttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guy_Fawkes_Nighthttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_VI_and_Ihttp://www.imdb.com/title/tt0434409/https://www.thegreatcourses.com/courses/language-a-to-z.html