Thursday, 29 August 2013

currency exchange

Here's a sign outside a currency exchange.


I think these are all from Google Translate, but they illustrate the dangers of using Google Translate when you don't know anything about the language in question.

I think the German and Spanish are ok, but isn't the normal French term bureau de change? My dictionary says the Italian should be cambiavalute.

The Hindi should be मुद्रा विनिमय mudrā vinimay - in the second word the vowels are joined to the wrong consonants. It's the same problem noted here and on Language Log.

Take the last line, reverse the direction, and you get Persian مبادله ارز mubādalah ārz. mubādalah is "exchange" and ārz is "value, price, foreign exchange". Is this the usual way to write "currency exchange"?

(When I first wrote this I misread the second word as ادز instead of ارز, which was confusing.)

Saturday, 24 August 2013

what they're saying about Bradshaw of the Future

"slice of dry white bread" - Gez
"tails off at the end" - languagehat
"quite neat" - Schrisomalis
"etymological opiates for the masses" - Mahendra Singh
"very cool and always informative" - Drew
"Ah, how the futuristic bradshaw brightens my day" - Adam Roberts
"informative without being too strident" - the engine room
"home-made penne all'arrabbiata with the sauce made from the best tomatoes on this planet" - bulbul
"desperate wrong-doer" - Lewis Carroll

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

atoll and esoteric

atoll is borrowed from Dhivehi އަތޮޅު atoḷu (related to Sinhala ඇතුල් ætul "inside"), possibly related to Sanskrit अन्तर antara- "interior". Or the Dhivehi word might be borrowed from Malayalam attālam "sinking reef" (or അടൽ aṭal "closing, uniting"), in which case it is probably not of IE origin.


Maldivian atolls

Sanskrit antara- is from PIE *en-tero- from *en- "in" plus *-tero- an adjectival comparative suffix. *en-tero- became Greek ἔντερον enteron "intestine", as in enteric, dysentery. It also became Latin intrō as in introduce.

The extended suffixed *ens-ō- (*-ō- being a form of the thematic suffix?) became Greek ἔσω esō "within". The comparative form of this is ἐσωτέρω esōterō (featuring the comparative suffix *-tero-) as in ἐσωτερικός esōterikos "inner, esoteric", as in esoteric.

Monday, 19 August 2013

frugal and brook

The form *bhrūg- "agricultural produce, to enjoy (produce)" (perhaps derived from PIE *bhreu- "to cut") became Latin frug- "profit, utility, fruit", and frūgālis "frugal, economical, useful".

The form *bhrūg-wo- became Latin fruī "to enjoy", frūctus "enjoyment, produce" and English fruit.

In English, *bhrūg- became brūcan "to enjoy the use of, make use of, profit by". Nowadays this is found in expressions where it means "tolerate":
The General… could ill brook the opposition of his son. - Austen, Northanger Abbey
The derivation of brook the noun is unknown.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

heddle, have, hawk, recipe

Proto-Indo-European *kap- "to grasp" became Proto-Germanic *haf- and Old English hefeld "thread used for weaving", metathesized to *hefedl, then English heddle.



The form *kap-o- became English have and behave.

Proto-Germanic *haƀ-uko-z became Old English heafoc and English hawk. The *-uko- suffix is also found in bullock, bollocks, paddock, etc.

The form *kap-yo- became Latin capiō "to take, seize, catch". From this was derived recipere "admit, give shelter" which found its way thru French into English as receive. The second person singular imperative of recipere was recipe. In English recipe was originally used by doctors to begin a medical prescription, for instance "Recipe brede gratyd, & eggis" (from The babees book).

Monday, 5 August 2013

celebrity non-English tattoos

It's time for more celebrities with non-English tattoos!

(Previously on celebrity tattoos.)

Hayden Panettiere has a Sanskrit Hindi tattoo on her right arm. I guess it is supposed to be जय गुरुदेव ॐ jay guru dev om, the mantra in The Beatles' "Across the Universe". It's not the nicest looking Devanagari, in my opinion. Also the रु looks weird.

Hayden also has an Italian tattoo: Vivere senza rimipianti, a mistake for Vivere senza rimpianti "live without regrets".

Angelina Jolie has a tattoo in Khmer (apparently a Buddhist Pali incantation), but it's been rotated. I know nothing about Khmer but I think it's rotated right in this picture.

Doda Elektroda has an unfortunate Sanskrit tattoo that one person says is अविनाशिता avināśitā "avowed, spoken for". Someone else says it might be अविनाशिन् avināśin "imperishable".

Kimberley Wyatt has Sanskrit lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu which apparently means "let all beings be happy and let my actions contribute to their happiness". लोकाः समस्ताः सुखिनो भवन्तु।

Freema Agyeman has Persian رَها rahā "liberation".

Rihanna has Arabic الّحريه في المسيح "freedom in the Messiah".

Rihanna has Tibetan དགའ་པོ་བྱེད་མཁན། dga' po byed mkhan, which means "fan" according to this dictionary. dga' po is "love" and byed mkhan is "doer, performer, author, someone who creates". So I guess it's meant to be "lover".

And of course Rihanna has a Sanskrit tattoo.

Mamtha Mohandas has Sanskrit श्री गणेशाय नमः śrī gaṇeśāya namaḥ.

Saif Ali Khan has his girlfriend's name Kareena. करीना?

Hrithik Roshan has a Tengwar tattoo!?

Shruti Hassan got her name in Tamil: ஷ்ருதி

Ajay Devgan has his daughter's name, apparently.

Sanjay Dutt has all kinds of tattoos.

Friday, 2 August 2013

veldt, piano, polka


veldt is an older spelling of Dutch and Afrikaans veld "unenclosed country or open pasture-land", cognate with English field, from Proto-Germanic *felþa- from Proto-Indo-European *pelh₂- "flat, to spread".

In Latin *pelh₂- became plānus "flat, level, even, plain, clear" and Italian piano "quiet". English piano is a shortening of pianoforte, so named because the instrument could produce both loud and soft sounds.

polka is the feminine form of Polish polák "Pole", but further etymology is uncertain.

In Slavic, *pelh₂- became Russian полый polyj "open, free, uncovered" and Czech pole "field". The AHD connects this with polka, but the OED says this is discredited. Another discredited theory is that it is from Czech půlka "half", as in "half-step" or somesuch.