Lederhosen and Inverted Snobbery‏


Lederhosen are breeches made of leather; they may be either short or knee-length. Formerly, lederhosen were worn for hard physical work; they were more durable than a fabric garment and easier to clean. Today, they are mostly worn as leisure wear.

Knopflatz Lederhose, a traditionnal german lea...

A so-called Knopflatz Lederhose

Lederhosen were once widespread among Germanic men of the Alpine and surrounding regions, including Bavaria, Austria, and the German-speaking part of Italy’s province of South Tyrol, but they were not usually worn in south-western Germany or Switzerland.

The popularity of lederhosen in Bavaria dropped sharply in the 19th century. They began to be considered as uncultured peasants’ clothing that was not fitting for modern city-dwellers. However, in the 1880s a resurgence set in, and several clubs were founded in Munich and other large cities devoted to preserving traditional rural clothing styles. After this time, traditional wear such as the lederhosen became an object of inverted snobbery as the upper classes began to hold festivities in a remade traditional atmosphere and dressed up as peasants.

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Canard [Noun.]


1. A false or misleading report or story, especially if deliberately so.

2. In aeronautics; a type of aircraft in which the primary horizontal control and stabilization surfaces are in front of the main wing.

3. In transport; engineering; any small winglike structure on a vehicle, usually used for stabilization.

4. In French; a duck, of either sex.

28/xi mmxii


The Malay word bongking means ‘sprawling face down with one’s bottom in the air’; jeremak means ‘suddenly face to face’; and jeremus means ‘to sprawl on one’s face’.

When the sculptor Bernini saw the sad expression in Van Dyck’s portrait Charles I in Three Positions, he described the King’s face as ‘doomed’. ‘Never, never’, he wrote, ‘have I beheld features more unfortunate’.

There are 44 muscles in the human face, enabling us to make more than 250,000 different expressions.

Almost half the weight of the earth’s crust is accounted for by oxygen.

More than half the earth is at least 3000 metres under the sea.

Discourse Analysis


‘There’s two types of favors, the big favor and the small favor. You can measure the size of the favor by the pause that a person takes after they ask you to “Do me a favor.” Small favor – small pause. “Can you do me a favor, hand me that pencil.” No pause at all. Big favors are, “Could you do me a favor …” Eight seconds go by. “Yeah? What?”

“… well.” The longer it takes them to get to it, the bigger the pain it’s going to be.

Humans are the only species that do favors. Animals don’t do favors. A lizard doesn’t go up to a cockroach and say, “Could you do me a favor and hold still, I’d like to eat you alive.” That’s a big favor even with no pause.

Seinfeld (1993)’

– Yule, G. 1985. The Study of Language Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press (2010) p. 141

Apple of Discord‏


As an English phrase, it denotes an object or topic which sows dissension and anger.

Kallisti

Modern interpretation of the Eris’ Apple of Discord

An apple of discord is a reference to the Golden Apple of Discord which, according to Greek mythology, the goddess Eris inscribed “to the fairest” and tossed the apple in the midst of the festivities at the wedding of Peleus and Thetis, thus sparking a vanity-fuelled dispute between the goddesses Hera, Athena and Aphrodite which eventually led to the Trojan War.

Kallistēi is the word of the Ancient Greek language inscribed by Eris on the Golden Apple of Discord. In Greek, the word is kallistēi (the dative singular of the feminine superlative of kalos, meaning ‘beautiful’). Its meaning can be rendered “to the fairest one”.

On a trivial note: in the Eixample district of Barcelona is a block nicknamed in Spanish: La manzana de la discordia (L’illa de la discòrdia in Catalan), the reason for this usage is because manzana means both ‘apple’ and ‘city block’ in Spanish. It was named ‘block of discord’ because the buildings in the district feature three different interpretations of modernist architecture by the artists: Gaudí, Domènech i Montaner, and Puig i Cadafalch.

Sect [Noun.]


A religious movement which has broken away from another (often larger) religious community because of doctrinal differences. It is a group sharing particular (often unorthodox) political and/or religious beliefs. A sect could also be following a specific ideal or leader.

Orpheus and Eurydice


‘He could have been the happiest man on the earth, but it was not to be, for his marriage with the beautiful nymph Eurydice was not to last long. They were still only newly-weds when she, while walking through the meadows, stepped on a snake that bit her heel and tore away her young life. Orpheus dared travelling to the underworld and approach the throne of Hades. He accompanied his wistful song with string music. Then the shades cried, Tantalus forgot to bow to the water, Sisyphus sat listening on the stone that would not role away any more and even the Erinyes were moved to tears. Eurydice was called and returned to her husband; he was allowed to carry her to the world above as long he would not look at her before they had left the land of the shades. When they had come close to the exit, Orpheus – afraid that she might not make it to the exit, and filled with a desire to see her – looked behind him and saw her disappear; when he tried to grasp her, he reached out into air. A barely audible farewell reached his ears. When he tried to follow her, the hound Cerberus forbade him to pass. Seven days and seven nights he sat on the riverbank of the Styx before finally returning to earth.’

– Hoffmann. E. 1971. Goden- en Heldensagen [Sagas of Gods and Heroes] Groningen, The Netherlands: Wolters-Noordhoff (1977) p. 24-25

Did Americans have British Accents in 1776?


It is obvious to assume that Americans used to have accents similar to today’s British accents, and that American accents diverged after the Revolutionary War, while British accents remained more or less the same.

The second of four engravings by Amos Doolittl...

Amos Doolittle’s 1775 engraving depicting the British entering Concord

Americans in 1776 did have British accents in that American accents and British accents hadn’t yet diverged – an answer which is not too surprising.

What is surprising, though, is that those accents were much closer to today’s American accents than to today’s British accents. While both have changed over time, it’s actually British accents that have changed much more drastically since then.

First, let’s be clear: the terms British accent and American accent are oversimplifications; there were, and still are, innumerable constantly-evolving regional British and American accents. What most Americans think of as the British accent is the standardized Received Pronunciation, also known as ‘BBC English’.

While there are many differences between today’s British accents and today’s American accents, perhaps the most noticeable difference is rhotacism. While most American accents are rhotic, the standard British accent is non-rhotic. (Rhotic speakers pronounce the ‘R’ sound in the word ‘hard’. Non-rhotic speakers do not.)

In 1776, both American accents and British accents were largely rhotic. It was around this time that non-rhotic speech took off in southern England, especially among the upper class. This prestige non-rhotic speech was standardized, and has been spreading in Britain ever since. Most American accents, however, remained rhotic. However, there are a few fascinating exceptions: like Irish and Scottish accents, New York and Boston accents became non-rhotic.

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