Can I AXE you a question?

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by kwhilborn, May 1, 2013.

  1. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Yes. It's from Latin cantare, "to sing," via Norman French canter (chanter in Modern French, from which we subsequently derived the word "chant"). It was originally used as a disparaging dismissal of the practice of chanting in an incomprehensible foreign language (Latin) in Roman Catholic church services. It was extended to include any incomprehensible speech, sung or not.

    Educated people still use the term that way, although it's fallen out of favor in the vernacular and the average citizen is probably only vaguely aware of the word.

    In linguistics it's a specific technical term for speech crafted deliberately to thwart comprehension by outsiders, contrasted with slang, accent, patois, dialect, creole, jargon, pidgin, argot, language and other terms for speech variants. Since this is the Linguistics subforum, we use linguists' terminology.
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  3. LaurieAG Registered Senior Member

    I can remember using a simple cant called ARP at school. Basically you would just add arp before each vowel or group of vowels i.e. darpo yarpou arpundarperstarpand arparp?

    Australian Strine can also be interesting as being accused of (1) not playing with a full deck, (2) being a few sandwiches short of a picnic, or (3) having a few kangaroos loose in the top paddock are meant to be worked out by outsiders and are a bit more sophisticated than plain and potentially obscure rhyming slang like (4) Noah's ark for shark.
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  5. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

    In ARP language, seals say nothing at all.
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  7. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    Not worth new thread, but I note the words of a language record history. E.g. I still call the frig an "ice box." I was wondering what is the oldest example of that.

    The pot I boil my coffee water in I call a "tea pot." It whistles when the water boils. Amercians doing that I bet were once tea drinkers until the "Boston Tea Party." They changed the national drink but not what they called the pot making boiling water. Anyone with older example?
  8. kwhilborn Banned Banned

    Surprised. In Canada we have a separate pot that we put tea bags in and add water. We boil water in a kettle, although that might have roots as a big cooking pot.

    Did coffee become popular after tea party? I think Many still drank tea, but that was a rebellion against the British. I have no idea the history of coffee.
  9. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    One of the things that made the Dark Ages "dark" was a tremendous decline in civil engineering since the Roman Era. Europe's rivers were so polluted that the water was unsafe to drink. People drank beer instead, the alcohol serving as a disinfectant. Of course this did nothing for the continent's average IQ, so it remained in ignorance and squalor.

    When coffee was first imported from Ethiopia, pumping their bodies full of caffeine instead of alcohol, it caused a paradigm shift in European culture. (Don't ask me why they didn't just boil their water in the first place--perhaps this is just part of that IQ problem.) The Renaissance, the Reformation, the Enlightenment, all of these seminal advances in culture occurred after the introduction of coffee. The Royal Society, Britain's prestigious academy of science, was formed in a coffee house.

    Tea came along later.

    Meanwhile, in the Colonies, neither coffee nor tea were as popular as on the other side of the Whaleroad, because the colonists simply preferred beer and other alcoholic drinks. This, despite the fact that one of the many advantages they had by invading a continent that had never supported a civilization (north of the Rio Grande), in addition to the abundant minerals, topsoil, game and virgin forests that would catapult the United States into international prominence, was an abundant supply of clean water. (Of course we think this was all due to our being "special.")

    Americans did eventually develop a moderate taste for tea, which was somewhat curtailed during the Revolution after they dumped so much of it into Boston Harbor. But the real crisis came during the War of 1812, when the British tea merchants simply refused to sell to them. At this point, coffee began to become popular over here. It remains more popular than tea, although today much of the "coffee" consumed by Americans in Starbucks and similar establishments is more of a soda fountain confection that the medieval Ethiopians would not even recognize.

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