Thursday, 22 March 2012

A test of Eminem's estimations

English translation follows the German text.

Hi. Das hier ist wieder nur auf Englisch. Es tut mir leid. Ich sage Bescheid, wenn es wieder was Deutsches hier zu lesen gibt. Ich kann die Sprache noch, ehrlich.
Bis denne.

Hi. This is only in English again. Sorry. I'll let you know when there's something on here in German again - I can still speak the language, honest.
Until then though, you can enjoy today's post in English.
"I guess that's why they call it windowpane." This is one of Eminem's worst lines, where he suggests that he has come to the conlusion that "windowpane" is somehow related to "pain" because when you look through windows at unhappy events it can hurt.
Being thorough linguists, we won't let him get away with that so easily. Welcome back, Mr. Oxford Dictionary of English.
1 windowpane: noun 1 a pane of glass in a window. 2 a broad flatfish with numerous dark spots, found in the western Atlantic. Also called SAND DAB. - Scophthalmus aquosus, family Scophthalmidae (or Bothidae).
Now I am quite sure that Eminem is talking about definition 1 because he also mentions looking through a window and doesn't mention peering into an aquarium anywhere. Nevertheless, we should probably take a look at what a SAND DAB is.
2 sand dab: noun a small flatfish which is found in the Pacific coastal waters of America. - Genus Citharichthys, family Bothidae: several species. - another tem for WINDOWPANE.
Now however confusing it may be that the 'sand dab' and 'windowpane' are apparently synonyms and yet belong to different geni and swim in different waters, it is of little relevance to our debate, because we are dealing with definition 1 of 'windowpane'.
To see if 'windowpane' is related to 'pain', we need to take a look at some more definitions. If you've been following, you'll remember that a 'windowpane' was 'a pane of glass in a window', which is presumably where the morpheme 'pane' in the word also comes from.
3 pane: noun 1 a single sheet of glass in a window or door. - Computing a separate defined area within a windo for the display of, or interaction with, a specified part of that window's application or output. 2 a sheet of page of stamps. ORIGIN late Middle English (originally denoting a piece of something, such as a fence or strip of cloth): from Old French pan, from Latin pannus 'piece of cloth'.
Now we need to look at 'pain'.
4 pain: noun [mass noun] 1 highly unpleasant physical sensation caused by illness or injury: she's in great pain. [count noun] chest pains. - (also pain in the neck or vulgar slang arse) informal - an annoying or tedious person or thing: she's a pain. 2 mental suffering or distress: the pain of loss. 3 (pains great care or trouble: she took pains to see that everyone ate well. - verb [with obj.] cause mental or physical pain to: it pains me to say this | her legs had been paining her. - [no obj.] chiefly N. Amer. (of a part of the body) hurt: sometimes my right hand would pain. - PHRASES for one's pains informal, as an unfairly bad return for one's efforts: he was sued for his pains. no pain, no gain suffering is necessary in order to achieve something. [ORIGIN orginally used as a slogan in fitness classes.] on (or under) pain of the penalty for disobedience or shortcoming being: they proscribed all such practices on pain of death. - ORIGIN Middle English (in the sense 'suffering inflicted punishment for an offence'): from Old French peine, from Latin poena 'penalty', later 'pain'.
A careful study of the lyrics shows that Eminem is referring to definition noun 2, which is of little importance because all the meanings have the same origin, but still nice to establish for reasons of completeness. Had we been unable to find a definition fitting with what Eminem is on about, then we would have maybe had to reconsider this whole exercise. But as it is, we have a postive match both for 'windowpane' and for 'pain'. The former, however, comes from Old French pan, from Latin pannus 'piece of cloth', whilst the latter also comes Old French from Latin, but from peine, from poena 'penalty', later 'pain'.
'Poena' and 'pannus' are clearly different - they don't even look a bit the same, so I guess, even if it does mean taking a stance opposed to Eminem's, that that isn't why they call it windowpane at all.
See you tomorrow.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

A nice analysis

English translation follows the German text.

Hallo. Dieser Post ist leider nur auf English, weil es um so eine auf einem Wortspiel basierende englische linguistische Analyse geht. Wer ein bisschen Englisch kann, kann gerne den englischen Text lesen.
Herr Bench

Hi. This post is unfortunately only in English because it's about an English linguistic analysis based on a pun. If you are reading and understanding this, then that shouldn't matter as it means you are at least able to passively comprehend written English, so you should be fine with the rest of the post. Here it is.
My version of the Oxford Dictionary of English contains the following entries (here I only mean main entries) which begin with the letters 'pant':
1 pant
2 Pantegruelian
3 pantalettes
4 pantaloon
5 Pantanal
6 pantec
7 pantechnicon
8 Pantelleria
9 Panthalassa
10 pantheism
11 pantheon
12 panther
13 panther cap
14 panties
15 pantihose
16 pantile
17 Pantisocracy
18 panto
19 panto-
20 Pantocrator
21 pantograph
22 pantomime
23 pantomime dame
24 pantomime horse
25 Pantone
26 pantothenate
27 pantothenic acid
28 pantoum
29 pantry
30 pantryman
31 pants
32 pantsuit
33 pantsula
34 pantun
35 panty girdle
36 pantyhose
37 pantywaist

That makes 37 entries in total.
Of those, the following have an ORIGIN given.
1 pant: Middle English: related to Old French pantaisier 'be agitated, gasp', based on Greek phantasioun 'cause to imagine', from phantasia (see FANTASY).
2 Pantagruelian: late 17th cent.: from Pantagruel (the name of an enormous giant in Rabelais's novel Pantagruel (1532)) + -IAN.
4 pantaloon: late 16th cent.: from French pantalon, from the Italian name Pantalone 'Pantaloon'.
6 pantec: 1970s: abbreviation of PANTECHNICON.
7 pantechnicon: mid 19th cent.: from PAN- 'all' + tekhnikon 'piece of art', originally the name of a bazaar in London for all kinds of artistic work, later converted into a furniture warehouse.
9 Panthalassa: late 19th cent.: from PAN- 'all' + Greek thalassa 'sea'.
10 pantheism: mid 18th cent.: from PAN- 'all' + Greek theos 'god' + -ISM.
11 pantheon: late Middle English (referring especially to the Pantheon, a large circular temple in Rome): via Latin from Greek pantheion, from pan 'all' + theion 'holy (from theos 'god').
12 panther: Middle English: from Old French pantere, from Latin panthera, from Greek panther. In Latin, pardus 'leopard' also existed: the two terms led to confusion: until the mid 19th cent. many taxonomists regarded the panther and the leopard as separate species.
16 pantile: mid 17th cent.: from PAN1 + TILE, probably suggested by Dutch dakpan, literally roof pan'.
17 Pantisocracy: late 18th cent.: from PANTO- 'all' + Greek isokratia 'equality of power'.
19 panto-: from Greek pas, pant- 'all'.
20 Pantocrator: late 19th cent.: via Latin from Greek, 'ruler over all'.
21 pantograph: early 18th cent.: from PANTO- 'all, universal' + Greek -graphos 'writing'.
22 pantomime: late 16th cent.: (first used in the Latin form and denoting an actor using mime): from French pantomime or Latin pantomimus, from Greek pantomimos 'imitator of all' (see PANTO-, MIME).
25 Pantone: 1960s: an invented name.
27 pantothenic acid: 1930s: pantothenic from Greek pantothen 'from every side' (with allusion to its widespread occurence).
28 pantoum: late 18th cent.: Malay pantun.
29 pantry: Middle English: from Anglo-Norman-French panterie, from paneter 'baker', based on late Latin panarius 'bread seller', from Latin panis 'bread'.
31 pants: mid 19th cent.: abbreviation of pantaloons (see PANTALOON).
33 pantsula: perhaps related to Zula p(h)antsula 'strike sharply (with a whip)', reference to elements of the dance style.
37 pantywaist: 1930s: extended use of the term's literal sense 'child's garment consisting of panties attached to a bodice'.

That makes 22 entries with a specified origin. The others either have an origin self-evidently related to one of the others e.g. pantomime horse being related to pantomime, or they have an origin which we can assume to be related e.g. Pantanal is probably somehow also related to one of the others, or at least to PAN- or PANTO-. So we're at 22 for the moment.
Now, some of the origin descriptions further reference other words, so, being thorough linguists, we should really see what their origins are to make sure we don't miss out anything important. Here we go.
1 pant --> FANTASY: late Middle English> from Old French fantasie, from Latin phantasia, from Greek 'imagination, appearance', later 'phantom', from phantazein 'make visible'. From the 16th to the 19th cents the Latinized spelling phantasy was also used.
7 pantechnicon, 9 Panthalassa, 10 pantheism --> PAN-: from Greek pan, neuter of pas 'all'.
16 pantile --> PAN1: Old English panne, of West Germanic origin: related to Dutch pan, German Pfanne, perhaps based on Latin patina 'dish'.

As is clear, this doesn't actually give us 3 additional origins, but rather exposes those with PAN- as the origin as being similary original to those with PANTO-.
All of that means that we are left with just the following genuinely distinct origins, which I will assign letters to so that we can keep track of them:
A: from Greek phantazein 'make visible'. (1)
B: from Pantagruel. (2)
C: from the Italian name Pantalone 'Pantaloon'. (3, 4, 14, 15, 31, 32, 35, 36, 37)
D: from Greek pas 'all'. (6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 26, 27, probably 5, 8)
E: from Greek panther. (12, 13)
F: related to Dutch pan, German Pfanne, perhaps based on Latin patina 'dish'. (16)
G: an invented name. (25)
H: Malay pantun. (28, 34)
I: from Latin panis 'bread'. (29, 30)
J: perhaps related to Zula p(h)antsula 'strike sharply (with a whip)'. (33)

J is the tenth letter of the alphabet, which means that in total there are ten different types of pant. Or, as people sometimes say colloquially, ten different types of pants.
Besides that stunning revelation, I hope you've inferred correctly that leopards and panthers are the same species, which will at least give you the edge in any conversation with many of the early 19th century taxonomists you're likely to come across. You're welcome.
See you tomorrow.