Be wise. Be brave. Be tricky. (slithytove) wrote,
Be wise. Be brave. Be tricky.

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Freedom English

We're boycotting french fries and French wines: What would English be like if we boycotted all French words?
via MetaFilter

Yes, I know this is intended as humorous, but over the centuries that English has developed, other people have espoused this idea quite seriously. Sir John Cheke (1514-1557), tutor to King Edward VI and Regius Professor of Greek at Cambridge :

I am of this opinion that our own tung shold be written cleane and pure, vnmixt and vnmangeled with borrowing of other tunges, wherein if we take not heed by tijm, euer borrowing and neuer paying, she shall be fain to keep her house as bankrupt. For then doth our tung naturallie and praisablie vtter her meaning, whan she bouroweth no counterfeitness of other tunges to attire her self withall, but vseth plainlie her own...
Well, it didn't happen, any more than Cheke's spelling 'reforms', and it's a good thing.

Still, there's something to be said for English writers and speakers striving to use short Anglo-Saxon words rather than polysyllabic Romance/Latin ones, regardless of the state of current diplomatic relations with France. Read through the Christian Science Monitor story. Isn't 'clean' actually a better choice than 'purify'? Isn't 'speech' a better choice than 'parlance'? Isn't 'tongue' a stronger choice than 'language'? Although one of English's strengths is that it has freely drafted foreign words into its use, muscular English prose is built around short words that that have been part of our tongue for centuries, and are often from the Anglo-Saxon word-hoard. Listen to the master of English prose, Winston Churchill: "The short words are best, and the old words are the best of all."

meaning: barley, wheat
小麦 == komugi == wheat
蕎麦 == soba == buckwheat noodles

The top radical was originally a pictograph of a wheat plant. The bottom radical is 'inverted foot', acting phonetically to express 'sharp/spiky', i.e., a description of the ears of wheat. Henshall suggests taking the bottom radical as 'sitting crosslegged', and the top as a variant of 'growing plant/life' (生), and as a mnemonic:  'Sitting cross-legged watching wheat plant grow.'

Stroke order:
Josh's Chinese Lookup Thingy (animated)
Dicionário de Kanji
Dragon Dictionary information for

Once again, the Dicionário de Kanji disagrees with the animated gif as to stroke order. Hrm. Is stroke order really different in Japanese than in Chinese? Or is someone just making a mistake?

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