Help with English

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by Saint, Aug 24, 2011.

  1. DrKrettin Registered Senior Member

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    169
    I don't know, but possibly 700 years ago the French pronounced it "SAR". This is also the origin of "lieutenant" and English English has managed to keep the original "LEFF-tenant" pronunciation for 700 years. Unfortunately we forgot to mention that to the Mayflower passengers, who were all bible-bashers.
     
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  3. geordief Registered Senior Member

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    532
    Are you sure? Do you just mean they are both from old French? Sergeant and lieutenant seem quite different. Sergeant seems to come from "servir" (to serve) and lieutenant seems to (literally) mean "stand in for"
    http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?allowed_in_frame=0&search=lieutenant
    http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?allowed_in_frame=0&search=sergeant
     
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  5. DrKrettin Registered Senior Member

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    That's all I meant
     
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  7. Saint Valued Senior Member

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    assay and essay have no relationship or their origin?
     
  8. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    Yes, they do. They both come from the same root, French word: assaier, meaning to test, or trial.

    The two separate words seem to have arisen due to simply being alternate spelling, but then certain meanings became more prominently attached to one or other of the spellings.

    These days the verb to assay is mostly used in the labs (medicine, chemistry etc) meaning to investigate the levels of one thing within another... E.g. the level of salt in sea water. In that regard one is testing something. It is similar to the verb "to assess".

    The verb to essay means to attempt, or try, whereas the noun "essay" borrows more from the meaning of "to assay", in that an essay is a written piece of work that sets out to examine or test an idea. E.g. if you write an essay on subject X then you are putting forth your arguments about X.
     
  9. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Messages:
    24,690
    That would be the British pronunciation. In American dialect, we say dee-voll-it-ill-iz-ay-shun. The "I" before the "Z" is a short I in the USA, but a long I in the U.K.
     
  10. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    Not sure it's as clear cut as that, as I would pronounce it with the short I. Some words would be long I, though, like privatisation. But in this case I would definitely use the short I. And I'm British.

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  11. Saint Valued Senior Member

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    Now the Russia story enters a new, more serious phase. Robert Mueller has a sterling reputation in Washington, DC. He worked with Mr Comey when the latter served as deputy attorney general in George W Bush's administration. He understands pressure-cooker politics and knows how to navigate the corridors of power.


    navigate the corridors of power =?

    pressure-cooker politics = ?

    sterling = excellent
     
  12. Saint Valued Senior Member

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    3,348
    He has wide latitude to conduct his investigation and bring criminal charges, if necessary.

    wide latitude = wide range?
     
  13. Saint Valued Senior Member

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    3,348
    cowed by = frightened by?
    Why "cow"? Anything to do with the animal cow?
     
  14. Saint Valued Senior Member

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    Independent investigations often take on a life of their own and can reach unexpected conclusions. With Mr Mueller in the game, the stakes just went up.

    take on a life of their own = ? risk their own lives?

    the stakes just went up = getting excited?
     
  15. Baldeee Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,033
    The corridors of power are the higher levels of government, where the big decisions are made.
    To navigate the corridors of power means to know who to speak to in those upper levels to get things done.

    A pressure-cooker is something that cooks through achieving higher pressure than can otherwise be achieved.
    As an idiom it means intensely pressurised.
    Pressure-cooker politics means politics where the pressure on the people, due to the situation, subject matter, and/or personalities is far higher than normal.
    Yes, but also reliable and stable.
    It is an adjective from the British currency (the Sterling), which at least historically was seen as an excellent, reliable and stable currency

    Yes, but in sense that it is wider than would usually be allowed before being deemed unacceptable.
    Cowed means intimidated.
    It's possibly derived from the same root as the animal, possibly from the name of the animal itself, in that a cow is, I guess, easily intimated and herded.

    To take on a life of their own means that something set in motion is no longer be (easily) controlled.
    No, it means that the risks and rewards have just gone up, that the implications are more significant than previously.
    If you are playing poker then there is a difference between playing for just cents compared to playing for hundreds of dollars... the stakes are higher, so there is more pressure, more risk, more reward etc.
     
  16. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Messages:
    24,690
    I've only heard a Frenchman pronounce the word "sergeant" once, but he pronounced the first syllable exactly the way we do: SAR. (The second syllable, of course, has the French soft J, as the S in English "pleasure.")
     
  17. geordief Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    532
    I think you may be right but it would be an irregular pronunciation as I would expect the vowel in the first syllable to rhyme with "air" (as in "land sea and air" ).

    But I have a similar recollection to you ,albeit not having heard it used very often at all.

    Google Translate ,on the other hand speaks it as "air".I don't know how reliable that is (but it does sound like a human voice to me)

    Perhaps "air" can slide into "ar" in some spoken French (but you would never hear "marde" for "mairde" (="merde"/shit),I would be very sure.
     
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  18. Saint Valued Senior Member

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    diaspora = greek word? Dispersion.
    haven and heaven got same root of word?
     
  19. DrKrettin Registered Senior Member

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    Yes, it comes from the Greek verb speiro to sow (seeds). Its original meaning was quite specific, it was the emigration of Greeks from a Greek city to set up new cities around the Mediterranean. There are different kinds of diasporai, each with a different purpose, too complicated to explain here.


    Probably not. They are both Germanic, but haven is derived from haven = harbour, safe place (cf. Copenhagen) Heaven is from a different root, unknown.
     
  20. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    Heaven is from old English heofon meaning "Home of God", and before that from a word meaning the sky. Hence we get the notion that
    Heaven is above us, God lives in the clouds etc.
     
  21. Saint Valued Senior Member

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    switcheroo=?
     
  22. Saint Valued Senior Member

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    cohort means what?
     
  23. Saint Valued Senior Member

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    3,348
    cooperation = collaboration?
    Same meaning?
     

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