Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Sunshine in Paris

I'm back in Paris. It's scary to think that this is the last time I'll be in Paris as a student, and soon I'll be leaving. And that I've done three years of a degree even though it feels like a few weeks. I've actually yet to book my ticket back at the end of May, and yes, it's getting closer and closer and ticket prices are getting higher and higher, but I think I'm in denial... But on a positive note, the weather's lovely. Nicky, Natasha and I had a revision session this morning which I found reassuring as I actually knew things, and then we had lunch on the Esplanade des Invalides in the sunshine. Paris is lovely in the sunshine. This is my favourite time of year: sunny but not too hot, and without the hordes of tourists roaming the streets like zombies.

And now for today's enigmatic etymology: asparagus
Asparagus, the vegetable, comes from the greek word asparagos. However, folk etymology has resulted in various variants of the name, such as 'sparrowgrass', or even 'asper grass' or 'spar grass' due to the resemblence of these pronunciations to the Greek. Folk etymology has also led to other corruptions in English, such as the silent 's' in island. The word comes from Medieval English iland from ieg ("island") + land, but because of its similarity to 'isle', which derives from Latin via Old French, an "s" was inserted. False etymology has even led to the resignation of a US public official, who used the word 'niggardly' and was accused of racism because of its similarity to the N-word. Although the origins of the former are unclear, it precedes the latter, which derives from the Latin word niger, meaning "black". In a similar vein, a paediatrician in Wales had her car and house vandalised by vigilantes confusing her profession with the word 'paedophile'. After the murder of Sara Payne in 2000, the News of the World, a newspaper not worth the wood pulp it's printed on, launched a name and shame campaign that led to a witch hunt including, as well as the attack against the doctor, driving five innocent families from their homes in Portsmouth.

1 comment:

  1. Yo! I love your blog. Update more. Also, you need to change the 'Edit' button to something. Twitter, Wikipedia, anything, but it just looks silly.