This blog contains my musings on language, linguistics and related topics. I write about the meanings and origins of words and phrases; language learning techniques; language courses and over learning resources; languages and cultures, and anything else that interests me, from a linguistic perspective.
Recently I’ve noticed the word ship being used quite a lot in the comments on some videos on YouTube.
Here are some examples (from the comments on the video below):
“why do people have to ship every single person who collabs with another even when they’re in a relationship”
“is it okay to ship them or”
“I Dont Care. I Ship It.”
Taking Back My Heart - Cover feat. Tessa Violet - YouTube
From the context I guessed that it means that the commenter thinks the people in the video are in a relationship, or could be, or would like them to be, and that ship is an abbreviation of relationship.
There are a variety of definitions of ship and to ship in the Urban Dictionary, including:
Ship, N. Short for romantic relationship, popularized in fanfiction circles.
A ship is when you put 2 people’s names together and want them to be in a relationship. Most commonly used among fandoms.
Ship – A couple. Two people one thinks should date, or likes that they do/did. Usually combines the two names to make a ship name, i.e.:John+Karen=Jaren.
ship (v.) to support or endorse a romantic paring that is not canon in the work(s) in which they appear. The shipping of couples is often the purpose of many fanfiction stories. Used for characters in anime, manga, video games, tv shows, etc.
A related words include: shippable – when someone can be shipped with many people. Shipping – the phenomenon of using these terms. Shipper – someone involved in shipping. Shipping war – when two ships contradict each other [source].
Ship = “a romantic relationship between fictional characters, especially one that people discuss, write about, or take an interest in, whether or not the romance actually exists in the original book, show, etc.”
To ship =”to discuss, write about, or take an interest in a romantic relationship between (fictional characters): I’m shipping for those guys—they would make a great couple!”
“Shipping, initially derived from the word relationship, is the desire by fans for two or more people, either real-life people or fictional characters (in film, literature, television etc.) to be in a romantic relationship. It is considered a general term for fans’ emotional involvement with the ongoing development of a relationship in a work of fiction. Shipping often takes the form of creative works, including fanfiction and fan art, most often published on the internet. However, shipping can involve virtually any kind of relationship- from the well-known and established, through the ambiguous or those undergoing development, and even all the way to the highly improbable and the blatantly impossible. It can be used as a friendship term.”
A Czech friend sent me a link to an interesting article (in Czech) about a mysterious inscription found on a rock in the village of Plougastel-Daoulas in Brittany in the northwest of France. Verisons of the article in English and French are also available.
The writing is in the Latin alphabet, but the language is unknown – people have suggested that it’s an old form of Breton or Basque.
Parts of the inscription are “ROC AR B … DRE AR GRIO SE EVELOH AR VIRIONES BAOAVEL… R I” and “OBBIIE: BRISBVILAR … FROIK … AL”, and there are two dates 1786 and 1787.
It looks most like a form of Breton to me, although the word VIRIONES looks more Gaulish.
A reward of €2,000 is being offered to anybody who can deciper this. If you take part, you have until November 2019 to submit your decipherment. The most plausible entry will receive the prize. You can contact firstname.lastname@example.org to register for the competition, find out more and to receive photos of the inscription.
One of the things we talked about last night at the French conversation group was patois, specifically Jamaican (Jimiekn / Patwah).
In French patois means
“Système linguistique essentiellement oral, utilisé sur une aire réduite et dans une communauté déterminée (généralement rurale), et perçu par ses utilisateurs comme inférieur à la langue officielle.” [source]
“an essentially oral linguistic system, used in a small area and in a particular community (usually rural), and perceived by its users as inferior to the official language.”
In English patois means “an unwritten regional dialect of a language, esp. of French, usually considered substandard; the jargon of particular group.” [source].
1. A regional dialect of a language (especially French); usually considered substandard.
2. Any of various French or Occitan dialects spoken in France.
3. Creole French in the Caribbean (especially in Dominica, St. Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago and Haiti).
4. Jamaican Patois, a Jamaican Creole language primarily based on English and African languages but also has influences from Spanish, Portuguese and Hindi.
5. Jargon or cant.
It comes from the Middle French patois (local dialect), from the Old French patois (incomprehensible speech, rude language), from the Old French patoier (to gesticulate, handle clumsily, paw), from pate (paw), from Vulgar Latin *patta (paw, foot), from the Frankish *patta (paw, sole of the foot), from the Proto-Germanic *pat-, *paþa- (to walk, tread, go, step), of uncertain origin [source].
Patois was first used in written French in 1643 to refer to non-standard varities of French, and to regional languages such as Picard, Occitan, Franco-Provençal and Catalan. Such varities and languages were assumed to be backward, countrified, and unlettered. Use of the word was banned by king Louis XIV in 1700.
There is no standard linguistic definition of patois, and to a linguist it can refer to pidgins, creoles, dialects, or vernaculars [source].
When learning a new language, it helps if you learn how to use its grammar. There is much debate about how to do this.
Some people might advise you just to speak a language as soon as you know anything, and not to worry about making mistakes. In fact, they might encourage you to make mistakes. You will eventually pick up the grammar through extensive use of and exposure to the language, and maybe occasional glances at grammar books.
A ‘traditional’ approach to language learning involves concentrating more on learning the grammar before you try to use the language.
A combination of these approaches might be most effective. This is something I discussed on my latest podcast.
Last night one of the people at the French conversation group seems to have taken the first approach – he knows quite a bit of French vocabulary, but is not very good at putting words together into coherent sentences, or at using the grammar. As a result, it was rather difficult to work out what he was trying to say. I imagine native speakers of French might have less patience than us when trying to understand him.
So while it is possible to speak a language without knowing much of the grammar, you might find it difficult to make yourself understood.
The other day I learnt an interesting Swedish idiom – nu trampade jag verkligen i klaveret, which means “I really put my foot in it” or literally “now I really stepped (heavily) on the accordion / piano / keyboard”.
According to the Svenska Akademiens Ordböcker, trampa i klaveret means “göra en social tabbe” (to make a social mistake). Apparently it comes from the phrase “Det låter, sa bonden/klockaren, trampade i klavere” (It sounds, said the farmer / watchman, like trampling on the keyboard” [source].
To put one’s foot in it means “to say or do something tactless or embarrassing; commit a blunder or indiscretion.” [source]. The origins of this phrase are not known.
Other idioms involves musical instruments, or instrumental idioms, include:
rhoi’r ffidl yn y to = to give up / throw in the towel (“to put the fiddle in the roof)
to play second fiddle = to take a subordinate position to someone was is more important
to blow one’s own trumpet = to boast about your own sucesses
to blow the whistle (on sth/sb) = to report illegal / unacceptable activities