Not now, but during past hour

Pas de résumé, désolée.

Following the link to the World Meteorological Organization chart of weather symbols in Roger Shuy’s LL post, I wonder if Eskimos there are people who have a word for any of the following concepts: “freezing drizzle or rain (not showers), not now but during (the) past hour” or “fog, sky not discernible, and has become thinner during (the) past hour” [including the delightfully vague subject reference], or indeed “snow showers, not now, but during past hour”.

Because even if we have no word for it, the WMO sure has a symbol for it.

From here to eternity

Comme me l’a fait remarquer mon ami Michel, certains photographes amateurs confondent eternity et infinity.

  • 2006-02-22
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My friend Michel Valdrighi has been browsing photography web sites. And, as he pointed out to me the other day, he’s found quite a few people who who set their lens focus (or extend their depth of field) to … eternity:

  • Likewise, you will find that a greater depth-of-field (bigger f-stop number) will make everything from here to eternity appear in focus. (link)
  • At that f-stop, you focused the camera at 5 to 7 feet away and the DOF extended damn near to eternity ;-) (link)
  • To increase DOF against far distance/eternity, turn to left side. (link)
  • It makes a nice, clean image from corner to corner and closes down to f/22 for depth of field from inches to eternity. (link)
  • A couple of them are built as rigidly as possible, allowing for an equivalent F-Stop of 100, which gives me focus from here to eternity. (link)
  • Digicam (secret for now)
    aperture ~5
    shutter 1/100
    focus eternity

A blend of time and space conceptualisation into one? The word infinity doesn’t only relate to space, though, but also to number and quantity.

The search phrase "from here to infinity" yields only 24,400 raw Google hits, compared to 717,000 for "from here to eternity" (the results for Yahoo! are even more unbalanced). But the latter the title of a novel and (multiple-oscar winning) film.

On Culture Vulture, the Guardian’s cultural news blog, Sarah Crown reports on the difficulties of turning Philip Pullman’s excellent and complex His Dark Materials trilogy into a film. The putative director, Chris Weitz, has just resigned from the job.

A little further on, there’s a paragraph on something I’d heard about before:

Weitz, who plans to continue working on the film as a scriptwriter, has already ruffled feathers by choosing to remove all references to religion from the film – presumably to boost its Stateside marketability - despite the fact that these form the very backbone of the books.

The expression Stateside marketability was new to me. Now, marketability might be a bit unwieldy, but isn’t new. In any event, English is very flexible about turning a noun, market, into a verb, and then applying the admissible suffixes, in this case -able, to create an adjective expressing the quality of being able to be marketed, which finally leads to the assorted noun.

But Stateside, referring of course to the United States of America — note the uppercase first letter — is a different matter entirely. And shouldn’t that be Statesside anyway?

[Addendum: Google finds one hit for Stateside marketability, and 499 for Stateside market. There’s even one with a visual that illustrates the term. None substituting Statesside; the deletion of the second s appears to be the preferred form.]

Finex ! Pooo !

Interesting (but too short) article on the language of the French military — slang, phonetic idiosyncrasies, and lexicalised initialisms. The source is a semi-confidential manuscript written by an unnamed officer.

Remarkable examples: “PMF” for “woman”, from the collective term “female military personnel”; “IAL” for “drinking straw”, from “interface for liquid food”. And so on.

A general is called a “leek”. Why? Because his head is white, but his shaft still green.

The “translation” of an excerpt from Little Red Riding Hood (that would be “LRRH”, or “PCR” in French) is particularly amusing.

  • 2005-07-14
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Libé parle langue dans un article de Jean-Dominique Merchet consacré à l’argot militaire (14 juillet oblige). S’il est assez vague sur sa source, «  un petit document semi-confidentiel » (à mon avis, c’est celui-ci ; voir également là) rédigé par un officier anonyme, cet aperçu de particularités lexicales — lexicalisation de termes et sigles issus du jargon bureaucratique […]

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You wouldn’t have thought what you can learn …

J’ai appris un mot anglo-anglais pour faire des grimaçes.

… from reading an article on computer security: The choice of a gurning picture may indicate that the worm’s writer is British. Gurning is an ancient Cumbrian practice of pulling a funny face and is famously practised in the village of Egremont at its annual crab apple fair. I had never heard of gurning before, […]

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The lack of recent posts on this blog is due me going through a rather deep low at the moment. I’m exhausted (from doing nothing in particular), my concentration is spotty, and so is my short-term memory. So I read half-paragraph by half-paragraph and write one sentence fragment a time. Even though one characteristic point of these […]

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