Language and mind

May 19, 2013

A New People Come

Filed under: cognitive progression, etymology, language, language bias, nationality — teresapelka @ 7:22 am

Charles Thomson Great Seal report page2

Charles Thomson Great Seal report page2

The Date underneath is that of the Declaration of Independence, and the words under it signify the beginning of the new American Æra which commences from that Date, concludes Charles Thomson about his accepted design of the Great Seal.

Man in U.S. Marine Corps Uniform Saluting American Flag --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

Man in U.S. Marine Corps Uniform Saluting American Flag — Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

Wikipedia relates the Great Seal motto, NOVUS ORDO SECLORUM, to Virgil’s Eclogues and ancient pagan ritualists, Sibyls.

The Great Seal is associated with American executive powers. Arguably, the picture on the left does not suggest aprons or paganism. Charles Thomson himself was a Presbyterian. He — same as many people, me included — would not have a Sibyl for an elder. The rituals involved narcotics and burnt offerings.

Novus ordo seclorum - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 2013-05-22 07-15-31

Novus ordo seclorum – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

ab integro sæclorum nascitur ordo

Wikipedia quotes Virgil’s Eclogue and says,

The phrase is sometimes mistranslated asNew World Orderby people who believe in a conspiracy behind the design; however, it does directly translate to “New Order of the Ages”.

A New Order of the Ages can cause doubt. Hardly anybody believes in a time without a place on this planet. You couldn’t have Romanticism before the Enlightenment and the Renaissance only after. Charles Thomson was a sound expert at Latin and Greek. His spelling did acknowledge the digraph “æ”. We can see it in the report.

… the new American Æra
(Charles Thomson’s report)

The word seclorum in his design does not have the digraph.

I abandon the Eclogues. The Latin form seclum was earlier than saeclum and seculum. Old Latin e happened to assume ae in the Classic period, and later became e, often in words of shifted semantic reference. For example, nowadays we could say that secular people cannot be members of monastic orders.

I compare Cicero and the Philippics:

Accuse the senate; accuse the equestrian body, which at that time was united with the senate; accuse every order or society, and all the citizens; (…) at all events you would never have continued in this order, or rather in this city; (…) when I have been pronounced by this order to be the savior of my country; (…) when you, one single young man, forbade the whole order to pass decrees concerning the safety of the republic (…)

Then, I think why we people say ‘good morning’. It could not be for that Whig journal to come with the Oxford Companion, in my case. I have never read it, just looked up the phrase over the Internet. ;)

I mean, when we speak, we do not take our words from books. Latin might have been a dead language, but Charles Thomson was alive when he used it. He formed the motto. The report gives a rendition of the meaning. It does not translate the motto.

… the words under it signify the beginning of the new American Æra …

(Charles Thomson)Seclor_sequor

Resources differ in presenting the language. We may compare The Rudiments of Latin and English Grammar by Alexander Adam, of about 1786. On page 141, he presents seclor as a consequent of sequor.

I compare the contemporary seclude. We can translate secludere as to stand apart, and seclusus as separate. Latin ordo could mean a group, arrangement, or class. But then, why wouldn’t Mr. Thomson have used the word populus, if he meant people?

We derive the noun form people from the Latin populus. The paths for etymology and meaning happen to converge; they also diverge, sometimes. Populus did not connote nationality in ancient times. It often referred to laying waste or degrading: perpopulor, to devastate, pillage; populabilis, destructible.

Ancient Romans did not have much sentiment for nationality. Their militaristic culture favored status. The Roman civitas was inseparable from the city of Rome. Latin had words aerarius and aerarium, for Roman residents who had to pay tax but were not allowed to vote or hold offices. The temple of Saturn had a special part to keep public offerings separate from those of the elites. Caesars could give death verdicts among any people, without due legal trial. We have to be very selective, seeking worthwhile aspects of the Antiquity. Compare the PIE.

Ordo had a dignified sense, as we may compare in Cicero. It did not have to denote a linear arrangement, but it also could: Roman military, bringing territories down, happened to face local people in battle formations.

Nowadays, the noun people means a group of human beings, or a nationality. As a group, it takes a plural verb: The people here all speak English. As a nationality or ethnicity, the noun may take on the plural itself: The peoples of Europe have formed a Union. Status can no longer decide on civil rights.

Seclorum looks a participal form (compare the participle), hence A New People Come (a new people to have become). The word Aera in Charles Thomson’s note refers to time in the modern sense of an era.

I offer voluntary extra practice on American civics with my grammar book. Feel welcome to the Travel in grammar.

The US Library of Congress has received extensive materials about Charles Thomson. I hope they become accessible soon, as this is another project of mine. :)


March 28, 2013

British grammar nazis

GrammerDisclaimer: the adjacent — and colored meaningfully yellow — graphic piffle is not intended to mean the Union Jack proper. It is the British grammar nazis logo on Facebook.

British grammar nazis header

The logo dubious pulchritude may be seen in its full form on the right here, also with a click.

Now, without going into matters of the meaning of life, or the spoken lore on WWII and British losses — invaluable for those hard of reading — let me focus on the statistics and implications.

I mean, much has been written about WWII. Evidently, mere gathering orthography and other detail does not make one capable of text interpretation. The fact shows in website reactions to The Daily Mash: the guys hardly get irony. Daily mash

British grammar nazis sharesThe article appears full size, when clicked.

The reactions page does the same. Should there be visiting grammar nazis,   I promise a brief primer on irony after this indispensable piece of advice.

The site has about 50 thousand ‘likes’. Taking the British population alone, that would make about 50 thousand functionally illiterate, among about 63 million people. Some might say it is not so bad, it is not even one percent. Still, you’d better ‘think literacy’, going to the UK: the guys wouldn’t have had the UK flag their capriccio, if it were not permitted.

Try for a plain passport photo, that is, without brooches, scarves, ties, anything you do not always carry; the piffle shows the guys’ attention to picture specifics. ;)

Remember to wave your hand, getting a taxi; it is a simple, therefore legible gesture. Try to get a map with statues and other tourist attractions in large icons. It is better to take a walk from the National Museum than end up the Piccadilly, owing to small print. ;)

In hotels, always tick the boxes. At best, you ask for those straight, should you be provided with a form without boxes to tick. ;)

When it comes to mailing letters, get the recorded: they have ID strips. Seeking directions, approach people with newspapers: there are odds they can read them. Never ever leave your books or papers, especially open: they might be taken for other utilities. ;)

Now, the primer on irony. The basics are in the affirmative and the negative. You do not take them for a yes or no merely. Let me quote the Mash:

In no way are any of these people vain, arsey pedants.

You do not take this for a refutation, which Wikipedia explains. The ironic vogue, you interpret the statement. ;)

Naturally, life cannot be about statements only. Let me continue with the Mash.

The way they selflessly dedicate themselves to correct punctuation, for example by pointing out to the staff of a chip shop why the term ‘chip’s’ is a sloppy obfuscation, confirms they are bold and righteous individuals.

The ironic fashion, you apply antonymy, to grasp the gist. The rest may become plain with this kind of close synonymy that would not support a complimentary note.

Laying all that out in detail to a grammar nazi looks discouragingly big a task, hence the handful of thoughts and the primary color, yellow (adjective, reference 3). ;)

In plain words, the grammar nazis evidently do not have the courage to admit that picking on people’s works has no chance to bring in anything creative or sophisticated. They also do not offer own blogs or websites, especially with serious language work, for evaluation.

March 5, 2013

Mignon Fogarty will not let you go on with love – no reason to try to make the French ashamed

Filed under: cognitive progression, language, life, psycholinguistics, psychology — teresapelka @ 11:34 pm

As it must, it shall be disclosed: the Grammar Girl forbids progress with love. ;)

The Grammar Girl is the Mignon Fogarty.


Dirty tips header

It turns out that when it comes to progressive tenses, English is divided into two groups of verbs: dynamic and stative.

The issue at hand is whether verbs like “to love” can be conjugated in a progressive tense, which you use to indicate that something is happening at the moment and is continuing around the time to which you refer, says  Ms. Fogarty.

The French, for example, however you might regard them right next to Casanova in bad fame for superficiality, would never honestly tell you not to say love round the time you feel it. Is the difference American? ;)

Ms. Fogarty continues,

Dynamic verbs relate an action or a process. Common dynamic verbs are “to walk,” “to yell,” and “to read.” These verbs can be conjugated in progressive tenses, so it’s fine to say, “I will be walking all day” and “He was yelling at me”.

Let us look at the verb to quit.

I quitTired of your boss? Five ways to resign in style. 

CNN offers an international coverage on what you can do if your boss walks in, yells, and reads the riot act. ;)

Importantly, most people say, I quit. Hardly anyone cares to say I’m quitting, though walking out the door.

Or, it is hardly ever anyone cares to say, I’m quitting. Let us compare Alfred Hitchcock’s Four O’Clock. :)4 Oclock

The plot does not have heuristics worth recommending. Due to own agencies strictly, you’d be tied up in your cellar with a time bomb of own making.

You could hear your spouse calling your shop and saying …

S/He doesn’t answer.

This is the very matter to go separate from meager jealousy: the wife uses the Present Simple, not Progressive, though holding the phone. Let us first see Ms. Fogarty’s verdict.

 Verdict logo

That said, it’s still probably best for ESL teachers to continue to advise their students not to say, “I’m loving it” or to use other potentially incorrect stative verbs in progressive tenses. ESL teachers should point out, though, that students will hear native speakers using stative verbs in progressive tenses when the moment seems right.


Minding my ESL hours, minutes, and secondsStative mapping — whenever the moment seems right ;) — I have to deny. There is something you do not really have in natural languages, and this is enumerated stative verbs. There are stative verb uses. See Feelings.


Let me make a reservation. To varied extents, all grammar books are stories. Their definitions and rules gain efficiency only when people get to know them and work with them. My story does not have rules: it has concepts and ideas. My story does not promise to tell the truth, with an important regard: there is not even one method in the world to work always and for all Grapevine logominds. However, I can say after Mark Twain, whose writings are of reference in my grammar venture: If the story is good for you, it can be your true friend.

I do not agree to tell what is correct or provide rules. I may have a few suggestions for everyone to see if the story could work. :)

We people live ON the planet we have known as Earth. The long and the short, we can think about our jobs, friends, partners, and good habits along with something we could name a map — a map of everyday life, a map of our living, our cognitive map, you name it.

If I cannot put up with my boss, I say, Earth

I quit. I’m walking out the door right now.

If I call someone at a time he or she always is a place, I say,

S/he does not answer, to say it is unusual.

Obviously, natural languages are not made of options. If I say someone is not answering, I am not going to imply it is usual. All along, we stay ON. :)

                         If a kid ever tells me he or she is hating me, I’m not going to correct him or her: good, if it is not forever. :)

 Try dynamic language mapping     Consider        Discuss

Tell me what you think 


August 11, 2012

How to grind effective – a brief intro

Filed under: cognitive progression, learning — teresapelka @ 5:07 pm

Inborn skills, gifts, and talents may become mediocre myths at exams. We either have the talent, gift, and inborn skill to ‘cram’, or we end up doomed to unfulfilled dreams of prospect.

Important: we never cram

(Try a new way with grammar for the advice below, if you please). :)

Travelers in Grammar I preview

Travelers in Grammar II preview

Chapter 1. The verbs BE, HAVE, and DO

Chapter 2. The verb WILL

Chapter 3. BE, HAVE, DO, and WILL in
tense patterns

Chapter 4. Simple, Progressive, and Perfect

Chapter 5. The Affirmative, Interrogative, and Negative

Full text access

Chapter 6. The Simple and the Perfect

Chapter 7. The Simple and the Progressive

Chapter 8. The Perfect Progressive

Chapter 9. Modal verbs, introduction

Modal verbs: form and reference

Modal verbs: hypothetical time

Modal verbs: time frame economy

Chapter 10. Form relativity

Full text access

Book tunnel


In Prague, the people made a book tunnel. Some describe it as a well of wisdom. The tunnel has been made of old copies. Mirrors give the illusion of it never ending. It is about 5 meters or 16 feet altogether. To me, it tells to choose own matter.

Important: we think what really matters to us

We do not learn to entertain the Muses. We give priority to what we could stay doing for living, and we work on it, at least a little, every day.

accessoriesImportant: we always think it over

Human memories are not artificial intelligence. We do not limit the time for skill to our learning time. We think about our matter, walking, washing or cleaning up.

We practice our memories and try to be as independent of notes and storage devices, as possible. This will pay at exams.


Important: we control our focus

We learn on trains, at railway stations (seriously), with the radio or television on (does not have to be loud). We will soon realize we do not really receive noise, though we are aware of its presence. Our focus in silence is going to become stronger.

Most important: we organize our

Aspect mappingWe can look at an object and try to think absolutely nothing. We are going to notice our inner processes to bring on associations. We can direct these processes, especially for language study. Travelers in Grammar have some practice, on page 21, exercise 4. Visualization also helps. Picture on the left is my representation for English Aspects, Simple, Progressive, Perfect, and Perfect Progressive.

Important: we use keywordsNote making

We make cursory notes. We may make brief recordings. We can focus on speech parts and choose nouns or verb structures. A word or two, from time to time — we see later if we ‘get ourselves’. In our thoughts, we can come up with keywords for possible test questions. It can be a pleasant surprise only, if we discover that real tests are not as detailed. ;)

Important: we relax

We never take ‘happy pills’. The artificial chemistry always competes against the natural brain messengers to make memories. Herbal teas are good: chamomile, melisa, or mint. We can listen to music, when we learn and work. My sample playlist is here. We do at least a few exercises, to stretch out.

Good luck!  

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