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 To be or not to be.....

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Priscilla
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PostSubject: To be or not to be.....   Mon 16 Jan 2017, 18:16

No, I am not considering anything rash but have recently become intrigued by the adding of 'be' to words as in begrudge (a strong word in my opinion) belittle, bestrew, beguile and bejewelled etc. Is this use too archaic these days? And where does it come from? I see many possibilities but unsure if one can just use it to make a point as in say, 'Beshut your mouth, do.' Perhaps not that one on reflection. It sounds like an invitation to get thumped.
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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Re: To be or not to be.....   Mon 16 Jan 2017, 20:05

Priscilla,

I think it is the same "be" as in Dutch and German.
Did some research on the internet and found even a university study about it
http://lib.ugent.be/fulltxt/RUG01/002/162/676/RUG01-002162676_2014_0001_AC.pdf
And from a Dutch etymology site:
http://etymologiebank.nl/trefwoord/be

And in English:
http://english.stackexchange.com/questions/25951/how-does-the-be-prefix-change-the-words-to-which-it-is-applied-how-did-it-co

The English be- prefix is clearly the same as the German be- and is therefore a remnant of its Germanic ascendancy.
It is actually of the same origin as the verb to be which linguists have traced back, through Proto Germanic to the reconstituted Proto Indo European root *bheu-, *bhu- meaning "to grow", "to turn into" or " to become"2.
Ultimately most of the English words starting with a "be-" can be traced back to this notion of "to turn into"3.
The general form is:  
Code:
be + [quality]
and the corresponding meaning is:  
Code:
to turn into + [quality]


It corresponds with what I found in the university study, but a lot more "sophisticated" Wink
The Belgian girl hints also to an interesting phenomena in language...some be-verbs, nouns, adjectives don't follow the rule...but it can be that some in the beginning made a wrong analogy, but once entered in the normal use of the language and everybody gives it the same meaning, although wrong it enters nevertheless in the general use as understood by the common man...

Kind regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: To be or not to be.....   Mon 16 Jan 2017, 22:59

Thank you for that, Paul. That's interesting. Poets put the construction to good use -it is economical and scans well.

 Of Shakespeare's Caesar we hear, 'He bestrides the world.......

And then there's  Keat's  (I think,) 'When Showers betumble the chestnut spikes...'

Poets probably made up a few when it suited.

 I like the structure because it's useful.... as in  'We were becalmed in those waters...'
But there again we have 'bespoke tailors.' People like to use that one. So posh sounding comes into its usage.  

'Besmirch' could be coined a tad more - and perhaps others can come up with some more of that ilk - or invent a few for our consideration. (But NOT  'Bestonishing,' please.)

(Spellcheck doesn't like betumble....tut tut.)
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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: To be or not to be.....   Tue 17 Jan 2017, 14:49

I like "be" words very much - it is a shame that so many have fallen - or are falling - out of use. They often have a lovely, earthy, Chaucerian feel about them. Two that Chaucer actually used are "besmotered" and "bespotted" - both particulary pleasing words, I think. Saying something is "all bespotted" is much more satisfying than merely saying "covered with spots". "Besmotered" is the same as "bespattered", I suppose, but suggests something messier.

I also like beshitten which simply means covered in filth - has a ring about it that "covered in shit" does not.

Beguile is not used so much these days, although we do still we talk about a "beguiling smile". Here's a good, old-fashioned use of the verb from the King James Bible:

Genesis 3:13

“And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.”

These days Eve would just say, "The bloody snake talked me into it. Sorry."

Not the same somehow.

All the "be" words you could wish for here. Some seem very odd. I've never heard of "beflea" - "to infect with fleas".

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Category:English_words_prefixed_with_be-
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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: To be or not to be.....   Tue 17 Jan 2017, 15:10

PS

This is real word - I haven't made it up:

betrump

Verb

(third-person singular simple present betrumps, present participle betrumping, simple past and past participle betrumped)
1. To deceive; cheat; belirt (befool).
2. To elude; slip.



Alas, my masters, we now find ourselves all betrumped.

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PostSubject: Re: To be or not to be.....   Tue 17 Jan 2017, 15:56

Bemoan and befriend are still used fairly regularly ... and are nicely economical ways of saying that one is 'moaning about' something, or 'making friends with' someone.

And I have recently been beflea'd - by the dog naturally. But not really his fault as it's so cold we both snuggle up in bed together and though he usually sleeps at my feet, over the last few nights he's crept further up the bed and even burrowed in next to me under the duvet. As the temperature in the house is now below 10°C a few flea bites are a small price to pay for some cosy animal warmth.
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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: To be or not to be.....   Tue 17 Jan 2017, 16:08

I got dreadfully beflea'd once in a dodgy hotel in France. I ended up completely beblotched with nasty and very itchy bites.

You can also sometimes put "un" in front of a "be" word, of course, as in unbesmirched. Does an effective flea powder unbeflea one and one's beloved but beflea'd pet?


Last edited by Temperance on Wed 18 Jan 2017, 08:23; edited 2 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: To be or not to be.....   Tue 17 Jan 2017, 16:09

I sometimes use "bemused" as an alternative to "puzzled" or "bewildered" and have said recently that I have really had to make an effort to bestir myself in the morning.  Temperance's example of "betrump" is really funny - you couldn't make it up could you?  I certainly prefer Meles meles' example (Meles meles's example?) of 'befriend' to the awful expres​sion(there was a less than honest company that used to advert on YouTube before I downloaded Adblock) "three people have 'unfriended' you on Facebook" - they'd have a job I don't belong to Facebook!  Of course I do realise that befriend and "unfriend" have opposite meanings.
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PostSubject: Re: To be or not to be.....   Tue 17 Jan 2017, 16:15

Temperance wrote:
I got all beflea'd once in a dreadful hotel in France. I was well beflea'd, and ended up completely bespotted with nasty and very itchy bites.

Can you put "un" in front of a "be" word? There is unbesmirched, for example. Does an effective flea powder unbeflea you?
Was it in the High Pyrenees, Temperance as in that rhyme about "Do you remember an inn Miranda" and "the fleas that tease in the high Pyrenees"?  My current kitty was deflea'd before I had her according to the lady from the Cats' Protection League that suggested she might be a suitable pet for me.  Touch wood says I touching my head she's been clear since though I have had cats that had that problem at least temporarily in the past. (Or am I tempting Providence saying that).
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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: To be or not to be.....   Tue 17 Jan 2017, 16:29

Belittle was a belittled word:


Belittle 1781, "to make small," from be- + little; first recorded in writings of Thomas Jefferson (and probably coined by him), who was roundly execrated for it in England: "Belittle! What an expression! It may be an elegant one in Virginia, and even perfectly intelligible; but for our part, all we can do is to guess at its meaning. For shame, Mr. Jefferson!" ["European Magazine and London Review," 1787, reporting on "Notes on the State of Virginia"; to guess was considered another barbarous Yankeeism.]The figurative sense of "depreciate, scorn as worthless" (as the reviewers did to this word) is from 1797.
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PostSubject: Re: To be or not to be.....   Tue 17 Jan 2017, 17:43

Priscilla wrote:
Thank you for that, Paul. That's interesting. Poets put the construction to good use -it is economical and scans well.

 Of Shakespeare's Caesar we hear, 'He bestrides the world.......

And then there's  Keat's  (I think,) 'When Showers betumble the chestnut spikes...'

Poets probably made up a few when it suited.

 I like the structure because it's useful.... as in  'We were becalmed in those waters...'
But there again we have 'bespoke tailors.' People like to use that one. So posh sounding comes into its usage.  

'Besmirch' could be coined a tad more - and perhaps others can come up with some more of that ilk - or invent a few for our consideration. (But NOT  'Bestonishing,' please.)

(Spellcheck doesn't like betumble....tut tut.)


Yes, Priscilla, "besmirch". Even without knowing the English word I was already sure that it would mean the Dutch "besmeuren". Oddly enough the word "besmeuren" is translated in my Dutch-English dictionary with: stain, daub, (be)smear, smirch. Smirch without prefix be-.

Kind regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: To be or not to be.....   Tue 17 Jan 2017, 19:35

Temperance,

there we go again:
"I also like beshitten which simply means covered in filth - has a ring about it that "covered in shit" does not."
We have it in all kind of expressions in our local dialect, although it comes exactly from: having shitten on something.
For instance: Het zal 'n bescheten commercie (we pronounce it "commessie") zijn...(it will be a visit (negociation) where one can't have honour from (or result).
Also he has a "beshitten" look (he looks awfull)

It is more Northern Dutch:
Even if I would receive it in a beshitten little paper, nevertheless I would accept it..
Here in the South we say: money don't stinks...

Kind regards from Paul (no smells)
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: To be or not to be.....   Wed 18 Jan 2017, 10:52

The be- prefix words in English can almost be regarded as a semantic amber in which the husks of once common words remain forever petrified (now there's a word to conjure with).

How many these days would know the difference between to drag and to draggle, for example? Or when was the last time one knowingly fuddled one's drinks? We can all behave ourselves, but which haviour we adopt rather dictates whether this is a good or bad thing. We are no longer behoven to behoove us of just what to hoove might once have entailed (though we do it first thing every day). We might think these words belong to the past but that would strictly mean they have longed back to that past, which of course would be the wrong direction entirely. These words, bequeathed to us, are now so far removed from when human mouths once queathed them that we can be forgiven for thinking they have been reft of all their meaning. Personally I reckon there are several which should now be seeched anew and reinstated, if only so that we are less wildered when choosing our vocabulary on the strength of its semantic exactness.
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PostSubject: Re: To be or not to be.....   Wed 18 Jan 2017, 12:26

I do so agree with all of that - gulp - and was about to concoct a post in the same vein. Not only should we all make an effort to use these be prefixed words more widely but also include such delights as Paul's 'beshitten.' I have already this morning rented it out to someone who fully appreciates its possibilities.
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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: To be or not to be.....   Wed 18 Jan 2017, 12:43

Oi, missus, "beshitten" was my elegant contribution (one of them) to the discussion - Paul was quoting me. Credit where credit is due, please.


PS Another not-so-jolly "be" word is used by WW in Othello - to repeatedly suggest that  a woman is a "whore" is to "bewhore" her:


Alas, Iago, my lord hath so bewhored her,

Thrown such despite and heavy terms upon her,

That true hearts cannot bear it.


(Act IV sc ii)
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PostSubject: Re: To be or not to be.....   Wed 18 Jan 2017, 13:43

Willy was a great man for sticking be- in front of any old noun to make a word which (we assume) the actor then elucidated loudly, slowly and with great dramatic nuance. A lot of them are found in English only once, and then only in one page of one folio of Willy's particular ouvre. In the days before dictionaries and thesauruses the temptation to just make it up as one went along must have been as irresistible as the use of emojis is to the verbally challenged today. Befurbelowed English, but not necessarily befitting the man's reputation for being behersked in the tongue.

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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: To be or not to be.....   Wed 18 Jan 2017, 14:57

They were all at it - not just WW:

Beshrew me, sir; but I am very sorry for your losses.

(Beaumont and Fletcher:The Knight of the Burning Pestle)

"Beshrew me" meant "curse me as an evil person".
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PostSubject: Re: To be or not to be.....   Wed 18 Jan 2017, 15:55

Sorry, Temps, I ought read the small print - that doesn't come over too well, either. Credit? You want part of the rental? That calls for a sentence with behest in it. The joy of the 'be' prefix is vivid verbal economy . Kindly dig out some more like 'beshrew me' which seems a better option than the current commonly used phrase 'b****r me!
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PostSubject: Re: To be or not to be.....   Wed 18 Jan 2017, 21:11

PaulRyckier wrote:
I think it is the same "be" as in Dutch and German...

The English be- prefix is clearly the same as the German be- and is therefore a remnant of its Germanic ascendancy.

And this is indeed one of the areas of modern English where the Latinic Norman-French vocabulary has superseded the Germanic Old English. Only today I was looking at a German-made electric heater which had the following warning written underneath the ventilation slots at the top of the unit:

NICHT ABDECKEN - DO NOT COVER - NE PAS COUVRIR - NIET BEDEKKEN - NO CUBRIR - NAO COBRIR - NON COPRIRE - NIE PRZYKRYWAC

Interestingly the German language also seems to have forsaken the prefix 'be' in favour of 'ab' while the Netherlandish has remained true. Needless to say that the English word 'cover' here is so obviously similar to the French, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian versions that a casual visitor from Japan or Mars or somewhere could be forgiven for thinking that English was indeed one of the Latin languages. Of course in English we do have the word 'bedeck' but this has an archaic or quaint sense suggesting decoration. DO NOT BEDECK simply would not work as a translation in the context given above. It would just sound funny. (Which is probably why I'll now seek to try to use it at any given opportunity.)
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: To be or not to be.....   Thu 19 Jan 2017, 08:49

Paul wrote:
I think it is the same "be" as in Dutch and German...

The English be- prefix is clearly the same as the German be- and is therefore a remnant of its Germanic ascendancy.

Only sometimes. In Germanic languages be- is an "enabler" and typically transforms a noun into a verb. In English according to Wobbleweapon and his ilk it does exactly this, but then on top of that it can also be used as a reductive, or indeed an intensifier, as the case suits. It also acts as a transmutation prefix - which is what happens when an imported word into a language conveys the opposite semantic meaning to what the speaker is actually trying to project and momentarily fails to find the suitable construct in their vocabulary so has to improvise quickly (as Americans tend to speak). In English one can simply preface the word with a be- and solve the problem in an instant - whether you believe it or whether you lieve it (or not). One is not beholden to it as a rule.
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PostSubject: Re: To be or not to be.....   Thu 19 Jan 2017, 21:21

nordmann wrote:
Paul wrote:
I think it is the same "be" as in Dutch and German...

The English be- prefix is clearly the same as the German be- and is therefore a remnant of its Germanic ascendancy.

Only sometimes. In Germanic languages be- is an "enabler" and typically transforms a noun into a verb. In English according to Wobbleweapon and his ilk it does exactly this, but then on top of that it can also be used as a reductive, or indeed an intensifier, as the case suits. It also acts as a transmutation prefix - which is what happens when an imported word into a language conveys the opposite semantic meaning to what the speaker is actually trying to project and momentarily fails to find the suitable construct in their vocabulary so has to improvise quickly (as Americans tend to speak). In English one can simply preface the word with a be- and solve the problem in an instant - whether you believe it or whether you lieve it (or not). One is not beholden to it as a rule.

 Nordmann,

I started a search for the Dutch be-words and will explain it directly. But as I can understand that the English be-words are not the same as in Dutch I nevertheless don't understand what you mean with:
"but then on top of that it can also be used as a reductive, or indeed an intensifier, as the case suits. It also acts as a transmutation prefix - which is what happens when an imported word into a language conveys the opposite semantic meaning to what the speaker is actually trying to project and momentarily fails to find the suitable construct in their vocabulary so has to improvise quickly (as Americans tend to speak). In English one can simply preface the word with a be- and solve the problem in an instant - whether you believe it or whether you lieve it (or not). One is not beholden to it as a rule."
Can you give some examples of each category for better understanding?

Dutch be- words:
http://www.dutchgrammar.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3684
transitive verbs can have a direct object, intransitive ones can't have it.
http://ans.ruhosting.nl/e-ans/12/02/01/03/01/body.html

http://ans.ruhosting.nl/e-ans/12/02/01/03/01/01/body.html
transitive verbs turning in intransitive verbs
'het richten van de door het grondwoord genoemde werking op een bepaalde zaak'
the directing of the by the baseword named working on an explicit matter
http://ans.ruhosting.nl/e-ans/12/02/01/03/01/02/body.html
transitive verbs turning in transitive verbs                        
" De meeste werkwoorden die met het voorvoegsel be- zijn afgeleid van een overgankelijk werkwoord, vereisen een ander lijdend voorwerp dan het grondwoord."
Most of these be-verbs from a transitive verb needs another direct object than that of the original groundword.
http://ans.ruhosting.nl/e-ans/12/02/01/03/01/03/body.html
with a substantif as groundword
"De betekenis van de afleidingen volgens dit procédé is 'voorzien van wat het substantief noemt'
The meaning of these derivates is "provide of what the substantif nouns.
http://ans.ruhosting.nl/e-ans/12/02/01/03/01/04/body.html
with an adjectif as groundword
Ze betekenen: 'in de toestand brengen die het adjectief uitdrukt'.
They mean: bring in the situation that the adjectif expresses.

Kind regards, Paul.
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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: To be or not to be.....   Fri 20 Jan 2017, 08:16

nordmann wrote:
Paul wrote:
I think it is the same "be" as in Dutch and German...

The English be- prefix is clearly the same as the German be- and is therefore a remnant of its Germanic ascendancy.

Only sometimes. In Germanic languages be- is an "enabler" and typically transforms a noun into a verb. In English according to Wobbleweapon and his ilk it does exactly this, but then on top of that it can also be used as a reductive, or indeed an intensifier, as the case suits. It also acts as a transmutation prefix - which is what happens when an imported word into a language conveys the opposite semantic meaning to what the speaker is actually trying to project and momentarily fails to find the suitable construct in their vocabulary so has to improvise quickly (as Americans tend to speak). In English one can simply preface the word with a be- and solve the problem in an instant - whether you believe it or whether you lieve it (or not). One is not beholden to it as a rule.


Gosh, impressive stuff, nordmann; and Paul, your links overwhelm one.

Speaking as a bit of an ilk, I just think these words sound nice. We should all try to use them more: indeed someone should start a society for their preservation.

Right, that's my intellectual contribution here for the day - but thanks (yet again) to Priscilla for starting a really good thread. The girl has an undoubted knack.
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PostSubject: Re: To be or not to be.....   Fri 20 Jan 2017, 08:39

Crossed posts Temp. Forgive me if I address Paul's point and come back later regarding your own.

Paul wrote:
Can you give some examples of each category for better understanding?

Sure. As a verb-enabler there are umpteen examples, and though Shakespeare gets the credit for a lot of them, "besmirch", "bedazzle" etc, in many cases his were simply the first known written instances when dictionaries were being compiled. The practise of adding be- to a noun to make a "utility" verb definitely pre-dated Willy, and in fact he wasn't the worst at this lazy manipulation of language.

As a reductive the be- is used to qualify an existing word, normally a verb, and infer something slightly other and normally slightly less; "bemoan" for example means to regret with probable justification whereas "moan" on its own can mean anything from justified complaint to pathological whinging. "Bestrewn" implies things incidentally settling in haphazard configuration whereas "strewn" suggests a deliberate action used to achieve this effect, and so on.

As an intensifier, especially in conjunction with adjectives, it means the same as the adjective anyway but normally to a greater degree. "Bewebbed" instead of "webbed", "beloved" instead of "loved", and so on.

And there is another category of course where the be- word is actually a misspelling in the sense that the "b" has arisen out of a peculiar and apparently sudden tendency in Middle English to avoid words starting with hard "g" which had been considered completely serviceable and adequate for yonks beforehand. It is thought that this might have been down to a confusion caused by the introduction of a French norm of pronouncing "g" as a soft sound, though why this then should become (as opposed to "come") "b" is not actually understood. Gelieve it or not! Personally I'd as leave lieve it.
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PostSubject: Re: To be or not to be.....   Fri 20 Jan 2017, 08:49

And I seem to remember reading that someone had been 'belaid', the context left me uncertain whether this was a misspelling or a strengthening.
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PostSubject: Re: To be or not to be.....   Fri 20 Jan 2017, 09:19

There is also a real word "bepenised". The entry below offers "bedicked" as a legitimate synonym.

So today, sadly, the world will find itself betrumped and bedicked. Nothing changes, even if words do.

But - please - let us not lapse into vulgarity here: the topic is too interesting.


bepenised

Contents
1 English 1.1 Etymology
1.2 Adjective 1.2.1 Synonyms

English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

be- +‎ penised

Adjective[edit]

bepenised ‎(not comparable)
1.Having a penis or a representation/replica of a penis.  


Synonyms[edit]
bedicked, penised, phallused
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: To be or not to be.....   Fri 20 Jan 2017, 09:48

Sorry, Paul. I forgot the transmutational sort. Most examples are actually terrible words since the transmutation is often accidental and simply down to the speaker not knowing the meaning of the word. However some are very lyrical and thankfully persist since their new meaning cannot be expressed as well through any other available term. A good example is "benighted", which anyone who has ever had all the troubles of the world plonked on their shoulders will identify with. Its literal meaning - to turn day into night - has practically no logical application which isn't better served by other expressions. However its invocation of doom, gloom and despair with subtle memories of childish terror of the dark has superseded its literal meaning from the beginning and (gloriously) has won out.

One where the the meaning has been transmuted through ignorance of its origin is "befall", which today is used as a synonym for "happen to (someone or something)" or "come to happen", as in "the fate that befell him". However the "fall" bit - as you're aware from Dutch and German - is actually the same root as the English adjective "fell" which means a bad thing, and originally actually a lack of something which then adversely affects one. So really when we talk about the fate that befell a person we are literally saying the fate he actually avoided (and since that would have been a bad thing he is actually now better off).

Another one ignorantly applied is "belay", which even now strictly means to "fasten or secure", just as "beleggen" in Dutch also means. However viewers of Star Trek The Next Generation might be forgiven for thinking it is completely interchangeable with "delay", especially when frequently barked at the minions by the posh voiced Captain Jean Luc Picard ("belay that order, Ensign Crusher!"), the actor Patrick Stewart bringing all his Shakespearian thespianism to bear on a word that the scriptwriters clearly didn't understand. Willy would have been proud of them - introducing new words into a language isn't as easy as he made it out to be. In fact the confusion arose in this case when the scriptwriters trawled through naval glossaries in creating their fictional space fleet and all its terminology. In the Royal Navy the captain can indeed instruct his first mate to "belay that order" - though what he means is that the mate should now consider his instruction a fast order and relay it to the appropriate personnel on board in that form. Though given Star Trek TNG logic, the mate would probably end up delaying it in that form anyway.

Temp - I cannot think of a vulgar noun which cannot be prefaced with a be- to make it into either a verb or an adjective. But this is just the old Wobbleweapon Syndrome in action again, and as far as I'm concerned a rather lazy use of words - the semantic content of the expression is no more enhanced as a result. A befouling of the tongue in every sense, it could be said.
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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: To be or not to be.....   Fri 20 Jan 2017, 10:41

Well, this "laziness" as you insist on calling it has worked for many writers of genius, not just Shakespeare. Your rather dry analysis is efficient and erudite, as always, but could it be you are missing something perhaps? The richness and delight - the sheer joy - of language manipulation? Bit silly at times, maybe, but is that always a bad thing? You like play on words, and are very good at it, so your dismissal of our be-prefixed words rather surprises me. And I'm actually rather bemiffed on Wobbleweapon's behalf. Just don't get the laziness dig.

Looking at the long list (I'll give the link again) -  

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Category:English_words_prefixed_with_be-

- I agree some of the examples don't really resonate: "beblubbered" is one that should work, but doesn't - it's trying too hard. But many do. I like "beknotted", for example, a good word for describing wet hair when no conditioner is to hand - describes the frustration of trying to comb through betangled wet hair rather well - you can hear the frustration in the sound of it!

But I'm sure I'm convincing no one, so I'll shut up.


.
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PostSubject: Re: To be or not to be.....   Fri 20 Jan 2017, 11:30

It's laziness if the prefix adds nothing in terms of meaning, that's all. So I actually agree with you about both "beknotted" and "beblubbered". The first lends a sense of animus to the knot, as anyone who has struggled to untie a particularly hard one can well believe has occurred, while the second takes an ill-defined concept and simply sticks a be- in front of it, thereby just adding an extra element of uncertainty to an already uncertain meaning.

A play on words which changes or warps the semantic payload that the word delivers is a glorious thing. Just fiddling about with a word though isn't worth the term "playing" at all and instead speaks more about the utterer than the uttered. Shakespeare was capable of both, though it must be said that these were plays with characters being defined by their utterances, so he was probably quite within his rights to put semantic duds in certain characters' mouths - in some cases that may well have been the point. I've always had the impression however that the inventions Shakespeare excelled at (and I reckon he knew it too) were the ones which involved sticking two words together to make a whole new one which immediately becomes indispensable. It seems incredible (and maybe rightly so) but as far as we know we would not have moonbeams, eyeballs or even a birthplace without the lad. Now there lies genius.

I do wish you'd stop assuming I'm having a go at you every time I refer to anything you've said. It makes discussion forums rather pointless if one person's point can't be discussed by another. Your last sentence above seems to infer that you feel you have been slighted yet again. You have not been. Have a drink and calm down.

It seems silly to be stuck at level three without even having had the pleasure of absorbing a little ethanol into one's bloodstream. Maybe a snifter or two will get you over the final hurdle and into level four - which actually looks like a good night out.

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PostSubject: Re: To be or not to be.....   Fri 20 Jan 2017, 14:55

nordmann wrote:

I do wish you'd stop assuming I'm having a go at you every time I refer to anything you've said. It makes discussion forums rather pointless if one person's point can't be discussed by another. Your last sentence above seems to infer that you feel you have been slighted yet again. You have not been. Have a drink and calm down.


Don't you tell me to calm down, or else I'll bash you over the head with this bottle of expensive French plonk. I don't need becalming by you or anyone else, thank you very much. (I use the word becalm, of course, not in the nautical sense, but as defined here: becalm: Archaic. to calm; pacify.)

Actually I wasn't in the least bit "slighted" this morning - or, if I was, only a bit on behalf of my beloved WW.

But it's interesting how we do not realise how we are coming over on these discussion forums. As ferval has commented elsewhere, body language and facial expression are so important for effective communication: they make all the difference between a comment being accepted as no more than a friendly riposte and it's being considered as indication of massive offence being taken. But perhaps your rather robust style of argument occasionally does put people on the defensive? Just a thought. And you've had the odd huff yourself at times, sir. But enough. I'm tempted to say it does not behove us to be behuffed in any way, but that's probably not witty enough for the panel here.

I suppose I could have a drink: it is Friday night - well, nearly.




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PostSubject: Re: To be or not to be.....   Fri 20 Jan 2017, 15:01

Methinks I'll join you in a wee tipple, Temp, as one Governor of Nordakota said to his ditto from Soudakota,' it's long between drinks in here'.
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PostSubject: Re: To be or not to be.....   Fri 20 Jan 2017, 15:07

MM is online too - he should be included.

Cheers

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PostSubject: Re: To be or not to be.....   Fri 20 Jan 2017, 15:11

Fine by me, any- and everyone who wants to, please let's have a party.


Edited for reasons of spelling.


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Meles meles
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PostSubject: Re: To be or not to be.....   Fri 20 Jan 2017, 16:02

Temperance wrote:

But it's interesting how we do not realise how we are coming over on these discussion forums: as ferval has commented elsewhere, body language and facial expression are so important for effective communication; they make all the difference between a comment being accepted as no more than a friendly riposte and it's being considered as indication of massive offence being taken.

Oooo drinkies! ... and I'll have a large celebratory one if for no other reason than I find myself much bechuffed because Temp has finally committed the same grammar error that she has much bemoaned me making on several occasions ... although I bet she'll claim in defence Jane Austin's idiosyncratic use of the third person singular possessive apostrophe.

Fighting   touché!

But you are right Temp (and Ferval) visual clues are a vital part of communication, and hence why formal written language exists ... so, for instance, one can be caustically sarcastic without being taken either at literal truth or for being too rude (just think letters of complaint for shoddy service etc). And why I sometimes get into difficulties when speaking French on the telephone: I understand the words but in the absence of any visual clues I'm not entirely sure of the other person's real intent or meaning.


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PostSubject: Re: To be or not to be.....   Fri 20 Jan 2017, 16:18

Oh God, oh God, oh God - I have. Horrible, horrible, American use of the apostrophe on possessive its - what was I thinking? I blame Donald Trump. I claim no leeway here as an Austen - you've spelt her name wrong again - fan: it was a crass error.
 
I am now dying of shame. There it is on the internet, for all time, for the whole world to point at and laugh at. I need a drink - and fast.

But MM - revenge is a dish best eaten cold, and yours is straight out of the fridge! Enjoy. Smile


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PostSubject: Re: To be or not to be.....   Fri 20 Jan 2017, 16:22

Jane Austen? So she used to make the same error as Jane Austin? ... Well I'll be blowed, what a coincidence!

Cheers
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PostSubject: Re: To be or not to be.....   Fri 20 Jan 2017, 16:40

Smile


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PostSubject: Re: To be or not to be.....   Fri 20 Jan 2017, 17:50

When a thread brings on a boozy binge, gross punctuatiion and misspelling - and yuk, smileys - then it is time to start a new one...... as Muarice Miner probably said to Roll's Royce. Bedone with this one.
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PostSubject: Re: To be or not to be.....   Fri 20 Jan 2017, 21:49

Thank you very much Nordmann for the elaborated replies about the English be - words.

Kind regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: To be or not to be.....   Fri 20 Jan 2017, 22:09

One last for the road...

"One where the the meaning has been transmuted through ignorance of its origin is "befall", which today is used as a synonym for "happen to (someone or something)" or "come to happen", as in "the fate that befell him". However the "fall" bit - as you're aware from Dutch and German - is actually the same root as the English adjective "fell" which means a bad thing, and originally actually a lack of something which then adversely affects one. So really when we talk about the fate that befell a person we are literally saying the fate he actually avoided (and since that would have been a bad thing he is actually now better off)."

With your "befell" I did some quick research for the Dutch "bevallen" which has a double meaning: "give birth to" and "please"
http://www.etymologiebank.nl/trefwoord/bevallen
Mnd. bevallen ‘vallen, overvallen, bevallen, ten deel vallen’; mhd. bevallen ‘vallen, overvallen, bevallen’; nfri. befalle.

give birth to
Uitdrukkingen als bevallen ende van enen kinde genesen (MNW) betekenden oorspr. ‘in bed gaan liggen en van een kind verlost worden’, waarna door betekenisconcentratie bevallen ‘een kind baren’ ging betekenen. Vanaf de 17e eeuw raakten alle andere betekenissen verouderd (WNT).
fell into a bed but normally with "ende van enen kinde genesen" (and be delivered from a child),
and later only "bevallen" for the whole operation...

please:
the fate "fells" well for me...especially in a game...het bevalt mij (it pleases me?) and from there "bevallig" gracious, charming...

What one all learns thanks to you Priscilla...

Kind regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: To be or not to be.....   Sat 21 Jan 2017, 12:58

Temperance wrote:
American use of the apostrophe on possessive its

I wasn't aware that that such use was American. The following website suggests that the main difference between American English and British English with regard to the use of apostrophes comes with plural numeric dates - e.g. 1930s or 1930's:  

http://betweenborders.com/wordsmithing/mind-your-apostrophes/

Even then I'm not sure that such usage for plural numeric dates (i.e. 1930's) is de rigeur in the U.S. but it could well be the case. I have, however, noticed it increasingly creeping into BBC on-screen captions of late. I'd take that website with a pinch of salt, though, because it gets into a bit of a twist over the plural of individual letters giving the example of:

mind our p's and q's

This seems to ignore the obvious solution of putting said letters in upper case i.e:

mind our Ps and Qs

With apostrophes (and with punctuation generally) one is more likely to draw criticism for an incorrect inclusion than for an omission. The former will be judged harshly and taken as proof of ignorance while the latter will be kindly overlooked and forgiven as a mere typographical oversight. When it comes to the use of the apostrophe, therefore, the best advice is 'If in doubt - leave it out'.

Or put another way - beware beslighting and besnow the apostrophe.
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PostSubject: Re: To be or not to be.....   Sat 21 Jan 2017, 13:46

Somewhere above I wrote beflea'd and fully expected comment about the apostrophe, but I reckon it was necessary for comprehension: if faced with 'befleaed' I'm not sure many people would have understood it related to fleas.
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PostSubject: Re: To be or not to be.....   Sun 22 Jan 2017, 12:49

Meles meles wrote:
Somewhere above I wrote beflea'd and fully expected comment about the apostrophe, but I reckon it was necessary for comprehension: if faced with 'befleaed' I'm not sure many people would have understood it related to fleas.


Beflea'd looks very nice indeed, MM. That judiciously placed apostrophe is the final touch - gives the whole word a certain Shakespearean grandeur, I feel. You certainly have my complete approval, whatever others may think or say.

PS I checked the Shakespeare Concordance to see if WW ever used "beflea'd". He didn't apparently. In fact, he only used "flea" five times in all - rather surprising.

PPS Have just seen that Priscilla has decided the thread has run its course - so be it, unless we are otherwise directed. I'm sorry if my silliness contributed to its demise. I have deleted my picture(s) of the Austin 7 pedal cars - all sadly off-topic.  ( Embarassed  tongue )
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PostSubject: Re: To be or not to be.....   Sun 22 Jan 2017, 18:27

Meles meles wrote:
Somewhere above I wrote beflea'd and fully expected comment about the apostrophe, but I reckon it was necessary for comprehension: if faced with 'befleaed' I'm not sure many people would have understood it related to fleas.
Befleaed without the apostrophe (though of course it doesn't begin with a capital letter unless it's at the beginning of a sentence) sounds a bit like some of the Anglo-Saxon names - Aethelflaed of Mercia (hope I have that right) for example. Vizzer, I'm afraid I'm one of those silly-billies who would probably have typed "ps and qs" rather than "Ps and Qs".  I always thought that "Charles' book" and "Charles's book" was a case where either version was acceptable although the Apostrophe Society says not - it goes with "Charles's book".  I understand that in some Irish names (O'Mahoney or O'Kane for example) it replaces an accent in the Irish language.
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PostSubject: Re: To be or not to be.....   Sun 22 Jan 2017, 19:27

LiR wrote:
I understand that in some Irish names (O'Mahoney or O'Kane for example) it replaces an accent in the Irish language.

Yes and no. In Irish the O would be topped off with a "fada" to indicate its pronunciation. The English (bless 'em) imposed an existing convention of the truncated "of" - as in "o'clock" - when writing these names. But pronunciation was never the English primary consideration - as their mangling of perfectly feasible Irish pronunciations of Irish words frequently demonstrated in the process they called "Anglicisation" and the Irish initially called "WTF????".

I reckon the primary concern in employing the apostrophe was simply to indicate that there are two different words in the name," Ó" being "descended from" and the rest being the nomen, or at least this was how the English tended to interpret them based on their knowledge of Roman "filiation". In that sense it was necessary to represent them as such - or else there would be a danger that Owens, Osbornes and all other English O names already well established in Ireland at the time this convention was adopted might (horror or horrors) be confused with the Irish rabble, and probably worse, vice versa.

In fact the "Mac" names in Irish are those which most accurately emulate Roman filiative nomenclature. In their case the English grasped this, it seems, without too much effort on their part or at least too much messing about with the spelling (bless 'em), but they still failed to notice that "son of" shouldn't really apply to women and girls. Hence the huge confusion in early census attempts etc when native Irish speakers, quite correctly, indicated a different surname to that of their siblings of the opposite sex. And women who happened to be married to a "Mac" person and who filled in their name correctly "Ní ... Bhean ..." ended up being threatened with magistrates and worse if they didn't just call themselves "son of their husband's father", as the English obviously reckoned they should.

One Mary O'Connor, for example, who married a Joseph MacBride back in the day, got into terrible trouble when she insisted on signing her actual name on official forms - Máire Ní Chonchubhair Bhean Seosaimh Mac Giolla Bhríde. A mere apostrophe instead just wouldn't do her justice, I reckon.
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Meles meles
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PostSubject: Re: To be or not to be.....   Wed 08 Feb 2017, 14:30

There are also the de- and di- words ....

Today I was reading through some Statutes of Henry VIII (as you do!) and in the preamble to (33 Henry 8 c9) "An Act for the Maintenance of Artillery, and debarring unlawful Games", often now known simply as the Unlawful Games Act, 1541 it says:

".... by reason therof Archerie ys sore decayed, and dayly is lyke to be more mynished … "

Clearly "mynished" means diminished, and indeed a quick look in the dictionary says that minished was a Middle English word related to the French mincer, to cut up finely, itself originally derived from the Latin minuere, to break up small.

So de/di- can be used, like be- to emphasise the verb. And similarly, just off the top of my head there are also:
direct - from rectus (L) - right/straight
deliver - from liberare (L)- to free or liberate
demand - from mandare (L)- to order
desolate - from solare (L) - to be alone
 
.... but then there's also the de/di-  to indicate an opposite or negative, as obviously in decomission, dismantle, deconstruction/destruction etc. but also less obviously in despair, from the Latin sperare, French espoir, Spanish esperanza etc, all meaning hope. So despair means un-hope, or de-espoir ie despair.

Anyway it was just an observation ... and I do like more minished as an expression.
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PostSubject: Re: To be or not to be.....   Wed 08 Feb 2017, 20:25

Meles meles,

we have also the two: minderen en verminderen. I don't see a difference in use but in my Dutch English dictionary they say: minderen: decrease, diminish and for verminderen: decrease, reduce...What is the difference in English, according to you, between diminish and reduce? The same with beteren en verbeteren: improve, correct...

Kind regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: To be or not to be.....   Thu 09 Feb 2017, 09:33

Can I jump in?

The difference between them, Paul, is regarding transitive and intransitive verb use in some sentences, though sometimes they can be completely synonymous. Both entered English via Norman French and what seems to have happened is that "reduce" won the race into the vernacular, so that by the time "diminish" (which had been used in scholarly and legal texts) broke out into the wild it needed a slightly different application.

So what English has ended up with is two words meaning more or less the same thing but one - "reduce" - used when an agent is named who is doing the diminishing, whereas if "diminish" is used in the same way it just sounds pretentious. Both however sound ok as intransitive verbs.

The shopkeeper reduced the price of his vegetables = ok
The shopkeeper diminished the price of his vegetables = weird
I could only now afford vegetables due to my reduced circumstances = ok
I could only now afford vegetables due to my diminished circumstances = ok, but a bit posh


"Minish", as Meles meles said, had already sneaked into English prior to the Normans, presumably from Vulgar Latin, and was itself a rather legal term when it was used. The word that actually came in from French was "diminuere", and the English (presumably lawyers) ended up squashing the two together. Before all this the normal English got by with "lȳtlian" or as we would say now "enlittle", which is actually a word I much prefer.
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PostSubject: Re: To be or not to be.....   Fri 10 Feb 2017, 18:40

Thank you very much for the enlightenment, Nordmann.

Kind regards, Paul.
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