Sunday, 23 November 2014

Words And Meanings II

See here.

Nike has both insolation and isolation!

"...on Nike, to be 'enslaved' was nothing more than to be taken into custody: perhaps as a prisoner, perhaps for interrogation or protection. In Hanno, as in every advanced Nikean realm, slavery in Tom's sense of the word had been abolished a lifetime ago.
"The two men stared at each other."
-Flandry's Legacy, p. 516.

The men stared because they had had time to talk and to realize the extent of their misunderstanding. When Roan Tom said that he was a friend come to do business, that was unacceptable and, when he was then told to slave himself, that was equally unacceptable. Therefore, combat ensued. Tom and Aran have time to talk because Tom has had the good sense to take a prisoner ("slave") and try to straighten things out.

I am still rereading "A Tragedy of Errors" and have not yet found the explanation, if it is given, of Aran's title, "fish." Is this an abbreviation of "official"?

This happens in a film starring Peter Ustinov. He asks someone, "Are you here officially?" - and is handed a fish. I have seen some very strange linguistic developments. Someone wrote that Alan Moore's novel, Voice Of The Fire, shows mankind developing from Logos to logos. A while ago, the British government legislated that trade union membership would automatically lapse after five years if the member did not re-sign. Thus, not to re-sign was effectively to resign. Union officials and stewards, who at that time included myself, responded with a recruitment drive. We approached everyone at work: "Are you in the union? if not, sign. If yes, re-sign." Membership increased. I have not heard of that legislation since. I think that it either lapsed or was repealed although I would have to check with the brothers and sisters to be sure.


  1. Hi, Paul!

    I think, in this context, "re sign" is to be understood as meaning "sign up" again. Using "re" in the sense of doing something again. Of course, we both are more familiar with "resign" in the sense of giving up, renouncing, abdicating, etc., an office, rank, position.


  2. Sean,
    Yes. Aren't words strange? A novel about Vikings was called THE LONG SHIPS. In Irish, that is NA LONGA FADA. "Longa" is "ships" and "fada" is "long"!

    1. Hi, Paul!

      And what you said about NA LONGA FADA would be an example of how deceptive appearances can be!

      And, of course, the bit about the ancient King of England and Sir Christopher Wren was a bit startling! I mean about how dramatically the meanings of words such as "pompous" and "artificial" can change. What LOOKED like an insult from the King was actually admiring and complimentary.


  3. I checked the derivation of "resign." In its ordinary sense, it means "un-sign" as against "sign again." So the "sign" part has the same meaning.