Dennis R. Preston preston at PILOT.MSU.EDU
Mon Jul 22 14:38:46 UTC 2002

How many practices have to accompany another (designated by a "word")
for the latter to gain connotations and, as time marches on,
denotations? What does "housewife" mean (today), and, in spite of our
knowledge of the origin of its morphs (way back), wouldn't we want to
say that a part of its more recent meaning and use history (its
"complete etymology," I would say) has to do with practices,
associations, connotations and the like? A divorce of word history
and social history will surely set us back.


>On Mon, 22 Jul 2002, Rick H Kennerly wrote:
>         [attribution lost:]
>#|o| I wouldn't say the jury was out at all. There are certainly a number of
>#|o| people who believe that picnics took place at the sites of lynchings and
>#|o| that the word has its origin in this practice.
>#The photographic record is pretty clear that people did picnic at
>#lynching/hangings.  So far the attitude seems to be, if we don't know about
>#this use of the word, then it can't be true.
>By "this use of the word" do you mean the proposition that picnics took
>place at lynchings? That's a practice, not a word usage; it's horrific
>and I see why some would deny it, but is such denial relevant to the
>etymythology?  And "the attitude" = whose attitude? I don't think anyone
>is saying that picnics took place at lynchings but weren't called
>"picnics", which would indeed be an issue of usage. The main question is
>whether that was the origin of the word, and the evidence already cited
>in this thread has definitively proved that it wasn't.
># True or not, however, I'd think it interesting to know where & how
>#that it got started, like the H in Jesus H Christ.
>"It" being the etymythology?
>To follow the digression: I think the "H" comes from the symbol sequence
>"IHC" for "Jesus". That was originally a Greek abbreviation, Iota Eta
>Sigma for the Greek form of the Hebrew name (Yeshuah), the Greek being
>"Iesous" (long e) in transliteration and approximately IHCOYC (C is a
>written form of capital sigma; Y here stands for capital upsilon)
>graphically. I believe the same sequence was later read as the Latin
>IHS, which was expanded in such meaningful ways as "Iesus Hominum
>Salvator" 'Jesus, Savior of Men/Humans'.
>-- Mark A. Mandel

Dennis R. Preston
Professor of Linguistics
Department of Linguistics and Languages
740 Wells Hall A
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824-1027 USA
Office - (517) 353-0740
Fax - (517) 432-2736

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