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Name That Word

  1. Dec 11, 2005 #1

    honestrosewater

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    How to play: Think of a word or something language-related. Give us some clues. If someone guesses it correctly, they go next. Any kinks can be ironed out as they turn up.

    Some handy links to get everyone started: http://www.etymonline.com/
    http://www.onelook.com/
    http://starling.rinet.ru/cgi-bin/main.cgi?flags=eygnnnl
    http://www.ethnologue.com/family_index.asp
    http://cf.linguistlist.org/cfdocs/new-website/LL-WorkingDirs/langres/index.html
    _____


    This English noun made it's way over from India. It refers to a mammal but sounds half-bird, which might explain why its plural is sometimes irregular.


    _____
    P.S. If anyone has any questions about languages or linguistics along the way, please ask. Please! I don't get to talk to others about that kind of stuff enough! :frown: :biggrin:
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2005
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 11, 2005 #2

    selfAdjoint

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    Mongoose.

    This English word, denoting a lung disease, descends from the indo-european word for destruction, and has preserved the difficult IE consonant cluster.
     
  4. Dec 13, 2005 #3

    honestrosewater

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    I haven't really gotten anywhere with this one. I don't know much about languages or how they've been categorized, so just to clarify, do you mean the hypothetical Proto-Indo-European (PIE) word for destruction? It seems like Indo-European is the family of languages that descended from PIE.?

    The difficult consonant cluster is part of the word, right? If so, that's probably the most helpful clue for me. Just looking at some lung diseases, emphysema is the only one that strikes me as having a difficult cluster, /mf/, but the meaning doesn't seem to fit (in fact, the meaning seems to be going in the opposite direction, towards breath and life).

    If no one else steps in, I'd probably need another clue...

    BTW, how did you get my clue so quickly? That was really fast. :approve:
     
  5. Dec 14, 2005 #4

    matthyaouw

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    Hmm.. I think another clue might be needed here.

    (Good game by the way!)
     
  6. Dec 14, 2005 #5

    selfAdjoint

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    Starts with a p and is just about but not quite obsolete.
     
  7. Dec 14, 2005 #6

    arildno

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    pforgotten??
    That's a difficult conconant cluster at least.
     
  8. Dec 14, 2005 #7

    selfAdjoint

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    I am going to give it up tomorrow. Any more tries?
     
  9. Dec 15, 2005 #8

    honestrosewater

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    Pneumonia? I was going to guess that, but I was thinking pronunciation instead of spelling. Argh.
     
  10. Dec 15, 2005 #9
    I was going to guess pneumonia as well, but couldn't see where the "decends from IE word meaning destruction" and "just about but not quite obsolete" hints come in.
     
  11. Dec 15, 2005 #10

    selfAdjoint

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  12. Dec 15, 2005 #11

    honestrosewater

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    Cool. So do you want to go again?
     
  13. Dec 15, 2005 #12

    selfAdjoint

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    OK. In geology it denotes something red, but in Heraldry it means green.
     
  14. Dec 16, 2005 #13

    AKG

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    Wild guess, vermillion?
     
  15. Dec 16, 2005 #14

    matthyaouw

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    I'm thinking something realating to "haem"?
     
  16. Dec 16, 2005 #15

    arildno

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    Vert? Verdigris??
    That's about the associations I get from "green+heraldry".
    No connection that I know of to geology, though..
     
  17. Dec 16, 2005 #16

    matthyaouw

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    I found it, but half by accident, with a little too much google for it to be considered 'fair play' so I'll leave others to guess. No one is close yet.
     
  18. Dec 17, 2005 #17

    selfAdjoint

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    Hint. Although "vert" is the usual word for green in English heraldry, historically there were also other words, and modern heraldists have to know them to interpret old blazons (BTW, a blazon is a formal description in specialized language of a coat of arms).
     
  19. Dec 17, 2005 #18

    turbo

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    Had to Google too much to be fair about it, but it is a very obscure word, so perhaps we'll let it slip if too much time passes. It's be a sin to let such a possibly entertaining game die for lack of participation.
     
  20. Dec 17, 2005 #19

    selfAdjoint

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    The word is sinople.

    In the 16th century a fad for describing nobles' arms, as distinguished from knights' and commoners' with special terms introduced sinople and other outre words into heraldry. Although righteously scornful of such foolishness, modern armorists have retained the words in their vocabulary.
     
  21. Dec 18, 2005 #20

    turbo

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    Yep! But like Matt, I had to Google around to find it. If I may offer a word (and this will be a real easy one for someone!)
    Shoe for a destructive anti-revolutionary.
     
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