Saturday, September 2, 2017

English Chaps Selling Chapbooks

To grasp the meaning of Chapman, consider the history. The original English spoke German as one would expect Germanic people to do. The key is the phrase 'Anglo-Saxon'. The Anglo component comes from the Angle people who came from Angeln and Engle. Its nearest modern equivalent would be southern Denmark. The language of the Angles was Englisc from which we get English. The Saxon component comes from the Saxons who came from what is now northern Germany. These Germanic people began as mercenaries in what became England in the dying days of Roman Britain and finished as its conquer starting a few decades after the last Roman Legion left England in the 5th century.

The English language was altered by Roman Catholic missionaries who brought their Latin mainly in the 8th century. Around the 9th century, the Vikings took over the north and east of England and many old norse and Danish words changed the English. Then, the Normans altered the language starting in the 11th century. Their status as conquerors is revealed in the English. For example, an Englishman tended to pigs, but the finer cuts went to the Norman masters. So swine and bacon (the opposite of living high on the hog, were least desirable and fit only for an Englishman) were English words. The finished product, mutton is Norman French.

Let us go back to German old English to understand what a Chapman is. Among the German people, the counterpart was the surname Kaufman, which is derived from the old high German word 'chouph'. The old English had several words of similar meaning. 'Cop' meant barter. 'Chipping' was a place where things were bought. 'Ceapian' meant to buy. The old English word 'ceap', also meaning barter, eventually mutated into our modern word cheap. More telling is the old English word 'Ceapman', the old word for a pedlar or merchant, who were usually traveling merchants moving from village to village. It mattered not what specific goods they sold, they were Chapmans.

Chapbooks were thus small books or pamphlets, usually of popular tales, ballads, or poetry, etc., formerly sold on the streets by chapmen.

But be aware, the noun 'chapter' (= a main division of a book, treatise, etc.) has a different origin. It was first used in 1175-1225, coming from Middle English -- var. of chapitre, from Old French, and from the Latin: capitulum (= little head; capit-, s. of caput head + -ulum -ule ). In Late Latin, it meant section of a book; in Medieval Latin, it meant section read at a meeting, hence, the meeting, especially one of canons, hence, a body of canons.

Northern, Southern, Eastern, and Western

When words like northern, southern, eastern, and western precede a place name, they are not ordinarily capitalized because they merely indicate general location within a region. When these words are actually part of the place name, however, they must be capitalized.
For example:

Preceding a Place Name:
northern New Jersey,
western Massachusetts

Part of a Place Name:
Northern Ireland,
Western Australia

Correct the following:
1. I live in the north or North.
2. I love to go out west or West.
3. He is from the Deep South or deep south.
4. Where is the north pole or the North Pole?

Gender vs. Sex

Feminists eager to remove references to sexuality from discussions of females and males not involving mating or reproduction revived an older meaning of “gender,” which had come to refer in modern times chiefly to language, as a synonym for “sex” in phrases such as “Our goal is to achieve gender equality.” Americans, always nervous about sex, eagerly embraced this usage, which is now standard. In some scholarly fields, “sex” is now used to label biologically determined aspects of maleness and femaleness (reproduction, etc.) while “gender” refers to their socially determined aspects (behavior, attitudes, etc.); but in ordinary speech this distinction is not always maintained. It is disingenuous to pretend that people who use “gender” in the new senses are making an error, just as it is disingenuous to maintain that “Ms.” means “manuscript” (that’s “MS”). Nevertheless, I must admit I was startled to discover that the tag on my new trousers describes not only their size and color, but their “gender.”

Paul Brians, Common Errors in English


How do you feel about using 'shared' when one person seems to be telling, explaining, describing, or otherwise, speaking to another?

Some copyeditors replied:

I recently copyedited a book that was based on research and interviews the author had done with members of a church in Southern California (sociology of religion is the academic disciple, and this was for a large, well-known scholarly publisher). Nobody spoke, everybody shared -- whenever the author reported something she was told during an interview, she'd write something like "John shared that he enjoyed coming to the church's Sunday service" (or, worse, "John shared how he enjoyed coming to the church's Sunday service"). I got rid of every single one of them, and I haven't heard any complaints. (Mary)

In addition to the therapy setting, I'd also use the term to describe sharing intimate personal information with a trusted friend. And, of course, a sarcastic comment when someone says something you really don't want to hear. For instance, someone describes a recent bowel movement while we are eating lunch: I might say "Thank you for sharing."
In any case, I'd watch for overuse of the term. "Said" is a good word, use it often. (Allen)

Its use in classrooms to embarrass whisperers ("Bobby, why don't you share that with the class?") long predates its use in psychobabble; but it seems to have an edge to it in either situation. That is, when someone says "please share that with the group," I think it comes across as a bit more prying than "please tell us what you're feeling," for example. In the other direction, "I'd like to share something with you" sets the listener up to hear a confidence rather than just an interesting story. (Dick)

It is also used in informal, community-oriented Christian (specifically Mennonite in my experience) church services for the time when members can stand up and talk about what's on their minds. "Sharing time" takes on almost epic significance in some of my siblings' and my memories of attending church at my parents' small-town Kansas Mennonite church... It probably morphed over from the psychobabble of the 1970s, when the informal worship took hold among, at least, Mennonites. But "sharing time" is alive and well in the twenty-first century. (Andrea)

It has its uses, as others have pointed out, and I agree that the word is used appropriately in most of them... But I also think that sometimes, it can sound artificially... well, sissified. Touchy-feely. Hyper-euphemistic. Palliated. I picture a Donna Reed-like woman among her plastic-encased living room furniture and spotless carpet, pristinely playing hostess, to not only make her guests feel comfortable but put her niceness and perfection on display, a niceness that is exoterically and for all intents admirable... Even so, or perhaps because of it, somehow one suspects there's a bit of mildew in the under-layer.

Whenever possible, I'd prefer having a person tell, explain, describe, relate, confess, disclose, declare, reveal, offer, paint, reflect upon, reminisce or whatever else they might do to communicate their experience. "Share" is dangerously close to being overused. (Fox)

I have edited several doctoral dissertations where shared seemed to be the only verb the authors knew. Although it may be appropriate occasionally, for the most part, it sounds extremely artificial and I change it. (Nancy)

My feeling is that I hate it and it's not used only in counseling-therapy situations. I hear it a lot in schools, especially elementary schools. My disdain for the usage might have something to do with my kids' elementary school where everyone was a nice person who truly meant well, but they went overboard in fostering every shred of self-esteem to the point of ineffectiveness (I have pieces of paper here officially praising my kids for, among other things, returning the ball to the box after recess instead of leaving it on the playground -- we keep them for the comedy they provide and so my kids can complain that they were never rewarded for not breaking windows or not stealing cars). Unlike Dick, I'd never thought of it as prying, just cloying. When I hear it I can't help but picture a sarcastic TV skit like one would see on Saturday Night Live or The Daily Show. I can just hear Samantha Bee asking a senator if she would feel better if she shared with the public her predilection for pole dancing at Flash Dancers on her days off. (Donna)