Wednesday, 12 March 2008
No, not Islam, not this time anyway, but Sweden. From The Times:
What twaddle. The Falklands was British territory and the bloody Argies had no business trying to steal it. They got what was coming. Typical foreigner, that Borges - always bloody wrong. Was he a baldy man?
Posted on 03/12/2008 2:20 PM by Mary Jackson
12 Mar 2008
It also meant the end of Danish monopoly. With two such contrasting visions of their future and status, the union collapsed and war followed war from 1434 until 1720. Even with Denmark's ability to mobilize allies, most notably the Russians, the results were almost continuously successful for Sweden, and a terrific blow to Denmark's prestige and image as the leading Scandinavian power.
Although Denmark proper (Jutland, Fyn and Zealand) was never conquered by Sweden, it too suffered humiliation by its archrival as a result of constant military defeats that eclipsed its early domination of the Baltic. This ignominy served as a cause of irredentist hopes for centuries and prolonged the hatred between the two countries.
To this day, the Danish royal anthem sings of a naval victory of their King Christian IV over the Swedish fleet in 1644. By contrast, the Swedish anthem never even mentions the name of the country but exclaims, "I will live and die in 'Norden'" (a term, like Scandinavia, referring to the entire region).
A favorite part of this teasing is the double-meanings employed in manipulating the two closely related languages. Danes and Swedes will often prefer to converse in English rather than speak their own languages with each other. The written form is sufficiently similar so that the general meaning of texts can be generally understand but differences in intonation, pronunciation and the distinct different meanings of closely sounding words provide an endless form of humor. Swedes have a special "Sj" sound and most Danes use a pronounced glottal stop that are difficult for non-natives to imitate.
History and especially geography has determined much of their foreign policy and prevented them from following a common one or joining in an alliance. Norway and Denmark joined NATO due to their inability to maintain their neutrality in World War II, while Sweden continues to be neutral. All three jealously guard their independence. Denmark's close proximity and border conflict over Schleswig (Slesvig) prevented Norway and Sweden from considering a Scandinavian alliance before the World Wars with their prospect of German expansionism and revenge.
13 Mar 2008
Oliver P Camford
Sorry Norman, but 'knocking up' hasn't been known in English as a meaning for being woken up for at least two-hundred and fifty years - if it ever was (which I, and others, doubt for this seems to be an American myth).
'Knocking up' refers to the process of weaving when multiple knots in the tied in threads passed the shuttle point simultaneously and caused the loom to jump with a distinct and audible knocking sound and was present in English some eight hundred years ago. Since weaving was associated with the thread of life weavers' wives who became pregnant were, by association with the final moments of coitus, referred to as being 'knocked up'.
At the time of the Industrial Revolution in England those people who went round the houses banging on the doors of the mill workers in order to rouse them for their shifts at the manufactory were jocularly referred to as 'knockers-up' due to the popular myth that they promptly occupied the warm beds of the factory workers abandoned spouses and, in their enthusiasm, knocked the bed-heads against the wall. This, even at the time, was an example of the mordant humour of the English working class and an example of how earlier language forms persisted.
In the weaving mills of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century England, tied-in threads on the looms - to facilitate pattern change - was still the norm. Hence the phrase 'tied in' in English and 'knocked up' to describe a loom in the ecstasy of change from one pattern to another.
Surely it is easy to see how the phrase became associated with human sexual activity - over a thousand years ago. Must I spell it out (and there's another phrase which has extremely earthy connotations), or do you see where I'm coming from (and I wish I hadn't phrased it quite like that!).
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