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PostPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2017 2:34 am 
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s1m0n wrote:
I don't think that's what's going on here. An Draighean is clearly deliberately using a phrase out of register for the purpose of wit.

I don't think that is what's going on here. An Draighean admitted himself that "like" would probably have been a better word. I think he just misspoke when using "ilk". However, had he chosen it for the purposes of wit, which I never suspected at all, then that is a form of wit which has long been used, and derided, here in the UK. The use of fancy, alternative words for comic effect is fine in "The Good Old Days" (a long-since finished British television programme based on the old Music Hall tradition) but otherwise tends to obscure meaning for no particularly good purpose.

s1m0n wrote:
And Ilk, btw, is as solid a piece of Anglo-Saxon (actually inglis) as one could wish. Before it ever got narrowed to mean "family", it meant ilca, pron., the same. C.P., "Ilk"; according to my Anglo-Saxon dictionary*. I can't claim that this is the original meaning, because who knows, but it is the oldest meaning documented in written english. So "similar" definitely precedes "family".

As Peter has pointed out, it didn't mean "family" - I was, myself, being imprecise when I said that it was to do with family. What it actually meant was "from the place or estate of the same name". I think that's key, at least for the older meaning to which I've been referring; the origin of the word is a word which means "same", not a word which means "similar". The example often given of the use of the word is in the phrase "Sir Iain Moncreiffe of that ilk", meaning that he came from Moncreiffe.

But I know I'm trying to hold back the tide here. The meaning has been blurred beyond its old, Scots meaning. I just think it's a pity, because it now means that we have an imprecise use of a word, giving an imprecise meaning, when we have other, far more precise words which would convey our meaning more clearly.

s1m0n wrote:
What I suspect is that while "ilk" in the form of a Scots highland title "Laird MacDonald of that Ilk" effectively means Lord of the family MacDonald, what it literally means is "Lord MacDonald of that kind"***.

As noted above, that's not what it was used for.



By the way, apologies if there are errors in my typing this morning - I didn't sleep well at all, and I can't see particularly clearly this morning.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2017 4:52 am 
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So if some medieval fantasy hero was on a quest to find some magical talisman and took out his iphone to google its location ,it would be a no-no ?

RORY

PS I know my spelling and grammar are bad, but I dont give a phig.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2017 7:10 am 
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benhall.1 wrote:
I don't think that is what's going on here. An Draighean admitted himself that "like" would probably have been a better word. I think he just misspoke when using "ilk".


I used it because I like the word, and at first thought it seemed to fit. One could argue that I might have been speaking of the "family" of different kinds of looms and weaving apparatus, i.e. back straps, cards, shuttles, draw looms and hand looms. But yes, I already admitted that "like" might have have been a better, more clear word for most readers here.

I am pleased to have provided so much fodder (perhaps even a bale's worth?) for your linguistic discussion.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2017 11:03 am 
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rorybbellows wrote:
So if some medieval fantasy hero was on a quest to find some magical talisman and took out his iphone to google its location ,it would be a no-no ?

It would be fantasy!

https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/fantasy

'The faculty or activity of imagining impossible or improbable things.'

'A genre of imaginative fiction involving magic and adventure, especially in a setting other than the real world.'

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2017 11:55 am 
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s1m0n wrote:
Tor wrote:
Yesterday I started reading a free kindle book.. it began with the protagonist (presumed, we'll see) suddenly finding herself moved from her 21 century bed to some medieval place.. waking up in a bale of hay.

I suppose what annoys me is that these days a hay bale is the ultimate symbol of rurality, but in truth, its a thoroughly post-industrial product.

It might be easy to forget that in modern developed societies, rurality today is quite post-industrial too. The bale itself reflects this. For the most part, scythe and cradle have long hung idle on the wall, nor is milking done by hand; these and other tasks have been supplanted by machines, the latest of which are now computerized to the point of near-autonomy. As businesspeople, farmers use personal computers and the internet at least as much as anyone else, so it's a mistake for people to think of rurality as a state that is somehow fundamentally premodern, even in the abstract. To an extent it may be seen as traditional, but in the end caring for a cow or raising crops makes me no more premodern than does caring for a pet cat or tending the geraniums on my windowsill. The difference is just a matter of scale, occupation, and impact on the economy. You don't even have to be a farmer or rancher to be rural. Rurality is simply a matter of where you live, nothing more. But this mental habit of thinking of "rural" as necessarily rustic (what of fine country estates?) or even premodern (if that were true, how could I drive to a farm right now and watch their TV?) - well, it will probably continue so long as there's city life, because it's easier to pigeonhole things and tuck them away.

What I'd like to know is whether "bale" is the author's word, or Tor's. I don't think we can seriously discuss the anachronism of a hay bale in the 10th century until we get that cleared up.

Anyway, as I hinted earlier, you can't wake up in a hay bale. At most, you can wake up on one. In the small, standard boxy-shaped bale of the kind we usually envision:

Image

...you'd have to have been crushed to accommodate its dimensions. Even in one of those big, honking cylindrical bales that AFAIK never leave the farm:

Image

...you might fit, but you'd be trapped - and still probably crushed - because a bale by definition is bound together, and pretty tightly. Once it's unbound, it's no longer a bale, but a pile.

Waking up in a haystack:

Image

...or waking up in a pile of hay in a haymow or barn:

Image

...would make the physical sense necessary to fit the idea, never mind the anomaly of bales in the Middle Ages. A bale in that era might fall, however clumsily, within the parameters of fantasy, but a normal-sized human waking up in one? It smashes even fantasy to pieces.

I may be a City Mouse, but even I know my bales from my stacks (and my ins from my outs). That's why I'm curious whether the author actually used the word "bale". If s/he did:

There's always going to be someone to take issue with me on this, but I think publishing writers have a duty to be precise with language when it's called for, and IMO, that means pretty much any time the nib hits paper. Without precision there's no craft; it's just spewing. As wordsmiths, not only should writers always have a dictionary and thesaurus readily to hand, they should regularly use them. Being a writer simply makes you someone who is occupied with writing stuff; the title does not somehow magically confer upon you some kind of authority that bypasses the need for resources when it comes to your use of language. A writer is by default a steward of language, and stewardship carries responsibilities. If like Joyce you want to turn writing on its head, then like Joyce you had better be well-equipped beforehand if you intend to be taken seriously. Using "bale" when you mean "stack" is not that, in this instance. It is at best a show of not really knowing the word, and at worst it is a careless disservice to the reader - if, of course, that's the word the author actually used.

On message boards, on the other hand, we forgivingly make do. :)

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2017 2:10 pm 
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An Draighean wrote:
benhall.1 wrote:
I don't think that is what's going on here. An Draighean admitted himself that "like" would probably have been a better word. I think he just misspoke when using "ilk".


I used it because I like the word, and at first thought it seemed to fit. One could argue that I might have been speaking of the "family" of different kinds of looms and weaving apparatus, i.e. back straps, cards, shuttles, draw looms and hand looms. But yes, I already admitted that "like" might have have been a better, more clear word for most readers here.

I am pleased to have provided so much fodder (perhaps even a bale's worth?) for your linguistic discussion.

Yeah. Sorry about that. I was just making a simple retort about personal preferences - didn't really expect a "linguistic discussion".

Last chance for me to chip in at all here - internet is dying ...

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2017 3:56 pm 
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benhall.1 wrote:
Last chance for me to chip in at all here - internet is dying ...

Oh, dear. Here are flowers in Loving Memory:

Image

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2017 7:19 pm 
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Nanohedron wrote:
Even in one of those big, honking cylindrical bales that AFAIK never leave the farm: ...
They do occasionally, one at a time in the back of a pickup truck, or a few at a time on a flatbed trailer, but not often. There are also big, honking large square bales in use. The small square bales (40 - 50 pounds each), which not so long ago were the only kind around, are still found on some farms. Around here, for example, hay for horses is generally in the form of small squares.

A mistake that pushes my buttons is the confusion of hay (grass and other greens dried and used for fodder) with straw (leftover stalks from cereal grains, used principally for bedding). This, for example, is clearly straw, not hay:
Nanohedron wrote:
In the small, standard boxy-shaped bale of the kind we usually envision:
Image

If I was looking for a place to wake up on, I'd choose straw over hay ... much softer and more suitable as an insulator.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2017 7:28 pm 
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Tunborough wrote:
A mistake that pushes my buttons is the confusion of hay (grass and other greens dried and used for fodder) with straw (leftover stalks from cereal grains, used principally for bedding). This, for example, is clearly straw, not hay:

Thank you for confirming that. I was pretty sure it was straw, but I decided to use it anyway because all I was really concerned with was an expedient illustration of "bale". :)

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 01, 2017 2:26 am 
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Nanohedron wrote:
What I'd like to know is whether "bale" is the author's word, or Tor's.
That was the author's.

Quote:
Anyway, as I hinted earlier, you can't wake up in a hay bale. At most, you can wake up on one.
.. but 'in' was my own typo (fixed in the post now).

(Anyway, I gave up on the book a day ago. My Kindle doesn't need space-fillers.)


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 01, 2017 6:46 am 
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Tor wrote:
(Anyway, I gave up on the book a day ago. My Kindle doesn't need space-fillers.)


So, you bailed on on it, huh?

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Last edited by An Draighean on Thu Nov 02, 2017 3:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 01, 2017 11:51 am 
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Tor wrote:
Nanohedron wrote:
What I'd like to know is whether "bale" is the author's word, or Tor's.
That was the author's.

Ah. Firmly an anachronism, then.

Tor wrote:
Quote:
Anyway, as I hinted earlier, you can't wake up in a hay bale. At most, you can wake up on one.
.. but 'in' was my own typo (fixed in the post now).

It's not so serious an issue since you're not the book's author, but thanks for the clarification. And it's even still more grist for the mill, so back to my carrying on like a pit bull on a pork chop: In the case of a pile/mound/stack, choosing between the words "in" or "on" becomes largely a matter of style, but used correctly, "bale" imposes limits on such options. Again, precision is called for. Whether in or on, if the author did in fact mean a postindustrial bale, then I pass the jugular back over to s1m0n. But not just yet.

Sure, you could wake up on one of these:

Image

...but you still have the anachronism. That aside, waking up on one of these:

Image

...would be problematic due to its size. There's not enough real estate. You could wake up sitting on one, I suppose.

"But Nano!" you cry, "You've taken all the romance out of the story for the sake of facts!" The way I see it, the author did that all on his/her own. My rant about the craft of writing stands. Call me a crank if you like.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 01, 2017 12:57 pm 
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An Draighean wrote:
So, you bailed on on it, huh?

And as for you, with your puns...

Imagine my baleful gaze. :really:

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 01, 2017 7:07 pm 
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Nanohedron wrote:
Again, precision is called for. Whether in or on, if the author did in fact mean a postindustrial bale, then I pass the jugular back over to s1m0n.


I assume the author just wasn't thinking. It's not an uncommon error in the genre. I posted about it because I'd recently spotted three separate hay-bale howlers (2 different authors) in three different novels set in pseudo-medieval worlds. In one, the hero, trapped unarmed in a hayloft, fends off an attacker by throwing hay bales down on the attacker in the stable below. That doesn't work with loose hay; it's clearly the 40-50 lb small rectangular bales the author is thinking of, and they're well post-industrial revolution. Really, while there were a few not very successful attempts at making a steam-driven reaper-binder*, the first really successful binders were post internal combustion engine.

And in a medieval world, there's no need for a binder or a hay bale. When labour is cheap and everything else is expensive, the scythe/hay rake/pitchfork/wagon/haystack + labour combo is way more economical than an expensive machine you only use once a year. It wasn't until the rise of factories drove up the cost of rural labour that farm mechanization became attractive.

*The great weight of a steam engine meant that the power plant had to be divided from the machinery or the field got trashed. The binder worked - or rather didn't work well - remotely powered by belts.

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Last edited by s1m0n on Wed Nov 01, 2017 7:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 01, 2017 7:17 pm 
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s1m0n wrote:
I assume the author just wasn't thinking.

...in a desperately-needed nutshell. :lol:

s1m0n wrote:
In one, the hero, trapped unarmed in a hayloft, fends off an attacker by throwing hay bales down on the attacker in the stable below. That doesn't work with loose hay...

Screw the bales; where's the pitchfork?

Pseudo-medieval worlds ... the author probably works at the Renaissance Festival, too.

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