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mumpsimus

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mumpsimus

Postby M. Henri Day » Sat Sep 10, 2005 2:28 pm

In the three months that have passed since this delightful word, which has so much to tell us about meme mutation and selection, has not made it to the Agora. It is time, I think, for a helping hand, which is how memes make it anyhow....

Henri

• mumpsimus •

Pronunciation:
mêmp-sê-mês • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun, Adjective

Meaning: 1. A stubborn, old-fashioned person who obstinately clings to traditional notions and ways despite evidence that they are wrong or harmful. 2. A traditional notion that is obstinately held even though it is unreasonable.

Notes: I know what you are thinking: this must be the medical term for an extremely bad case of mumps. Not at all; the similarity is pure happenchance. Today's is another word that results from a speech error, a mispronunciation which, because of the peculiarity of its circumstances, stuck in the language (see History). It is a lexical orphan, like so many of our language's lexical eccentricities.

In Play: A mumpsimus is a curmudgeon firmly stuck in the muds of time: "Andy Bellam is an incorrigible mumpsimus who still types on his old Smith-Corona mechanical typewriter." Keep in mind that a mumpsimus may also be the out-dated notion that a mumpsimus clings to: "Andy still holds firmly to the old mumpsimus that a woman's place is in the kitchen." A mumpsimus smellfungus would be someone who finds fault in everything and cannot be reasoned with to see the world otherwise.

Word History: Mumpsimus is a lexical peculiarity better explained with a story than an etymology. There once was a medieval monk who persistently mispronounced Latin sumpsimus "we have taken" as mumpsimus in the Latin Eucharist. Whether from ignorance or illiteracy, when the mistake was pointed out to him, his response was remarkable. The monk firmly stated that he had pronounced this word the same way for 40 years and added, “I will not change my old mumpsimus for your new sumpsimus.” With this statement he carved a place for his new word in lexical history, simultaneously girding it with its singular meaning. (The Stargazer of our Agora, Larry Brady, often spies unique little gems like this one among the diamonds in his lexical sky.)

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Postby mbx_pdx » Sat Sep 10, 2005 2:32 pm

Thank you for that, now I have another term of reference for my parents...

I'm assuming the plural to be "mumpsimi?"
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Postby KatyBr » Sat Sep 10, 2005 3:02 pm

Ah, I see how it is now, There are for purposes of this discussion three stages of maturation, the first from age 1 until about 25 (much older in men,:D) one believes that all the knowledge in the universe already resides as if by miracle in his possession, of course at this age one lacks even the most rudimentary experience..... The second phase ranges until 50 or 60 years of age where one suspects that there might be a few things he or she might no know although through experience one does receive some practical information. The last stage is when one absolutely KNOWs he/she does not know all that much.

KT
(insert tongue in cheek smiley ....here)
I suppose this makes ME the mumpsimus...
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Postby Brazilian dude » Sat Sep 10, 2005 3:34 pm

I should think the plural to be mumpsimuses (which, for being practically unpronounceable, should be replaced by a more euphonious mumpsimus, which would lead to our having the same word that does double duty as singular and plural) since it is a mispronunciation of the verbal form sumpsimus, whose plural, impossible, wouldn't be sumpsimi, as it's not a noun.

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Postby M. Henri Day » Sat Sep 10, 2005 4:25 pm

And I who thought sumpsimus was plural....

Henri
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Postby Brazilian dude » Sat Sep 10, 2005 5:11 pm

But it is plural, a plural verb, what I said was that the -i of the second declension for masculine nouns wouldn't be pedantically appropriate because we're dealing with a verb, not a noun, here.

Brazilian dude

That reminds me of ignoramus, first person plural of Latin ignorare, that's why I don't think ignorami is very correct, you either Anglicize it as ignoramuses or simply don't tamper with it.
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Postby mbx_pdx » Sat Sep 10, 2005 8:40 pm

KatyBr, I make no claims to know everything. I just reject ideas that are damaging to individual and social advancement and freedom.

As for the ending, I understand the Latin connotations of the suffix [-mus], but when used in English as a verb, I tend to apply the appropriate Latin plural noun ending. Interesting slant, keeping it completely Anglicized...
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Then they fight you...
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Postby KatyBr » Sat Sep 10, 2005 10:09 pm

Mbx,did you not see that I wrote "tongue in cheek", we all think our parents are hopeless old-fashioned and kind of dumb before we are 20, and by the time we are 25 we are amazed at how much they've learned in just five short years.

Katy
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Postby M. Henri Day » Sun Sep 11, 2005 1:31 pm

Brazilian dude wrote:... what I said was that the -i of the second declension for masculine nouns wouldn't be pedantically appropriate because we're dealing with a verb, not a noun, here. ...


Oh...

Henri
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Postby tcward » Tue Sep 13, 2005 11:37 am

This thread makes me feel like an ignoramus. But then, I am older than 25 (:P smiley directed at Katy). I wish I had taken Latin at some point, although it would have helped for it to have been offered in the first place. Is there a Latin for Dummies book out there? ;)

-Tim
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Postby Brazilian dude » Tue Sep 13, 2005 2:06 pm

Of course, with a slightly altered title Magnum opus introductionis ad linguam latinam pro aedificationi gentum novi mundi. Here's its description at www.amazon.com.br:

This book, together with a CD recorded by Latin native speakers, will guide you through 16 fun-packed lessons ranging from eating out to changing your drachmata into denarii. It will certainly prove a very powerful tool in your explorations throughout Latin America.


This is what people who bought the book have written about it:

This book is really awesome! All the other books that I had bought just dragged on and on and never took you beyond the second declension. All the humor present in this book has made learning more enjoyable. I'd have to say this deserves five stars out of four.

dude from Brazil

Was this review helpful to you?


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Postby M. Henri Day » Tue Sep 13, 2005 2:07 pm

tcward wrote:... Is there a Latin for Dummies book out there? ;)


Tim, a google search for «Latin textbooks» shows a plethora of resources ; however, I didn't see a Latin for Dummies (admittedly, I didn't check out all the 1 970 000 sites). But what would a chap like you do with a text for dummies, anyway ? Leave that sort of thing to those who need it !...

Henri
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Postby tcward » Tue Sep 13, 2005 3:45 pm

Well, Henri, I figured there would be one:

Latin for Dummies

So, if'n I decide I need it, it's out there...

-Tim
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Postby M. Henri Day » Tue Sep 13, 2005 3:58 pm

Market-driven, rather than supply-side economics ?...

Henri
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