It was the Pointer Sisters?

I am so glad that I was born early enough to watch spots like the Pinball countup on Sesame Street. Do they still show that, I wonder? Last time I checked the show out it was about 80% Elmo, which, as I'm sure you all know, means that 20% or less of it was good.

In other news, the 7-11 near my work has stopped selling oxygen-in-a-can. I am disappointed because I didn't get to try or even photograph any. I guess that health fad is just too mid-90s.

Etymology corner! Here are four words, presented in order of recorded appearance and in strict one-letter-one-phoneme notation to show similarity, that are probably related:

  1. tagau (be different) (8th C)
  2. tagui (type, kind, things that are together/match) (8th C)
  3. tigau (be different) (10th C)
  4. (o)tagai (each other's, reciprocal, etc.) (12th C)

The question of exactly how they are related is complicated. Most sources I can find analyze /tagau/ as some variation on /ta/ (hand) + /kafu/ (reciprocal action, related to modern /kawaru/ (think 換)). It is then possible to explain the other three away as vowel variations on that one proto-word, attested since the dawn of time.

But not everyone will settle for that. /tagui/ in particular is suspicious because it is almost as if not as old as /tagau/ but has a suspiciously different ending. That might indicate /ta/ + some other verb, possibly /kumu/ (group together) or something to do with modern /kuwaeru/ (add something to another thing), which is in turn related to /kuu/ (eat)... or it might not be breakdownable beyond /taguhu/.

Then there is the idea, most notably recorded in the Iwanami kogo jiten, that /tigau/ is the same /kafu/ but the /ti/ is actually related to the /ti/ (路) meaning "road" or "direction". (Seen in modern /miti/, /yamazi/, etc.) Of course, even if this was the case, the two words meant more or less the same thing before long, so it's kind of a moot point.

So, in summary, although it might be tempting to get all Hebrew and propose an ur-root TGH, it probably ain't justified.

Popularity factor: 12


So what you're trying to say in today's etymology lesson is...

"One of these things is not like the others!"



If you look up the Dead Hensons, I believe they cover that song? It's enjoyable.


I saw that Sesame Street pinball deal playing at a video shop in a subway station in Seoul, South Korea...it stopped me in my tracks and I was tempted to purchase the boxed set of videos just to get that song, but the dude wanted way too much for it.


...although it might be tempting to get all Hebrew and propose an ur-root TGH, it probably ain't justified.

Why not? Japanese IS descended from Ancient Hebrew, you know. The people are one (or more) of the Ten Lost Tribes, after all.

(I'll see if I can find that link again for the site where some guy compares carrying omikoshi with the carrying of the Ark of the Covenant, the description of the layout of the Temple in Jerusalem with Japanese shrines, etc. It's a hoot!)


By that site, would you mean.... Wikipedia?

(The Shinto entry, she burns! And the Talk page of the Shinto entry is insult to injurious.)


Pascale: Yeah, but I get paid by the word so I had to pad it out a little.

Zusty: I will investigate.

Wyatt: Man, if there were a DVD box set of the best of Sesame Street pre, say, 85, I would be ALL over that. Those sand guys and their Cripple Creek... We All Live In A Capital 'I'... that freaky-ass cosmic Z... oh yeah.

IDR: I remember that site! I think the most entertaining part was where the guy argued that the tengu were actually Jews, and you could tell because they were said to have big red hooknoses.

Anon: I read it... I can't un-read it. At least it's gone from the main page now. There's a great essay by Basil Hall Chamberlain about pre-WWII Japanese cultural revisionism (including "state Shinto") at Project Gutenberg: http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/2510 which is (as far as I can tell) wrong and wrong-minded in some particulars, but his paragraph about "Bushido" about halfway through is just priceless.


Isn't 従う (仕違う) also related? I've always thought it was. I'd love for you to expand on your sources, besides the Iwanami. Would you mind?


That one had never come to my attention! Nice...

No, of course I don't mind -- I really should be mentioning them every time. My main source for etymology stuff other than the INKGJT is the Nihongogen Daijiten (a.k.a Nihon Gogen Daijiten), 日本語源大辞典, which I blogged about here: http://no-sword.jp/blog/2005/03/i-found-new-baby.html


Okay! Check it. Lemme know when you've gotten 'em.

Big Ben:

Speaking of the pinball counting song, I was watching the abomination-in-the-eyes-of-the-gods that is the modern Japanese Sesame Street with my daughter a few weeks ago, and they kept scrolling an apology for having run an English counting clip that violated the broadcast code against flashing colors. (The rules that were implemented after the Pokemon color flash nausea incident a few years ago.) I assume it was either the pinball counting clip or the racecar counting clip.

Some guy put together a bunch of links to old Sesame Street clips on YouTube, and I've found many of the old clips, including "Capital I", on Emule. The Elmo-dominated modern DVD market can drive a father to strange extremes.


But whither SQUARE ONE??


Oh, man! Thanks!

That Capital I song is so EERIE. Who performed it, I wonder?

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