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ccfinlay

On etymology

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Feb. 25th, 2011 | 10:43 am


This is for the word nerds that AmyD sent to follow my twitter this morning. Some of you (and by "some" I mean "E" and "M[-----] P[------]") may remember it about from ten years ago, before the Age Of Blogs, when I posted things like this to the OWW mailing list.

E asked:

I am sure I can't be spelling "coplative" correctly, as I cannot find it in any dictionary. But I know that is the word I want, even if I can't spell it.

M[-----] P[------] answered:

Copula. Comes from the exact same root word you think it does.

And I replied:

Actually, copula is a compound word constructed from three roots:

  • cop- is from the Scandanavian stem cop(p), meaning top or head, as in attercop, or spider, which leads to copweb, or cobweb, as we now know it;


  • -u- is a contraction of you, or tu, as in "e tu Brute?" or "whut's eetin' u?"; and


  • -la is a note that follows so.

Thus we can see that copula means, literally, you're a singer caught in the web.

When one reflects that medieval Scandanavian vikings conquered Sicily, much becomes clear. The word is a reference to Sinatra's connections to the Mafia. This is why Francis Ford Copula, or "Coppola" (an obvious nom de plume), was listed as the director of "The Godfather," which was a movie in part about a singer's involvement with the mob.

The connection to grammar derives from omerta, or the Mafia's code of silence, as the copulative case is the one that can remain silent, or unspoken.

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Comments {9}

Clint Harris

(no subject)

from: wendigomountain
date: Feb. 25th, 2011 03:49 pm (UTC)
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Oh, thanks a lot! Now I've got the VanTrapp Children singing in my head all morning after the -la bit.

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C. C. Finlay

(no subject)

from: ccfinlay
date: Feb. 25th, 2011 03:59 pm (UTC)
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You're welcome!

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Frigg

(no subject)

from: frigg
date: Feb. 25th, 2011 11:37 pm (UTC)
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I totally blame him for the Danish version of itsy bitsy spider playing in my head now.

"Lille Peter edderkop kravlede op ad muren..."

(edder means poison btw.)

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C. C. Finlay

(no subject)

from: ccfinlay
date: Feb. 26th, 2011 12:18 am (UTC)
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Edder like adder. Huh. That's cool.

And... you're welcome too!

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barbarienne

(no subject)

from: barbarienne
date: Feb. 25th, 2011 04:19 pm (UTC)
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Oh my god I totally remember this! I may even have it on my computer somewhere. :-)

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C. C. Finlay

(no subject)

from: ccfinlay
date: Feb. 25th, 2011 04:27 pm (UTC)
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It's probably not as funny as I remember it. But I still can't reread it without cracking up.

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barbarienne

(no subject)

from: barbarienne
date: Feb. 25th, 2011 06:58 pm (UTC)
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I so miss those early days on the DROWW mailing list. There were no rules of behavior because there didn't need to be any.

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Liz

(no subject)

from: ammitnox
date: Feb. 25th, 2011 07:58 pm (UTC)
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This reminds me that you are a silly person.

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C. C. Finlay

(no subject)

from: ccfinlay
date: Feb. 26th, 2011 12:19 am (UTC)
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I am secretly pleased that you momentarily forgot.

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