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HEMIDEMISEMIQUAVER

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HEMIDEMISEMIQUAVER

Postby Dr. Goodword » Wed Oct 03, 2007 10:05 pm

• hemidemisemiquaver •

Pronunciation: he-mi-de-mi-se-mi-kway-vêr • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. (Classical British terminology) A four-flagged musical note played for 1/64 of the duration of a whole note. It lasts half as long as a thirty-second note (or demisemiquaver) and a quarter as long as a sixteenth note (semiquaver). 2. An almost infinitesimally small amount.

Notes: Today's Good Word is the equivalent of Polish sześćdziesięcioczwórka—in case you think the English word stands alone in its complexity. It's the kind of word musicians think up as they sit around discussing music and drinking late at night. We chose this word because it reflects all the variants of the English prefixes for "half": hemi-, demi-, and semi- and thought you might like to know why we have three of these little lexical critters (see Word History).

In Play: Today's Good Word might seem to be joined at the hip to the music world: "Moseley, I think you are pausing a hemidemisemiquaver at the beginning of each bar of this piece, which puts you noticeably behind the other members of the orchestra just a few bars down the road." However, the idea behind the word has caught on enough in England that hemidemisemi- has appeared as a prefix referring to things exceptionally small, such as: "I don't think Germaine has a hemidemisemi-idea of what this project is all about."

Word History: The bizarre load of prefixes meaning "half" at the beginning of today's Good Word is the result of borrowing variants of the same original word from several languages. Hemi- is a Greek form meaning "half", used only in combinations with other words. Semi- is the Latin version derived from the same Proto-Indo-European root. (Ancient Greek often reduced S to H at the beginning of words; another example is Latin super and sub which emerged in Greek as hyper and hypo.) Demi- is an Old French reduction of Latin dimidius "split in two", made up of dis- "apart" + medius "half". English, of course, couldn't resist borrowing them all.
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Postby sluggo » Wed Oct 03, 2007 10:50 pm

No biggie but the sound file is missing. I'm sure we all get it.
I think the word is rarely pronounced anyway, except for pure quaint aural entertainment value. In practice a musician would likely just call it a "64th note". Less work for the brain, and analysis is the enemy of art.
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Postby skinem » Thu Oct 04, 2007 9:58 am

When I first saw the word, I couldn't help but think, "OK, now he's just making up words..." :D

Apparantly my musical (and other) education is lacking...

I suppose a hemidemiquasiquaver would only simulate a hemidemisemiquaver...
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Postby gailr » Thu Oct 04, 2007 5:39 pm

I think Tim told us about this word...perhaps in the other agora...
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Postby Stargzer » Fri Oct 05, 2007 2:50 pm

gailr wrote:I think Tim told us about this word...perhaps in the other agora...


FOR SHAME! THERE IS NO OTHER AGORA; IT DIED LONG AGO!

:evil:

OK. Maybe the other was just a Beta test; this one is better. The Alpha Dog of Word sites. :wink:
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Postby Bailey » Fri Oct 05, 2007 7:10 pm

There was another, there is another and it is limping along, too bad, but it is unmoderated.

mark checks-in-from-time-to-time Bailey

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Postby gailr » Fri Oct 05, 2007 7:24 pm

Many jumped that ship when Dr. Goodword launched this one. Now it drifts sadly, a lexical Flying Dutchman. Occasionally an old-timer will appear, albatross-like, to croak out an encouraging post. Well, you know what happens to albatrosses...
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Postby Bailey » Sat Oct 06, 2007 4:45 pm

I keep thinking that the plural of albatross should be albatrohse. Apropos of nuttin' just my weird brain in reverse.

mark sorry Bailey

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Postby sluggo » Sat Oct 06, 2007 10:02 pm

I'd be inclined to go with albatreese.

Don' know nuttin' 'bout no other agora though.
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