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Nascent

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Nascent

Postby Dr. Goodword » Thu May 02, 2013 10:56 pm

• nascent •


Pronunciation: nays-ênt, næs-ênt • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: About to be born or being born, beginning to form, emerging, at a very early developmental stage.

Notes: We have a choice of two nouns from this adjective, nascence [nascent-s] or nascency. All English adjectives ending on -nt form their nouns the former way: different - difference, reliant - reliance. Some, however, offer the same option as today's Good Word: expedient - expedience - expediency.

In Play: Today's Good Word is ambivalent as to which side of birth it refers to. It may also refer to the moment of birth: "A nascent—and probably evanescent—idea struggled across the mind of Lucinda Head." It can also be used to refer to a short while post partum: "Her nascent business didn't seem to be moving fast enough for Minnie van Sales."

Word History: Today's Good Word comes from Latin nascen(t)s "young, immature" (literally "being born"), the present participle of nasci "to be born". The past participle of this verb, natus, went into the making of natio(n), which originally meant "birth". However, this word didn't stop here, but went on to acquire the meanings "people, tribe", in other words, people of common birth. This sense of the word broadened to "people of the same culture", which led to its confusion with the sense of country. Another word derived from this verb is native "born in a specific culture". The earliest manuscripts tell us that the Latin verb was originally gnasci. This would explain the use of this form in pregnant, from Latin pre- "pre" gna- "give birth" + -nt "-ing". It would also imply that it is related to the plethora of Latin words containing gen- "give birth to or be related by birth" that I have discussed in previous Good Words. (We should now thank John Crowe, a nascent but promising contributor, for his contribution of today's very Good Word.)
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Re: Nascent

Postby gailr » Thu May 02, 2013 11:33 pm

We use nee or née to refer to a woman's "maiden" or birth name. That came to English through Latin natus, via the French.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
English seems to be somewhat squeamish about kissing, marrying, and means of preventing conception (perhaps not always in that order) and either adopts French words or tacks the adjective "French" onto English words in discussion. Do other languages defer questions of im/morality to the French? What language or culture do the French blame in their native conversations?
:wink:
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Re: Nascent

Postby MTC » Fri May 03, 2013 6:24 am

"English seems to be somewhat squeamish about kissing, marrying, and means of preventing conception (perhaps not always in that order)"

Hilarious!

The contentions in your second paragraph would not surprise me, gailr, but would you please provide some clarifying examples? (Not a challenge.)

Renaissance and nascent have a common (and fecund) mother according to Etymoline:

Renaissance (n.)
"great period of revival of classical-based art and learning in Europe that began 14c.," 1840, from French renaissance des lettres, from Old French renaissance, literally "rebirth," usually in a spiritual sense, from renaître "be born again," from Vulgar Latin *renascere, from Latin renasci "be born again," from re- "again" (see re-) + nasci "be born" (Old Latin gnasci;

(Underlining added)

Juxtaposing nascent with the assonant evanesence was inspired. Life and death. And nascent followed naturally from maypole, don't you think?
Last edited by MTC on Fri May 03, 2013 8:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Nascent

Postby LukeJavan8 » Fri May 03, 2013 5:25 pm

English seems to be somewhat squeamish about kissing, marrying, and means of preventing conception (perhaps not always in that order) and either adopts French words or tacks the adjective "French" onto English words in discussion. Do other languages defer questions of im/morality to the French? What language or culture do the French blame in their native conversations?

Seems to me all he parts of the body are Anglo/Saxon or
some odd root except the reproductive parts which are
Latin. Intentional??
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Re: Nascent

Postby Slava » Fri May 03, 2013 7:39 pm

LukeJavan8 wrote:[Seems to me all he parts of the body are Anglo/Saxon or some odd root except the reproductive parts which are Latin. Intentional??
What about she parts? :P
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Re: Nascent

Postby gailr » Fri May 03, 2013 8:56 pm

MTC wrote: The contentions in your second paragraph would not surprise me, gailr, but would you please provide some clarifying examples? (Not a challenge.)
Oh, youse guys. :roll:

Well, this is a site about increasing vocabulary...
French kiss
French envelope/letter
French disease

There are many more which the morbidly curious can look up for themselves.

So, I'm still wondering who the French blame?
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Re: Nascent

Postby Perry Lassiter » Fri May 03, 2013 10:39 pm

Historically, they blame the Brits.
pl
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Re: Nascent

Postby MTC » Sat May 04, 2013 8:15 am

The French have only themselves to blame!

It was not long ago I read an article about gailr's very question, but can't lay my hands on it now. As a consolation prize here are a couple of amusing (to me, anyway) facts I stumbled upon in the search:

The Cornish word for an Englishman is "Sows", and the Cornish word for the English language is "Sowsnek".

les goddams – During the Hundred Years' War, the French took to calling the English les goddams because of their frequent use of expletives.

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alternativ ... he_British)

Sprakenze Sowsnek?
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Re: Nascent

Postby LukeJavan8 » Sat May 04, 2013 11:29 am

Slava wrote:
LukeJavan8 wrote:[Seems to me all he parts of the body are Anglo/Saxon or some odd root except the reproductive parts which are Latin. Intentional??
What about she parts? :P



Likewise Latin as far as I can determine.
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Re: Nascent

Postby Philip Hudson » Sun May 05, 2013 1:32 am

We seem to be talking about euphemisms without labeling them as such. When a word describes an "indelicate" subject, the word frequently becomes indelicate with repeated use. A new word had to be invented or adapted to speak delicately. With time, some indelicate subjects have become acceptable to discuss openly, and we don't need to invent new euphemisms. An example is the lower extremities of a woman's anatomy we call legs (not that men don't have legs). In the past this part of the anatomy seemed indelicate to some people. In Victorian times they began to speak of them, when it became absolutely necessary to speak of them, as limbs. I have read that legs of furniture were not even mentioned in polite society and, to keep ones mind off such things, furniture legs were covered with drapes to conceal them. I remember when women began wearing shorts around the time of WW II. Old Mrs. Adams, a friend of my grandmother's, was sure shorts were the Devil's device to tempt men to lust. She even accused the bare legs of her son's girlfriend of enticing him into robbing a bank!

In antebellum days among Southern gentility, it was indelicate to use the word "bull" in feminine company. He was called "the animal" or "the gentleman cow."

This practice is not peculiar to English. We got the word toilet from the French euphemism that turned a dressing room into what some English people call the WC. Toilet is the most common word in American English for a WC or loo. The French sometimes use the English to bear the burden of indelicacy. Etymonline doesn’t quite agree with me on this, but my linguistics professor in the University of North Texas assured us the French once called a toilet, "La lieu de la femme anglaise," claiming that was where English women spent much of their time. Amusingly, the English picked up on it and shortened it to "the loo". Americans don't say loo or WC.

My grandmother, a real lady where it counted most, was rather unrefined. She called it the doo-doo house without even a blush. She also would put sugar in a gauze bag and give it to a baby to suck on, not a very good practice. She called it a sugar teat. At least she didn’t soak it in rum as the neighbor lady did.
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Re: Nascent

Postby Philip Hudson » Sun May 05, 2013 1:37 am

Some automatic censor modified my last post. My grandmother did not call it the doo-doo house. She used a more basic Anglo Saxon word.
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Re: Nascent

Postby gailr » Sun May 05, 2013 1:49 pm

But she didn't call it "the French house." :wink:
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Re: Nascent

Postby Audiendus » Fri May 17, 2013 6:38 am

MTC wrote:The Cornish word for an Englishman is "Sows", and the Cornish word for the English language is "Sowsnek".

I wonder if that is etymologically related to "Sassenach" (and "Saxon").
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Re: Nascent

Postby LukeJavan8 » Fri May 17, 2013 12:25 pm

Yes, that is a curious fact.
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