Banal

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Dr. Goodword
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Banal

Postby Dr. Goodword » Fri Oct 08, 2021 7:33 pm

• banal •


Pronunciation: bay-nêl, bê-næl, bê-nahlHear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: Commonplace, boringly ordinary, utterly unremarkable.

Notes: It is high time we decide how we are going to pronounce this not at all uncommon word. Our British friends prefer the last of the three pronunciations above and Americans can't decide between the first two, so the confusion, it seems, will continue. The noun from this adjective, banality, has only one common pronunciation: [bê-næ-lê-ti]. The adverb, banally, and the verb, banalize, can also only be pronounced one way: [bay-nê-li] and [bay-nê-laiz].

In Play: Today's word comes with a negative connotation: "Perry Yare considers life in Lollapalooza, Louisiana, far too banal for a sophisticated urbanite like himself." Things banal are not just ordinary but crashingly ordinary: "After a day of bungee-jumping, I'm not in the mood for anything so banal as a game of gin rummy."

Word History: Today's Good Word is derived from ban, which now refers to a prohibition. In Old English, though, a ban was a summons, a public proclamation requiring or prohibiting some action on the part of the populace. Since these proclamations were usually posted in a square or commons, the adjective referring to them eventually came to mean "common, known by everyone" and thence to "trite, commonplace". So, the meanings of ban and banal have both shifted dramatically since they parted company back in the early 19th century. The root, ban, goes back to an ancient word meaning "to speak", which turned up in Latin as fama "common talk, rumor", which we borrowed from French after that language had remolded it into fame. (Today we thank Lew Jury, whose Good Word suggestions, as you can see, are anything but banal.)
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Debbymoge
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Re: Banal

Postby Debbymoge » Sat Oct 09, 2021 12:18 pm

related also to "reading the banns of marriage" beforehand in a church?
I am but mad north-north-west. When the wind is southerly, I know a hawk from a handsaw.
Shakespear

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Slava
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Re: Banal

Postby Slava » Sat Oct 09, 2021 5:31 pm

Welcome to the Agora, Debbymoge! Hope you like it here.

related also to "reading the banns of marriage" beforehand in a church?

My thoughts, too. I like that banns is an orphan plural, too. At least I don't see bann anywhere.
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David Myer
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Re: Banal

Postby David Myer » Sun Oct 10, 2021 6:50 am

Your change of moniker Debby has reduced your status from Senior to Junior. You've had to start again. Perhaps the Good Doctor can manually intervene to establish your rightful seniority? Damoge becomes Debbymoge and reputations are ruined! Well, credentials anyway.

David Myer
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Re: Banal

Postby David Myer » Sun Oct 10, 2021 6:55 am

I like this one for its pronunciation.

We have the Americans who can't decide between two pronunciations, neither of which bears any relation or shows any understanding of the origins and meaning of the word. Banal as in anal. Banal as in canal.

And we have the Poms with only one pronunciation which is similarly inappropriate. Banal as Prince Charles might pompously pronounce it, with that exaggerated and ugly vowel stretching on the second syllable.

Given its history, it should surely be banal as in flannel?

Audiendus
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Re: Banal

Postby Audiendus » Wed Oct 13, 2021 10:21 am

Wiktionary states:
Borrowed from French banal ("held in common, relating to feudal service, by extension commonplace") from Old French banel, related to Medieval Latin bannalis ("subject to feudal authority"), from Latin bannus ("jurisdiction"), both ultimately from Proto-Germanic bannana ("order, summon, forbid").
Banal as in canal is fairly close to the French pronunciation (they pronounce the two syllables with about equal emphasis).

Interestingly, according to Wiktionary, the masculine plural of French banal in the sense of 'public' or 'feudal' is banaux (which follows the regular pattern), but the masculine plural of French banal in the sense of 'banal, commonplace' (did French borrow this sense back from English?) is the irregular banals.

Debbymoge
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Re: Banal

Postby Debbymoge » Wed Oct 13, 2021 2:42 pm

Slava, thank you for the welcome.
David, was it my accent that connected you to my previous identity?

I had a problem with my computer, and when I tried to sign back on here with my old information, I was told it was not legit.
So, here I am, new name and password, and, I hope, not to be cast out into the darkness again.
I am but mad north-north-west. When the wind is southerly, I know a hawk from a handsaw.
Shakespear

David Myer
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Re: Banal

Postby David Myer » Wed Oct 13, 2021 6:59 pm

I certainly recognised your voice, Debby! The new ID was a clue too.

I hope the system picks up your old status, although the important thing is that you are here. Keep out of the darkness.

David Myer
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Re: Banal

Postby David Myer » Wed Oct 13, 2021 7:04 pm

Thanks for that research Audiendus. And very interesting too.

Although it doesn't explain why the Americans and the Poms each have those unexpected pronunciations. I think I will go French in my pronunciation in future with equal emphasis on each syllable.

Philip Hudson
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Re: Banal

Postby Philip Hudson » Wed Oct 13, 2021 10:52 pm

Lollapalooza is not a word ordinarily used in the hinterlands. Isn't a Chicago word? The English seem to take a foreign word and tried to pronounce it as if it were an English word. Americans try to pronounce it the way the foreigners do. The word banal may be too banal to worry about pronouncing it. In the hinterlands, where everything might be banal, we don't even know this word.
It is dark at night, but the Sun will come up and then we can see.

Debbymoge
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Re: Banal

Postby Debbymoge » Thu Oct 14, 2021 1:30 pm

David, I just took a look and interestingly enough, the date of my starting on here is still the old one. In fact, I think it may be older than when I started.
I have no sense of the passage of time, so don't trust me on that.

I am not concerned about my "earned" title, as long as I am allowed access, that suffices.
Or, "ca suffit" (if I knew how to access French spelling for the C cedille but then I'd also need the accent on the E.... oh dear, it never ends once you start down the PC road.)

Debby
I am but mad north-north-west. When the wind is southerly, I know a hawk from a handsaw.
Shakespear

David Myer
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Re: Banal

Postby David Myer » Thu Oct 14, 2021 6:50 pm

:D

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Slava
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Re: Banal

Postby Slava » Thu Oct 14, 2021 9:40 pm

Here are some spares you can use to copy and paste, should you get the urge: Ç ç É é :D
Life is like playing chess with chessmen who each have thoughts and feelings and motives of their own.

Debbymoge
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Re: Banal

Postby Debbymoge » Fri Oct 15, 2021 11:31 am

Thanks, Slava. Not sure I can do that, but I do appreciate the gesture.
Also, the date of my "birth" on here is no longer the old date.
Oh well.
C'est la vie!
(aha!)
I am but mad north-north-west. When the wind is southerly, I know a hawk from a handsaw.
Shakespear

Philip Hudson
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Re: Banal

Postby Philip Hudson » Fri Oct 15, 2021 9:46 pm

Debby, ‘A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.’ Welcome by any moniker, handle, or ID that gets you here.
It is dark at night, but the Sun will come up and then we can see.


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