Topological thinking is rooted in local issues — the soil, the plants, the weather, and the local customs. Peoples’ well-being is its objective.
“Orismology”, from the Oxford English Dictionary Word Of The Day, is the right term for the discussion of technical terminology (the théorie des termes de métier, as we say in French).
Today’s “word of the day” from the OED was “femme incomprise”. The list of nearby words contains:
- femme (first quote 1814, from a letter of Byron)
- femme de chambre (first quote 1741)
- femme de ménage (first quote 1826)
- femme du monde (first quote 1849)
- femme fatale (first quote 1879; one wouldn’t guess that this is taken from an article in that well-known journal of cosmopolitan sophisticates, the St Louis Globe Democrat)
- femme incomprise (first quote 1841)
I wonder if there is a bigger cluster of foreign words with a common root?
The other one I know and like, though it is not in strictly alphabetic order, is also quite impressive:
- simpatico, simpatica (first quote 1864, “The Frau Professorin was less ‘simpatica’”, from the memoir of a certain H. Sidgwick)
- sympathique (first quote 1859, in a letter of Queen Victoria, “The sight of a professor or learned man alarms me, and is not sympathique to me”)
- sympathisch (first quote 1911)
There is undeniably a certain form a humor in the books of Jules Verne, but of a rather inoffensive kind, and the distracted geograph Paganel would probably be dismissed rather curtly by such a lively girl as Queneau’s Zazie. Nevertheless, while re-reading Les enfants de Capitaine Grant, I found a magnificent sentence that, I think, even Zazie would approve:
Les petits garçons et les petites filles, plus rageuses surtout, s’administraient des taloches superbes avec un entrain féroce.
(Les enfants du Capitaine Grant, 2ème partie, Chapitre XVI)
This is basically untranslatable; the literal meaning is something like
The boys and girls, even fiercer, exchanged superb blows with extreme alacrity.
but English words fail me to convey the finer meaning of taloche…
And I was reading this book because, believe it or not, Jules Verne is now a Pléiade author! Of course, grudgingly, since only four of his novels were deemed worthy of this supreme honor of French letters. In addition to Les enfants…, we have 20000 lieues sous les mers and L’île mystérieuse, a trilogy, and Le sphinx des glaces, but obviously some strong reactionary faction must have resisted any attempt in adding De la terre à la lune, or Kéraban le Têtu, or Hector Servadac, or…
I also had not realized before the embarrassing chronological problems of the trilogy: Les enfants… happens in 1864–1865; 20000 lieux… begins in 1866; but then L’île mystérieuse, which is supposed to take place twelve years after the first part, begins in 1865…
I noticed the following comment in today’s arXiv update of a paper of Kim and Lusztig:
A sign error is corrected; a conjecture is replaced by a theorem.
Isn’t that mathematical poetry of a kind? It’s unfortunately a bit too long to be a Haiku…