Friday, 16 May 2014

Wondrous Words Wednesday

On Brona's Books I found this challenge hosted by Bermudaonion's Weblog which I think is really interesting. For me it is of course much more of a challenge being non-English, natural speaker. There are certainly words I don't understand as such, but understand them from the content. But I fell on two words in my latest book about Emily Brontë, in part II, a critical examination of her work by Derek Stanford, and in the same paragraph(!) which I would like to share with you.

nonce (plural nonces)
1. The one or single occasion; the present reason or purpose (now only in for the nonce). That will do for the nonce, but we'll need a better answer for the long term.

2. (lexicography) A nonce word. I had thought that the term was a nonce, but it seems as if it's been picked up by other authors.

3. (computing) A number, usually generated randomly or from the time, used once in a cryptographic protocol, to prevent replay attacks.

ventriloquistic - A person who performs or is skilled in ventriloquism.
Ventriloquism is the art of producing vocal sounds that appear to come from another source

(from Latin venter  belly + loqui  to speak)

To make some sense of it all we might have to read the whole paragraph, which is:

"Swinburne notes too that each teller of the tale of Wuthering Heights 'is invested for the nonce with the peculiar force and distinctive style of the author'. But because that style is forceful and distinctive, he does not censure its ventriloquistic use. Largely true as his statement is, and truer still as are his conclusions, there does yet exist an appreciable difference between Nelly Dean's and Lockwood's narrations. The first - for all its appropriation of a more extensive vocabulary and syntax than the case of the speaker would seem to justify - is homely, unself-conscious, and didactic, with all the moral clichés of a nature honest in action but limited in thought. The second is youthfully self-conscious, a little affected and facetious, and with a vein of unreal cynicism in it. Emily, indeed, goes so far, in her effort to conform to the laws of probability, as to try to explain Nelly Dean's power of speech in terms of an unusual self-education:"

I am not sure I still understand the meaning. The text is very academic, as it has to be I suppose for a critical examination!

However, now I now the English word for 'buktalare' = ventriloquist. That makes me think of the excellent film with Anthony Hopkins and Ann-Margret, Magic. 

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