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January 11, 2012

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It's a win/win deal for the Tories because either Scotland stays, and the Tories can claim to have saved the Union, or Scotland goes, and takes a lot of Labour voters with it.

President Obama should offer the same deal to Texas and the usual confederate suspects below the Mason-Dixon.

I just love seeing the phrase "Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls" in print.

Actually, Bernard Fox, the British character actor, was *Colonel* Crittenden on "Hogan's Heroes". If he had been an RAF officer, I suppose he might have been a Group Captain.

Devolution for Scotland would wreak havoc. As suggested in your posting, the EU is under no obligation to accept an independent Scotland, to say nothing of the myriad laws and cross-border landholdings that would be affected.

Scotland has oil. England may not agree. If Scotland gets its way completely about allocation of oil, it becomes Norway West. Small country. Lots of oil. Great social programs.

A quick check of Wikipedia confirms my strong suspicion that the word "lieutenant" is of French origin. Hence the British pronunciation of the first syllable seems much less sensible than the American version.

Does anyone know where that came from?

About Crittendon being a Colonel, thanks for noting that, I meant to also put that in the footnote, but by the time I got to the bottom of the page, I forgot. He is an RAF officer, so the Colonel rank is wrong, but since one of the points is that he out-ranks Hogan, I suppose the writers felt forced to depart from the strict realism policy of Hogan's Heroes ;^)

As for pronunciation, the french /u/ is actually a front vowel (like the German ü (a close front rounded vowel with the IPA of /y/) and so it would be susceptible to being reinterpreted as an labio-dental fricative (/f/ or /v/)

Indeed, Wikipedia has much to say about [sic, if you will] Colonel Crittendon. I'm guessing there's a bit of military jostling, in that time in grade can lead to someone's outranking someone else. Group Captain Crittendon DSO, CBE, MC and Bar, DFC, AFC(correctly expressed) might have been promoted ahead of Colonel Hogan, giving him the exalted position of Senior Officer at Stalag 13. No question that the average viewer of the sitcom in the 1960's couldn't have made the distinction or cared less.

Granted, this has nothing to do with Scottish devolution, but, hey, something was *wrong* on the Internet...

it becomes Norway West

Or, you know, Alaska with kilts and great whiskey.

I've been curious for a while about parliamentary government. Like LJ, I know basically bugger all about it, but it seems somewhat more flexible that what we have here.

It's like the UK has been basically winging it for the last, say, 1,000 years, and managing to pull it off, one way or another.

To follow up on the Count's comment, I'd be open to offering restive states a periodic opportunity to bail out of the union. No war, no bad feelings mostly, just pack your things and go. There would need to be some financial arrangements to address sunk costs as far as infrastructure etc., but the lawyers can sort that out.

Maybe every 25 years or so? Every 50?

No backsies. You leave, you stay out. If you think you have the makings of a wonderful stand-alone operation, take your shot and mazel tov.

It would weed out the posers and whiners.

As for pronunciation, the french /u/ is actually a front vowel (like the German ü (a close front rounded vowel with the IPA of /y/) and so it would be susceptible to being reinterpreted as an labio-dental fricative (/f/ or /v/)

Aha!

ObWi is like hanging out at the world's best bar. Everybody has something cool to contribute.

Thanks LJ!

Seeing my explanation, I made a mistake. When you write an IPA symbol, you enclose it with slashes, so saying 'the french /u/, is wrong, as that symbol represents a high back rounded vowel.

And no worries cbooker, correction is what makes the interwubs go around. Some more googling reveals this page on the Hogan's Heroes wikia.

"A quick check of Wikipedia confirms my strong suspicion that the word "lieutenant" is of French origin. Hence the British pronunciation of the first syllable seems much less sensible than the American version."

It's frequently the case that American pronunciation of French words is closer to the original than the British. I'm not entirely sure why, although American English does tend to be more conservative than British English.

Goofy anecdote:

When my wife and I visited London (way back) in '98, we took one of the bus tours on the first day to orient ourselves. When the guide told us that Les Miserables was playing at one of the big theatres, he pronounced it roughly as "layz mizzer-a-bulls." I can't imagine anyone I know in the US mangling it that badly, at least not if they had heard it pronounced reasonably correctly at some point, which I have to assume the tour guide had. Funny stuff.

I'd like to note that the Westminster system way of the cabinet being able to select the time of the elections is unusual. In continental systems, the general elections mostly occur accordinge to a fixed schedule. The government or the head-of-state may be able to dissolve the parliament and to order a new election, but that is an extreme measure not undertaken lightly.

Hmmm...my HS German says an umlauted u doesn't get pronounced anything an f. Maybe a long time ago the "lieu" was written something like "lew", which could have been pronounced "lev" by some Germanic person, which could in turn could have been written "lev" by some English-speaking person hearing it spoken, which could in turn have been read "lef" by some Germanic-speaking person reading the result.

It's a stretch, probably.

These "let the red states secede" sentiments, usually on the part of white non-Southern US liberals, are understandable but they always make me feel a little ill.

In recent years, there's been a reverse Great Migration of black Americans back to the South. They're typically not numerous enough to swing state politics, though they can be quite powerful locally in the big cities, and they can swing Presidential electoral votes in coalition with other constituencies, as we saw in Virginia and NC in 2008.

They're frequently still powerfully resented by the white population, maybe increasingly so as their numbers increase.

Anyone care to guess what would happen to them if the old Confederacy seceded from the Union? US liberalism's loss of power over the past 40 years was largely a consequence of the party's embrace of civil rights in what are now deep-red states; is the calculation that that was a bad deal that the rest of us should walk away from?

...Which is to say, I think that whether I'm going to be in favor of some part of a country seceding largely has to do with what the secession is about. I know Canadians who look at possible Scottish independence and immediately think of Quebec, but the relevant issues are different.

Anyone care to guess what would happen to them if the old Confederacy seceded from the Union?

I doubt anybody seriously intends to go anywhere. Which is sort of my point.

I'm also not sure American blacks are interested in putting up with the kind of crap they used to. Neither am I sure the number of whites who are interested in dishing it out is quite what it once was.

So maybe it would turn out OK, were it to actually happen.

For that matter, am I not so sure that things are all that much better for them up here in the snowy liberal north, which likely has much to do with whatever reverse migration is occurring.

Last but not least, it's just former CSA states that talk about secession. I've heard it from Vermonters, and folks in the Pac Northwest as well.

But I'm not expecting anyone to actually get off the dime. The two relevant words are "hot air". IMVHO.

Matt asked:

"Anyone care to guess what would happen to them if the old Confederacy seceded from the Union?"

None of this is going to happen because Rick Perry and other white southern politicians are small-time, posturing, demagogic cowards who would wet their chaps once the U.S. Government, now a foreign power with a long border to the seceded old Confederacy, trained a portion of its nuclear arsenal on them and ordered an electrified fence built along that border to fry Jim Demint's ass as he tried to get back in to the United States as a South Carolinian wetback, realizing that he missed those good Washington D.C. restaurants more than he imagined.

Erick Erickson's wife would conveniently forget where she hid her shotgun, knowing Erick is all mouth and no synapses.

But, just for fun, I can think of a few moves that would push all of the buttons of these whiners with the divisive, resentful rhetoric dribbling from their mouths all of these years which they thought, being bullying demagogues, wouldn't come back to haunt them ...

.... namely, the now reduced United States of America would offer political and economic asylum to blacks and all the others the Confederacy couldn't but help to dispossess who wished to enter OUR country.

They would be afforded immediate citizenship.

Further, the United States of America would fund and arm violent guerrilla movements in the new nation of The Independent Confederacy to affect revolutionary change as blacks, the elderly, the medically uninsured and others were denied access to the polls and all of the other sh*t that would be re-instituted if Washington D.C. was no longer violating the Confederacy's states' (now country's) rights through peaceful progressive legislation.

Third, The United States of America would work through the United Nations to carve out yet another new Nation in the midst of the New Confederacy which would serve as a homeland, with annexing powers, for those dispossessed by various lovers of the Confederacy -- kind of a New Israel, which would be amply armed and funded through the generous foreign aid offices of that horrible outside foreign influence, the U.S. State Department.

Then Jim DeMint, Rand Paul, Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich and company may appeal to the U.N. and refer to themselves as the new Palestinians. Ron Paul could be their Yasser Arafat, but if they wished to put a better insincere face on things for the same ends, why Mitt Romney could enter the fruitless negotiations on their behalf.

I would be happy to serve as the bearer of bad news to the lot of them that their territory is now open for annexation and exploitation by the New Israel in their midst, while throwing in some apocalyptic God-bothering talk and some boasting about American exceptionalism in a cracker drawl, and in Perry's case I'd relish delivering the news while dressed as a coyote and eating his daughter's little dog, just to see where on his lululemons he hides that firepower, or is he merely not so happy to see me.

If he's carrying, he'll wish he was at the firing range where the targets are stationary and don't shoot back.

None of it will happen, natch, because we're dealing with cowards and ignoramuses.

Mortally dangerous to the rest of us, but with a laugh track.

We're a civilized country, we are, which means we must wait until the cowards and demagogues pass away from natural causes and are out of the picture in good time.

Swifter measures, including premature death, we save for ignorant cowards in other countries, for some reason, not willing to take the bull by the horns on American soil.

As usual, writing "what Russell said" would save my carpel tunnels and everyone else's time

Last but not least, it's just former CSA states that talk about secession.

Last but not least, it's NOT just former CSA states etc.

My brain is tired.

It's not so much the pronunciation, Slart, as the 'reinterpretation'. When non-native speakers hear sounds, they put them into terms that they understand. This is the Guardian's open source explanation, which is always fun to read, though this page suggests that it is not pronunciation, but misspelling (taking the u for a v)

John Walker's 1791 "Critical Pronouncing Dictionary and Expositor of the English Language" (page 313) gives the spelling "Lewtenant", which suggests a u>w>f/v chain

Scott P.'s point about US pronunciation being closer to the original may also be supplemented by the fact that for the US military took a large part of its training from France and the French (Lafayette, we are here!) In fact, French was a required subject at West Point from its inception and one of the first positions that was explicitly funded by Congress and it was the only required language until WW1.

Scott P.'s point about US pronunciation being closer to the original may also be supplemented by the fact that for the US military took a large part of its training from France and the French

Scott P. and hairshirthedonist remind me of many moments of hilarity that have occurred in England, where people just don't seem to care at all about how things should be pronounced, but just boldly pronounce things however they wish. French was my first acquaintance with this phenomenon, but then I went to law school and heard "law French" which is, of course, Brit French. Then I went to the UK recently and heard them pronounce Barack Obama as Bear-ic Obama, with the stess on the Bear. They don't care - they're the Empire.

countme-in: The South is "[m]ortally dangerous to the rest of us, but with a laugh track"?

Or were you referring to Hogan's Heroes...?

Your version of how to deal with the New Confederacy sounds very unpleasant, but possibly no less so than the 150+ years of guerrilla warfare we've endured so far, winning every battle but forever in danger of losing the war.

I have to admit, I sometimes think wistfully of a President Douglas waving a sad but peaceful farewell to the Confederacy in 1861, and a President Douglass welcoming the shattered Southern states back into the Union in 1881 or so. As no more than five states, mind....

I hope that the people discussing secession are also reading the many wonderful posts by Ta-Nehisi Coates on the civil war in The Atlantic. Sure, times have changed, but the past isn't dead, etc.

Slarti,

Maybe a long time ago the "lieu" was written something like "lew", which could have been pronounced "lev" by some Germanic person, which could in turn could have been written "lev" by some English-speaking person hearing it spoken, which could in turn have been read "lef" by some Germanic-speaking person reading the result.

It's a stretch, probably.

Probably.

Isn't the German pronunciation more like "loytnant" or something? Of course my knowledge of German military terminology comes mostly from WWII movies (some is from Hogan's Heroes), so maybe it's not authoritative.

Scotland has oil. England may not agree. If Scotland gets its way completely about allocation of oil, it becomes Norway West. Small country. Lots of oil.

Free Lunch, the trouble with this beautiful vision is that the time for it has past. When the North Sea oil first came in, it might have worked. But the oil there is running down. And I suspect that there isn't enough left to allow an independent Scotland to build up the kind of sovereign wealth fund that Norway has achieved.

Which means Scotland would be left with its non-oil economy. The SNP may argue that the UK stripped Scotland of its rightful wealth. But it ain't coming back now, whether Scotland is independent or not.

Braveheart... ah yes. Outside of Sterling Scotland is the Wallace Memorial, an impressive gothic type of tower. To enhance this fitting memorial the local elders held a contest to determine which artist would provide the sculpture of William Wallace who was a 6' 3" redhead. The winning statue, when unveiled was of a 5' 8" Australian with coal black hair strongly resembling Mel Gibson. True story.

A few years ago, maybe back during the 2004 election cycle, I watched a gentleman billed as President of The League of the South give a talk (thank you, C-Span) in which he asked a rhetorical question along the lines of "Why should South Carolinians ever be bound by the decisions of a librul court in Massachusetts?" (I think the MA SJC ruling on gay marriage had just been handed down.)

"Good question," I thought to myself, but it has a flip side: why the hell should MA libruls ever be inconvenienced by national policies designed to appease Confederate guns-god-and-gays types?

Ever since then, I have harbored the secret hope that, someday, the old Confederacy would KICK NEW ENGLAND OUT of the Union. No fuss, no muss, no Civil War II. What would New England fight for? The right to stay IN the CSA?

--TP

not bad!thank you very much!

and so it would be susceptible to being reinterpreted as an labio-dental fricative

I couldn't resist looking that up, so I guess my http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fricative_consonant> ejective coronal sibilants are showing ;)

In fact, French was a required subject at West Point from its inception and one of the first positions that was explicitly funded by Congress and it was the only required language until WW1.
There is a good reason for this. The West Point was a military academy modelled on the continental military academies. In those academies, the military education consisted of three major things:
1) military history to give grounding in tactics and strategy
2) language skills, then considered an essential part of an educated gentleman's schooling
3) engineering (mainly artillery and fortification), often with a solid grounding in basic sciences. (This was the main difference between military education and liberal education.)

French was the natural choice for foreign language. In the early 19th century, every civilised upper-class person in the world knew at least some French. It was the language of diplomacy and of scientific discourse. Spanish, which would probably have been more useful for active service officers in the West, was merely a language of a decaying empire, without international importance.

Isn't the German pronunciation more like "loytnant" or something?

That is correct. A 'u' => 'f' pronounciantion can be found in Greek where the ypsilon is pronounced somewhere between f and w. In German is it more the other way around, if the German forms of some Slavic names are taken as typical: Stanisław => Stanislaus (also ł is pronounced w in the original but treated as an l in German).
For real differences between spelling and pronounciation take a look at Icelandic. Orthography taken form the Middle Ages while pronounciation has shifted radically. And not just in the vowels. I try to learn the language currently but I see it as a bad sign that all textbooks worth their money have literally dozens of pages on how each letter (or group of letters) is pronounced in which context. It's ghothi = fish for advanced students.

Not to forget Moskwa => Moss-Cow ;-) (emphasis also shifted from second to first syllable)

Isn't the German pronunciation more like "loytnant"

Yes, but it's spelled without the "i", so what's left is the diphthong "eu", which is pronounced "oi". I believe Germans are pronouncing the word consistently with its German spelling, while Brits: not so much.

Probably this has been covered already, but the online etymology dictionary says this:

lieutenant late 14c., "one who takes the place of another," from O.Fr. lieu tenant "substitute," lit. "placeholder," from lieu "place" + tenant, prp. of tenir "to hold." The notion is of a "substitute" for higher authority. Specific military sense of "officer next in rank to a captain" is from 1570s. Pronunciation with lef- is common in Britain, and spellings to reflect it date back to 14c., but the origin of it is mysterious.

FWIW.

hairshirthedonist writes:

>>
When my wife and I visited London (way back) in '98, we took one of the bus tours on the first day to orient ourselves. When the guide told us that Les Miserables was playing at one of the big theatres, he pronounced it roughly as "layz mizzer-a-bulls." I can't imagine anyone I know in the US mangling it that badly, at least not if they had heard it pronounced reasonably correctly at some point, which I have to assume the tour guide had. Funny stuff.
<<

Yup. I have friends who can speak perfectly serviceable French and do so when in France, who, decide to pronounce the show as you describe. It makes a change from calling it "The Glums", which was its original nickname. Anyone who pronounces "mate" as "china" is always going be a little liberal with the old consonants and vowels.

I have never, btw, heard Barack Obama's name pronounced "bear-ick" Obama in the UK. - but I *have*, regrettably, often heard it pronounced as Barrack Obama, with the stress on the first syllable.

As for US pronunciation of French being more conservative than UK pronunciation, well, we would have only one way of saying St. Louis, and it wouldn't sound the S on the end.

I guess the British take pride in butchering French pronounciation consistently for centuries and with increased fervo(u)r since the French Revolution ;-)

First, Old French had a variant spelling of lieu, luef; and lieutenant's been around since Middle English/the Norman Conquest, pronounced both ways. Second, lieu is not pronounced loo/lyoo or even lü. It's not only possible, it's plausible, that some English speakers heard an f/v in it, or picked up the variant French pronunciation/spelling.

Check out audio files of native French speakers saying lieu and lieutenant.

I too have never heard "Bear-ick Obama".

As an English person who pronounces Barack with the stress on the first syllable, can I just say that it's not because of imperial insouciance as suggested by the commenter above, but just cos that's how everyone here pronounces it and I've never noticed the difference...

As for "Bear-ic", I assume that's an attempt to represent ['bærək]. Of course, that's pretty much how you guys would pronounce it too if you put the stress on the first syllable (I don't as I have more of a northern [a])...

Pflaumbaum, I was joking (sort of), FWIW.

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