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Archive for May 1st, 2013

Trivia Tuesday: Why are there so many terms for a collective of animals in English?

Trivia Tuesday: Why are there so many terms for a collective of animals in English?

Have you ever noticed how many names the English language has for a collective of animals? For example, what do you call a group of owls? A flock? A flight? A pack? A parliament? A nest? A company? (Hint: It’s a parliament–see above.) But who started using all these different names? The consensus is that hunters dating back to 15th century England are to blame, which is why there are particularly so many names for birds. Another source says these names were penned and perpetuated by The Book of St. Albans, which was printed in English in 1486, but likely translated from French.

Some of the more fanciful-sounding terms seem to have an actual basis: For example, an “unkindness of ravens” is rooted in the myth that ravens will push their young out of the nest to make room (this is untrue–ravens are actually very supportive of their family). Other names are thought to have been lost in translation, or at least lost in time.

Looking for more names for collectives? Try any of these books! Otherwise, here are a few interesting ones I have picked out, with some helpful pictures to aid your memory:

An army of caterpillars

A smack of jellyfish

A shiver of sharks

A knot of toads

A murder of crows

May 1, 20130 comments
National Library Week 2013

National Library Week 2013

Celebrate National Library Week: April 14th-20th, 2013

WHEREAS, libraries are the heart of their communities, campuses and schools;

WHEREAS; librarians work to meet the changing needs of their communities, including providing resources for everyone and bringing services outside of library walls;

WHEREAS, libraries and librarians bring together community members to enrich and shape the community and address local issues;

WHEREAS, librarians are trained, tech-savvy professionals, providing technology training and access to downloadable content like e-books;

WHEREAS, libraries offer programs to meet community needs, providing residents with resume writing classes, 24/7 homework help and financial planning services to teens applying for student loans to older adults planning their retirement;

WHEREAS, libraries continuously grow and evolve in how they provide for the needs of every member of their communities;

WHEREAS, libraries, librarians, library workers and supporters across America are celebrating National Library Week.

NOW, THEREFORE, be it resolved that I proclaim National Library Week, April 14-20, 2013. I encourage all residents to visit the library this week to take advantage of the wonderful library resources available @ your library.

Communities matter @ your library.

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries: Pride & Prejudice adaption–modern in time and storytelling

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries: Pride & Prejudice adaption–modern in time and storytelling

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries is a modern adaptation of Jane Austen’s beloved classic, Pride and Prejudice, told through a vlog web series on YouTube. The series just wrapped up with its 100th episode last Thursday, bringing tears to many a fan’s eye. But for those that have not heard about LBD, you get to watch straight through without having to wait for new episodes!

LBD does a marvelous job of bringing some of the antiquated occurrences into a modern light. For example, the lady Bennets are not going to be kicked out of their house once the father dies due to primogeniture, but instead they face the possibility of foreclosure, with the three sisters taking on student debts. Kitty has been relegated to a cat, and Mary is a cousin rather than a sister. Lydia, while still…energetic, has much more character development, and her own story.

In fact, this series does an amazing job at cross-multimedia. There are multiple video spin-offs for the series (Lydia’s videosCharlotte’s sister Maria has a set of videosMr. Collins’ company’s videos, and Mr. Darcy’s company’s videos), but also nearly every character has and regularly uses Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook, while others use Pinterest, LinkedIn and OKCupid. I daresay it’s a modern masterpiece.

For those that are still wailing about the ending of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, fear not! For there is hope: Not only is LBD coming out on DVD, but the creators are going to continue their cross-media storytelling with Austen’s unfinished work, Sanditon. There’s also a rumor that the Sanditon series will then transition over into yet another novel! Perhaps Mondays and Thursdays won’t be so depressing after all.

Still looking for something to do before Sanditon comes out? Well, you can always read Sanditon, or read and watch Pride and Prejudice!

Trivia Tuesday: Where does the ampersand (&) come from?

Trivia Tuesday: Where does the ampersand (&) come from?

The ampersand is a logogram (a character that represents a word) that dates back to the 1st centry C.E. In Roman cursive, the ampersand is “Et,” which is Latin for “and” (“Et tu, Brute?” = “And you, Brutus?”, “et al” = “and all”).

So how did “et” become the modern ampersand? Well, anyone that has dealt with cursive will attest that handwriting can and often is stylized to the point of illegibility.

As time went on, it became more and more stylized–and so it goes (or, et ita fit)! The word “ampersand” itself is thought to come from “& per se and” (“and per se and”).

Want to know more about etymology (the history of words)? Try any of these books.