Tuesday, January 29, 2013


June can be very chatty. She was chatter-boxing this evening while taking a bath, riffing on linguistic themes. She observed that:
  1. "Pre-history" is actually not just what happened a really really long time ago but is specifically the time prior to the written recording of events.1 (I'm paraphrasing.) Presumably this is something she is studying in school.
  2. If you take away the "s" from "shampoo", you get "hampoo", which is too say, "ham poo". (Or alternately, if you take away the "h", you get "sampoo", or "Sam poo".) Presumably this is not something she is studying in school.

1 Hmm, "history" is one of those overloaded words: both "the stuff that happened in the past" and "the documenting and studying of the stuff that happened in the past". I'd never really pondered that distinction before.


  1. I've noticed that before about 'history'-- it comes up quickly if you try to talk about a 'theory of history': A theory about why what happens happens, or a theory about the narrative-making involved in reporting what happened?

    I think the latter sense (history=the account of what happened) must be older and prior to the other sense (history=what happened). A similar thing happenned with words like "psychology."

  2. Yeah, exactly. And "psychology" does indeed have the same sort of overloading.