Hel Vôcre (or, sunblock in summer and woad in winter)
|From:||Yahya Abdal-Aziz <yahya@...>|
|Date:||Saturday, May 20, 2006, 7:16|
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Mea culpa, Mea culpa, Mea maxima culpa ... :-(
(or, sunblock in summer and woad in winter)
This name to me this morning on the cusp of waking.
I think it is the name of a place. It might be a small
village in a shallow valley on the upland moors; it
might be a marshy lakeside overrun by paspalum,
moribund, chilly and verdigris-bronze in winter; at
any rate is rather desolate and bleak.
What are these words?
Well, "Hel" seems like a Swedish version of German
"hell", meaning "bright" - or just possibly English
"Hell", meaning "Hell"! Either way, it's probably
And "Vôcre" seems to have come from a Vulgar Latin
-esque word form "vosgres". What might that mean?
I can't help wondering what words we'd have now if
the Romans had invented computing (they were, after
all, superb engineers and better scientists than they
generally get credit for); might they, too, have had a
"Postgres"? If so, a possible path for its evolution
would be -
-> "Voscr@", spelt "Voscre"
-> "Vo:cr@", spelt "Vôcre"
What an unlikely scenario, though! Would we need
to have -
(1) Romans computing;
(2) Computing languages evolving through sound-
changes much like natlangs; and
(3) The world to be not much changed by a much
earlier invention of computing?
Perhaps one way out of these difficulties is to
suppose that -
(A) Roman computing lore was lost in the Dark Ages;
(B) Roman computing terms shifted in their meanings
at or before the time of their losing any actual
Eg, Postgres might have been a database management
system and query language;
- vulgarised as "Bostgres" or "Vostcres" meaning "a
search of bureaucratic records, usually for a fee";
- changing to "vôcre" meaning "the tyranny of petty
officials, eg a parish clerk", and by extension, possibly
"the seat of the local petty tyrant; a parish court; a
Aha! So now I've got it! ;-) "Hel Vôcre" is a "bright
village". And it's probably somewhere in the wilds of
Francia, established about 1500 years BP, after the
wonderful computing technology of the Classical
Romans collapsed due to the unavailability of silica
for chips and computer monitor screens, occasioned
directly by the intransigence of various wild tribes
of Europe, who refused to let the Romans mine any
more silica from their beaches and sandpits, claiming
that these were sites sacred to their exigent solar
deities, upon which sites it was necessary for proper
observance of the forms of worship to drape them-
selves for as many hours as possible, clad only in sun-
block in summer and woad in winter. What a site that
must have been ...
20 May 2006
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