April 21, 2012

"In France, they’d be unpacking their glorious foods and beverages. En famille! Not so here."

"We tend to like to plump down on a chair or a towel and feel the sun move from one point to the next. Or, in the inevitable quest for romance, we walk the shoreline, holding hands, thinking this is forever thoughts."

And by plump, she really means plump, based on the 7th photograph. Plump and well-oiled.

Reading between the lines, as I always do on Nina's posts — is there another way to read? — I'm sure I see that the people in France know how to live and we Americans do not.
Many people love to just stand in the water to cool off and that’s fun to watch too. Humankind, lusting for that refreshing moment when the waves gently tickle your legs or splash against your buttocks. Conversations in the water.
Plunge, why don't you, Americans? Get in over your ass, like the French!



Plump, the verb, has an "Ultimately imitative" etymology (according to the OED):
Compare Middle Dutch plumpen (Dutch plompen), Middle Low German plumpen (German regional (Low German) plumpen), all in sense ‘to fall or plunge into water with a plumping sound’, Middle High German plumpen to make a plumping noise ( < Middle Low German; German plumpen), plumpfen, pflumpfen to fall with a thud (German plumpfen (now rare)), Old Swedish plompa to plump, to fall with impact (Swedish plumpa), Danish plumpe to flop, plump, to let fall.

Compare other more or less imitative verbs with final -ump , e.g. bump v.1, dump v.1, stump v.1, thump v., etc.

Comparison has sometimes been made with Romance derivatives of classical Latin plumbāre to weight with lead (see plumb v.; compare plunge v.), but the similarity between the Romance and Germanic words seems no more than coincidental.
Let's plump and bump and stump and thump and dump. Up to our buttocks.

Plump, the adjective, originally meant "Rude, unrefined; intellectually dull, obtuse." (Full and rounded and fleshy and swollen — that's  a later meaning.) It goes back to the Middle Dutch plomp, meaning  "plump, squat, ponderous, rude, clumsy."

Buttock is a word formed from "butt" and "-ock," "ock" being a diminutive. The OED defines "buttock" as "One of the two protuberances of the rump (of men and beasts)." Ah! Another -ump word: rump.

Protuberance is "A thing which protrudes from something else; a rounded projection or swelling; a knob, a bump." Again we bump up against bump. Protuberance goes back to some Latin words having to do with swelling and pushing forth, which is interesting in connection with the American, reticent, barely bumped, unbare rumps Nina was writing about.

Me, I'm seeing the tuber in protuberance. A tuber is:
An underground structure consisting of a solid thickened portion or outgrowth of a stem or rhizome, of a more or less rounded form, and bearing ‘eyes’ or buds from which new plants may arise; a familiar example is the potato.
Oh, Americans, you potatoes, with eyes that do not see! Solid, thickened, underground! Arise! Awake! Consider... the French.

At this point, everyone at Meadhouse jumps up and sings "La Marseillaise." It looks like this.

Come on, children. To the beach!

34 comments:

OldGrouchyCranky said...

Ze French lost something along their way! During France's 200-year celebration of the storming of the Bastille, the woman who sang "La Marseillaise" made it sound like a plea for forgiveness or a plea for maybe a token donation. It was utterly pathetic then! Totally without pride back then!

roesch/voltaire said...

It takes a defensive scold, who reads her own lines, not to recognize this celebration of a Florida beach as she writes:
All ages, representing all localities, all there, enjoying beach life.

Paddy O said...

It's OED day on Exegetical Althouse!

pm317 said...

The Ukrainian wife smiles at me. She knows what I’m thinking. I know what she’s thinking.

What are they thinking?

{I thought Nina was in Paris or Nice or somewhere in France, from the way you started your post and got excited and then to find she was in Miami Beach..}

Albatross said...

"Glorious" foods and beverages? Not with me when I'm on the beach.

No matter how "glorious" the food might be, it loses a lot of points in the desirability categories when a bit of sand gets blown onto it. Crunching tiny bits of rock between the teeth tends to detract from the enjoyment of the food.

The French can keep their glorious beach food, if such a thing exists. I will stick to sandwiches and snacks and wait until we've cleaned up before hitting a nice seafood restaurant. Sans sand.

chickenlittle said...

Talk about conspicuous presumption

_____________
wv = rysentso comenta

Jess said...

La Marseillaise? Now how did that go?....

A French girl and a sai - lor...

campy said...

We don't give a damn how they do things in France.

PatCA said...

I didn't get it either, pm317, about that part. Or about the different views on the Soviets. Guess you have to be a regular follower.

I will note that when I was in Paris the Parisians seemed to adore us, wanted to show us around and practice their English, and help us take good pictures. We felt quite glorious!

ndspinelli said...

Time to decaf Althouse.

edutcher said...
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edutcher said...

All I ever found between the lines was blank space.

And what's any less glorious about American foods and beverages? They're what saved France's behind how many times in the last century?

PS Spealing of behinds, a nice, full, round one is a joy forever. The sumptuous protuberances swell and quiver...

Ah, well, what is it the poet said, "Buttocks, big sisters of the breasts"?

If you're lucky, not always.

Symmetry can be delightful.

Steve Koch said...

"Let's plump and bump and stump and thump and dump. Up to our buttocks."

Awesome sentence but wish you could have worked in "rump", "hump", and "pump" (but maybe that would have been too much of a good thing).

Steve Koch said...

I spent most of my career working for a great French engineering corporation. We love to make jokes about the French but they do know how to live.

AllieOop said...

Viva la difference!

David said...

Great set of photos by Nina.

pm317 said...

David said...

Great set of photos by Nina.
-----------

Her pictures are always interesting. A question related to that is 'do people take permissions of their photo subjects to put them up their blogs when they are recognizable as some are in these and other pictures?'

Quaestor said...

Ann Althouse wrote:
...the Romance and Germanic words seems no more than coincidental.

Perhaps, but I doubt it. Consider plummet, which is usually a verb meaning to fall or drop precipitously, as in "I bought Red Hat at $100 only to watch it plummet to pennies overnight." However it's original meaning is a noun, the lead weight used by engineers and builders to define the vertical, i.e that which we often call a plumb bob is more correctly known as a plummet. Plummet derives from the Anlo-French plomet, which is the diminutive of plomb (i.e. a small piece of lead) which in turn derives from the Latin plumbum - lead. Though we often think of Germanic and Nordic tongues as less influenced by Latin than is our English, there nevertheless are words of Romance origin in those languages as well.

There is of course the possibility that plumbum, plummet, and the Germanic words you have cited all have there roots anciently in Aryan or Indo-European. To test this I considered Greek. Lead is Καλώδιο (cal’•ō•diǝ). No similarity to plumbum is evident to me. This is not surprising, however. Most English words that can be traced to Aryan cognates in other Indo-European tongues are the common words of an agrarian or pastoral society, words like father, mother, water, bread, etc. The Aryans, if they existed at all, were a late neolithlic people with very limited metallurgy, perhaps copper and gold, confined to prestige items and ornaments. Lead, in spite of being soft and easily melted doesn't appear in technology until the late Bronze Age.

BTW, some other words deriving from plumbum are plumber and plumbing. Originally a plumber was a craftsman who worked in lead, and not just someone who came to fix the pipes. Also, someone once suggested to me that plum (the fruit) also comes from a remote connection to plomet because of the resemblance of the fruit to the tool -- roundish, pointed on the bottom, indented at the top. I doubt this, though such resemblances do surprisingly connect fruit to certain implements. Next time you buy a pomegranate think of a grenade.

Phil 3:14 said...

My, the Professor is in an etymological mood.

Phil 3:14 said...

For some reason this description of life on South Beach reminded me of the "Love Song of J. Alfred Profrock "

I grow old … I grow old … I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach? I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach. I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

I do not think that they will sing to me.

I have seen them riding seaward on the waves Combing the white hair of the waves blown back When the wind blows the water white and black.

We have lingered in the chambers of the sea By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown Till human voices wake us, and we drown.

Paco Wové said...

South Florida is always best experienced in pictures, when you don't actually have to deal with the heat and humidity.

edutcher said...
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edutcher said...

AllieOop said...

Viva la difference!

That's Vive!, dear.

One Viva!'s in Madrid, not Paree.

WV "vicepubm" Not sure, bit it sounds like a hooker's body part.

chickenlittle said...

vive le difference

No dee-fer-raunce!

chickenlittle said...

On bread, en cooking, no dee-ferance so vive le France!

Lem said...

Mrs mix-a-lot is in that house..

AllieOop said...
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AllieOop said...

Vive la difference, Chickie;)

Rusty said...

Merde!

Carnifex said...

The French threw of the chains of monarchy, only to stick their heads in the noose of Islam. Much like liberal Americans, they'd give up their freedom for a little security, and as B. Frank,in said, they deserve neither.

And use some deodorant for gods sake!
(I am playing the ugly American tonite, but I ain't playing)

Carnifex said...

Ps.

The city of Louisville, here in KY, is holding what they bill as the "Worlds Largest Fireworks Display". I can't attest to the veracity of that claim, but it is a pretty big show. With an Air Show thrown in.

I do believe they did it one year though... fireworks lasted 45 minutes with a 5 minute finally. That was a show!

Right now the EA-6B intruder is flying.

1.5-2 million people on both sides of the river. But it's chilly today, so I stayed home. I gots' cats to warm my feet.

Kate said...

When I look through my French mother-in-law's photo books from the 60s, I see pique-niques, sometimes. She explains them away with a wave of her hand: "we were too poor to afford to eat out. Just getting away was enough." In recent years, I have visited beaches on the Mediterranean, in Normandy, Brittany, and les Landes. Where the water is warm, the towels and chairs are millimeters apart. I just can't see anyone daring to eat en publique.

RigelDog said...

I am truly grateful for Nina's travel blogging; I've spent many hours browsing and often get a vivid sense of actually having been in these locales myself. No other travel writing or tv show has this effect on me. I'm also thick as a brick apparently because I so seldom "get" what she's writing between the lines. So I wish she'd reveal more of her thoughts, in a direct way, but it's her blog. I would be a total churl to not simply appreciate what she chooses to put on her plate.

nina said...

I'm sorry I did not see this post earlier -- Too late now to comment, but maybe not. Some clarifications: I don't exalt the French. Not in this post. They do eat on beaches, that's all. We tend not to. I sort of wondered why that is. As to the conversations in water -- I found the one between the two men just so charming! I saw them as New York transplants -- and here they were, gesturing, talking, engaging, but in water! I loved that little vignette!

Ann, I write quietly, but I don't put great secrets behind my words. They don't hide nearly as much as you think they do.