Thursday, September 22, 2016

Sanskrit Word in English: Juggernaut

Today's word is "juggernaut"  and for this word, there is an entire Wikipedia article devoted to its origin and usage in English.

Short version: the word comes from Sanskrit Jagannatha, World-Lord, an honorific title sometimes applied to Krishna, one of the avatars of the god Vishnu, although the Jagannatha is also worshiped as a separate divinity.

The English usage is from the so-called "Chariot of Juggernaut," which was a cart carrying an image of the Jagannatha for a Ratha Yatra (chariot procession) festival. These temple carts could sometimes be huge in size, hence the sense of a "juggernaut" as a moving force that cannot be stopped. According to a more fanciful legend, the most devoted followers of Jagannatha would throw themselves under the wheels of the wagon to be crushed to death in an act of sacrificial devotion, giving the word "juggernaut" an additional sense of blind devotion. This fanciful idea goes back to the 14th-century Travels of Sir John Mandeville, which you can read about in this Wikipedia article.

The ISKCON movement (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) has promoted the Jagannatha festival around the world. The image below shows a Jagannath Ratha Yatra in London, 2011:

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Resource: Walken Comma, Shatner Comma

Here's something for the comma humor files: Walken Comma and Shatner Comma.

Style: Rhyme

Rhyming verse is such a fun storytelling style to use! To help you find some rhyming styles to try, I've copied from rhymes from that unit along with a little analysis to help you use that rhyming style. You can explore the rhymes in that unit to find even more models to follow! You can tell the whole story in rhyme, or just tell part of it in rhyme; it's all up to you!

~ ~ ~

The lion and the unicorn
Were fighting for the crown;
The lion beat the unicorn
All round about the town.

Some gave them white bread,
And some gave them brown;
Some gave them plum-cake,
And sent them out of town.

Each 4-line stanza has a rhyme scheme based on this pattern:

~ ~ ~

TOM, Tom, the piper's son,
Stole a pig, and away he run!
The pig was eat, and Tom was beat,
And Tom went roaring down the street.

This 4-line stanza has a rhyme scheme based on this pattern:

~ ~ ~

THERE was a fat man of Bombay,
Who was smoking one sunshiny day,
When a bird, called a snipe,
Flew away with his pipe,
Which vexed the fat man of Bombay.

This 5-line stanza (called a "limerick") has a rhyme scheme based on this pattern:

~ ~ ~

I'LL tell you a story
About Jack a Nory, —
And now my story's begun.
I'll tell you another
About Jack his brother, —
And now my story's done.

This 6-line stanza has a rhyme scheme based on this pattern:

~ ~ ~

My dear, do you know,
How a long time ago,
Two poor little children,
Whose names I don't know,
Were stolen away on a fine summer's day,
And left in a wood, as I've heard people say.

And when it was night,
So sad was their plight,
The sun it went down,
And the moon gave no light.
They sobbed and they sighed, and they bitterly cried,
And the poor little things, they lay down and died.

Read the rest of the rhyme here: Babes in the Wood.

Each 6-line stanza has its own rhyme scheme based on this pattern:

And Humpty Dumpty got his start as a riddle in rhyme:

(illustration by William Denslow)

Friday, September 16, 2016

Sanskrit Word in English: Mantra

You may have seen the Sanskrit word MANTRA used in English. The word in Sanskrit means a "thought" or "an instrument for thinking," something you do with your mind.

The Sanskrit root man- ("think") is related to the English word "mind" and to "mental" (from Latin mens/ment-). In particular, a Sanskrit mantra is the thought behind a ritual action that is expressed in the form of a sound. Mantras are powerful, so you will sometimes see the word translated as "prayer" or as "spell" (in the sense of a magic spell).

Because mantras are often repeated, the word has come to be used in English to refer to anything that is repeated over and over again, like a formula or a slogan.

The most famous mantra is the one expressed through the sound OM, which is shown in written form below. You can find out more in the Wikipedia article about Mantra and also in the article about OM:

Here is the mantra shown inside a mandala (another word I will want to post about eventually!):

Resource: Apostrophe Nighmare

If punctuation could dream. . . and in many ways, the apostrophe is everybody's punctuation nightmare!