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What have the Chinese been doing?

Saw ths rather striking photo of the Yellow river (yes, really) near Lanzhou over at Liberation. They reckon it is all down to industrial discharges, but it looks a bit Old Testament to me: "Thus saith the LORD, In this thou shalt know that I am the LORD: behold, I will smite with the rod that is in mine hand upon the waters which are in the river, and they shall be turned to blood" (KJV Exodus 7:17). Although it does seem to be the same colour as Ribena. Anyway, if there is a plague of frogs next, we'll know they are in serious trouble.
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Anonymous vikki said... 12:11 pm

you have become a believer then?  

Blogger Croydonian said... 12:18 pm

Not as such, no. Dizzy was getting a bit biblical in an MSN discussion earlier on, so I thought I'd wheel out something similar. And many sentences are improved by the inclusion of 'smite'.  

Anonymous verity said... 2:42 pm

What's the past tense of smite? Is it smote? I don't think I've ever heard or read it.  

Blogger MJ Martin said... 2:52 pm

What's the past tense of smite? Is it smote? I don't think I've ever heard or read it.


Oh wait, that'll turn things into a whole other conversation...  

Anonymous verity said... 2:59 pm

Well, smitten would be the past perfect.  

Anonymous vikki said... 8:06 pm

It's smote.....  

Anonymous verity said... 9:11 pm

Thanks, Vikki.

Smite, smote, smitten. From ME, smiten, smyten. Seems to have something in common with Old Friesian and something styled OHG, which I assume is something to do with Old German?

Anyway, it's a nice word.  

Blogger Cranmer said... 9:18 pm

His Grace is disturbed when a potentially profound discussion on matters biblical becomes an earnest quest for the relatively superficial perfect tense of the verb 'to smite'.

That Mr Croydonian and Mr Dizzy 'got a bit biblical' earlier on is of considerable importance, and His Grace wishes you both well with your theological musings. Seek and ye shall find.  

Blogger Croydonian said... 11:03 pm

Definitely 'smote'. I don't pretend to have His Grace's facility with matters divine, but the KJV does have so many nicely rounded phrases, although for my sins, divinity at my alma mater was based on the 'Good News' version. It was awful.

V - OHG=Old High German, I imagine.  

Anonymous verity said... 12:34 am

Yes, Croydonian, I thought Old High German but then I thought, what is "Old High German" in German? and was rendered too timid to write it in English in case that was infra dig.

Next in my etymological dictionary, following smite is smith which denotes someone who gives mighty smites to hot iron horseshoes and other things. I thought it might be connected, but it didn't say it was.

Anyway, smite is a lovely weak OE verb. (Weak because it changes its spelling regarding tense. A wheel wright who fashioned a wheel, for example, wrought a wheel. Didn't wrighten it.) I love our strong, robust language.

And I love the way Anglophones all over the world will accept any new usage instantaneously. Always welcoming the new. We're not stuck in amber. Give us a new word in the US, and it's being used in Britain and Singapore by teatime. New Aussie and British slang zips round like lightning and government ministers in Canada and bloggers in India are using by the next morning.

Try that in France. That's why, if you have a French Hotmail account and read their promotions, around 1/5 the words in the ads are now in English. The Academie can't poop-scoop them up quickly enough. Ha ha ha ha ha!  

Blogger Croydonian said... 8:22 am

Althochdeutsche? I'd thought it was three words, but it looks to be just the one. However, my German 'O' level is considerably older than I was when I sat it

We are indeed fortunate in quite how vibrant the English language is, and in the internet age the various language commissariats in France and the like are fighting for what can only be a lost cause.  

Blogger CityUnslicker said... 10:14 am

I think FOE and WWF will be quick to put this colour down to all the blood of all the river dolphins thay having been killing.  

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