Why a Gaggle of Geese? Where Do Collective Nouns Come From?



Today's episode is brought to you by listerine ready tabs small discrete tabs, the transform from a solid to a liquid just to switch and swallow no sink required to get that just brushed clean feeling, and they pack a huge punch up to four hours of fresh breath, and the confidence that goes with it on the go wherever life takes you to a surprise meeting a date you want to freshen up for or just from one event to another try listen ready tabs today. Find them near the mouthwash. Welcome to brain stuff from how stuff works. Hey, brain Steph, Lauren vocal bomb here. Have you ever heard of a group of ferrets called a business of ferrets or a collection of jellyfish referred to as a smack of jellyfish? What about shrewdness of apes? We use collective nouns also known as nouns of assemblage to describe all sorts of groups hosts of angels bands of men and shocks of corn. Are commonly heard these days, but the nouns associated with particular groupings of animals can get weird fast because words in their uses are invented by people when we see a bunch of specific construction, you can bet on it being the result of a language fad and sure enough five hundred years ago, nouns of semblage were all the rage. We spoke via Email with Magdalen Jacobs a PHD candidate in the Vanderbilt University department of hearing and speech sciences. She said these are generally terms that came about from upper class hunting culture in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. They're called terms of Venneri, and they're linked to north. And culture and influence into the idea of proper hunting language over one hundred and sixty terms of Venneri are listed in book of Saint Albans, a wildly popular at the time manners guide published in fourteen eighty six the coached the medieval gentlemen through having conversations about hunting falconry fishing sports in heraldry without embarrassing himself at dinner parties. These collective nouns are found in a chapter entitled the companies of beasts and fowls though, some of the terms referred to people rather than animals a bit of a joke. The book Saint Alban's not only described a sleuth of bears and a skulk of FOX's, but also linked women to geese in the collective consciousness by labeling collections of both Gakhal's. According to Jacobs, this is partially because there is a direct linguistic link from the word gaggle to the middle English word for cackle, a collection of wives was labeled and impatience a group of writers on the other hand was called a worship if language tells us how to think about the world we conceive fifteenth. Century European gentleman's social priorities, though. Of course because you can't keep the kids for making up slaying. Once the construction was introduced in the book of Saint Albans, people started coining their own nouns of semblage. Although a lot of these terms slipped into obscurity in the sixteenth century like much of the lingo, we generate on a continual basis. Some of them were adopted into common speech these days. We don't often have occasion to talk about a sneer of butlers or misbelief of portrait painters, but whoever came up with a staff of employee's a congregation of churchgoers or a panel of judges should congratulate themselves on a job well done linguistically. Speaking. A much of the time that correct term for a group of anything. Let us know our collective views on the disposition of whatever we're naming some of the most evocative terms of veteran can be found in birds the book of Saint Albans lists and unkindness of ravens and a murder of crows, definitely creepy negatives. But a charm finches adorable, whoever I referred to a college of cardinals was probably suggesting they thought the group of little red birds looked like a meeting of academics. But why a group of storks is called a mustering is a little less clear. See us Lewis coined the term parliament of als in children's book series, the chronicles of narnia a nod to chaucer's poem, a parliament of fowls. The term is now recognized in dictionaries is being the correct term for a group of AL's. There are meanwhile, few nouns of assemblage for insects mentioned in the book of Saint Albans, we still refer to a swarm of bees which was recorded in the book, but we don't talk as much about a business of flies or a flock of lice. If you've ever heard of a kindle of kittens that comes in the middle English word kindling, which meant to give birth or produce a litter which was originally used only for puppies. But is now commonly used for all kinds baby animals, a group of adult cats might be a glaring or a pounce, but crowd of feral cats is a distraction anyone concerned about the decline of migrating songbirds can understand why that might be. Dogs, which were as much a man's best friend in the middle ages. As today got a lot of play in the book of Saint Albans, hunting hounds alone got several group titles. A cry a mute a pack and a kennel. Some of the most inventive terms of entry are plied to wild animals Jacobs said because they began as hunting terms, the original names from the book of Saint Albans reflected a specific societal disposition towards the animal being hunted. A pride of lions is a good example others that came later such as a wisdom of wombats may be inaccurate. As wombats are rather solitary and don't spend time in groups, others likely referred to qualities of the animals themselves, a business affairs came from a business affair, it's which makes more sense than business. If you've spent any time at all watching ferrets. These days folks continue to make up new nouns of assemblage and bring back old ones. Thus we can talk about April of hedgehogs an obstinacy of buffalo a bloat of hippos and a game of Wales regardless of whether we're planning on hunting them or not. Today's episode was written by when shields and produced by Tyler clang for iheartmedia media, and how stuff works for more on this and a wonder if other topics visit our home planet has Steph works dot com. Hey, brain stuff listeners instead of an ad today. I wanted to tell you about new podcast, they think you might dig from my friends, Robert lamb, and Joe McCormack, you might already know them from the weird science podcast stuff to blow your mind. Their new show is called invention each episode of invention examines, a different technological turning point and the people and cultures the provoked the change they consider the origins and impact of everything from the guillotine to the vending machine. Chopsticks to sunglasses. Braille to x-rays and lots more new episodes of invention come out every Monday, listen and subscribe to invention on apple podcasts the iheartradio app or wherever you happen to find your podcasts.

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