Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Sophistry over time


1828 Webster's Dictionary
National character; also, the quality of being national, or strongly attached to ones own nation.

1911 Encyclopedia Brittanica
A somewhat vague term, used strictly in international law (see International Law, Private) for the status of membership in a nation or state (for the conditions of which see State, Allegiance, Naturalization, Alien), and in a more extended sense in political discussion to denote an aggregation of persons claiming to represent a racial, territorial or some other bond of unity, though not necessarily recognized as an independent political entity. In this latter sense the word has often been applied to such people as the Irish, the Armenians and the Czechs. A "nationality" in this connexion represents a common feeling and an organized claim rather than distinct attributes which can be comprised in a strict definition.

2019 Wikipedia
Nationality is a legal relationship between an individual person and a state. Nationality affords the state jurisdiction over the person and affords the person the protection of the state. What these rights and duties are varies from state to state.

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Blogger CF Neal July 31, 2019 11:12 AM  

Same as the first Webster of 1828.

Blogger MATT July 31, 2019 11:29 AM  

Wow. I never even thought of the etymology of the word. I just always used it to separate ones race from ones could try of origin.

Blogger Patrick Kelly July 31, 2019 11:34 AM  

What now are the words for which these are the definitions:

"the quality of being national, or strongly attached to ones own nation."
(the word salad in the 1911 definition)?

If these were Jeopardy answers, what would the questions be?

Blogger VD July 31, 2019 11:51 AM  

It was 1828, not 1858. Typo.

Blogger Kevin July 31, 2019 11:53 AM  

I can't provide any source but I was told that websters dictionary when it first came out was ridiculed as being the worst dictionary ever produced because it made up its own definitions for words.

If you want one easy source to look at etymology there's
and here is nationality: nationality (n.)

1690s, "separate existence as a nation, national unity and integrity," from national + -ity (in some usages perhaps from French nationalité. As "fact of belonging to or being a citizen of a particular state," from 1828, gradually shading into "race, ethnicity." Meaning "a racial or ethnic group" is by 1832. Related: Nationalities.

Normally words have meanings going back to latin or french, seeing a word originating near the 1700's is odd. Looking up nation produces:
c. 1300, nacioun, "a race of people, large group of people with common ancestry and language," from Old French nacion "birth, rank; descendants, relatives; country, homeland" (12c.) and directly from Latin nationem (nominative natio) "birth, origin; breed, stock, kind, species; race of people, tribe," literally "that which has been born," from natus, past participle of nasci "be born" (Old Latin gnasci), from PIE root *gene- "give birth, beget," with derivatives referring to procreation and familial and tribal groups.

So all words with the root nation refers to race.

Blogger Dan in Georgia July 31, 2019 11:55 AM  

The Civil War really did a job on us.

Blogger D Zniger July 31, 2019 12:24 PM  

Yesterday I had a dispute with someone on YT´s comment section who called me a racist for my thoughts in regard Islam. After replying the obvious answer to him, he gave me the definition of the EU commission and with this newspeak I am indeed a racist towards Islam.

Blogger Crew July 31, 2019 12:30 PM  

@2: Can a Somalian born in Sweden be Swedish?

Can a British person born in Japan be Japanese?

Can an Aboriginal Australian born in China be Chinese?

I would say no to all three because genetic differences mean those odd ones out are not genetically in tune with the countries they were born in.

Note that while Rudyard Kipling was born in India he died in London. Also, Eric Arthur Blair was born in India but he died in London. Is there a pattern here?

Henry Clinton anyone?

Blogger xevious2030 July 31, 2019 12:31 PM  

“I never even thought of the etymology of the word”

A state is a construct necessarily derived from intention. A tribe is derived necessarily from biology. And a nation is derived necessarily from a combination of aspects of both in a collection of related families. Language, religion, history, culture, geographic location, and government may be coincidental to the three, usually with one or more present. With the core base of nation being a body of people, rather than a collection of individuals, but also with a commonality not biological. As the body of people is under a commonality, generally under a commonality of organization for the proliferation of ideas and ideals, this is distinct from tribe or race. With the distinction of nation from state being that a state is a framework governing proliferation. Placing a nation as a category between tribe and state. Race is a multiplication and a division, a large umbrella, of biological components.

Blogger xevious2030 July 31, 2019 12:32 PM  

“and here is nationality”

The 1690s nounification of the Latin noun “nationem” deviated from the meaning of the noun, and gradually returned to the meaning of the noun in the time of Webster. –ity is for “making abstract nouns out of adjectives. Might try the etymology of “nation.” 1690s “nationality” inverted the concept, and Webster uprighted the “nation” component, while recognizing it even with the -ity.

Blogger sammibandit July 31, 2019 12:39 PM  

Between 1828 and 1911 there were a bunch of communist uprisings in Europe.

I was taught in History of Englisg that lexicographers were prescriptive while grammarians were prescriptive. How so!

Blogger Beardy Bear July 31, 2019 12:43 PM  

I wonder if this pattern holds up: Concise traditional definition->Verbose Subversive Definition->Concise subverted definition.

It's clear->It's complicated->It's settled, cuz year 0

Blogger Mr Smith July 31, 2019 12:54 PM  

"I here declare my unmitigated hatred to Yankee rule -- to all political, social and business connection with the Yankees and to the Yankee race. Would that I could impress these sentiments, in their full force, on every living Southerner and bequeath them to every one yet to be born!" -- Edmund Ruffin

Blogger VD July 31, 2019 1:08 PM  

I wonder if this pattern holds up: Concise traditional definition->Verbose Subversive Definition->Concise subverted definition.

I would expect so, in general.

Blogger Salt July 31, 2019 1:08 PM  

Black's Law Dictionary has been subjected to much the same definition changes. A friend was in court one time, the judge asking if he understood the charges. He answered no, asking the judge what dictionary, what set of definitions, was being used. The judge said the dictionary he uses. My friend asked if he could see it. Judge said no.

Blogger Skyler the Weird July 31, 2019 1:17 PM  

1911. You can see they're sucking up to the Ottomans, the Hapsburgs, and his Majesty's Brittanic Empire. These people have no Nationality, they are all Turks, Austrian-Hungarian, and British. 1914-1919 would prove them wrong.

Blogger OvergrownHobbit July 31, 2019 1:33 PM  

First they come for our words. Always.

Never yield an inch.

Blogger pnq87 July 31, 2019 1:34 PM  

By redefining the word "nation" to mean "state" they remove the ability to even think the thought which they don't want people thinking. It's a kind of mental castration. They don't want their flock thinking bad thoughts.

Blogger Roshi_Strider July 31, 2019 1:46 PM  

so latin nat comes from proto-indo-european gen (geno/gen meaning race, kind, family or birth. as in genesis/ genre/ genocide ) i was confused as to how nat came from gen, but finally found the answer. the zero grade of gen is gn, and latin dropped the g.

Blogger Alex Sorensen July 31, 2019 1:49 PM  

I had an argument over this not long ago, the moron thought citizenship equals nation. There really is no point at all in wasting time with those people, and surely they deserve what's coming to them.

Blogger Student in Blue July 31, 2019 2:02 PM  

You can bet good money that if you dig into who exactly is leading the charge for these change of definitions, you'll find someone who benefits, someone who isn't ethnically local.

With good timing, found a link to a video where a man visits a gypsy slum in Slovakia. All in all the trip goes well, but it's telling how the gypsy man being interviewed at 2:25 does his best to weasel his way into being accepted as just as Slovakian as anyone else. "I was born here in Slovakia so I am a Slovak!"

Blogger rumpole5 July 31, 2019 2:23 PM  

Your observation about the slippery definition of "nationality" puts me in mind of Justice Potter Stewart's comments about pornography:

"I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description; and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it,..."
Concurring, Jacobellis v. Ohio, 378 U.S. 184 (1964).

Blogger sammibandit July 31, 2019 2:27 PM  

@Student in Blue, a hop and a skip away from Slovakia in Pre-War Poland the gypsies were straight ran out of town when they tried to set up shop. He'll never be accepted anywhere in Eastern Europe. Surprised a male gypsy let himself be seen on camera gritting. A very early Christian whose name I forget said they are the descendants of Cain. How right he is.

Blogger Azimus July 31, 2019 2:28 PM  

Orwell was right

Blogger Stilicho July 31, 2019 2:38 PM  

BB's theory that some of this stuff is operating on a timeline and level that isn't human or easily discernable by humans would explain this type of long-term deterioration. The Devil plans for the long term and finds willing accomplices in every generation (even if they don't know what his plan is). Who else would be more invested in destroying nations whose existence was ordained by God?

Blogger Zander Stander July 31, 2019 2:41 PM  

Wikipedia is the proscribed narrative. I only use it to find out what they want me to believe. Very funny if you read it that way. Very informative of their operatives as well. The higher the ratio of obscurity of subject to length of entry indicates spook activity. Anybody with an entry longer than that of, let's say Da Vinci, might be a spook. Try that for yourself.

Blogger Crew July 31, 2019 2:41 PM  

Orwell was right

About what? Being British despite being born in India?

Blogger Azimus July 31, 2019 3:15 PM  

@ Crew - about controlling the definition and circulation of words to control how people think.

Blogger Blaidd July 31, 2019 3:19 PM  


I read somewhere it was quite common even into the mid 1900s for Australians, being born in Australia and never having set foot in Britain, to talk of going back home when travelling to Britain

Blogger Roshi_Strider July 31, 2019 3:55 PM  

i should say latin only dropped the g in some words, as they used both. examples being natus, which means to be born, and gens (definition courtesy of infogalactic) which was a family, consisting of all those individuals who shared the same nomen and claimed descent from a common ancestor.

Blogger David Ray Milton July 31, 2019 4:48 PM  


That is typical of immigrants. 2nd or 3rd generation Mexicans living here in AZ refer to themselves as Mexicans and to Mexico as home. They get it.

My son, born here in AZ, will come to understand he is a Southerner. That is his nation and where his blood comes from, even if he never places citizenship in one of the southern states.

Blogger Blaidd July 31, 2019 5:25 PM  

@David Ray Milton

Certainly, but the case of Australians is particularly interesting because it's the descendants of settlers and founders that consider another place home rather than immigrants and their descendants.

Blogger Beardy Bear July 31, 2019 5:46 PM  

When broken down into its parts nation-al-ity it means
ity- The character
al- of being
Nation- your tribe of birth

Blogger Vlad Z. July 31, 2019 5:49 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger Vlad Z. July 31, 2019 5:56 PM  

I think in the USA the trajectory we are on is towards being a country without a nation.

The core WASP founding stock is shrinking due to a tight embrace of feminism and birth control. The other Euro ethnics that might once have been numerous enough to lay claim to some city or region (Swedes in Minneapolis, Germans in Chicago) are likewise being outbred and pushed out of whatever they almost had.

At the point that everyone is merely a hyphenated-American then really there is no America left. Being an Irish-American, at one time meant you were clearly of the Irish nation, but at least aspiring to fit into Anglo-built America. Perhaps not assimilated, but working towards it.

None of that happens anymore, there is no sense of a center. The central core of "American" that Vox has explained so well here, is not something people aspire to. In a lot of places in the USA, if any of the WASP heritage is still visible, it is relentless attacked by SJWs and self-hating whites, as well as the vibrants.

I don't think a country without a nation can survive too long. Nations without a country can survive for a long time (Jews made it over 1,000 years. Poland made it about 150. The Kurds, etc.)

America of no-nation will be a ripe fruit for the picking to the nations that are in an expansion cycle, like China.

The next 50 years are going to be really interesting.

Blogger VD July 31, 2019 6:32 PM  

I wonder if resisting the continuing and advancing forces of modernization is an exercise in futility.

You have it entirely backwards. Those continuing and advancing forces are not only exhausted, they are on the verge of complete collapse.

Blogger Azimus July 31, 2019 6:35 PM  

VD how dissectable is a dictionary's copyright? Can a definition the dictionary considers obsolete be considered fair game? Or more plainly, can you republish old dictionaries?

Blogger VD July 31, 2019 8:02 PM  

You offered no evidence for your claims, you don't get to ask anyone else for theirs. Don't do that again or you'll be banned.

Blogger VD July 31, 2019 8:03 PM  

Or more plainly, can you republish old dictionaries?


Blogger The Course of Empire July 31, 2019 8:28 PM  

"Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past." Orwell. This goes for whoever controls language, too.

Blogger English Tom July 31, 2019 10:05 PM  


Rudyard Kipling said words were the most powerful drug used by mankind.
Gustav Le Bon makes similar claims in his magnum opus, the Crowd.

Blogger English Tom July 31, 2019 10:08 PM  

@Glad Z

A country without a nation.

Which technically makes the Wikipedia 2019 definition correct!

Blogger English Tom July 31, 2019 10:08 PM  

Sorry, Vlad.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash August 01, 2019 12:36 AM  

Vox, did you unban Ken the Afghan?

Blogger PG August 01, 2019 3:49 AM  

@ Blaidd

Australia and New Zealand were very British then, much more than now. Writings from my great great grandfather, who traveled the world with the British navy before heading down under to colonize and set up camp for us - cheers old chap, suggests he and at least the next few generations saw Australia and New Zealand as, and I quote, "younger Britain" implying the motherland of all decedents was indeed elsewhere.

Blogger VD August 01, 2019 4:03 AM  

Oh, was he banned? No, nuke him again.

Blogger PG August 01, 2019 4:17 AM  

Purely by accident I discovered, to my horror, that the majority of modern dictionaries had faults. I was searching for the correct phonetic sounds for certain words, to do with a project I'm working on. I noticed that the new dictionaries had incorrect International Phonetic Alphabetic (IPA), symbols under words. For those that don't know, IPA works in a similar manner to the way plants etc are classified internationally in Latin. IPA shouldn't change from one dictionary to the next, but it does. I now use this as my metric for dictionary validity. The best modern one, the only so far, I've found is the Cambridge online dictionary. Interestingly, it appears to list an extra definition for Nationality in America English.

Nationality (English)

- The official right to belong to a particular country
- A group of people of the same race, religion, traditions, etc

Nationality (American English)

-The state of belonging to a particular country or being a citizen of a particular nation

Blogger The Cooler August 01, 2019 7:08 AM  

Generally speaking, dictionaries are both rhetorically and dialectically neutral; unless one is seeking the definition of a politically charged term or one that has the potential for being politically charged.

The fundamental purpose of a dictionary is to capture the essence of how language is used popularly... which may or may not indicate a words ontology - especially now - let alone a cohesive relation to it's etymology.

Ergo: up is down, black is white, the State is the Nation and shit like "MANSPLAIN" is in the OED.

Never stop at the dictionary, always investigate the etymology.

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