Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Jots & Tittles

Jot and tittle? Both jot and tittle refer to tiny quantities. The phrase passed into English via William Tindale's translation of the New Testament in 1526 (Matthew 5:18:). Better is the
more familiar language of the King James Version, 1611:

"For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled."

More from phrases.org.uk

A jot is the name of the least letter of an alphabet or the smallest part of a piece of writing. It is the Anglicized version of the Greek iota - the smallest letter of the Greek alphabet, which corresponds to the Roman 'i'. This, in turn, was derived from the Hebrew word jod, or yodr, which is the the smallest letter of the square Hebrew alphabet. Apart from its specialist typographical meaning, we still use the word jot more generally to mean 'a tiny amount'. Hence, when we have a brief note to make, we 'jot it down'.

A tittle, rather appropriately for a word which sounds like a combination of tiny and little, is smaller still. It refers to a small stroke or point in writing or printing. In classical Latin this applied to any accent over a letter, but is now most commonly used as the name for the dot over the letter 'i'. It is also the name of the dots on dice. In medieval calligraphy the tittle was written as quite large relative to the stem of the 'i'. Since fixed typeface printing was introduced in the 15th century the tittle has been rendered smaller.

The use of the word 'dot' as a small written mark didn't begin until the 18th century. We may have been told at school to dot our i's; Chaucer and Shakespeare would have been told to tittle them.

If a passing reader is fond of internet jousting with person or persons whose opinions differ from those held dear, these "commandments" are well worth keeping in mind. There's more detail at the linked website: Relatively Interesting

The 10 Commandments of Rational Debate

Personally, I've grown ever more wary of impulsively stepping, willy-nilly into any internet debate, preferring to follow Sir Terry Pratchett's line from The Light Fantastic:
"… there was no real point in trying to understand anything Twoflower said, and that all anyone could do was run alongside the conversation and hope to jump on as it turned a corner."

For any who are partial to a nice love story, with a bit of a twist, I'd recommend (with some petty reservations) the 1997/8 movie Déjà Vu. We saw it on (I think)Amazon Prime last week. This version of the film sometimes has "(A Love Story)" tacked onto the title to differentiate it from other movies of the same name. It's the tale of one of those "I've been here before" experiences. You know - the feeling put to music by Rodgers & Hart in Where or When

My reservations about the movie Déjà Vu stem from the director, Henry Jaglom's penchant for using improvised dialogue. Actors need to be skilled enough at improvisation to make this style work well. One or two actors in this movie were improvisationally challenged, tended to keep repeating the same lines/thoughts over and over, making for rather uncomfortable viewing. Also, and husband and I both commented on this: one particular segment of the story seemed to be totally out of place in the theme. Roger Ebert's review HERE attempts to explain a possible reason, but we still didn't see it that way. The film did, though, provide a pleasing change from police procedurals, medical dramas, and long drawn-out detective tales about serial killers.

"'Tis the last rose of summer,
Left blooming alone;
All her lovely companions
Are faded and gone."

- Thomas Moore, The Last Rose of Summer (1830)

Well...this isn't a rose and it isn't strictly the last, but our Crepe Myrtle bush in the back yard is well past its best, though still providing spots of colour among endless green. Thanks to anyjazz (husband) for the photograph.


Wisewebwoman said...

I'm sure I saw Deja Vu. A few years ago, I was slightly disappointed adoring Vanessa as I do. I've given away most of my movies now but I do believe that was amongst them, I only kept a few treasures.

Our fall lasts longer than most as our spring arrives much later.

I grew many herbs and am delighted. Our community garden is a gift.


Twilight said...

Wisewebwoman ~ Vanessa R. didn't have a lot to do with the main theme - waste of a good star, that was! I liked the film's main theme - am always intrigued by the whole deja vu thing, and the possibility of strands linking various lives and lifetimes. "Cloud Atlas" took that kind of theme to another level - a bridge too far though, I thought, but well-meaning. I've watched it twice now and still find it hard to connect all the dots.

We have a Fall that doesn't get properly autumnal until well into October, sometimes even not until Thanksgiving time. Last few mornings here have brought a cool breeze, but I don't expect the trend will last.

Herbs maketh the dish don't they!?