Tag Archives: etymology

4 Reasons Why I Voluntarily Stay Late at Work

Or, 4 Reasons Why It’s Abundantly Clear I Chose the Right Career Path

1. Nerd thrills.

I’ve been slightly obsessed with linguistics and languages since birth. In particular, etymologies and word relationships between different languages make me giddy with nerd joy. Being a cataloger means looking at lots of different languages, like last week when I was editing a record for an online version of an Icelandic translation of Chrétien de Troyes’ 12th-century Arthurian romances. Just for funsies I went to view the actual text, and there I saw the word konung and thought “huh, that looks familiar” and then IT HIT ME—it’s the equivalent of the Old English word cyning which, as we all know, appears in Beowulf’s prologue and means king. Omg! Konung = cyning = king! Icelandic –> Old English! I mean, I’m squealing like a dolphin on crack right now! Anyone else?

2. Trivia.

You never know what will come across your desk if you’re a cataloger. This week I started a project involving a stack of French-language booklets about Canadian history, which led to me learning about this fascinating but probably insane mustachioed dude who basically founded Manitoba and thought he was a prophet sent by God and was eventually hanged for treason after a dramatic trial. I mean, whoa. Who knew that Canada was up to such shenanigans in the 1800s?

Hey, Louis Riel: That stache is trash.

3. Music adventures.

I’ve learned that I can’t listen to any of my favorite albums while I’m cataloging because I automatically start singing along, and then I get distracted and even insert words I’m singing into records I’m typing. I gave my classical playlist a whirl, but it’s not quite peppy enough. Turns out that if you’re staring at data on a screen all day, some funky beats are required. So then I listened to Buena Vista Social Club about a thousand times, after which I decided  that while non-English jazzy type stuff was definitely the way to go, I needed something new. That’s how I discovered Edith Piaf. My. Life. Is. Changed. Forever. Is she peppy? Oui! Is she outrageously awesome? Oui! Is she keeping me awake? Mais oui!

4. Delusions of grandeur.

We all have our little pet peeves. Well, y’all do. Meanwhile, I have huge, giant, looming-on-the-horizon-of-my-soul peeves, mostly having to do with things being arranged incorrectly. I grind my teeth over misplaced apostrophes, crooked pictures, cluttered shelves, poorly organized websites, and such like. I’ve spent my whole life gazing powerlessly at glaring errors in this world, clenching my fists and thinking wrothful thoughts, since generally social decorum prevents me from taking action. But now when I see something wrong in a previously created record, you know what I do? I just fix the damn mistake. Oh frabjous day! What soothing balm to my curmudgeonly heart. You know that Icelandic thing I mentioned? Well, originally it was labeled as Danish. A bunch of other libraries still have it marked as Danish. But in my library, by gum, it’s correct, because I thought it didn’t look Danish and then I ran it through Google Translate and then I said to myself  “Great Scott, it’s Icelandic!” and then I fixed it. And that pretty much makes me an information goddess of limitless omnipotence.

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