Ryota's Old Daybook: Language Arts & Basic English

An interesting discussion is going on among my friends Mr. Ohyama and Mr. Tsuchiya. It's about one of the words on Ogden's list: humor.

Ogden, in The Basic Words, said that the root sense of this word was "humeur" in French, "Laune" in German, or
general condition of mind, or feeling, and as an expasion, this word was used as quality causing amusement.


Mr. Ohyama, however, has an opinion that the root sense of this word is a thing of the past and humor is now used, most of the time, for quality which will be a cause of amusement.


Mr. Tsuchiya seems to be of the same opinion.

They are right when pointing out that talkers/writers of English as their first language, in fact, make use of this word for something which gives amusement, most of the times. A great number of those mother tongue users may not be conscious of the old sense of the word, general condition of mind, even when they make use of word groups like "good humor" or "bad humor." But those examples with "good" and "bad" will not be possible without the old root sense.

Root senses are sometimes like that: unseen under the earth. We see flowers, leaves, branches and stems frequently, but not roots. I have a feeling that this old sense is stil necessary.

Because the account in my wordbook may not be good enough, I will give more details.
Humor, with its root sense, is like feeling. They are roughly the same, but not truly.

Feeling is something you give, get and have.

, on the other hand, is something you are in, but you may have a sense of it.

They are a bit different. They were a bit different even in Ogden's times. As Mr. Ohyama said in his Japanese page, a statement like "What humor do you have today?" will not be a good way of putting a question. It wouldn't have been even in Ogden's days, but I may be wrong. (^_^)


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기초 영어 or Baza Angla. If you have knowledge of 850 English words, you may have a good time reading this daybook, Ryota's day-to-day notes, in Basic English, for college-level learners of English as a second or overseas language. Notes are generally on English or other languages, American or other writers or writings, and music or motion pictures based on those writings.

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