Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 32

Thread: Vocabulary quiz

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    New Orleans

    Vocabulary quiz

    One hundred percent of a class of 30 Tulane freshmen and sophomores had no idea what any of the following four words meant:

    mammon
    sophistry
    popinjay
    zeitgeist

    Am I totally out of touch being stunned by this? Would mild surprise be an acceptable reaction? Or are all these words just lost for good in our post-literate culture, like so many others?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Ashburn, VA
    Quote Originally Posted by dkbaseball View Post
    One hundred percent of a class of 30 Tulane freshmen and sophomores had no idea what any of the following four words meant:

    mammon
    sophistry
    popinjay
    zeitgeist

    Am I totally out of touch being stunned by this? Would mild surprise be an acceptable reaction? Or are all these words just lost for good in our post-literate culture, like so many others?
    I don't know what popinjay means.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Los Angeles

    popinjay

    A popinjay is a bird -- kinda like a parrot.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Quote Originally Posted by dkbaseball View Post
    One hundred percent of a class of 30 Tulane freshmen and sophomores had no idea what any of the following four words meant:

    mammon
    sophistry
    popinjay
    zeitgeist

    Am I totally out of touch being stunned by this? Would mild surprise be an acceptable reaction? Or are all these words just lost for good in our post-literate culture, like so many others?
    I consider myself reasonably well-read, but even I would struggle with defining these flat-out. I could probably answer a multiple choice option correctly.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    ← Bay / Valley ↓
    other than zeitgeist I have never heard of any of these words... though I'm a ferner (as opposed to 'merkin)

  6. #6
    I am not familiar with mammon, I'm afraid. (Now, Mammon is a different story. I would venture to guess the two are related, but I don't know how.)

    And as far as the others, I admit that I would have difficulty clearly defining sophistry and zeitgeist (although I've used both in conversations before) if simply presented a blank. I'm with DevilAlumna here; it makes a world of difference if it's a multiple-choice answer, which I'm fairly certain I could do.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Isn't Mammon a comic book villian?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Clearwater, FL
    Popinjay I have never heard. I would have muddled through the others with a general understanding of their meanings but I would not have been able to quote the formal definition.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    New Orleans
    Quote Originally Posted by Ping Lin View Post
    I am not familiar with mammon, I'm afraid. (Now, Mammon is a different story. I would venture to guess the two are related, but I don't know how.)
    My dictionary has it as lower case, apparently deferring to the way the word is commonly used today, though the root word was a proper noun. If one has no conception of mammon and its devotees, it would be very difficult to get a grasp on the current zeitgeist of the U.S. The point I try to make to students is that in losing these words, we've not lost just the words, but the ideas as well.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    New Bern, NC unless it's a home football game then I'm grilling on Devil's Alley
    Besides zeitgeist, I have no clue on the others. I'm not even sure if I've heard them.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by dukemomLA View Post
    A popinjay is a bird -- kinda like a parrot.
    It is? I thought it was an insulting term for a fop. I thought it was a term for parrot, but that that definition fell off a LONG time ago.
    LET'S GO DUKE!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    New Orleans
    Quote Originally Posted by bjornolf View Post
    It is? I thought it was an insulting term for a fop. I thought it was a term for parrot, but that that definition fell off a LONG time ago.
    Fop is pretty close for popinjay, which my dictionary defines as a strutting, supercilious person. The Brits still have many of these lost words close to hand, and can enjoy an especially scintillating insult from time to time, such as when George Galloway told an annoying Christopher Hitchens: "You are a drink-soaked, ex-Trotskyite popinjay. Your hands are shaking. You badly need another drink."

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Summit County, Colo.
    Such is the sophistry of the zeitgeist that these popinjays know not even of the Mammon they worship.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    New Orleans
    Quote Originally Posted by hurleyfor3 View Post
    Such is the sophistry of the zeitgeist that these popinjays know not even of the Mammon they worship.
    Amen, brother Hurley.

  15. #15
    Isn't that a misuse of either sophistry or zeitgeist? Either one could work here, but I believe it would require the replacement, or at least qualification, of the other. There could be sophistry committed by those perpetuating the zeitgeist, but I didn't think such an abstraction as the feel of an era or attitude of a culture would be capable of sophism. Maybe I'm confused here.
    LET'S GO DUKE!

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    New Orleans
    Quote Originally Posted by bjornolf View Post
    Isn't that a misuse of either sophistry or zeitgeist? Either one could work here, but I believe it would require the replacement, or at least qualification, of the other. There could be sophistry committed by those perpetuating the zeitgeist, but I didn't think such an abstraction as the feel of an era or attitude of a culture would be capable of sophism. Maybe I'm confused here.
    I think it works. It's like saying, "the greed of the Gilded Age." Technically, an age isn't greedy, a person is, but everyone understands the implied word "characteristic between "greed" and "of." Similarly there is an implied "characteristic" between "sophistry" and "of the zeitgeist." I thought it was a pretty clever use of all four words, and rather apt for zeitgeist USA circa 2008.

  17. #17
    I'm down with zeitgeist.

    I think Earljam should write a song containing these four words.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Summit County, Colo.
    Quote Originally Posted by bjornolf View Post
    Isn't that a misuse of either sophistry or zeitgeist? Either one could work here, but I believe it would require the replacement, or at least qualification, of the other. There could be sophistry committed by those perpetuating the zeitgeist, but I didn't think such an abstraction as the feel of an era or attitude of a culture would be capable of sophism. Maybe I'm confused here.
    If you insist on being such a critic, why don't you get down off your linguistic high horse and try writing a sentence using all four words yourself.

  19. #19
    Hey, I was darn impressed with your attempt. I just didn't want people to get the wrong idea about the meaning of the words. Like I said, addidng a word or two would have fixed it. Believe me, I am NOT a critic of your word, and I'm FAR from a linguistic critic. Here's my lame attempt:

    Through diabolical sophistry, the followers of Mammon so damaged the moral compass of the popinjays in Hollywood at the time that they ended up twisting the zeitgeist into a monument to greed and corruption.

    bad, I know. How about this:

    And, in sports last night, the Los Angeles Sophists used tricks and dirty play to defeat the New York Zeitgeist 2-0 on the pitch, keeping their playoff hopes alive, while on the hardwood, the Duke Blue Mammons defeated the Carolina Popinjays 84-61 to earn a trip to the Final Four.

    I like the second one personally.
    Last edited by bjornolf; 09-16-2008 at 12:32 PM. Reason: accuracy...
    LET'S GO DUKE!

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Summit County, Colo.
    Quote Originally Posted by bjornolf View Post
    Through diabolical sophistry, the followers of Mammon so damaged the moral compass of the popinjays in Hollywood at the time that they ended up twisting the zeitgeist into a monument to greed and corruption.

    bad, I know. How about this:

    And, in sports last night, the Los Angeles Sophists used tricks and dirty play to defeat the New York Zeitgeist 2-0 on the pitch, keeping their playoff hopes alive, while on the hardwood, the Duke Blue Mammons defeated the Carolina Popinjays 84-61 to earn a trip to the Final Four.
    OK, you're excused, but my refers directly to the people polled. And is shorter.

Similar Threads

  1. Not so Sweet 16 quiz
    By rthomas in forum Elizabeth King Forum
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 03-27-2008, 11:15 AM
  2. A Quiz- See If You Know The Answers
    By NYC Duke Fan in forum Elizabeth King Forum
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 03-31-2007, 02:26 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •