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The Waters of the World

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January 23, 2006, 07:03
wordcrafter
The Waters of the World
This week we'll survey terms that refer to the various waters of the world. We'll of course pass over the many familiar terms, such as sea, lake, river, bay, inlet, etc. The less familiar terms are sometimes technical ones and sometimes literary ones, but all are available for your use.

lacustrine – relating to lakes
January 24, 2006, 00:22
Royston
I've read about and seen old maps of Tenochtitlan as it was at the time of the Spanish conquest. The striking feature is indeed its watery nature. I don't recall Mexico City being referred to as the Venice of Central America, so what happened to the lakes and canals?
January 24, 2006, 06:44
wordcrafter
littoral – relating to the shore of non-flowing waters such as lakes, oceans, etc. [in more specific use, relating to the area which, as tides rise and fall, is sometimes underwater and sometimes exposed.] Also used as a noun.

"Littoral" can be used literally, but the figurative use (last quote) is interesting too.Bonus word:
viticulture
– grape-growing [Latin vitis 'vine']
January 25, 2006, 05:38
wordcrafter
Littoral refers to the shores of non-flowing waters. What of flowing waters?

riparian – relating to riverbanks (although often mis-used to include littoral)
riverine – relating to riverbanksBonus words:
riprap
– (illustration) loose stone used to stabilize a riverbank, or for like purposes

If riprap is enclosed in a mesh cage, for modular use, it is called gabion (illustration), and can also be used for dry purposes, such as retaining walls (illustation). This use of "gabion" has not yet entered the dictionaries.
January 25, 2006, 05:55
Robert Arvanitis
Riprap holds the flow of water.

Words can do the same -- hold, guide, shape the flow of ideas. See http://www.litkicks.com/Texts/Riprap.html


RJA
January 26, 2006, 06:36
wordcrafter
Our words leave the shore and go out to sea. We tell the tale of the whale in the Thames, the pelagic cetacean who moved from sea to river and attracted riverine attention.

pelagic – relating to open ocean
Bonus word: cetacean – pertaining to whalesCan you imagine Londoners "reaching for their harpoons," which they doubtless had handy?
January 26, 2006, 11:11
arnie
quote:
It dived, spouted and flipped its tail.


Alas, it was not until the post-mortem was carried out that they discovered that "it" was a "she". Frown


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
January 27, 2006, 06:13
wordcrafter
Two obscure ones today.

palustrine – relating to swamps and marshes
paludal1. relating to swamps and marshes; palustrine. 2. malarial
Each from Latin palus marsh.
January 27, 2006, 06:51
Robert Arvanitis
Tracing the Latin palus, for marsh, I found
http://www.bartleby.com/61/roots/IE390.html.

Indo root "pel" means "that which satisfies or fills..."

Thus links to Latin "plere (to fill), leading to "complete" et al.


RJA
January 28, 2006, 09:09
wordcrafter
Various terms measure ocean depths. Sources conflict, and sometimes a source even contradicts itself (example here: 3,000 or 4,000?), but I've tried to put it together.

neritic or sublittoral – of ocean depths to about 200 meters.
[probably named for a son of Nereus, hence an eponym.]
bathyal – of ocean depths below neritic, to 4,000 meters.
abysmal – of ocean depths below bathyal. (Some will instead call the deepest part of this, below 6,000 meters, hadal as in "Hades".)

Neritic depths are chiefly influenced by tides and waves, bethyal depths by currents


Extras:
continental slope – the seabed where it gradually descends from continental shore. (A steeper descent typically begins at 200 meters depth. Compare "neritic".)
benthic; benthonic – of the deepest part (however deep it may be) of an ocean or lake
Some sources list bathypelagic as "relating to a depth of about 600 to 3,000 meters".
January 29, 2006, 08:20
wordcrafter
estuarial – relating to an estuary, the area near the mouth of a river where river flow mixes with tidal flow, fresh water with salt water
Bonus word: kelt – (per OED) a salmon, etc. in bad condition after spawning, before returning to the seaQuestion for our readers: In preparing this theme I learned that limnology is the study of bodies of fresh water, including their biology and geology. But I could not find no such -ology word for that study of bodies of salt water. (For example, "marine biology" is limited to biology and is not a single word.) Can anyone provide the term?
January 29, 2006, 10:15
Duncan Howell
quote:
In preparing this theme I learned that limnology is the study of bodies of fresh water....but I could find no such -ology word for that study of bodies of salt water.


Perhaps there isn't an -ology word for that purpose. Since -logy,as in "archaeology" and -graphy, as in "geography" both, in a similar fashion, seem to denote scientific study, then perhaps the word that suits is oceanography. Of course, English being the amazing language that it is, there is always a word like graphology to make things even more interesting!
January 29, 2006, 11:06
Robert Arvanitis
Perhaps we can lay the difficulty on the Greeks. "Limnos" means pool, and lends itself to a Greek suffix. But my ancestors seemed to have lacked the equivalent of the modern "lagoon," which entails a saline body of water.

Other salt-specific terms are equally suffix-inhospitable, viz. estuary and "brackish sea."


RJA
January 30, 2006, 04:44
Royston
quote:
Originally posted by wordcrafter:
And they had good reason to fear that in warm weather the atmosphere might be charged with dangerous miasma, of the kind that engenders paludal fevers.
– Jules Verne, The Mysterious Island (Jordan Stump, translator)[/LIST]


I wonder if Monsieur Verne actually used whatever the French word is for paludal or if his translator was simply keen to show off.

I've often wondered if translation is something done by people not quite up to writing their own stuff. I've certainly encountered translated books - not always fiction - which are simply unreadable.
January 30, 2006, 06:18
Seanahan
I saw lacustrine in a translation of Garcia-Marquez, and I wonder what the Spanish word was that he used.
January 30, 2006, 11:26
wordnerd
quote:
[Quoting] "And they had good reason to fear that in warm weather the atmosphere might be charged with dangerous miasma, of the kind that engenders paludal fevers." I wonder if Monsieur Verne actually used whatever the French word is for paludal or if his translator was simply keen to show off.
Good question.

It took some work to find, and the conclusion is that Verne did indeed use the French form of the same word. Project Guttenberg's version in the original French, a large file, has this sentence near the end of Chapter XXI:
January 31, 2006, 08:50
Royston
Wordnerd, that's hugely impressive.
February 01, 2006, 07:12
wordcrafter
Follow-up: We'd noted that limnology is the scientific study of bodies of fresh water, and we'd asked for a like term for salt-water bodies. Thanks to readers' input, I can now tell you that according to OED on-line, oceanography has that meaning. The word oceanology used to have that meaning too, but now is more used to mean "the branch of technology and economics concerned with human use of the ocean."

This message has been edited. Last edited by: wordcrafter,
February 01, 2006, 08:12
wordnerd
Thank you, Royston. My spouse would probably say it's hugely anal, but I much prefer your version.