or, stuff that I dragged out of my head

Location: Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Check It Out

Kilts are seriously cool garments, and even though my people aren't Scottish (they're from England on both sides quite a few generations back), I'm Scottish by marriage, so I could wear one if I wanted to. But they're expensive! Also, I would feel strange wearing a skirt, though I bet I could get used to it. (I would knit my own kilt hose. I am going through a serious and uncontrollable sock-knitting phase, for no discernible reason.)

Anyway, if you wanted to save a few bucks by making your own kilt instead of buying one, here are the instructions, and an interesting read they make, too.

However, you'd think, wouldn't you, that the BBC would take just a little more care with the proofreading. The instructions seem okay, but, well, just look at the last sentence in this paragraph:

Now consider for a moment the nature of a pleat. Fold a piece of paper or a scrap of material if it helps. There are two parts of a pleat. The part that is exposed on the outside- that is seen - and the part that is folded under - is hidden. The hidden part is called the under pleat width. The exposed part is called the pleat spacing. On a professional kilt, the under pleat width can be many times the width of pleat spacing. For the sake of simplicity we're going to make the under pleat width exactly double the pleat spacing. This means that to pleat your kilt you just have to take every sett and divide it into three parts. The first two get folded in half, facing each other. The third section will automatically then be facing outward. Viola - a pleat.

Yes, that does in fact say "viola", not "voila". I can never tell if people are doing that as a joke (I always think of Walt Kelly's "Viola Voila, Girl Insect") or if they honestly don't know the difference between the two words.

At least they didn't spell it "wah-lah" or some equally abominable way.

"Viola" looks as if it should be Italian, but it's French, specifically from Old Proven├žal "viola", which comes from "violar", "to play the viola". Seriously!

"Voila" doesn't have a literal meaning in English, but it's a way of saying, "Hey, check this out!", or "Look what I did!" It's also French: a collapsing of "voir la", "see there". "Voir" is the verb "to see", and it comes from Latin "videre", with the same meaning. "Videre" gave English such words as "video" and "viz", which is a contraction of "videlicet", which is in turn a contraction of "videre licet", "it is permitted to see": "viz" means "that is to say". I don't make this stuff up, I just report on it.

"Videre" in turn came from Indo-European "weid-", and I've already done that. (I've already done videlicet, too. Am I running out of things?



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