Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Pedigrees and Perigees and French Cranes

Here is a pretty picture of some cranes, or grues as the French call them.

Here is a detail showing you the crane's foot or pied de grue as the French call it.

Here is a family tree of the languages derived from Proto-Indo-European.

Do you see the pied-de-grues? Do you see the pedigree? That is because lineages resemble both trees and cranes' feet.

A pedigree should never be confused with a perigee, which is the opposite of an apogee and therefore a low-point. You may, though, if you are the black sheep of your family, be the perigee of your pedigree.

I can fanatically recommend the excellent philological book Pedigree: Words From Nature. It's a trifle odd, though, as it costs £5.68 in Britain, and $140 in America. I may start a hedge fund for rare books.

Incidentally, if you have three toes you are technically tridactylic and generally unfortunate. I have an irrational hatred of people who have toes missing. I fear I may be lack-toes intolerant.


  1. Fascinating, yes. But. Please tell me you did not work backwards from the last sentence to create this post. Please.

  2. You did. You dirty dirty dirty little man. I find you fantastically disgusting. And delicious. All at once. Like a poo cornetto. With added walnuts.

  3. I laughed. Out loud.

    Do you think there's something wrong with me?

  4. I'm happy that I can tell people that actually I'm not splay-footed, I just have pedigree.

  5. The pun was, I promise, an afterthought.