October 27, 2007

From the files of the Bureau of Lost or Stolen Appellations: The case of the loosed word

From the invaluable Silva Rhetoricæ created by Professor Gideon O. Burton of BYU:

ampliatio ampliatio am'-pli-a'-ti-o
from Lat. amplio, "to extend"
adjournment, an old name for a new thing

Using the name of something or someone before it has obtained that name or after the reason for that name has ceased. A form of epitheton.
Even after the man was healed from his ailment by Jesus, he was still referred to as "Simon the leper."

In the case of the indicated Simon, the name did not cease with the disease, but carried its baggage of significances forward with each new utterance, extending by ampliatio the allowed reference to the now no longer existent condition. Simon is not a leper, but he remains Simon the leper by ampliatio.

Additionally, as confimed in private email by Professor Gideon O. Burton himself, whose judgement goes unquestioned here at the Bureau, ampliatio can also serve a word back along the arrow of time into a past that happened well before the name itself was first brought up.

Thus, in saying, "Reptiles roaming Montana all those many years ago were the famous dinosaur kind of reptiles, as shown by the bone," a little ampliatio issues out of Montana, casting the word back, a made word, Montana, the newly acceptable something or other to call the indicated American place in the late nineteenth-century hurley-burley of its approaching statehood, ampliatio in our example casting the new name made for the new made state comprehensibly back into a past before that name obtained, and then dragging forward the meaning of Montana made there to suit the needs of saying "Reptiles roaming Montana all those many years ago were the famous dinosaur kind of reptiles, as shown by the bone."

Useful stuff, ampliatio. It allows for the application of the appellation along the termporal plane, the word tossed comprehensibly forward and back along the time line measured from the word's first use, leaving the messy analysis of all the other wanderings of word meanings to all your other tools.

Naturally in an effort to reduce the work flow here at the Bureau to a mangeable stream much of our attention over the years has been directed toward separating out as early as practicable in the application process those cases involving the loosed name, which are properly referred to the Ampliatio Work Group (which has operated semi-independently and only nominally under the direction of the Effectuator for some years now), rather than the lost or stolen name which is our own specialty here at the Bureau. The pre-application interview is meant to redirect such cases, but no system is perfect, and sometimes we find ourselves well along the path of processing a claim before it's discovered to everyone's annoyance that it was the loosed name not the lost or stolen one that was in question all along, the client having taken on advertently or not some appellation that cannot fail to be carried forward or now tossed back at the whim of the ampliatio engendered by it. As that which is left of the past word brought forward is so hard to lose, and what's sent back in time by the new made name can hardly be stolen from a past it never had, it's difficult to see how the resources of the Bureau, such as they are, can be of any help in these cases, but this fact is lost on many prospective clients.

Secretary to the Deputy Effectuator
Bureau of Lost or Stolen Appellations

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