Willie’s Etymology Lesson! —Dunce

3 May

DunceDoesn’t Willie look so cute in that hat? Of course he does 🙂 This picture was taken in December during Willie’s first birthday party. It’s clearly a birthday hat that he’s wearing. If you thought that is a dunce cap he has on, you must not know Willie too well. He is a very smart boy. He is so smart that he taught me the etymology of the word dunce.

The modern meaning of dunce is a slow-witted person or student in particular. Well, it didn’t always have that meaning. Back in the day, John Duns Scotus was a highly influential medieval theologian and philosopher. Well he still is influential because many of his teachings are still in use today in the Catholic Church. From the middle ages up unto the beginning of the Protestant Revolution, the followers of Duns Scotus were referred to as Duns. Later in the 16th century, Protestants who opposed Duns Scotus’ way of thinking referred to Scotus’ followers in a derogatory way and the term Duns grew into a term of abuse. The Protestants felt that the Duns were closed-minded and unwilling to learn. The spelling of the word and its meaning slowly evolved into how it is used today because of John Duns Scotus and his followers.

Willie is not a dunce, or a Duns, but I think John Duns Scotus would find him adorable!

39 Responses to “Willie’s Etymology Lesson! —Dunce”

  1. Carey 13 June 2012 at 4:58 pm #

    Great post. I love it that you know who John Duns Scotus is! The Franciscans will thank you for this. p.s. Hope that was the correct use of an exclamation point. Maybe next you can address the ellipsis. . .

    • berndavis 13 June 2012 at 5:32 pm #

      I just took a medieval theology class. Got an A-! I’d add that to my list of potential topics.

  2. southernwild 13 June 2012 at 6:05 pm #

    AWWW how sweet. He looks so cute!

  3. Natalie 13 June 2012 at 6:16 pm #

    I agree John Duns Scotus would find Willie very adorable as well. Entertaining post!

  4. oldasdirtblog 13 June 2012 at 6:17 pm #

    Well now I know. Thanks for the lesson, just goes to show you’re never too old.

  5. resmyt 13 June 2012 at 8:13 pm #

    Alright…this is truly a dream blog for me. I do try not to lose much of the grammar I learnt back in school, but modern writing (or should say texting?) techniques and poor journalism are detrimental to my efforts, but, along comes your blog, as the Saviour (I’m trying VERY hard not to use the exclamation mark).

    Thanks very much for stopping by at my blog. I’m quite a greenhorn with blogging, so I muster to ask, how did you come across my blog? Did the tags on my post throw something out there in cyberspace?

    Thanks again, for your attention to detail and the lovely description in your blogs.

    • berndavis 13 June 2012 at 8:18 pm #

      I am pretty new to blogging to. I’ve had this blog for just about 2 weeks. Thanks fo the kind words. ..your reading post came up on the wordpress reader.

  6. Chancy and Mumsy 13 June 2012 at 10:32 pm #

    We certainly think Willie is adorable. Hugs and nose kisses

  7. CattyKate 14 June 2012 at 3:57 am #

    Thanks for the follow berndavis. I love your blog! and please tell Willie how useful and interesting his advice is. 🙂

  8. jparjets21 14 June 2012 at 12:35 pm #

    Entertaining as always

    • BernBabyBern 14 June 2012 at 2:46 pm #

      Thanks! Wishing you would add another post. Or show up to work. Or both!

  9. fletcherabbott 14 June 2012 at 2:15 pm #

    Thank you for following my blog. I am a bit nervous about you reading my posts. Grammar and spelling has never come naturally to me. I do enjoy your posts. My mother is an English teacher, and my wife is rather obsessed with grammar. I am looking forward to learning form your posts.

  10. Impybat 14 June 2012 at 3:41 pm #

    Don’t tell Willie it’s a dunce cap. Tell him he’s actually wearing a hennin! I also love the chewy bone knobs (nubs?) on the floor ;D

  11. Amy 14 June 2012 at 5:32 pm #

    Hey, after you kindly ‘liked’ one of my posts I had to stop by and check yours out too! And omw your dog is very cute, and I love your style of blog! 🙂

  12. barb19 15 June 2012 at 4:33 am #

    Willie looks adorable to me – and certainly not a dunce!

  13. catterel 15 June 2012 at 5:41 am #

    You are no dunce! I’ve just nominated you for a Very Inspiring Blogger Award – hope you like it. Congratulations! (I put my exclamation marks wherever they feel comfortable.)

  14. catterel 15 June 2012 at 6:40 am #

    Hello again – I guess my coffee hadn’t percolated through to my brain this morning. The main award I nominated you for is the 7×7 Link! Please accept. And Willie is a darling.

  15. Dugutigui 15 June 2012 at 8:16 pm #

    Woof! Woof! 🙂
    Great post!

  16. Spider42 16 June 2012 at 3:03 am #

    Very cool! I never knew that about Scotus role in the birth of that word and thanks a load for sharing – proves my theory that you learn something new everyday! 🙂

    And your dog reminds me of my own former canine amigo who was a rough haired collie. He looks really cool in his birthday hat!

  17. Paulina Czarnecki 16 June 2012 at 1:44 pm #

    You have a very helpful blog… I enjoy how you teach about grammar without being dry and boring. I wish our school textbooks were like this! 🙂

  18. denelle 16 June 2012 at 4:56 pm #

    thanks for following me on accidental happiness.wordpress.com! (oops, i mean, period) i’m now following you too, soon we’ll both be dizzy with the turning in circles to follow each other! (oops, i mean, period) drop by whenever you want to chat, rant, or just say hi! hope you have a day full of quirkiness…

  19. chuu2venge 17 June 2012 at 7:10 pm #

    Today I’ve learned some etymology and a bit of history! I am a little bit smarter now and it’s all thanks to this wonderfully smart dog 🙂

  20. Lauren 17 June 2012 at 10:35 pm #

    He is adorable!

  21. Leah 18 June 2012 at 12:21 am #

    I don’t know how anyone could think Willie is a dunce. He’s the cutest little guy ever! He reminds me of my dog when he was younger. Is Willie an Australian shepherd or collie?

  22. Imelda Evans 18 June 2012 at 7:52 am #

    Thank you for coming to visit my blog and I’m delighted to follow yours. I am most fond of matters grammatical!

  23. Alyssa 18 June 2012 at 1:17 pm #

    I have nominated you for The Lovely Blog Award! It’s OK if you do not accept this award, but I nominated you because I really like you blog. Visit my recent post http://southern-wild.com/2012/06/18/they-just-keep-rolling-in/ if you do decide to accept this award, and nominate 15 or so fellow bloggers!

  24. Jillian Sandrock 18 June 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    Thanks so much for visiting my blog — I am so happy to have been led to yours! I am a grammar nut too and look forward to reading your blog and your comments. Every once in a while I take a little bit of poetic license (like starting a sentence with “And” — but a girl’s gotta have a little bit of fun!

  25. pepperthepit 20 June 2012 at 1:40 am #

    Thanks for the “follow.” Although, I am now incredibly paranoid that someone is actually paying close attention to my grammar! As the daughter of a retired English teacher, the idea that I am not writing correctly has been a stresser for years! And now. . . 😛

    Great blog. Your posts are unexpectedly entertaining. I don’t think too many people are capable of doing that with a topic like “grammar.” So. . . Kudos!

  26. valleyroadrambler 20 June 2012 at 5:59 am #

    Thank you for Liking my post about my dogs, past and present. I have a great fondness for Shelties thanks to Jessie, my loyal companion in childhood. I don’t share your passion for grammar, however, which is probably all the more reason that I should be following your blog. Thank you for the insights, and good luck!

  27. christineevelynvance 21 June 2012 at 10:32 am #

    Hello Bern. I’m really enjoying your grammar articles, but I do wish you’d set up either a calendar or “Recent Posts” widget. I had to scroll all through your categories to find the latest posts.

    If you haven’t done widgets yet, go to your dashboard and choose Appearance, then Widgets, then click on Calendar or Recent Posts and drag them over to the right hand widget bar. You may have to click on ‘save’ or ‘update.

    • BernBabyBern 21 June 2012 at 10:38 am #

      OK did it! thanks for the advice 🙂

    • christineevelynvance 21 June 2012 at 10:43 am #

      P.S.: I see you do have a calendar installed on your Questions page. That must be your “Home” Page. I’m slow to catch on.

  28. motherbarbarian 22 June 2012 at 1:36 pm #

    Thanks for the very interesting etymology lesson. It is so important to understand the history of the words we use, as it turns out they are not always as benign as we intend them to be. I’ve been learning a lot by following the language detective work of the 2 bloggers on my blogroll. Thanks for stopping by my place, and choosing to follow it. Best blogging wishes. I look forward to reading more!

  29. Maxi 23 June 2012 at 9:30 am #

    Willie looks as if he lost his party favor, way too handsome to be a dunce.
    Blessings – Maxi

  30. badetteconsulting 25 June 2012 at 8:08 pm #

    I thought this was a great lesson on the history of the dunce cap. Your dog is adorable!

  31. badetteconsulting 25 June 2012 at 8:10 pm #

    Good post on the history of a dunce cap. Your dog is adorable!

  32. cometscorners 11 July 2012 at 1:12 pm #

    Well we learn something new every day! Thankyou for following our blog 🙂

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