Monday, May 28, 2007


I just learned something. Back in October, I wrote about the time I saw Paul Kossoff play live with John Martyn. I said:

As we approached the Leeds University buildings a couple came up to us and the man asked (in a strange southern accent) where some building was."Excuse me – where do I find the [mumble] building? Wait, do you understand me? I don't speak Yorkshire. What's the Yorkshire for 'excuse me'?"
"Tyke," said my friend. "The dialect's called Yorkshire Tyke. You say, 'Si tha 'ere.'" (Literally, "see you, here.")
The man was excited. "Hey!" he called to his friend, who was gazing blankly into space with her arms folded like an arms-foldy StarGazy Pie fish, "Yorkshire dialect for 'Excuse me' is 'Kythera'!" I have no idea what his association was with Kythera (if indeed that's what he said – it sure sounded like it).

Today I was wilfing and came across this page, Guitars and Amps for Beginners. It says:

The thing Nero (the Roman Emperor, not that CD burning program!) played when burning down the city of Rome was called "cithara", the ancient greeks called it "kithara". So we could imagine the roots of the word "guitar" (italian: chitarra, french = guitarre, german = Gitarre, spanish = guitarra), but the roots of the instrument itself are wide spread.

Is that what they were talking about? It certainly makes more sense that we'd be wandering around a university campus where two guitar greats were playing and find someone who was interested in the history of the guitar than someone who was interested in Kythera!

It still doesn't explain why he said cithara when my friend said "Sitha 'ere" - that definitely begins with an "S", and cithara is definitely "K".

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