------ ongoingness (or some Physiological Descriptions of a Continuing Notion with Observations and Enquiries thereupon) ------

The World Loanword Database (WOLD) provides vocabularies of 41 languages with comprehensive information about the loanword status of each word.11 – Martin Haspelmath and Uri Tadmor (eds.) World Loanword Database (Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, 2009). Available online at http://wold.clld.org (Accessed 11 June 2019) WOLD allows a consideration of the genealogical similarities between languages, as well as the dating of when certain languages diverged from one another; loanwords, source words and donor languages can be found, along with the possibility of comparing loanwords across languages.22 – Of a vocabulary size of 1505 words for English, 42% are loanwords, the sixth highest percentage of the 41 languages. Ibid, Author for English vocabulary: Anthony Grant.
For a discussion of loanwords, see leg 2
WOLD is an evolution of a comparative linguistic practice that tends to culminate in lists that allow a quantification of the interconnectedness of the languages included: the Swadesh lists (1970s) are widely used lists of 100 words chosen intuitively for their universality across languages, and from an analysis of WOLD arose the Leipzig-Jakarta list (2009), which provided a 100 word list of those words most resistant to borrowing, where words are adopted from one language to another without modification. Those words most stable, those stubborn things, least likely to be loaned out. What struck me was a recurrence in all these lists, not of the expected table-toppers, such as ‘I’ and ‘you’, but, sitting so comfortably, calm amongst the mess that’s built up over the years, that “Creature so officious, that ‘twill be known to every one at one time or other, so busie, and so impudent, that it will be intruding it self in every ones company, and so proud and aspiring withall, that it fears not to trample on the best, and affects nothing so much as a Crown”33 – Robert Hooke, Micrographia (London: Royal Society, 1666), p.211. Also available via this link (Accessed 11 June 2019) as Robert Hooke summarised in Micrographia in 1665:


Louse places joint 15th on the Leipzig-Jakarta list; the body louse and the head louse each having a borrowed score of 0.05 – the lowest in the Semantic field of Animals, alongside the nit and the fly.44https://wold.clld.org/semanticfield/3 (Accessed 11 June 2019) The body louse and the head louse have been averaged to make one combinatory value - louse - for the Leipzig-Jakarta list

I intend to use louse as a certain contemplation on ongoingness, throughout pluralist, multiplicitous, multiversal lunges,55 – To take one example, Barthes’ notion that in a plural text there is “no construction of the text: everything signifies ceaselessly and several times, but without being delegated to a final ensemble, to an ultimate structure” Roland Barthes, S/Z (Oxford: Blackwell, 1990), p.12. where meaning seems to slip away or to the side when you look for it, giving a sense of itself when things corrupt.66 – Anne Carson, when reflecting on untranslatable words, writes “In the presence of a word that stops itself, in that silence, one has the feeling that something has passed us and kept going, that some possibility has got free.” Anne Carson and Lanfranco Quadrio, Nay rather (Lewes: Sylph, 2014), p.26. Of course, I’m under no impression of louse as stable or singular in meaning that can be revealed, and don’t intend to prove as such; no notion of distinct essence on some unclickable underside. In Manuel De Landa’s objection to Gottlob Frege's theory of naming, where “the connection between a given name and its referent in the real world is effected through a mental entity (or psychological state) that we call "the meaning" of the name”,77 – Manuel De Landa, A Thousand Years of Nonlinear History (New York: Swerve Editions, 1997), p.189. De Landa argues that tigers and zebras (for example) don’t have an essence in common, but are instead “historical constructions, mere agglomerations of adaptive traits…”, and, due to the varying external appearances of the animals, they “like dialects, …form a continuum of overlapping forms”. It is claimed that names refer to objects directly, instead of via a mental process (so have an “indexical component”), and the historical and social aspects of language are stressed: “one's current usage of a term is "correct" only to the extent that it is connected to the whole history of uses of a name.” De Landa is useful here in his emphasis of historical networks, how migratory movements along with other vertical and horizontal politics generate contact situations; the existence of words entangled socio-historically, where languages meet, loanwords transfer, meaning and all. Louse, as character, figure88 – For figural thinking, see thorax who in every contact situation stayed where they were (on all sides), has a clear demonstrable ability to hold its own, and is our way in to ongoingness throughout historical intermingling.

In order to slip in and out and around this character – louse-figure – it is worth delving into its standard definitions in all its noun and verb forms,99 – I recognize here that this is a departure from WOLD or the Leipzig Jakarta list, which consider louse as meaning solely regarding the animal and through doing so I hope to develop a number of strands of linguistic looking that allow for mediations on the varying methods and trickery that constitute ongoingness (across multiple times).1010 – “Deep microbes are often quite different to seemingly related species that thrive at the surface, with life cycles that operate on near-geologic timescales.”https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-46502570 (Accessed 11 June 2019).
For a discussion of ongoingness and time see leg 1

The first being louse as creature, the wingless parasite; the close-up, microscopic way in, a shell-like bulbousness, one to be followed as to “become animal is to participate in movement, to stake out the path of escape in all its positivity… to find a world of pure intensities where all forms come undone”.1111 – Gilles Delouse and Félix Getoffme, Kafka - Toward a Minor Literature (Minneapolis, Minn: University of Minnesota Press, 2008), p.13. This movement through pure intensity being one of speed, in which ongoingness is achieved through constantly being on the move, speed being “to be caught in a becoming that is not a development or an evolution”1212 – Gilles Deleuze and Claire Parnet, Dialogues (Paris: Flammerion, Collection Dialogues, 1977), pp.40-41. – that animal dragging.1313 – “And he ran, cheered by the sound of his foot and its echo / And by the watch on his wrist / One-legged, gutless and brainless, the rag of himself” Ted Hughes, ‘Oedipus Crow’ in Crow (London: Faber and Faber Ltd. 1995), p.35.

Crow has a borrowed score of 0.14, indicating little evidence for borrowing. Source: https://wold.clld.org/meaning/3-593#2/24.3/-4.8

The second louse being a contemptible or unpleasant person, one that we have all encountered, who weasels their way into things and then seems to stick in the mind for nights afterwards. Who touches and leaves grease marks, as will be our way of tracing them. This form of ongoingness can be on the haunted, personal level – a ‘tapping, tapping’,1414 – Edgar Allen Poe, The Raven. https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/48860/the-raven (Accessed 11 June 2019)

Raven does not feature on the World Loanword Database
or a collective one, a perceived continual threat to cultural stability, constructing its own actuality, the media-entertained lingering of racist/antisemitic beliefs.1515 – For example, https://www.theguardian.com/football/2018/dec/09/raheem-sterling-newspapers-fuelling-racism-alleged-abuse-chelsea (Accessed 11 June 2019)

Then to louse being to spoil or ruin something (an Americanism!), which can come from the same altogether contemptible person – louse – or be partial, a one-off act of disruption. To louse in this sense I consider as a dynamic verb, one of action, rather than a stative one, a state of being, which is best left with the contemptible louse, ideally alone, lousing. One off, revealed actions, whose actions can be seen as distinct, as discrete lumpings of quanta. Keeping in mind that these re/appearances of disruption only allow us into the study of ongoingness at momentary points, but ultimately do not claim to pacify them, for “after the Empress had seen the shapes of these monstrous Creatures, she desir’d to know, Whether their Microscopes could hinder their biting, or at least shew some means how to avoid them? To which they answered, That such Arts were mechanical and below the study of Microscopial observations.”1616 – Margaret Cavendish, The Description of a New World, Called The Blazing-World (1666): https://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/c/cavendish/margaret/blazing_world/chapter1.html (Accessed 11 June 2019)

© Arieh Frosh, 2019