The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

a correction

  • Pin It
leemid's picture
leemid

a correction

Sorry for posting this, and my arms are up and about my head for the expected, and perhaps deserved, reaction. I believe the little things are important. Appearance is important. The right words are important.

Okay, here goes... When we refer to the person, we say artisan, which Webster defines as, "one that produces something (as cheese or wine) in limited quantities often using traditional methods". Therefore, when we refer to the bread we make, we say artisanal, meaning made by, not from artisans...

Sorry. Go ahead and let me have it. I have ducked and covered.

And while I am at it, why do we, at least we Americans, say 'go ahead' and do something, instead of just doing it without going ahead first?

Okay, I can hear the crickets against the still background of dead silence...

Lee

Floydm's picture
Floydm

The term perhaps should have been "artisanal bread" but, no, most poeple do not refer to it as artisanal bread. Google finds over 130,000 references to "artisan bread", with only around 19,000 for "artisanal bread".

I believe that language evolves and that actual usage defines what is correct, not what grammarians say is correct. The job of a dictionary is to capture how people are (or have) used language to communicate effectively, not to bind us to unchanging set of rules. That said, I do think people (myself included) should try to learn the rules as captured by grammarians and only deviate from then when it improves one's ability to communicate effectively.

My father is a writer and my mother and sister are editors, so I have given this thought and discussed this with them before putting "Artisan Bread" in the masthead. I will continue to use "artisan bread" because it is the term most people use to refer to what we make.

JMonkey's picture
JMonkey

... one rule I've absolutely always hated is the rule about not ending a sentence with a preposition. As Churchill reputedly remarked, "Madame, that is a rule up with which I shall not put." Many of our grammar "rules" come from medieval and Rennaissance grammarians who were attempting to legitimize their own languages by shoehorning them into Latin grammar, instead of simply describing the how the languages themselves were actually spoken. Check out any grammar book that's more prescriptive than descriptive, and, I guarrantee, you'll find instances where the authors break their own rules, presumably because following the rules didn't sound natural -- likely, they didn't even notice they were breaking the rules in the first place.

In any case, Artisan Bread is not incorrect, I believe, even if one wants to be a grammar pedant. Using a noun as an adjective to describe another noun is very common, as in: fire truck, bath water or police station. "Artisanal" may be the right adjective, but it appears our ears prefer to use "artisan" instead.

And, with that rant off my chest, I hereby sumberge back into topicality ....

Susan's picture
Susan

Great discussion, and one I've spent some time considering.  You two took the words right out of my mouth!  Here here!
Susan

Bear08's picture
Bear08

That's funny, when I google artisnanl breads I get over 76,000 results, and I get over 95,000 results for artisanal bread recipes.

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Try putting the phrases in quotes.

Without quotes, you are getting back pages that contain both the word "artisanal" and the word "bread". With quotes, you get back pages with the exact phrase "artisanal bread" in it.

ross's picture
ross

go ahead, as in, 'go ahead [of me] and do it.'

that's what comes to mind first....

redivyfarm's picture
redivyfarm

My friend teaches English for Berlitz and says that she can't begin to explain some of our usages. She cites the word "get".  She has not found a translation for a word that we don't even think about but insert all the time to mean very different things.

 

BROTKUNST's picture
BROTKUNST

I think the distinction about the proper wording is artis-anal .

BROTKUNST

T4tigger's picture
T4tigger

A few of the idiosyncracies of our Mother tongue:

You have 1 house, and 1 mouse...but you have 2 houses and 2 MICE....why don't we have 2 mouses or 2 hice?

The same is true for goose and moose....goose/geese; moose/meese?

We park on driveways and drive on parkways.  Alarm clocks go off by turning on.

Phonetically, you can spell the word 'fish' ghoti......gh sounds like 'f' as in 'enough'   the 'o' in the word 'women' sounds like a short I, and 'tion' sounds like 'shun' so the 'ti' makes the 'sh' sound!

Try teaching language arts to elementary schoolers!!!! 

leemid's picture
leemid

Alright, I'll bring my arms down since y'all are so nice. But the real purpose of a dictionary and grammarians is to keep us able to understand one another. As languages mixed into American English (oxymoron) and we were headed to where we are now, someone had to keep us from descending into geographically based dialects (which is usually why there are dialects) that would have made less sense than our language does now. The success of this is demonstrated in our ability to understand and be understood by other "English" speaking people around the world. Unfortunately, as we have failed to properly teach our children our language (My Fair Lady), our sloppy-tongued children (and ourselves, but better to blame it on them) polute the (lol) purity of it.

Next point: proper grammer DOES impress all of us, whether we admit it, and whether we require ourselves to use it. Case in point, would you hire a lawyer to keep you out of jail who spoke 'sloppy-tongued' or one with accurate grammer? Some of you will go either way here, but if you haven't ever sat on a jury you don't realize that many cases are at least influenced if not decided outright by the properness of the attorneys. Hence my point that we should represent ourselves as best we can, rising ourselves (fermenting?) above the commoner folk.

TMSAISTI

Lee

mountaindog's picture
mountaindog

I'm not so sure proper grammar (spelled with an "a" BTW) really impresses us as much as you think, look who was elected president the past two terms...(sorry, just couldn't resist that one...I just finished watching Jon Stewart...)

browndog's picture
browndog

Dear Lee, in my heart I'm with you, I LOVE language and find it beyond fascinating that mere vibrations within our ears or figures on a page can hold such beauty or be so evocative. But we have LANGUAGE, I often think, how can we NOT understand each other? How can we NOT resolve issues, when we have this extraordinary resource? More fool me, apparently, but anyway, I do have a penchant for 'good' English (and I hear all you British folks snickering.) I want it used CORRECTLY...10 items or less makes me froth, don'tcha know, but I've come grudgingly to accept, even appreciate that language is living, it's as fluid as a flock of sheep in motion. Those of us with a pedantic blush may hold an hour in 24, but convenience and sound appeal will always carry the day, eh? Maggie Glezer in Artisan Baking gives this topic a nod--she allows that while we are correct to expect artisanal bread, it's just too cumbersome to say. As simple as that, and you know she's right. Really you gotta love it--the ultimate democracy in action. (Pollute, Lee. It's got two Ls. I'm also a spelling cop. Apparently mountaindog and I work the same beat. Paddyscake, could we have a word with you?)

leemid's picture
leemid

Sorry about my typing. The spelling errors were unintentional and I was under the gun. Apologies for failures is a good course, I believe. I think we would have forgiven Nixon had he asked to be.

So let me finally get serious, for this whole thing was in jest when it began. I too have used artisan incorrectly, and continue to do so in company where I know it will be understood when artisanal might not be. So I will not be one to actually cast the first stone. But to carry the logic of justification just a little further, not even to the logical end, if you justify your usage of the admittedly incorrect 'artisan' based on common usage and the acceptibility to an 'expert' on the subject of artisanal breads, not linguistics, why do you correct my spelling? Why don't we spell fish 'ghoti'? It is because no one would understand. I am one who believes truth is truth, and right is right. Black and white are only gray (grey for you Brits) when they move so fast we can't see them individually. I believe allowing ourselves the sloppiness of little things prepares us to accept much greater breakdown in societal structure. However, that gets dangerously close to polluting this site with a subject we bake bread in order to forget about...

My favorite response to this nonsense is artis-anal, because after all, we are all a bit anal about our bread. Who in the world other than people like us would care about solving the problems related to making 90% hydration WW bread? The heart behind this light-hearted posting was that we should also be anal about our excellence in all aspects of life. But hey, if I had said that, who would have cared? As it turned out, I have had a lot of fun bouncing off some really fun people. Whooda thunk?

Lee

Floydm's picture
Floydm

I think you contradict yourself. The reason we spell fish as "fish" is because people understand "fish" to signify a fish; if they understood "ghoti" to represent a fish then, yes, we would use that instead, just like we use other words that break our standard English rules of grammar. You either put understand first and allow the language to evolve or you put the rules first, set up an institute to enforce those rules and you end up... well... French.

The reason we call what we bake "artisan bread" is because it is most commonly understood signifier for what we make regardless of what the rules of proper grammar say (I was almost tempted to say "irregardless" to really set people off, though I hate that word too). Feel free to do a field test: ask 100 people what they call fancy breads made by hand by home bakers or in village bakeries. I promise you well over half will say "artisan bread" or "artisan baking". If communicating with people in a language they understand is what we want to do, then we bite our tongues and accept their terminology. We are their peers, not a priesthood.

browndog's picture
browndog

Pleese don't take offense, I knew they were typos, couldn't resist the nudge. It may not be strictly a bread thread but it's certainly captured a few imaginations. Want to add that although I like a good universal truth as well as the next baker, oddly enough mine may not be the same as yours, and I think language is more a function of dare I say biology rather than morality. What I mean by that is the purest purpose of language is communication, as Floyd says, and the trappings of language are arbitrary to the max, as per JMonkey's post. We don't even have the weight of tradition on our side in any significant sense--you realize that within 50 years usage proscriptions are often showing their age, and after a hundred years or more such nicities can easily become archaic or obsolete. Not to even mention the cyclical nature of the rules. All that being said, I will not deny that in essense you are right, for good or ill our society dictates that clothes 'make' the man and certainly the comments of an articulate person are among the delights of my world. But you may as well try to stop the ocean as to try and freeze language, and as you suggest, why fret over nuance when there's bread fresh out of the oven?

leemid's picture
leemid

Amen. There, I've said it again.

Still...

That's my story, and I'm stickin' to it.

That's my life and all that I've got.

Call me a liar, call me a writer,

Believe me or not...

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

You rang? What an interesting group we are..all sorts of interest and expertise  :  )

browndog's picture
browndog

yor geting off with a warning this time.

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

Thank you ma'am!!!!

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

I thought we were talking about bred hear !!! Knot understand are language, imagine that! Eye guess eye must bee one of the commoner folk  :  D

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I finally get my lap top running and check in here to "catch up" and what do I find? Discussions on writing?  I suppose that makes some sense since our main art of communication is writing, creative writing.  Can I feel intimidated? 
I found my rye flour in the cupboard and wanted to just roll in it, tossing it all over the place!  I chose not to.  I went instead to the bakery and bought a quarter loaf; that's 1/4 of a 4 kg round; and a bag of sesame seed kaiser rolls for breakfast.  Yum Yum  Jet lag is not so bad, I get up with the birdies and get to watch the sun rise at the bakery.  They open 6 am here and I can even have coffee!  Nothing like the smell of fresh baked bread!  
The dog and cat food problem does not exist here, tighter controls. I've gotta run and put the bags of plastic recycle on the curb.  Mini Oven

auzziewog's picture
auzziewog

Shiver me timbers, and I thought that Artisanal was an analy retentive artist or something like that only to find an Artisanal cheese website also!!  But I still prefer to eat an artisan bread rather then an artisanal one just this thought -

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

those who make video recordings of themselves "Don't try this at home, stunts performed by professional" anal-retentive guys selling uncut versions for a second go around.

Artisanal breads.  Are we practicing Artisanalismus?       Mini Oven