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AWADmail Issue 213

June 11, 2006

A Weekly Compendium of Feedback on the Words in A.Word.A.Day and Other Interesting Tidbits about Words and Languages


From: Mike Kitney (mikekitneyATwestnet.com.au)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--internationalization

I seems the word "internationalization" with its "z" is one of many signs of the Americanisation of the English language.


From: Ken Yap (etherbootATgmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--internationalization

The abbreviation i18n also avoids picking sides between internationalization and internationalisation. Ditto for l10n.


From: William Johnson (billwwjATatt.net)
Subject: droog (Re: A.Word.A.Day--honorificabilitudinity)

In the message for Tuesday, June 6, the word "droog" was listed in the quotation from U.S. News and World Report, along with "dweeb" and "droop", as an apparently English slang word, meaning "a member of a gang" and "a young ruffian". If memory serves me, this word is found in the 1960s' novel A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess, which is written in a carefully crafted fusion of English and Russian slang. "Droog" is actually the Russian word for "friend", which agrees with the meaning given in the quotation. Other such Russianisms in the novel are "kleb" for "bread", "horrorshow" for "good", and "on my oddy nocky" for "on my own". It is perhaps worth mentioning that some readers unfamiliar with Russian thought "droog" was a variant pronunciation of the English word "drug", and Burgess was therefore unjustly criticized for popularizing drug use.


From: Lora Gunning (ldvger2ATaol.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--antidisestablishmentarianism

I first learned this word when I was about eight years old (1962) and it was taught to me by my parents, ardent democrats both, who both also believed very firmly in a strong separation between church and state. I was told it was the longest word in the dictionary and my father sat me down at the kitchen table and took the word apart for me, so that I might understand both its meaning and the meanings of the various parts of the word. When I saw that very long words were to be the topic of this week, I was hoping antidisestablishmentarianism would be among the words you chose. In many ways, it was this word, learned as an eight-year-old child, that gave birth to my love of all words... and their meanings.


From: David Mercer (david.mercerATssigroup.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--antidisestablishmentarianism

As an Alabama citizen, today's word actually has some use, though I must admit surprise that the noun "-ism" form is the oft-cited prototypical example of a long word when its legitimate adjectival "-istic" form is two letters longer. Use, in reference to last night's election results:

"Incumbent Bob Riley defeated his antidisestablishmentarianistic challenger, Roy Moore, in yesterday's Republican primary for Governor."

The even longer 34-letter adverbial "-istically" could also legitimately be used to describe Roy Moore's actions a couple of years ago:

"Chief Justice Roy Moore was deposed for acting antidisestablishmentarianistically when he refused the US Supreme Court's order to take down his monument of the Ten Commandments."


From: Miles Jordan (boogiewoogieATmindspring.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--antidisestablishmentarianism

On Sep 30, 1947 Duke Ellington and His Orchestra recorded "You're Just an old antidisestablishmentarianismist." Trumpeter/violinist Ray Nance was the vocalist.


From: Barbara Wills (barbara.willsATstate.co.us)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis

"Silicosis" and "black lung" are not synonymous. Silicosis is also known as "brown lung" and is a fibrotic lung disease caused by exposure to crystalline silica dust (rock mining where the rocks are silicaceous, for example), while "black lung" refers to coal pneumoconiosis and is a fibrotic lung disease caused by coal dust. Silicosis, coal pneumoconiosis, and asbestosis are the three major occupational lung diseases associated with inorganic dust exposures.


From: Shalini Srivastava (shalsriAThotmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis

You wrote:
And what's the shortest word in the English language? There are a number of them: A, I, O, but we'll have to give it to I which is the skinniest as well.

But "I" is always inflated with ego ;-)


From: Vaughn Hathaway (pastorvehATcs.com)
Subject: Longest word

You said,
A question I often hear (or read) is: "What is the longest word in the English Language?" My answer: "Depends."

Actually, when it comes to "Depends", that is not the only right question to ask. Possible correct question to ask is: "What is the most absorbent material in the world?" Or, "Do men like briefs or boxers?" The answer: "It all 'Depends'."

    Vaughn Hathaway with words! -Anu Garg


From: John Foyston (johnfoystonATnews.oregonian.com)
Subject: longest word

My dear old Nottingham-born, Kipling-reciting, never-lost-his-English-accent granddad asked me this question when I was a boy, and being a serious young lad, I said that my dad had told me about the town in Wales whose name is so long that its railroad name sign is often stolen by souvenir hunters. He said, "No, that's not it --- it's smiles, because there's a mile between the first and the last s.


From: Pierre Hullin (phullinATcisco.com)
Subject: longest word in French The expansion ratio of French over English is known to be 20% positive. As a spoken language, that is. In this case, when you just compare the two words, coming from the same root and etymology, this ratio reaches 40%! Well... This is just a game.


From: Katy Zei (katyzeiATgmail.com)
Subject: longest word in Italian

It's not English, but "precipitevolissimevolmente" is the longest word in the Italian language, and ironically it means "really, really fast" even though it takes forever to say.


From: Perry Sorenson (perry.sorensonAToutrigger.com)
Subject: Looong words

This week's theme reminds me of my days in Germany, where there is no hesitation to combine words to have polysyllabic wonders. Friends I knew there, also Americans, had young children, who were very adept in picking up the language, and the wonders of putting words together to make new words. Frustrated at not knowing the word for "fly swatter" one of their children came up with "das Fliegentotschlagerdings" "the thing that kills flies". Longer than "Fliegenklatche" but certainly more descriptive.


From: Teresa Schubert (tschuberATemail.unc.edu)
Subject: another long word

Another long word for today. Note the date - 6/6/06.

Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobic: a fear of the number 666 or variants thereof, from a Biblical verse linking the number to "the beast". From BBC News and Wikipedia.


From: Mike Reed (telefilmATmegaweb.co.za)
Subject: Longest word in the English language

Users of English are perhaps spared some of the long, long words encountered in other languages. In Afrikaans, as in certain other languages, the components of place names and the names of organizations are written as one word, as in Cape Town - Kaapstad. As a teenager in the late fifties, I used to ride my bicycle to school up a hill past the Headquarters of the South African National Fuel Research Institute. The name, both in English and in Afrikaans, was painted in big letters on the wall. The Afrikaans version, which took about two minutes to pedal past, was Suidafrikaansenationalebrandstofnavorsingsinstituut.


From: Larry Berger (larry_bergerATcomcast.net)
Subject: Long word candidate

Of course, if proper nouns are allowed, there's always, Lake Chawgogagogmanchawgagogchawbunagungamog here in Massachusetts. And that one probably stands up quite well against any word from Scotland or Wales, but that's really an attempt to create an English word out of one that comes from some [American] Indian dialect. I believe that it translates to something like the following: "You fish on your side of the lake; I'll fish on my side of the lake; and neither of us will fish in the middle."


From: Betty Bryant (bettyrobATsti.net)
Subject: Abbey's quotation

If my decomposing carcass helps nourish the roots of a juniper tree or the wings of a vulture - that is immortality enough for me. -Edward Abbey, naturalist and author (1927-1989)

What a wonderful quotation! Thank you so much. I can think of very few things less fulfilling than being in a box or metal urn throughout eternity.

We take our friend, when his time has come, out into the woods. I sit on the ground with him, with his head in my lap, stroking his face and telling him what a good dog he is, or what a sweet kitty he has always been, and my husband aims carefully, because, after all, he has tears in his eyes, too, and then we leave him there. I could wish for nothing better for myself, but ...

I am not going to be so lucky. We are fortunate enough to live in the mountains, with no neighbors, but even so, my absence MIGHT be missed. And there are laws.

Thank you for providing Edward Abbey's words so that I can express what I have always felt, but didn't know how to say.


From: David Goldblatt, MD (dgoldblattmdATverizon.net)
Subject: redux redux

It was interesting to see that you used a postpositive adjective, "restored", in translating the New Brunswick motto, "Spem reduxit." The proper translation, however, is not "hope restored" but "He [she, or it] restored hope." Spem is the accusative of "spes" (hope) and "reduxit" is the past tense of the verb "reducere" (literally, lead back). I say all this in honor of my high school Latin teacher, Dr. Dilly. I think she would be pleased that I remember her much more fondly than she would have believed at the time (of any of us: she made us work "too hard").


Think like a wise man but communicate in the language of the people. -William Butler Yeats, poet, dramatist, essayist, Nobel laureate (1865-1939)

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