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AWADmail Issue 438

A Weekly Compendium of Feedback on the Words in A.Word.A.Day and Tidbits about Words and Language

This week's Email of the Week winner is Joe Schermoly (see below), the sm(art)ist kid on the block.


From: Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)
Subject: Interesting stories from the net

Englishization of Corporate Japan:
CNN

The Tweet Police Are Watching:
The Web of Language


From: Linda Wexler (linda.wexler nielsen.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--in situ
Def: In the original place.

Ah, this word brings me back to the days of my summer high school classes in archaeology, when we were instructed to leave all our finds "in situ" so they could be examined in context before being removed for further analysis.


From: George Cowgill (cowgill asu.edu)
Subject: in situ

"In situ" is used all the time by archaeologists. Only once have I heard a very young student refer to something as "out of situ", terminology not well received.


From: Daphne Soundy (daphnesoundy googlemail.com)
Subject: in situ

Some 15 years ago I was devastated to be told, after I'd had a mole removed, that I had had a squamous cell carcinoma 'in situ'. When I eventually discovered that 'in situ' meant it hadn't spread anywhere and was a pre-cancerous state, I was very relieved. Oddly my doctor at the time did not know what 'in situ' meant and seemed as panic-stricken as I was.


From: Madhavan (ndmadhavan yahoo.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--in situ

Being a Civil Engineer I was interested to know how this is being used. In civil engineering "in situ" is connected with concreting. More generally, the concrete poured in column or slabs where the formwork is in place to hold the concrete until its initial setting time. Other type of concrete is pre-cast concrete, mostly costed as slabs.


From: Umair Saquib (zon4you gmail.com)
Subject: A.Word.A.Day--in situ

In situ also refers to a type of wildlife conservation in which the flora and the fauna are conserved and preserved in their natural environment.


From: Ellen Amy Cohen (ellencohen louisglick.com)
Subject: Wherefore
Def: For what reason?

I am surprised you didn't mention the common misuse of "wherefore" -- many people seem to think it means "where". Shakespeare's line in Romeo and Juliet: "Wherefore art thou Romeo?" was meant literally as "Why are you Romeo?", that is, why did he have to be someone from the rival family? Over the years, however, so many people have taken this to mean "Where are you, Romeo?", possibly because Juliet is leaning over a balcony at the time, and maybe readers think he's hidden in the bushes.


From: Harry Grainger (the.harry gmail.com)
Subject: Wherefore

So often, wherefore is mistakenly taken to mean "where" instead of "why". Classic UK TV comedy sketch had Juliet calling to an empty balcony "Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?" followed by the sound of a toilet flush and the appearance of said swain, accompanied by raucous laughter from the audience.


From: George Hildebrand (george.h videotron.ca)
Subject: Wherefore

But wherefore says she not she is unjust?
And wherefore say not I that I am old?
O love's best habit is in seeming trust,
And age in love loves not to have years told.
Shakespeare, of course, Sonnet 138.
(for the elderly only)


From: Lawrence Crumb (lcrumb uoregon.edu)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--wherefore

My favorite example is "Never mind the why and wherefore, love can level ranks and therefore ..." in HMS Pinafore.


From: Douglas V G. Rathbun (douglas rathbun.net)
Subject: Wherefore

You missed the opportunity to provide a simpler definition for wherefore: why. Indeed, your definition, "for what reason", is pretty much the same as the definition for "why". So wherefore not just say it means "why"?

It also makes clear the most famous instance of wherefore that modern speakers are familiar with: "Wherefore art thou Romeo?" Today, a teenage girl would poignantly plead, "why, why must it be this way?"

I'd also add that many Germanic languages still have this word -- wofuer in German, waarvoor in Dutch, varfor in Swedish -- each meaning, essentially, a different shade of "why".


From: Janet Dalbec (sdalbec aloha.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--ex gratia
Def: As a favor or gesture of goodwill, rather than from any legal requirement.

In Hawaii, folks say manuahi loosely translates as 'free, because I love you'.

And when we travel, we bring back small gifts we hope are unique to the region we visit for which the Japanese word is omiyage.

As always, I am so grateful for AWAD. I signed up years ago when the Smithsonian magazine printed an article about it. You all are a shining example of the best of the Internet.


From: Richard M Stallman (rms gnu.org)
Subject: In toto
Def: Totally; as a whole.

"In toto" is how Dorothy responded when the witch asked her where the magic sausage was.


From: Joseph Spenner (joseph85750 yahoo.com)
Subject: Adverbs: How we learned what they are

Hopefully you will remember when Saturday morning was educational! (YouTube)


From: Andrew Pressburger (andpress sympatico.ca)
Subject: Adverbs

Dynamic markings in musical scores may be regarded as adverbs, even if normally they function as various other parts of speech. Allegro, presto, forte are supposed to be adjectives. "Do it fortissimo (superlative of forte, marked ff or even fff)", the conductor exhorts his charges in the finale of the Fifth Symphony. The ending of the 1812 Overture is played fortisissimo (ffff, my coinage for when the orchestra goes ballistic).

Then there are the gerund adverbs and adverbial phrases: crescendo, scherzando, accelerando. "Leaving one by one while playing diminuendo, the band melts away by the end of Haydn's Farewell Symphony." "Sarah Brightman exits the stage, shrilly (adverb) screaming (participle) at the top of her lungs (adverbial phrase)."

Traurend schrecklich (mournfully awful). As an acerbic critic once remarked, "Beware: Bocelli is waiting in the wings."


From: Robin Sutherland (sfsland aol.com)
Subject: adverbs

I used to think that words ending in -ly could be adverbs only. But then one day I witnessed some poor wretch being exposed to contumely from a surly crowd...


Email of the Week - (Brought to you by One Up!)

From: Joe Schermoly (howzitjs gmail.com)
Subject: adverbs in HP5

There is an amazing handwritten version of Stephen King's review of Harry Potter 5 that I once read immediately after its release in which he expresses his admiration for JK Rowling and the story that she has created and the development of the plot and character, and also the development of her writing. But one of his last comments is her total overuse of adverbs, especially "angrily", as Harry begins to get into puberty and the world implodes on him and his general reaction to everything is anger. It was such a good review, and this week's theme reminded me of it.


A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
The words of some men are thrown forcibly against you and adhere like burrs. -Henry David Thoreau, naturalist and author (1817-1862)
Nov 21, 2010
This week's theme
Adverbs

This week's words
in situ
wherefore
ex gratia
therewithal
in toto

Next week's theme
Words borrowed from Yiddish

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