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AWADmail Issue 476

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

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

Why It's Smart to Be Bilingual

In Search of Language's Missing Link
New Scientist

From: Jack L. Yohay (jlyohay nava21.ne.jp)
Subject: paseo
Def: 1. A leisurely stroll. 2. A place or path designed for walking. 3. A street or boulevard.

The chorus of the Spanish Revolutionary song "Venga Jaleo" ends with the wishful "Franco se va paseo" -- Franco is on his way out.

Jack L. Yohay, Mie-ken, Japan

From: Gordon Cowell (gordoncowell yahoo.com)
Subject: paseo

During the Spanish Civil War, the word took on a more sinister meaning. "Dar el paseo" came to mean taking someone out of their house, or prison cell, to be shot. Fortunately, this meaning is not currently in use.

Also, Mitsubishi rapidly changed the name of their 4X4 Pajero to Montero for marketing in Spain, when they were informed that the original name is a slang word for an onanist. Funnily enough, there hadn't been a great rush to buy the model under the original name!

Gordon Cowell, Salamanca, Spain

From: David Warnick (dlwarnick1 gmail.com)
Subject: paseo

When I was a young man, at the end of the last ice age, the paseo in Mexico was a leisurely evening walk around the city square, taken by young men and women. The men walking clockwise around the outer perimeter. The women walked counter-clockwise around the inner perimeter while their chaperones, or duenas, sat in the middle of the square, casting an always disapproving eye on everyone. There was, of course, a great deal of flirting between the two slow-moving circles.

David Warnick, DuPont, Washington

From: Patrick McCord (pmccord9 gmail.com)
Subject: paseo

A paseo in the flamenco dance tradition is a lively section. Here's from Oxford Grove Music Encyclopedia:

"Accompaniment is normally played on a guitar (or more than one guitar), which provides an introduction and has a dual role as both solo and accompanying instrument; the accompaniment takes three styles, rasgueado (strumming), paseo (lively melodic passage-work), and falsetas (improvised interludes)."

Patrick McCord, Athens, Georgia

From: Alain Gottcheiner (agot ulb.ac.be)
Subject: paseo

The most common use of the Spanish word paseo is as the name of the march of the torero and his helpers past the officials' stand to the sound of a paso doble.

Alain Gottcheiner, Brussels, Belgium

From: Andrew Nahem (nahem chairgiant.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--paseo

The street I grew up on in Berkeley, CA had a path in the middle of the block leading up into the hills, called, maddeningly El Paseo Path. I used to call it "The Path Path".

Andrew Nahem, New York, New York

From: F.J. Bergmann (demiurge fibitz.com)
Subject: Accord
Def: noun: 1. A formal agreement. 2. Agreement or harmony. verb tr. To grant. verb intr. To fit in or to be harmonious.

How can you resist including the delightful passage from Ambrose Bierce's Devil's Dictionary, which defines "accord" as "harmony", and "accordion" as "an instrument in harmony with the sentiments of an assassin"?

F.J. Bergmann, Madison, Wisconsin

From: Stacey Blau (seblau alum.mit.edu)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--impresa
Def: An emblem or device, usually with a motto.

If you take the spelling of the car name as-is, you can get a rather different meaning in another language. Impreza in Polish means event, performance, or party. Surely this, too, could be a fit.

Stacey Blau, Miami, Florida

From: Andrew Mace (herald948 aol.com)
Subject: A.Word.A.Day -- corolla
Def: The petals of a flower as a group.


"From Latin corolla (little garland), diminutive of corona (wreath, crown, garland), from Greek korone (crown, anything curved)"

I suspect I won't be the first to point out that when introduced, Toyota's Corolla was a smaller sibling to their Corona model.

Andrew Mace, East Nassau, New York

Email of the Week sponsored by Old's Cool - Aren't you hot in that?

From: Sheree Wilson (sheree.wilson shaw.ca)
Subject: corolla

This word reminded me of two wonderful professors, Ursuline nuns and biological sisters, who taught literature at Brescia College. Their religious names were Sister Carola and Sister Corona. We just couldn't resist referring to them as the Toyota Twins!

Sheree Wilson, Sault Ste. Marie, Canada

From: Wade Wilkerson (wwaaddee aol.com)
Subject: Corolla

A Japanese immigrant to the US and friend, said he was surprised in the mid-1960s when Toyota named a model Corolla since the Japanese have trouble pronouncing Ls and Rs. He said having Ls and Rs in adjacent syllables made proper pronunciation almost impossible for most native Japanese speakers. As an example, he said a most difficult tongue twister for him when he was learning English was "Rural parallel railroad tracks."

Wade Wilkerson, Bradenton, Florida

From: Michael Tremberth (michaelt4two googlemail.com)
Subject: Corolla: hydrophobic reaction

As they close their corollas on rainy days to protect their pollen, you can imagine flowers singing: "Raindrops keep falling on my head ..."

Michael Tremberth, St Erth, Cornwall, UK

From: Michael Sivertz (sivertz bnl.gov)
Subject: Car names

Two car names that must have been switched at birth: an incredibly boxy little minivan known as the Expresso. And the beautiful little Porsche sports buggy called the Boxster.

Michael Sivertz, Upton, New York

From: Art Wegweiser (art bmwcsregistry.org)
Subject: Car Names

So many car names are warped spelling of known words or flat out nonsense words. Some are badly timed -- in 1939 there was a Studebaker model called the Dictator! Perhaps that helped its later demise. I can't recall which but there was a car model whose name in a language other than English was an obscenity. And then there was the Japanese "Rosebud" -- obviously not used in the USA. I think that a while back another Japanese was advertised here (rather briefly) as the Zero. No doubt a Mitsubishi.

Art Wegweiser, Allison Park, Pennsylvania

From: Gerry Hoffmann (gerbear cocreatives.biz)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--impresa

I write ads for a living, and do commercials for a local car dealer. There have been many odd car names over the years. Funnier still, is when cars are marketed in other countries. In 2008, HuffPost came up with a list of the most unfortunate choices. That article also has reader contributed names.

Gerry Hoffmann, Kalamazoo, Michigan

From: Michael Murphy (mike.a.murphy faa.gov)
Subject: paseo

Funny they named a car for a "stroll". Shark week just finished, but I didn't see any more Hyundai "Tiburons" on the road than normal. Many times, I've noted a new model on the road and wondered, "why would the car company call it that?" Like the Citation (driving too fast in that?), Prelude (to what?), Tribute, Probe, and Esteem. Curious, and sometimes inappropriate for the vehicle.

Michael Murphy, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

From: Karen Leach (keml sbec.com)
Subject: This week's theme...

This week's theme reminded me instantly of this joke, one of my favorites: What would Jesus drive? Most people assume WWJD is for "What would Jesus do?" But the initials really stand for "What would Jesus drive?"

One theory is that Jesus would tool around in an old Plymouth because "the Bible says God drove Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden in a Fury".

But in Psalm 83, the Almighty clearly owns a Pontiac and a Geo. The passage urges the Lord to "pursue your enemies with your Tempest and terrify them with your Storm".

Perhaps God favors Dodge pickup trucks, because Moses's followers are warned not to go up a mountain "until the Ram's horn sounds a long blast".

Some scholars insist that Jesus drove a Honda but didn't like to talk about it. As proof, they cite a verse in St. John's gospel where Christ tells the crowd, "For I did not speak of my own Accord."

Meanwhile, Moses rode an old British motorcycle, as evidenced by a Bible passage declaring, "the roar of Moses's Triumph is heard in the hills".

Joshua drove a Triumph sports car with a hole in its muffler: "Joshua's Triumph was heard throughout the land." And, following the Master's lead, the Apostles car-pooled in a Honda: "The Apostles were in one Accord."

Karen Leach, Houston, Texas

From George Pajari (george pajari.ca)
Subject: Car names (and puns)

Certainly the masterpiece of car-name punning must be Todd Butler's classic The Car Song.

George Pajari, West Vancouver, Canada

From: Alex Merseburger (mmenest tin.it)
Subject: automobiles

I recall that early in the sixties, for at least twenty years, Ford of Britain produced cars named after Italian tourist places, Capri and Cortina.

In the same period, 1968 to 1976, the Ford Motor Company produced the model Torino for the American market, that, as far as I'm aware of, has never been sold in Europe.

Alessandro Merseburger, Verona, Italy

From: Georgia Scurletis (georgia thinkmap.com)
Subject: A word lesson from a minivan ad

This week's focus on car names made me think of this examination of the Honda Odyssey minivan ad campaign featuring the portmanteau vanquility.

Georgia Scurletis, New York, New York

From: Tom Sorensen (tsorense usd.edu)
Subject: car names

Among my favorites is Gran Turismo Omologato GTO by Pontiac. Apparently, this means the car model is certified as meeting the specifications as a grand-touring vehicle.

Tom Sorensen, Vermillion South Dakota

From: Doug McCarty (dmc197807 comcast.net)
Subject: Naming of Datsun 240Z

More interesting is the etymology of the famous Datsun 240Z, hot little sports car, was named the Fairlady (and sported that name in Japan throughout the 90s at least, when I was living there). Why, you may ask? Because the chairman of Nissan apparently had a thing for Audrey Hepburn and his favorite movie was My Fair Lady. (He was not alone among the Japanese in this, Audrey was considered the absolute perfectly beautiful woman there for decades, again, probably still true today.) So, how did it get re-named the 240Z? The marketing guy Yutaka Katayama sent over from Japan in the 60s say, "gee, this 'fairlady" name is lame, so he took the last four symbols from the design plans of the car, which happened to be 240Z.

Doug McCarty, Eugene, Oregon

Dictionary: Spell binder. -Joseph F. Morris

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