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AWADmail Issue 659

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

Sponsor’s message: Do you love Byron? Big words? And Indians? You’re in luck: we’re practically giving away all three over here at ONEUPMANSHIP -- where playing mind games is always wicked fun. Seriously, this week’s Email of the Week winner, Jean Grant (see below), as well as all AWADers everywhere, can take 5% off everything on the site, and maybe even learn something worthwhile in the bargain. Use coupon code “V”. Hurry’up!

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

How Spelling Keeps Kids From Learning
The Atlantic

Pronouns Matter When Psyching Yourself Up
Harvard Business Review

Universal Human Bias for Positive Words

From: Trish Graboske (grabosket yahoo.com)
Subject: recrudescence

One of my favorite stories is The Recrudescence of Imray by Rudyard Kipling. It’s both a chilling ghost story and a tragedy of East-West misunderstanding.

Trish Graboske, Rockville, Maryland

From: Akkana Peck (akkana shallowsky.com)
Subject: recrudescence

This word is what I think about in fall, not spring, because of a wonderful little poem I saw posted to a bird list in response to the question, “Why are a few birds singing in autumn just before they fly south for the winter?”

The Autumnal Recrudescence of the Amatory Urge
by Susan Stiles, 1973

When the birds are cacaphonic in the trees and on the verge
Of the fields in mid-October when the cold is like a scourge.
It is not delight in winter that makes feathered voices surge,
But autumnal recrudescence of the amatory urge.

When the frost is on the punkin and when leaf and branch diverge,
Birds with hormones reawakened sing a paean, not a dirge.
What’s the reason for their warbling? Why on earth this late-year splurge?
The autumnal recrudescence of the amatory urge.

Akkana Peck, San Jose, California

Email of the Week (Brought to you by ONEUPMANSHIP -- Love. (Save) Money. Party.)

From: Jean Grant (Jeangrantj aol.com)
Subject: comportment

When I was very young there was a column on our report cards for deportment. I never knew its exact meaning until now. I had some idea though, because I always had a comment such as “talks too much in class”, doesn’t raise hand before speaking”, etc. This remains true to this day. Guess I have some work to do even at my advanced age.

Jean Grant, Orlando, Florida

From: Dave Marks (dmarks gate.net)
Subject: Quotation from Darwin

Re: the quotation:

The difference in mind between man and the higher animals, great as it is, certainly is one of degree and not of kind.
-Charles Darwin, naturalist and author (12 Feb 1809-1882)

An unscientific remark, if ever there was one... like he’d know? And let’s see any evidence at all for a sense of morality, of right and wrong, in animals.

Dave Marks, Fort Lauderdale, Florida

That’s a bit like saying, “Laws of motion ... like Newton would know!” About the sense of morality in animals, it’s well established now that animals have morals and distinguish right from wrong. This video should get you started.
-Anu Garg

From: Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)
Subject: Limericks

Some readers have been sharing their limericks based on words in A.Word.A.Day. You can post them at the web page of a word or email them to (words at wordsmith.org) and we’ll pick some for the end-of-week review in AWADmail. Here’s this week’s selection:

A teacher began his exordium
When he noticed the kids all ignored him
So he stopped and asked why
And the kids weren’t shy
They said that the subject had bored ‘em.

-Bob Thompson, New Plymouth, New Zealand (bobtee xtra.co.nz)

In marriage sometimes the mood lessens
But here’s how to have recrudescence
If during the day
You rehearse “Shades of Grey”,
At night you may find your lewd essence.

-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Pilgrim Pat was put in the stocks,
And assaulted with jeers and gawks,
For drinking too much rum,
Punishment of arm and head locks.

-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

A woman with split personality,
Now vile, now sweet geniality,
Had daily comportment
In quite an assortment
But none involved good punctuality.

-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Joanna, refusing to kiss the dude,
Said, I can’t understand your vicissitude.
One minute you’re leering
Then panting, then sneering,
Then oozing with phony solicitude.

-Gil Hillman, Madison, Wisconsin (grhillman post.harvard.edu)

From: M.P. Chevrette (I_Humanist msn.com)
Subject: New York Accent On Its Way Out, Linguists Say

Re: the link in last week’s AWADmail: New York Accent On Its Way Out, Linguists Say.

My son nearly died of thirst in elementary school when his teachers could not understand that he wanted some ‘waduh’.

Despite weeding out my added ‘r’s (‘idear’), cultivating good diction, and conscientiously teaching him correct grammar and usage, I still passed on the dialect I had learned as a child to my own child.

New York patois may someday survive only in the movies. As the Cowardly Lion might roar: “The noive!”

M.P. Chevrette, South Hadley, Massachusetts

The living language is like a cow-path: it is the creation of the cows themselves, who, having created it, follow it or depart from it according to their whims or their needs. From daily use, the path undergoes change. A cow is under no obligation to stay. -E.B. White, writer (1899-1985)

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