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AWADmail Issue 732A Weekly Compendium of Feedback on the Words in A.Word.A.Day and Tidbits about Words and Language
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From: Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)
From: Peter Armstrong-See (armstrong-see dlgtele.dk)
In German Knabe (lad, boy) is rather poetic, as in Goethe’s Heidenröslein, devoid of any negative meaning or connotation (unless used ironically).
The meaning of the Danish word knagt (knaegt) falls somewhere in-between the English and the German.
How wondrous, the mutation not only of the words themselves, but also of their meanings.
Peter Armstrong-See, Grevinge, Denmark
From: Rafi Markus (markus netmedia.net.il)
First, knave and knaap (somewhat obsolete Dutch: boy, lad) are related etymologically. Second: in Dutch the letter k in knaap is pronounced, just as it is in knie which means the same as knee.
Rafi Markus, Jerusalem, Israel
From: Gary Loew (GaryWLoew gmail.com)
Well, the initial K may be silent in knave or knight or know, but if you go into a kosher deli and ask for a “nish” they might not know whether you are mispronouncing nosh or knish!
Gary Loew, Atlanta, Georgia
From: Dave Campbell (museumofdave gmail.com)
In the Marx Brothers’ college satire, Horse Feathers, Groucho is Quincy Adams Wagstaff, president of Huxley College. A concerned secretary races into his office to announce that, waiting in an outside office, “The Dean is furious! He’s waxing wroth.” “Is Wroth out there too?” responds Groucho, “Tell Wroth to wax the dean for a while.” (video, 3 min.)
Dave Campbell, Chico, California
From: Keith Allen (keith_allen53 yahoo.com)
This word also means rough or complex and difficult terrain. Commonly used by mountain bikers: “That was some knar (or gnar) terrain!”
Keith Allen, Palmer Lake, Colorado
From: Anthony Shaw (shawpas pacbell.net)
My late wife was of Armenian descent and was thus given an Armenian name, Knar, which is an Armenian musical instrument, usually a harp. She was tiny, therefore I called her Knarig, “little harp”.
Anthony Shaw, Pasadena, California
From: Carolyn Keating (cckeating comcast.net)
In thinking back, I once had a wonderful neighbor who among other talents created interesting bowl, vessels, boxes from interesting pieces of wood. I had a very large holly tree in my front yard which alas had to be cut down -- it was blocking entrance to the house, also darkening two rooms seriously -- hated to lose it, but had to -- to wit -- my neighbor asked if he could have some of the trunk pieces if I were not using them -- I gave them to him of course. I know he made wood plaques with them -- reminded me of the gorgeous bowls crafted from olive tree wood in the Mediterranean -- SO very beautiful, lovely. Unusual grains, swirls in that lovely wood.
Carolyn Keating, Marstons Mills, Massachusetts
From: Gigi Gottwald (gottwalds axxess.co.za)
The word “wrick” is well-known to Germans in the North Sea coast region. The infinitive “wricken”, with the w pronounced as a v, refers to a kind of rowing: the boatman stands at the stern of the boat and wiggles a single oar in the water to propel the boat. It may not sound very efficient, but it works! “Wricken” is usually only done on the calm waters of one of the many inland canals which in Hamburg are called “Fleet”, obviously related to the English word “fleet”, meaning a creek, only in German we pronounce it more like “flayt”. If you say it with a big grin, you’ll get the pronunciation more or less right!
Gigi Gottwald, Polokwane, South Africa
From: Peirce Hammond (Peirceah.03.01 gmail.com)
Did you wrick your knee? Oh, pshaw!
Peirce Hammond, Bethesda, Maryland
From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Ouch! Just wricked my right wrist trying to wrest a wrought-iron branding rod from an irascible, overwrought ‘Silent “W” Ranch’ wrangler.
Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California
From: Georg Trimborn (gtrimborn gmail.com)
Are you in cahoots with xkcd? See today’s posting for an interesting coincidence if you’re not!
Georg Trimborn, Skokie, Illinois
From: Patricia Dolan (pdolanwy verizon.net)
At first just the silent initial G in g-nu (two syllables) is pronounced, then initial Gs are added to other words beginning with the letter N (g-nicest, g-nature), then other initial silents are pronounced (k-now, w-ho).
As the second gnu says:
I’m a g-nu
Patricia Dolan, Chatham, Massachusetts
From: Kathleen Kluegel (kmkluegel gmail.com)
I was a reference librarian and I ended up spelling many words over the telephone to our patrons. This led me to contemplate a “Diabolical Spelling Alphabet” where instead of A as in Apple, etc. I had terms such as “P as in Psalter” and “K as in Knight”. Some letters refuse to be silent as far as I can tell. But I welcome this week’s words as a chance to supplement my long ago project.
Kathleen Kluegel, Urbana, Illinois
From: Yitzhak Dar (yitzhakdar gmail.com)
My mother tongue is German. Before traveling to Germany in the 1960s, I was told by my mother to buy a Knirps umbrella, because they are the best, and that’s what I did. When I moved to New York in the 1970s, I looked around for an umbrella. I was surprised to find that Knirps umbrellas were sold in the US. My surprise was even bigger, when I found out that although it’s the same umbrella, manufactured and sold under the same name, the name is pronounced in the US with a silent k in the beginning (like knee). Same name -- different pronunciation.
Yitzhak Dar, Haifa, Israel
From: Cayla D. Tchalo (cdtchalo yahoo.com)
In answer to your question, “Is it the letter s or c that is silent in the word ‘scent’?” I pose two other questions: Why must we assume that either s or c must be silent? And why can’t we claim they are both being pronounced?
Cayla D. Tchalo, Ann Arbor, Michigan
From: Mary Postellon (mpostellon hotmail.com)
During their childhood, my children took full advantage of a wonderful opportunity in the Lathrup Youtheatre summer program. The brainchild of Joanne Lamun, who penned most of the musical plays, LYT called itself the world’s largest company of children performing for children.
One summer’s play, The Wild, Wild Quest, centered on the theme of silent letters. My son played one of the Gnomes of Knickerbocker Knoll, who didn’t understand silent letters and pronounced all those Gs and Ks. The Quest in the title was for the Horn of Nrocinu -- say it with a silent N, please! -- and my daughter played the faerie who first addressed the Great Unicorn to whom the horn belonged.
Every child who auditioned was given at least one line to say and was in a song or dance number. The signing-only deaf child who tried out one year signed his lines. I don’t know how many LYT kids went on to careers in show business, but some did; I know of at least one whose writing earned her an Academy Award last season.
Mary Postellon, Grand Rapids, Michigan
From: Doris Waggoner (waggonerdoris gmail.com)
People are like stained glass windows: they sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light within.
-Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, psychiatrist and author (8 Jul 1926-2004)
Kubler-Ross, author of today’s Thought for Today, was also the originator of the Hospice movement in England [correction: see Cicely Saunders]. I was a Hospice Chaplain for several years, and can certainly attest to the truth of this sentence. Family members often said, “If you’d only known him/her in their prime.” But often there was a wonderful spark still left. I remember especially the patient with a brain tumor who taught me the difference between the brain and the mind. One day we discussed what was keeping him alive. “My family visits me every day, you visit me every day, and orange juice still tastes good.” The next day, he lost the ability to swallow, and the following day, he died. His relationships, and the glory of fresh-squeezed OJ, were his light within. I also saw this in my mother, who died on hospice at 100 and 11 months. She was able to go on a car ride four days before her death and identify the birds she saw, something that had been important to her for as long as I’d known her.
Doris Waggoner, Seattle, Washington
From: Dharam Khalsa (dharamkk2 gmail.com)
Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina
From: Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)
“The government’s mischief and knavery
The Donald, to curry our favor, he
The Brexit has turned my hair grey
Pinocchio said, “It’s bizarre.”
Ilsa, when given her pick,
The candidate’s loud blustery speeches
From: Phil Graham (pgraham1946 cox.net)
Our horse didn’t knavery loud whinny was stolen.
It has performed so poorly that my Roth IRA brings wroth i-r-e.
“Give me a knar,” yelled the cheerleaders for the Renton School of Lumberjacking.
“Ach! I wricken I’ve sprained my back.”
Seamus said, "Ya gnomic, a short one would taste good about now."
Phil Graham, Tulsa, Oklahoma
A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:You can never understand one language until you understand at least two. -Ronald Searle, artist (1920-2011)