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AWADmail Issue 760A Weekly Compendium of Feedback on the Words in A.Word.A.Day and Tidbits about Words and Language
Sponsor’s Message: What does old school mean to you? “You’re welcome” instead of “No problem”? How about: saddle shoes. White handkerchiefs and white gloves. A hand-written note. Hitchhiking. Let us know -- we’re offering this week’s Email of the Week winner, Julia Brown (see below), as well as all you traditionistas out there the chance to tell us what you miss most about the world we are losing or have already lost. You may even win some of our authentic ludic loot, to boot. ENTER The Old’s Cool Contest NOW.
From: Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)
A Linguist Offers a Brief Immersion in Black English
From: Kevin P Kearney (CatchKevin aol.com)
When I was in grade school in the 1950s I decided to read our family’s huge two-volume Merriam-Webster dictionary and I still recall the opening sentence in “Americanisms”, one of the introductory articles: “Throughout its history, English has had all the delicate sensitivity of a powerful vacuum cleaner.”
Kevin P Kearney, Las Vegas, Nevada
From: John S Karabaic (jk karabaic.com)
You wrote: The reason English is such a rich language is that it’s not afraid to adopt words from other places. It has welcomed words from everywhere. If you speak English, you know parts of at least a hundred different languages.
Well, in most cases from the 1600s on, it actually travelled to where the words were living and kidnapped them. But, yeah, I get the spirit of these remarks. :-)
John S Karabaic, Cincinnati, Ohio
From: Michael Poole (michaelpoole paradise.net.nz)
“Satori” in its Zen meaning is of course several centuries older than 1727 (and as a general-use word must be way older than that even). However, I was surprised to see that it became known in English as early as 1727. It made me realise just how long ago and how far afield my forebears were travelling around the world and learning new stuff.
Michael Poole, Paraparaumu Beach, New Zealand
From: Kiyo Kisimoto (kiyo.kisimoto aist.go.jp)
In a Japanese dictionary about “satori”, there is no explanation connotative of “sudden” part. It reads: understanding, knowing, awakening to being aware, or apprehending.
Kiyo Kisimoto, Tsukuba, Japan
From: Mohini Mullick (mohini.mullick gmail.com)
The word muhajir, used to refer to Muslims who migrated from India to Pakistan in 1947, derives from the same root. The word “hijr” occurs frequently in Urdu poetry and means “separation”.
Mohini Mullick, New Delhi, India
From: Ken Masters (itmeded gmail.com)
As a point of interest, at the time that Muhammad went to Medina, it was not known as Medina. It was then called Yathrib. It’s name changed a few years after Muhammad arrived, and the current usage of “Medina” (or al-Madinah) means “The City”.
Ken Masters, Muscat, Oman
From: Julia Brown (juliabrownpr yahoo.com)
Today’s word, hegira, helped me decide to take the first step toward happiness. I’ve been debating leaving a comfortable, yet unhappy, situation. Upon opening your email this morning, it was as if the powers that be are telling me it is time... it is going to be ok. So here’s to my hegira!
Julia Brown, Springfield, Illinois
From: Hagar Ronen (hagar.ronen gmail.com)
I love AWAD and I especially love A THOUGHT FOR TODAY but according to Snopes and Wikiquote, today’s quotation is misattributed to Benjamin Franklin.
Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are. -Benjamin Franklin, statesman, author, and inventor (17 Jan 1706-1790)
Thanks for writing. We’ve added a note to the quotation to indicate that it is misattributed.
From: Barbara Murray (via online comments)
A note on the Thought for the Day: The source is Plutarch, Parallel Lives, The life of Solon. (Solon, the Athenian lawmaker and one of the seven wise men of ancient times) Being asked, namely, what city was best to live in, “That city,” he replied, “in which those who are not wronged, no less than those who are wronged, exert themselves to punish the wrongdoers.”
Barbara Murray, Hayward, California
From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Curiously, our 31st president of the US, Herbert Hoover, who’d come into office on the heels of the Great Stock Market Crash of 1929, never did make the pronouncement “A chicken in every pot!”
Apparently, during his election campaign primary run for the presidency, some party insiders came up with the catchy, progressive-sounding slogan, going to the extent of stamping out and dispensing thousands of campaign buttons bearing their man Hoover’s smiling countenance and the “misquoted” slogan. Oh, and for the record, Hoover never officially advocated... “a car in every garage”, either.
In the classic cartoon character universe, the personification of “bobbery”, a harbinger of episodic mayhem, has to be Warner Bros. Studios’ Taz... the Tasmanian Devil.
Here, in keeping with the Hindi derivation of our word “bobbery”, Taz has just left a stunned snake charmer (and his snake) in a cloud of ire and confusion as he zips away with a sack of ill-gotten rupees.
In the early ’90s I was part of the animation team that designed the key backgrounds for TAZ-Mania, Warner Bros. TV Animation’s successful attempt to resurrect a popular character who many fans felt had been given short shrift when he first whirled onto the animated cartoon landscape.
Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California
From: Andrew Pressburger (andpress sympatico.ca)
Today’s AWAD mail brings two dramatic works to mind. The word Gomorra is the eponymous title of Roberto Saviano’s documentary novel about the Mafia in Sicily. In the film version, at the funeral of a victim of gang warfare, family members place mobile phones on the coffin, ostensibly so they can leave their final thoughts with the departed, while in fact they intend to discover in this devious way the identity of the killer who may also be placing a call in order to camouflage the crime in this peculiar way, and thus give away a clue to his identity.
In the Thought for Today portion, Mencken’s prophetic comment presages the writer Jerzy Kosinski’s scenario for the movie Being There, in which a slow-witted gardener by the name of Chance (aka Chauncy) -- who is addicted to television and takes everything he sees on the screen as true representation of reality -- fortuitously becomes President of the United States. The story has a bizarre ending which your readers may wish to explore at their leisure.
Andrew Pressburger, Toronto, Canada
From: Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)
From: Linda Riebel (linda.riebel earthlink.net)
Political satire at its best! 101 limericks spoof the candidates, the process, and especially the “winner” of the 2016 presidential election. Composed by four sharp-eyed AWAD members and based on unusual words selected by Anu Garg, the limericks will make you laugh, cheer, nod in agreement, and vow to remain awake during the next four years. Ideal gift for the shocked, the disappointed, the humor-lovers, and political junkies everywhere: Limericks in the Time of Trump.
Here’s a sample:
The toes of the church ladies curled
At the prayer that the Donald unfurled.
“O Lord, please endow us
With sexual prowess
Sufficient to screw the whole world.”
Linda Riebel, Lafayette, California
From: Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)
Although he was too amatory,
Attempting to get to satori
Mrs A no sympathy hath
In a town in New York called Elmira
Oh, Canada, don’t close the gate
A parent’s pronunciamento
I expect a pronunciamento
Each Twitter pronunciamento
The thieves got in a heated bobbery
Our election was so full of bobbery
We’ve seen nothing yet the pundit tells us
It looked like a deep dark camorra
Can all the political bobbery
From: Phil Graham (pgraham1946 cox.net)
In Britain, the Conservatives used to be called satori party.
My Individual Retirement Account is in a hedge fund that took off, i.e., an hegira.
About retaining women’s contemplative orders, the Pope said, “I’m pronunciamento make that clear.”
What with the nine Kennedy kids’ accents and arguments, Hyannis Port became the new Bobbery Coast.
Heavily armed, the Irish Mafia is a Glock camorra.
Phil Graham, Tulsa, Oklahoma
A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:Remember, tomorrow we are not crowning a king, or bowing down to a dictator. Tomorrow, our new employee starts his temp job. We’re the boss. -Audra McDonald, actress and singer (b. 1970), on Jan 19, 2017