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#70849 - 05/22/02 06:38 PM An extra word
May I with humility endue AWADtalk with an extra word for today: "lagniappe"
We picked up one excellent word," wrote Mark Twain in Life on the Mississippi (1883), "a
word worth travelling to New Orleans to get; a nice limber, expressive, handy
word—lagniappe. . . . It is Spanish—so they said." Twain encapsulates the history of
lagniappe quite nicely. English speakers learned the word from French-speaking
Louisianians, but they in turn had adapted it from the American Spanish "la napa." Twain
went on to describe how New Orleanians completed shop transactions by saying "Give me
something for a lagniappe," to which the shopkeeper would respond with "a bit of
liquorice-root, . . . a cheap cigar or a spool of thread." It took a while for lagniappe to
catch on throughout the country, but by the mid-20th century, New Yorkers and New
Orleanians alike were familiar with this "excellent word."
#70850 - 05/22/02 06:47 PM Re: An extra word
Loc: Piedmont Region of Virginia, U...
Wouldn't it be nice if we could all end each post with a lagniappe of word--a word to take away from the reading of the post and suck on mentally (or chew) like a piece of licorice? What a challenge! Of course, we could use the same lagniappe lots of times since shop owners don't have to change the lagniappe for each sale.
I should be doing my final papers, but instead I thought to come here and see whether there was something to perk up my anxiety in writing (laced with lethargy--try that combination on for size!).
So, wwh, I'll leave you with a sweet-sailing lagniappe for posting that bit of Twain:
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