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AWADmail Issue 106December 27, 2003
A Weekly Compendium of Feedback on the Words in A.Word.A.Day and Other Interesting Tidbits about Words and Languages
From: Jim Martin (jimmusic43AThotmail.com)
Being bilingual French/English it was with interest that I read today's word. Forget knee breeches may have been true once upon a time. Today for us, culotte means pants. And precisely the humor--now picture these people without pants. Now, we just have to figure out who is wearing the pants now?
From: Colleen Watkins (crwatki1ATbulldog.unca.edu)
What do you get when you cross a French Revolutionary and
an Argentinean Revolutionary? A naked man.
From: Claire Forrest (adele74ATmsn.com)
This is a term which is now used concerning people who live well over their means and also people who pretend to know more than they do. There is also a term in Scotland which is similar, they call it "fur coat and no drawers (underwear I believe). I have not heard either term for a long time.
From: Vicky Go (evic846ATaol.com)
If a "sansculotte" is the extremist republican of the French Revolution then a "girondist" is the moderate republican of the same period.
From: Salma Abdulrahman (salma.abdulrahmanATintec.us)
I was so excited to see today's word: oleaginous. It has all the vowels in it! Especially if you use it as "oleaginously".
From: Mick Tully (mick.tullyATntlworld.com)
From: Carl Carter (ccarterATsirf.com)
I read the second definition of oleaginous to my wife, and she hit the concept right on the nose: greasy and slick. I think she conveys the meaning even better than the formal definition.
From: Richard W Davis (richard.w.davisATattws.com)
There was an old man of Calcutta,
From: Carolanne Reynolds (crATcarolanne.org)
Did you hear about the newspaper ad saying to send $10 for instructions on how to write a successful book for publishing? A dictionary was sent back with the note: Some assembly required.
From: George Pajari (george.pajariATfaximum.com)
Counting the characters in an alphabet (or the number of unique nucleotides in a chromosome) might be amusing but is merely an indication of the method used to represent the underlying information. Remember that it is possible to express (or record) all music, spoken language, written material, and images (whether moving or still) on a computer using only sequences of 0 & 1. Makes 26 letters look positively profligate!
From: Les Axelrod (lesaxeATworldnet.att.net)
I applaud Cliff Smith's intent to memorialize scientists by always capitalizing their names, but that violates the International System of Units (SI). The committee that developed SI specifically decreed that units named for people should be abbreviated with a capital letter but spelled out lower case. For example, a light bulb could be rated 100 W or 100 watts; a battery can be either 9 V or 9 volts; etc. See: nist.gov.
I don't know why this procedure was chosen, but it's followed by all scientific and engineering journals in the world.
From: Irwin Marks (imarks3519ATaol.com)
Several years ago, as part of our efforts to read passages of Moby Dick in various languages, we tried to find a Wampanoag (the predominant tribe around New Bedford) speaker. Nada! Nobody had more than a very few unrelated words. We learned that Wampanoag was an Algonkian family tongue --and that didn't help. We were unable to find anyone able to speak any Algonkian tongue.
We have had readings in Inupiaq (an Inupiat [Eskimo] from Alaska read in the native language and his wife followed in English) as well as a reading in crioulo (the native tongue of Cabo Verde). It might be necessary to note that we, in each case, picked a passage in English (about a 5-minute read) and a bilingual person then did the translation.
Our Moby Dick Marathon (8th year) is scheduled to occur on January 3rd & 4th, so there is really no time for a project. Anyway, any good leads would be helpful for 2005.
Irwin Marks,Volunteer, New Bedford Whaling Museum.
From: Eric Shackle (eshackleATozemail.com.au)
Was Vincent Van Gogh a ninnyhammer? He produced hundreds of paintings, some of which now sell for millions of dollars, but sold only one of them. Forty chalk drawings, sketches and paintings signed "Vincent" are on display in the Breda Museum, in southern Holland, until February 1. Are they genuine Van Goghs, or worthless fakes? For full details, see the January edition of my e-book http://bdb.co.za/shackle
The sum of human wisdom is not contained in any one language, and no single language is capable of expressing all forms and degrees of human comprehension. -Ezra Pound, poet (1885-1972)