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AWADmail Issue 16

October 15, 2000

A Compendium of Feedback on the Words in AWAD, and Other Interesting Tidbits about Words and Languages

From: Susanne Koenig (skoeingATmidsouth.rr.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--ambiguity

Did you ever hear the saying, "Give me ambiguity or give me something else?"

From: Carolanne Reynolds (carolanne.reynoldsATfaximum.com)
Subject: Ambiguity

This was sent talking about political correctness but thought it was an example of ambiguity that you've had....

    Political correctness wins a round at Bowling Green
    At Bowling Green State University, in Ohio, Richard Zeller, a professor of sociology, is retiring after colleagues barred him from teaching a course on political correctness. Said the head of women's studies: "We forbid any course that says we restrict free speech." (10/2/00)

From: Conrad Vlak (cvlakATny.rothinc.com)
Subject: RE: A.Word.A.Day--syzygy

Regarding today's word of the day, also please note that syzygy is the longest word in the English language the letters of which, used in any combination, do not form a single other word.

From: Sheila McKenna (sheila.mckennaATuc.edu)
Subject: Syzygy

My father used to give me a word a day when I was little. Once he gave me syzygy. In Kindergarten when Sister Mary Angela told us all about the dictionary, she told us we could look up any word. Even Dog or perhaps Cat. She asked for a word, and I, brave little 5 year old said "Syzygy!" She smiled a controlled smile, and said, Ah, we don't know yet about a thing called VOWELS. My dear, certainly you can think of another word." Nope, it's in there. S-y-z-y-g-y, Sister, I promise!" It was, of course, and at the early age of five I was branded a smart mouth.

So use the word carefully. Thanks.

From: Kerri Nussbaum (kerrinATtimberline.com)
Subject: Ambigram?

Can you please tell me what an ambigram is? It's this week's AWAD theme, and I can't find a definition anywhere.

    It appears you joined in the middle of the week. Please see the posting for Oct 9, 2000 in the archives to learn more about ambigrams. -Anu

From: Dave Gomberg (gombergATwcf.com)
Subject: Ambigrams

You need to find a book titled Inversions by Scott Kim published in paperback about 1975.

From: Jean Sutherland (jeanATnamibian.com.na)
Subject: five or seven days

Since the poll was so close isn't there a possibility of arranging for those who want to get your great service seven days a week to do so? Or would it require too much work? For instance, what about newspapers which use AWAD? Alternatively, those who want 'a dumb' weekend can just ignore AWAD or delete it. And, also, is the majority always right?!
Bring back AWAD seven days a week, please!
Jean Sutherland,

    Since the announcement of the poll result, I've received a large number of messages expressing disappointment at the reduced frequency of AWAD mailings. I'm thinking about making AWADmail a regular weekend feature. Consider this a small recompense for the two missing words per week. And as always, please keep me posted on what you like or do not like about AWAD. -Anu

From: Patricia Campbell (pcampbellATmail.darbylaw.com)
Subject: Number 13

Could you please give me the word that means a fear of 13 (the number 13)? Thank you.

    Your question is timely as we just witnessed a Friday the 13th last week. The word is triskaidekaphobia (from Greek, triskaideka thirteen + phobia fear). Unfortunately (fortunately?), this past week was the only Friday the 13th to occur this year so you will have to wait until next April for the next.

    Another venue for posting your (and answer others') questions is Wordsmith Talk, the bulletin board. The board is frequented by a great number of veteran linguaphiles and you can count on them to answer questions and engage in some interesting discussion. -Anu

From: Bruce Pain (brucepainATaol.com)
Subject: Dark Forces

Your latest email arrived with a warning that it contained a picture. This is the second time that this has happened. The first time I opened the email and surprise! No picture. I did not open the second submission for fear of vile (or viral) contamination. Has some dark force been diddling with your server? Inquiring minds need to know.

    I've received similar messages from other AOL subscribers. We never send any attachments with the messages. Also we use a Linux server not Windows. You can't get a virus from us. AOL is not exactly known for following standards--it appears they are parsing text messages as HTML and then issuing spurious warnings about pictures. We'd rather send you a thousand words. -Anu

Words are things; and a small drop of ink / Falling like dew upon a thought, produces / That which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think. -Lord Byron, (1788-1824)

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