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AWADmail Issue 214

June 18, 2006

A Weekly Compendium of Feedback on the Words in A.Word.A.Day and Other Interesting Tidbits about Words and Languages

From: Anu Garg (garg AT wordsmith.org)
Subject: Interesting stories from the net

Linguistics, Anybody?

God is in the Translation:
New York Times

From: Tim Kreider (timothykreiderATaol.com)
Subject: Fear and Desire

"Fear and Desire" is, in fact, the title of Stanley Kubrick's first, impossible-to-see feature-length film.

From: Lee Anne Bowie (bowie.laATgmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--erythrophobia

Don't forget red Herring, and red light Districts, and red marks on school papers, and the color of blood and inflammation, and "seeing red," and red tide, and "red sky in morning, sailors take warning...."

And to think that in some languages red is equated with beautiful, as in red lips, and red roses, and "red sky at night, sailors' delight...."

From: Lori Renner (lrennerATarcca.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--nostomania

Otherwise known as Friday at 3:00 p.m.

From: Peter Shapiro (petershapiroATcomcast.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--theomania

My father, a psychiatrist, used to tell me about a study called The Three Christs of Ypsilanti, in which three inmates at the Michigan State asylum, all of whom suffered from this particular syndrome, were placed in a room together to see how they would interact. Unfortunately he never did tell me what happened. Maybe someday I'll get ahold of the book and find out.

From: Jonathan Jackson (accountantATtotalfitness.org)
Subject: theomania

For one moment I thought that word-a-day had got caught up in the fantastic spectacle that is the FIFA World Cup currently taking place in Germany.

We in England were subjected to a brief period of 'Theomania' when 17 year old Theo Walcott was selected to play for England at the World Cup before even playing a senior game for his own club, Arsenal.

However, this has now been replaced by an unhealthy obsession with another player, Wayne Rooney, in what has been described as 'Roo-fever' and the latest football inspired-dance craze ; the 'crouchbop'. (don't ask!)

I guess in America this makes no sense at all but confirms that language continues to grow everyday.

From: Pedra Diaz (pedro.diazATlecroy.com)
Subject: phobia

Phobaphobia is the fear of acquiring a phobia.

From: Rhana Bazzini (rhanaATatt.net)
Subject: Words and meanings

I've been meaning to tell this story for ages and am just getting around to it.

Many years ago when I was teaching first grade in a small town in CT. I had an epiphany......I think I can call it that. It was a time when Julie Andrews' movie "Mary Poppins" came out and everyone was fascinated with the word supercalifragilisticexpealidosis (sp) My first graders just loved to say it. I thought this a great opportunity to introduce new words to the children.

Toward the end of each day when the children were a bit tired and restless I'd put a new word on the board, show then a picture illustrating the word and ask them what they thought it meant. I was introducing the word grotesque with a picture of an angler fish, very grotesque to most people :-) The hands went up with words like ugly, horrible, scary etc. I noticed one of my brightest students sitting at her desk with a very puzzled expression on her face. Cynthia, what's the matter I asked. Well, Mrs Bazzini everyone is saying such mean things about him and I think he's beautiful.

The eye of the beholder. One of those priceless "teacher" moments.

See the Wikipedia entry.

A man who uses a great many words to express his meaning is like a bad marksman who, instead of aiming a single stone at an object, takes up a handful and throws at it in hopes he may hit. -Samuel Johnson, lexicographer (1709-1784)

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