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AWADmail Issue 255

March 31, 2007

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

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

Best of British:
BBC News

Birds Learning Foreign Languages:
Seattle Post-Intelligencer

UK Must Embrace 'Modern' English:

From: S. T. (email withheld)
Subject: Brownian movement (Re: omnifarious)

My parents had a dictionary in the bathroom when I was a kid and I spent many an hour totally captivated by words and the Brownian movement. My siblings and parents constantly knocked on the door demanding me to finally free up the bathroom!

Thanks for the many more hours of entertainment and pleasure your website provides! I teach English, write a lot and adore language. I keep a dictionary in my bathroom for the future generations and was able to improve my German vocabulary when I moved to Germany in this manner as well!

From: Dennis Vail (denvail sbcglobal.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--sessile

The term is also used technically in microbiology, especially with regard to industrial fluid systems. Sessile microorganisms form colonies that are attached to solid surfaces in contact with the fluid, as opposed to planktonic microorganisms, which remain dispersed in the bulk fluid.

From: Janet Dalbec (sdalbec aloha.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--paludal

This word is two weeks too late for us punning folk but what the heck.

Beware the tides of marshes!

From: Marie Ottiker (ottix speedy.com.pe)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--paludal

Being bilingual gives one a much broader insight into the roots of words (better yet being tri-lingual!). Paludal immediately brought to my mind the Spanish paludismo which is the common name for malaria, swamp or marsh fever. Voila!

From: Linda Exum (lindytoes hotmail.com)
Subject: The Dictionary Game

Re: your statement "Have you ever opened a dictionary to look up a word, only to find yourself distracted by another word on the page? The definition of that word steers you to yet another, some two hundred pages ahead, and before you know it your fingers are cavorting as if in a random dance on the leaves of the lexicon."

Your statement just made it impossible for me not to tell you about a game anyone can play with children (age eight and above seems to work depending on the inclination of the child) and/or adults. It's better if there are at least four people, but better if there are around six to eight. We call it the dictionary game.

Each person takes a turn searching the dictionary for a word they don't think anyone will know. This person tells everyone the word (w/o the definition) then writes down the definition on a piece of paper. Everyone else writes down on a piece of paper what they think it means and gives it to the person who looked up the word. Then the one with all the definitions reads them aloud and each of the others votes on the right answer.

Each person who votes for the correct definition gets a point, each person whose definition receives a vote gets a point even if it is the wrong definition, and the person with the definitions gets a point if no one gets it right.

Normally you have at least one if not more who make up silly definitions, and one or two who actually guess the right definition or close to, and usually everyone has fun. My children love that game (they still do and they are adults). We use a huge unabridged dictionary.

From: TMF Dia (tmfdia netzero.net)
Subject: Brownian motion through a dictionary

I heard that a dullard is someone who, when going to look up something in the dictionary or encyclopedia, finds only that which they were looking for.

From: James Gollata (james.gollata uwc.edu)
Subject: Notation on the driving license of bald people (Re: AWADmail 254)

To answer the perpetual question, the department of motor vehicles prints BAL on the licenses of bald drivers. A friend of mind showed me.

From: Eric Shackle (eshackle ozemail.com.au)
Subject: Re: this week's words

I've written a story using all this week's words under the heading, "Bushfire destroys Australia's spaghetti trees". It is posted at bdb.co.za/shackle.

Language is a city to the building of which every human being brought a stone. -Ralph Waldo Emerson, writer and philosopher (1803-1882)

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