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AWADmail Issue 259

April 29, 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: Event announcement: Wordsmith chat

Is French still relevant?

Join us for a chat on French with our guest Julie Barlow, a writer, journalist, and speaker from Montreal, Canada. She and her husband Jean-Benoit Nadeau, are authors of "The Story of French" and the earlier "Sixty Million Frenchmen Can't Be Wrong".

Where: wordsmith.org/chat
When: May 8, 2007, 6 pm Pacific (GMT -8)

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

The Power Of Speaking Ladylike:
Science Daily

Obituary: Kelsie B. Harder, Onomastician:
The New York Times

Obituary: Robert Barnhardt, Lexicographer:
The Journal News

From: Dee Johnson (dee.johnson belden.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--abstemious

Partake as doth the bee
A Rose
Is an estate in Sicily.
-Emily Dickinson

From: Donald Vaughn (dvaughn gei-sd.com)
Subject: Voweltown

My family lives in Aiea, Hawaii (on Oahu)!

From: Christian Stone (cstone wustl.edu)
Subject: all vowels in a word

In the world of medicine, specifically gastroenterology, there exists a vascular lesion that can bleed into the stomach. It is known by an eponym that is hard to spell. To help training doctors remember how to spell it, I often tell them that it contains all vowels, including "sometimes Y". The name is Dieulafoy. (Vowels not in alphabetical order but a cool name nonetheless).

From: Robert Ewald (rewald ag.state.ia.us)
Subject: aeiou

I woke up in the middle of the night with a revelation: Country singer Emmylou Harris has all the vowels in her name and "y" to boot.

From: Mark Scheerer (markscheerer verizon.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--abstemious

When baseball trivia questions are being tossed about, I can usually stump the group with: "Name a Major League Baseball player who had all five vowels in his name."

The answer is Aurelio Rodriguez, a slick-fielding third baseman who spent much of his career with the Detroit Tigers in the 1970s.

I originally heard a television play-by-play announcer frame that distinction as "...the ONLY Major League Baseball Player with all five vowels...." I don't know if that's true.

From: Robert Goleman (hortusb earthlink.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--caesious

The word, "caesious", is basically the species epithet for one of my favorite Eucalyptus. Eucalyptus caesia does, indeed, have caesious foliage (from grayish green to powdery gray-blue), and happens to be one of the most beautiful among Eucs.

From: James Friend (frienddjp comcast.net)
Subject: Caesious

As a chemist I quickly recognized the cousin of the element caesium, which we Americans call cesium - symbol Cs. It is named after the blue color of the lines in its emission spectrum.

From: Rick Harrington (rhgtn sonic.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--anemious

Thank you for providing me with the word I've needed for years. When I moved to California in 1971, I was most impressed by the way the oak trees near the coast grew in response to the prevailing winds. These mighty oaks grow in a way that is a physical description of the prevailing winds. Very different from the oaks back east where I grew up, which pretty much grow straight up in their own majestic manner. Oaks of all sorts are pretty special.

From: Joseph Agnew (monsieurjoe hotmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--facetious

I've been waiting all week for "facetious" to be word of the day! When I was a kid, the DJ on a local radio station gave a prize of $100 to the first listener to call in with a word having all five vowels in alphabetical order. Thanks for helping to bring back a great memory!

From: John Rochat (houyhnhnmland sbcglobal.net)
Subject: Consonantal Drift

Bravo! What a fun week, but I'm not sure how it might support my still- evolving Theory of Consonantal Drift. At this point, it appears that several million years ago, all vowels and consonants were once equally mixed on one land mass, but as the land masses drifted across the Earth's crust, so did the alphabet. Most interesting, this phenomenon has not seemed random, as most of the vowels seem to have drifted to Southeast Asia and the Pacific, and most of the consonants seem to still be centered around Poland. Of course, there are always exceptions, with enclaves of vowels in odd places, like Finland. Can you help me with this research?

From: Randolph Bentson (bentson holmsjoen.com)
Subject: ...and sometimes "y"

I've enjoyed this week's list, in part because I can anticipate what'll be next. I wrote a simple command to search for words matching the criteria used and found twenty-three entries. The results reminded me of the phrase "and sometimes 'y'" that's part of the list of vowels in English. I found "abstemiously", "facetiously", "half-seriously", and "pareciously" in my list.

FWIW, the command was
grep '^[^aeiou]*a[^aeiou]*e[^aeiou]*i[^aeiou]
*o[^aeiou]*u[^aeiou]*$' /usr/share/dict/words

From: Eric Shackle (eshackle ozemail.com.au)
Subject: Abstemious, facetious

Peter Oakley, a remarkable 79-year-old British grandfather idolized by millions of juvenile fans delighted by his YouTube videos, is abstemious and occasionally facetious, as well as entertaining. There's a story about him in the May edition of The World's First Multi-National e-Book, http://bdb.co.za/shackle

Language is the armoury of the human mind; and at once contains the trophies of its past, and the weapons of its future conquests. -Samuel Taylor Coleridge, poet, critic, and philosopher (1772-1834)

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