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AWADmail Issue 267

June 24, 2007

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

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


Babies Are Watching Your Language:
New Scientist

Everybody Speaks English:

From: Jackie (carrerinyes gmail.com)
Subject: Ireland AWAD

Faith and begorrah! As a wee Dubliner myself it was a walk down memory lane to see "Donnybrook" in AWAD this morning! This is a fashionable area which is home to our television studios: Radio Telefis Eireann or RTE as it is known there.

From: Mary Feeney (mmfeeney aol.com)
Subject: Irish words

With my Irish ancestry, I enjoyed this week's theme and learning that all the words are toponyms.

I'm reminded of a childhood joke:
Q: Why is Ireland the richest country?
A: Because its capital is always Dublin.

When I was a child this was ironic. The first time I visited Ireland, in 1968, I met a relation who was plowing a field with a donkey. The country seemed decades behind the US. Now the donkey has been replaced by the Celtic Tiger, and Eire ranks with the Scandinavian countries among Europe's most prosperous.

From: Stuart Tarlowe (starlowe earthlink.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--donnybrook

I sometimes use a fanciful letterhead or business card that reads:

Donnybrook, Melee, Fracas, Heyrube & Brannigan
Facial and Cranial Trauma Solutions Providers

From: Liam Cannon (liam.cannon bt.com)
Subject: RE: A.Word.A.Day--donnybrook

I was pleased to see this week's collection of words derived from place names in my own country.

I'd heard the word donnybrook used once or twice, mostly in relation to melees in rugby games, but hadn't stopped to consider its origin. Donnybrook these days is one of Dublin's most affluent and upper class areas, so the word being descriptive of a free-for-all is somewhat ironic.

From: Angela Baldo (origamifreak gmail.com)
Subject: limerick editorials

There's a wonderful blog called limerick savant in which the author comments on current news in the form of extremely clever limericks:

    Also, a couple of doctors publish Partners-In-Rhyme, a daily newsletter that features limericks based on words from AWAD. See works based on words from AWAD.
    -Anu Garg

From: D Franks (david.franks cox.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--limerick

For a surprising and practical application of the limerick, visit The Omnificent English Dictionary in Limerick Form. Although we are working through the alphabet in order, having set out to define words beginning with Aa- through Ck- so far, there already are over forty-one thousand limericks in the database. Submitted limericks are edited through a workshopping process. We are happy to welcome new contributors, and plenty of assistance is available by way of tutorials and interaction with other OEDILFers.

From: Catherine Campbell (ccampbell cottey.edu)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--limerick

I must pass on to you the only CLEAN limerick I know:

There was a young girl from Madras
Who had the most beautiful ass.
It wasn't pink
As you might think,
But grey, had long ears, and ate grass!

From: George Hesselberg (ghesselberg madison.com)
Subject: RE: A.Word.A.Day--limerick

I would like to thank you for making me the target in one of Wordsmith's featured words this week: Limerick. You featured a limerick competition I cooked up for the Wisconsin State Journal, where I was a columnist for about 20 years and where I am now a reporter. We received hundreds of limericks and pretend-limericks for the competition, which proves the art is not dead and that a good limerick is not easy to write. Apparently, a number of Wordsmith readers remember my columns, because I heard from a few.

From: Russell Connor (russadele nyc.rr.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--blarney

On one of those famous "root-seeking" tours for Irish-Americans, I discovered my grandmother was born half-way between Blarney and Mullarkey. I was slightly distressed to discover this is no surprise at all to my friends.

From: Guru Guruswamy (b.a.guruswamy btinternet.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--blarney

I did kiss the Blarney stone about 40 years ago... not sure if it made any difference in my case. It was a good exercise though as you have to lie on your back and virtually drop your head down in a gap to reach it. May be the contortion improves the performance of the vocal cord!

From: Linda Owens (lindafowens netzero.net)
Subject: blarney

I did not kiss the Blarney stone last summer for three reasons:

  1. my husband told me I was already glib enough
  2. a kid who had lived locally told us that the local kids peed on the rock at night, and
  3. my knees were not up to hanging upside down due to ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) replacements.

From: Lisa Bogart (labogart juno.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--shillelagh

A shillelagh is traditionally used as a walking stick, made out of blackthorn which is becoming a very dear resource. My brother has in his possession my late grandfather's shillelagh, purchased in Ireland many years ago. The shillelagh can often be seen being used by gentlemen (and others) during the course of the St. Patrick's Day Parades held in the US.

From: C.Hessels (v.hessels versatel.nl)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--carrageen

I did gather carrageen at the southwest coast and made the Blancmange (always associated with this seeweed). It is good.

1/3 cup of moss
2 cups of milk

  • Gather fresh moss on the beach.
  • Rinse well in cold water and spread in the sun to dry (or buy dried at a drugstore) .
  • When ready to use, soften 1/3 cup of moss by covering it in cold water for 15 minutes.
  • Drain and add two cups of milk.
  • Cook in a double boiler for 30 minutes without stirring.
  • Strain into a bowl or molds, and cool -- it thickens only on cooling.
  • Serve with jam, light flavored cream, crushed sweet almonds, chocolate sauce, or fruit.

From: C.Hessels (v.hessels versatel.nl)
Subject: quotation

As much as I like the daily words, I always find the quotations a pleasure to read as well. Today's :

"It might be a good idea if the various countries of the world would occasionally swap history books, just to see what other people are doing with the same set of facts. -Bill Vaughan, journalist (1915-1977)"

This I learned by reading The Duke of Alba ( 1507-1582 ) by Henry Kamen, an English writing author born in Rangoon 1937, who specializes in the history of Spanish imperialism and the Inquisition. Very interesting to read about this period and the life of "The Butcher of Flanders" from the Spanish imperialistic perspective (the 80-year-war was mainly a religious war).

When discussing the book with a close friend, we discovered that she (raised a Catholic) and I (raised a Protestant) had received totally opposite history lessons about our national history over this turbulent period. In both our religion-bound elementary schools.

From: Carole Yeaman (carole.yeaman sympatico.ca)
Subject: Swapping history books

Between Quebec (French Canada) and ROC (the rest of Canada) -- this exercise has proved to be a real whack on the head. Growing up as the (minority) English-speaking Quebecer in the 1950s our version of our country's history, I was later to discover, is astonishingly almost point for point the reverse of the French version. "Two Solitudes" -- the familiar and very precise description of Canada.

A different language is a different vision of life. -Federico Fellini, film director and writer (1920-1993)

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