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AWADmail Issue 571

A Weekly Compendium of Feedback on the Words in A.Word.A.Day and Tidbits about Words and Language

Sponsor's message: Calling all Capitalists... introducing our completely original, fun and funny money game, ONEUPMANSHIP -- which the literate and lucky Email of the Week winner Gary Mason (see below) will get hot off the presses. And as a sort of "insider deal", we're offering first dibs on the first edition of this soon-to-be classic for 50% OFF to all AWADers, THIS WEEK ONLY.

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

The French Protect Their Language Like the British Protect Their Currency
The Guardian

Auf Wiedersehen to Germany's Longest Word
The Independent

Maps That Show How Americans Speak English Totally Differently From Each Other
Business Insider

French Kiss Smooches Its Way Into Dictionary
The Guardian

Grammar Lessons With Food

From: Jackie Burns (jackie.burns frontier.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--calyculus

I immediately thought of calyx when reading about this word. This botany term refers to all of the sepals of a flower, which often form a cup-like structure. No doubt this is from the same root.

Jackie Burns, Aurora, West Virginia

From: Nicholas Apostolakis (nikos udel.edu)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--theocrasy

I had to go to the Third International Webster's Dictionary to find the word theocrasy since I could not find it in my desk copy of Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary. I thought it was a misspelling for the much more common theocracy, but of course I was wrong.

Nicholas Apostolakis, Wilmington, Delaware

From: Peirce Hammond (peirce_hammond ed.gov)
Subject: theocrazy

I know last week's contest is over, but you have provided the basis for another entry:
A mixture of deities or religious forms:

Peirce Hammond, Bethesda, Maryland

From: Suzi Clark (suzicb btinternet.com)
Subject: agrement

Thank you so much for including agrément in the A.Word.A.Day. I live near the British Board of Agrément and for years the signpost has annoyed me because I assumed it was a typo! Thanks for putting me out of my misery and for frequently making my day with your definitions and pithy nuggets of philosophy!

Suzi Clark, St Albans, UK

Email of the Week (Introducing ONEUPMANSHIP - "Playing mind (and money) games is wicked fun."

From: Gary Mason (gmason ntlworld.com)
Subject: Agrement

Not far from here, there are signposts pointing to The British Board of Agrément. For years, I ignored my curiosity and assumed that it was some fancy word for "aggregate"* as there are a lot of gravel pits in the area. And then, my son obtained an internship with them. They are "the UK's major authority offering approval and certification services to manufacturers and installers supplying the construction industry." *OED = 5. Building. Gravel, sand, slag or the like added to a binding agent to form concrete, macadam, etc.

Gary Mason, St Albans, UK

From: Irving Freeman (freemans iafrica.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--agrement

Agrement is used extensively in engineering technical areas for formal specifications, e.g. strength of concrete mixtures, etc., building-type specs and many others, at least in South Africa.

Irving Freeman, Cape Town, South Africa

From: Paul Castaldi (pcastal enter.net)
Subject: Sore Looser?

Based on extensive observation, I submit that the most misspelled English word on the Internet is "lose".

This simple word is frequently misspelled "loose". Perhaps the confusion arises because the "o" is pronounced with a long /u/ sound.

Even though I've seen this error thousands of times, I'm still surprised that such a short and straightforward word is so often spelled wrong.

Paul Castaldi, Havertown, Pennsylvania

From: Vaughn Hathaway (pastorvonh bellsouth.net)
Subject: Re: AWADmail Issue 570

50 years ago, a fellow US Air Force airman took a space-available embassy aircraft trip around the world. We all thought he was crazy; but he pulled it off without a missed step. On his return to Japan, where we were stationed at the time, he regaled us with stories of his experiences. One episode was an encounter with four travellers in a restaurant in Athens. English was not the native language of any of the four (but of our friend). Nevertheless, the language with which the five conversed was that language (English) that then had become the lingua franca.

The diversity of the internationalities who submitted responses to this contest is amazing and the apparent depth of their knowledge of English would seem to indicate that English is for the present still the language of the world. I wonder how long it will retain that rank.

Thanks for enriching our lives.

Vaughn Hathaway, Charlotte, North Carolina

From: Margret De Oliveira Castro (mdeoc hotmail.com)
Subject: spelling bees

Spelling bees in English can be a nightmare, but they are also a nightmare in French. Since 1985, Bernard Pivot, a member of the Goncourt Academy, organizes a yearly national spelling championship in France, with great success. Spelling in the French language can be as tricky as in English.

Margret De Oliveira Castro, Geneva, Switzerland

Dictionary: Spell binder. -Joseph F. Morris

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