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AWADmail Issue 573

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

From: Julia Glahn (juliaglahn yahoo.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--rhizophagous

"An affix can't be attached to another affix." Tell that to all the authors I have who have "prepost" (comparing measures between pre- and postintervention) statistics in their studies! As a managing editor for academic journals, I used to always fix this ... but we're being asked to do more and more, and less real copyediting, so I now let this one go. The readers know what it means, I guess. (sigh) Copyediting is quickly becoming a devalued and therefore lost art.

Julia Glahn, Urbana, Illinois

From: Steve Charters (srcharters vodafone.co.nz)
Subject: combining forms

"Unlike a combining form, an affix can't be attached to another affix."

May I draw your attention to the word 'superette' in current use here in New Zealand; this describes a local shop individually owned, open seven days a week, and selling a wide variety of food, fresh fruit, vegetables, and miscellaneous household products. It is larger than a dairy with pretensions of being a supermarket.

Steve Charters, Auckland, New Zealand

From: Kisimoto Kiyoyuki (kiyo.kisimoto aist.go.jp)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--rhizophagous

Since my house burned down / I now own a better view / of the rising moon.
-Mizuta Masahide, poet and samurai (1657-1723)

Hidden meaning of the cultural background.

In the first sentence of "A Thought For Today", 'my house' is not the main house he was living in, but a store room or a barn in which they keep many things, e.g. stocks of grains, treasury, and so on. Old Japanese building design (disposition) of residence had been typified by practicing geomancy (Chinese feng shui), it still is so today to some extent. So, this building (store room or barn), independent from the main house, is usually built in the east of the building site relative to the main house.

When Japanese read this short poem (haiku), we can easily imagine that even if Mizuta Masahide lost his fortune in the fire, he kept aloof and enjoyed the view of the rising moon (apparently not the view of setting sun!) he acquired instead.

Kisimoto Kiyoyuki, Tsukuba, Japan

From: Marvin Berkson (bingo1939 sbcglobal.net)
Subject: Zymurgy

If I ever open up a brewery, the slogan will surely be, "Zymurgy, the last name in beer."

Marvin Berkson, Foster City, California

From: Craig Nielsen (craig.r.nielsen denbury.com)
Subject: Zymurgy

When I saw the word today, my first thought was this old aphorism -- "Famous last words ... Zymosis, Zymurgy, and Zyzzyva."

Craig Nielsen, Plano, Texas

From: Richard Alexander (alexander triton.net)
Subject: zymurgy and aardvark

"Aardvark" is the first word only in seriously abridged dictionaries. It's trumped by aa, a form of lava beloved by Scrabble players. And if we're being literal, "a" is the first word in the dictionary.

Similarly, in my New Oxford Dictionary of English, zymurgy is followed by Zyrian, defined as "former term for Komi (the language)".

Richard Alexander, Grand Rapids, Michigan

From: Randahl N. Lindgren (randahl.ctr.lindgren faa.gov)
Subject: zymurgy

I was so delighted in the clever turn of phrase you used in the Notes of Tuesday's word, zymurgy. That its day job is "raising spirits" while moonlighting as the last word in the dictionary, quite simply raised my spirits at the reading. It made me, of course, pull open my desk drawer and withdraw my life long companion of school and work, Webster's New World Dictionary of the American Language. It is a pocket edition that I purchased through my grade school book club. It cost 50 cents, has a copyright of 1959 and it has been constantly within my reach since that year in the 8th grade. Its dog-eared yellow pages are tattered and taped together. It is in sections where the binding has failed, but it is all there and still a steady companion. And, you are correct... zymurgy is the final entry and aardvark the first. There are hundreds of new words that have been invented over the 50 some years since this book was published. I can check the internet for those. But this scruffy old tome is still my heart and soul.

Randahl N. Lindgren, Washington, DC

Email of the Week (Brought to you by One Up! -- Have yourself a s&y blast.)

From: Robert Yuhasz (pisti ptd.net)
Subject: Logomania

And perhaps 'loginmania' could be defined as 'excessive and often incoherent email chatting'.

Robert Yuhasz, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

From: Enita Torres (enitatorres gmail.com)
Subject: logomania

As a graphic designer, this word makes me smile. I love logos and my designer friends and I call Nascar-esque sponsor pages "logo soup". I'm going to start calling them logomania.

1. Obsessive interest in visual identity graphics.
2. Excessive and often incoherent barrage of logos.

Enita Torres, Houston, Texas

From: Layne Marshal (layne.marshal shaw.ca)
Subject: Logomania

A woman who was a regular presenter at a major regional Rotary training event confessed during her presentation that she was an inveterate talker. In fact, she said she belonged to a special support group called "On-and-On-and-On Anon".

Layne Marshal, Campbell River, Canada

From: John Craddock, MD (j.craddock rosewoodent.com)
Subject: otorhinolaryngology

How nice of you to mention my specialty today -- otorhinolaryngology. When our son was three, we taught him how to say this ridiculous word for his "cocktail party trick".

John Craddock, Houston, Texas

From: Russell Hollins (r.hollins sympatico.ca)
Subject: Otorhinolaryngology

I've been a subscriber to AWAD since my days as a resident in otorhinolaryngology in the late 90s, when a friend sent me a gift subscription. At the time, it was often the one little escape from work and training I could manage every day and it reminded me there was a world out there beyond the hospital walls.

Our specialty officially changed its name to otolaryngology for ease of pronunciation, however, mostly we refer to ourselves as ENTs. It's interesting to note that ophthalmology, a younger specialty that was an offshoot of EENT, has managed to publicly maintain its Greek designation instead of being referred to as the eye docs... I guess ours is a more linguistically inclined specialty.

Russell Hollins, Kingston, Canada

From: Jos du Toit (glenjos mweb.co.za)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--otorhinolaryngology

A young man who had just qualified in medicine; his father, who was an ENT specialist asked him "Are you thinking of specialising now that you are qualified?" "Yes," said the young man, "but I don't want to do the whole ENT thing -- I'll just do the nose." "Oh!" said the father "Which nostril?"

Jos du Toit, Cape Town, South Africa

From: David Millstone (david.millstone valley.net)
Subject: combining forms

I taught fifth grade for many years, and the study of ancient Greece was at the heart of my social studies curriculum. Each year, students went through a series of exercises that exposed them to linguistic building blocks from the Greek language. One of the students' final projects was the creation of a Dictionary of Invented Words. A representative sample:

gastrohippotelechron: A horse which, when you rub its stomach, rides through time. "I mounted my gastrohippotelechron and galloped into the 18th century."

necranaut: a dead sailor. "In Greece a long time ago, when sailors looked at Medusa they turned into necranauts."

tetregastric: four stomached, as in a cow [Yes, this school was in Vermont, where kids know such things.]

hydroped: a mythical being, waterchild, child of a mermaid

David Millstone, Lebanon, New Hampshire

No man, or body of men, can dam the stream of language. -James Russell Lowell, poet, editor, and diplomat (1819-1891)

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