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AWADmail Issue 604

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

Sponsor's Message: Email of the Week winner Richard S. Russell (see below) will get a first-edition ONEUPMANSHIP, a Machiavellian money game that's certainly not for four-flushers or the faint of heart. In fact, it "brings out the blood-sucking worst in people" according to Patricia Gay, The Weston Forum.

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

Alternate Etymology of the Word 'Worm' (cartoon)

OED's New Chief Editor Speaks of Its Future
The New York Times

As One Council Bans Them, Have Apostrophes Had Their Day?
Shropshire Star
Also see this story from last year:
The Guardian

The Pedants' Revolt: Grammar Guerrillas Make Their Mark in Battle Against Cambridge Council's War on Street Sign Apostrophes
Daily Mail

Jewish Surnames Explained
Also see:
Jewish Surnames Supposedly Explained
Mosaic magazine

From: Christopher Joubert (chris_joubert hotmail.com)
Subject: Stellenbosch

The French equivalent, referring to the practice of sending incompetent Great War generals to Limoges, is limoger.

Christopher Joubert, London, UK

From: John Davis (endeavour1 iburst.co.za)
Subject: Stellenbosch

So we live and learn. Born and bred here, now 74. First time I have heard this about Stellenbosch! I have seen much of this beautiful land and have been to Stellenbosch many times.

John Davis, Johannesburg, South Africa

From: Lionel Karsen (Lionelkarsen telkomsa.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--stellenbosch

Simon van der Stel, then Governor of the Cape, founded (1679) then named the town after himself: Stel en Bosch (Dutch for bush), Stellenbosch. The town grew fairly rapidly in size and importance to the Dutch at the time. The British established a military post (1899-1902) as a remount camp. Stellenbosch is situated in the heart of the wine industry in the Cape, the town being quite pretty.

Lionel Karsen, Warner Beach, South Africa

From: Kate Karp (doowopqueen yahoo.com)
Subject: stellenbosch

The first LP I can remember my parents playing was "Songs from the South African Veldt" by Josef Marais. One of the songs was Stellenbosch Boys (1.5 min.). The lyrics included "Stop your moaning, stop your groaning, the Stellenbosch boys are here." My childish mind brought them up as some teenage heroes who would help a farmer catch the sickle-tailed baboon who was climbing the hill -- anyway, you had to be there, in our living room. Thanks for giving me the 62-year-old memory.

Kate Karp, Long Beach, California

From: Paul Clarke (paul.clarke stemcor.com)
Subject: Stellenbosch

I'll think you'll find the expression was coined by Rudyard Kipling in a poem covering the Boer War. I remember the line ended "for fear of Stellenbosch!"

Paul Clarke, Johannesburg, South Africa

From: Eve V. Clark (eclark stanford.edu)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--stellenbosch

I was delighted to see 'stellenbosch' featured today. It is one of many proper names (of people and places) that have 'surfaced' in verbs made from nouns in English (a highly productive source of new verbs that's been in use in English for roughly a 1000 years). Stellenbosch was one of my favourites among the proper names we identified as contributing to this stock of verbs over the years, in a paper I wrote a number of years ago, on denominal verbs in English.

Eve V. Clark, Stanford, California

From: Steve Harmony (steveharmo gmail.com)
Subject: Peter Principle

Readers of The Peter Principle will recognize stellenbosch as what Peter calls a lateral arabesque.

Steve Harmony, Durango, Colorado

From: Tam Nightingale (tam nightingalemusic.tv)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--stellenbosch

Puts me in mind of, doolally (to go mad). As in 'he's gone doolally'. From Deolali, India, former site of a British Army transit camp.

Tam Nightingale, London, UK

From: Andrew Merson (andrew merson.net)
Subject: Campanology

I have heard people describe bell-ringing as sounding like a fabulous conversation between excited fairies, but I thinks that's a camp analogy...

Andrew Merson, Aberdeenshire, Scotland

From: Hope Bucher (hopebucher gmail.com)
Subject: perse

Color is a subjective experience. The word perse extracted a childhood memory. When I was ten years old, my mother made an unexpected trip to Florida, leaving me at home with my Dad.

Attempting to assume all household duties, I gathered laundry and, for the first time, used the washing machine. At the end of the cycle, I opened the door and observed, to my horror, that all of my father's socks and briefs were purple!

My Dad, in his inimitably calm manner, said "Don't worry, sweetheart, purple is a Royal Color -- worn by Emperors and Kings throughout the ancient world." The warmth of his response helped dry my turgid tears.

Hope Bucher, Naperville, Illinois

From: Ann Bertelsmann (ann.bertelsmann aon.co.za)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--perse

I was delighted to find out that the name of our beautiful Stellenbosch was on your list recently as a verb! I would not mind being stellenbosched myself -- but I digress. Today's word perse (which I had not come across before) also had relevance to me as a South African. One of our 11 official languages is Afrikaans. The Afrikaans word for purple is pers.

Ann Bertelsmann, Johannesburg, South Africa

From: Taher Kagalwala (drtaher gmail.com)
Subject: Iliad

The second meaning of your word reminded me instantly of the way Indians use the word Ramayan (an Indian epic of the story of Lord Ram) in a similar way to describe the incessant ramblings of a person who goes on and on, telling you about his travails, whether or not you are interested in his story!

Taher Kagalwala, Mumbai, India

Email of the Week (Courtesy ONEUPMANSHIP -- "It's an aggressive game -- you probably won't like it.")

From: Richard S. Russell (richardsrussell tds.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--iliad

Some good friends of mine have a Honda Odyssey minivan. For their personalized license plate they chose ILIAD. Despite having a minivan, they don't travel much. They're kind of what you might call homers.

Richard S. Russell, Madison, Wisconsin

From: Andrew Pressburger (andpress sympatico.ca)
Subject: Illiad

An Iliad of troubles arising from the siege of Troy prompts Ulysses's Jeremiad about Crime and Punishment during his twenty-year Odyssey, in which the mingling of War and Peace provides the backdrop for a Divine Comedy and a nostalgic Remembrance of Things Past.

Andrew Pressburger, Toronto, Canada

From: Jan Grover (jzgrover gmail.com)
Subject: damask

Another related word is damson, a lovely plum believed to have come from Damascus. It makes the best plum jam imaginable, and depending on the country it's raised in, it's known as a damson or a damascene.

Jan Grover, St Paul, Minnesota

From: Craig G. Clark (cgcsf redshift.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--damask

There are two kinds of light -- the glow that illuminates, and the glare that obscures. -James Thurber, writer and cartoonist (1894-1961)

This is a particularly practical sentiment coming, as it does, from Thurber who, in his later years as he all but lost his sight, used an easel especially constructed for him by G.E. which was illuminated from within. Thus, the light came through his paper and he could make his simple cartoon drawings. One is tempted to opine that while some are inspired by light from above, Thurber was enlightened from below.

Craig G. Clark, Monterey, California

From: Irving N. Webster-Berlin (awadreviewsongs gmail.com)
Subject: Song based on this week's words

Here are this week's AWAD Review Songs (words and recordings) for your listening and viewing pleasure.

Irving N. Webster-Berlin, Sacramento, California

Words, when written, crystallize history; their very structure gives permanence to the unchangeable past. -Francis Bacon, essayist, philosopher, and statesman (1561-1626)

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