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AWADmail Issue 633

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

Sponsor's message: It's Officially Free. This week's Email of the Week winner, Ross Blocher (see below) -- as well as all AWADers worldwide -- can now make their own terrific fun word-nerd party for nothing. Introducing our best-selling One Up! -- The Wicked/Smart Word Game as a downloadable PDF, absolutely gratis. Hurree y'up.

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

A New Dialect of Welsh?
The Economist

Computational Linguistics of Twitter Reveals the Existence of Global Superdialects
MIT Technology Review

50 Years of English Usage Advice
The Slate

10 'Grammar Rules' It's OK to Break (Sometimes)
The Guardian

Email of the Week, brought to you by One Up! -- with our compliments.)

From: Ross Blocher (ross rossblocher.com)
Subject: Inveigle

I remember watching the conspiratorial TV series The X-Files and running into this word. The opening credit sequence ended each week with a flash of lightning, musical punch, and the sentence "The Truth Is Out There." On occasion they'd mix it up with some other phrase, and one evening the words "Deceive Inveigle Obfuscate" appeared on screen. I immediately ran for a dictionary, and the latter two words have been personal favorites ever since.

Ross Blocher, North Hollywood, California

From: Steve Kelley (stevekelle aol.com)
Subject: Inveigle

I first encountered this word I was 11 and heard Have Some Madeira, M'Dear by The Limeliters (video, 6 min.). This song of seduction recounts:

"He had slyly inveigled her up to his flat
To view his collection of stamps."

The song, by British comedians Michael Flanders and Donald Swann, more memorably features three playful syllepses:

"He hastened to put out the cat, the wine, his cigar, and the lamps"

"She lowered her standards by raising her glass,
Her courage, her eyes, and his hopes."
"When he asked, 'What in Heaven?', she made no reply,
Up her mind, and a dash for the door."

Brilliant writing and a brilliant performance by Lou Gottlieb.

Steve Kelley, Hermosa Beach, California

From: Elaine Chilcote (echilcote nf.sympatico.ca)
Subject: emancipate

It was hard for a friend of mine to keep a straight face when a woman described another woman as "thin to the point of emancipation". Maybe she was emancipated from excess flesh. [see malapropism]

Elaine Chilcote, Corner Brook, Canada

From: Donna McKoy (hiqualc yahoo.com)
Subject: emancipate

This word had special meaning for me as a Jamaican as we have just had our Emancipation celebrations. We are also reminded by Bob Marley in his Redemption Song "Emancipate yourself from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds." This is so true. (video, 3 min.)

Donna McKoy, Jamaica, West Indies

From: Corona Brezina (borealisblue earthlink.net)
Subject: capitulate

Your accompanying photo for the day demonstrates that AWAD has finally capitulated to the internet obsession with cute cat images.

Corona Brezina, Chicago, Illinois

From: Ernesto Guiraldes (eguirald uc.cl)
Subject: ruminate

It is interesting to note that if you look for the terms "ruminate" and "rumination" in the medical literature you'll find that the latter is used in two very different contexts and is accordingly defined in contrasting ways: 1) the condition by which a person voluntarily or involuntarily regurgitates food and rechews it (gastroenterology), and: 2) the compulsively focused attention on the symptoms of one's distress (psychology).

Ernesto Guiraldes, Santiago, Chile

From: Claude Généreux (genereux.claude gmail.com)
Subject: ruminate

Rumen is one of four pouches serving as a partial stomach for the purpose and complex process of cow digestion. After rumination there is regurgitation into another one of these pouches. So, when one ruminates thoughts and ideas, one hopes to regurgitate them, intellectually speaking, of course.

Claude Généreux, Montreal, Canada

From: Gary Jones (gary.jones bigpond.com)
Subject: Re: booksigning request

It has been quite a while since we corresponded when you had signed a bookplate for my newborn son back in 2005.

I just wanted to thank you so much for the 5,000 or so emails I have received from you since I joined AWAD in 2000.

I enjoy my daily word -- it's like buttered toast and coffee for my mind every morning. Each word, in its own way, has delighted and (hopefully) enriched me. There have been a few favourites -- caryatid and telamon spring to mind, along with pabulum, sub rosa, and confabulate.

My son is almost nine years old now -- and 'romping' through life. He loves his words, and his dog-eared copies of your books. He uses his words effusively (sometimes we just can't stop him), so I'd like to share some special examples (1, 2, 3) with you. I do hope you enjoy the attached -- just a little expression of thanks, and perhaps a way of re-giving the gift of words.

Gary Jones, Sydney, Australia

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

Language is like money, without which specific relative values may well exist and be felt, but cannot be reduced to a common denominator. -George Santayana, philosopher (1863-1952)

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