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AWADmail Issue 636

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, Evelyn Falkenstein (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

Classic First Lines of Novels in Emojis: A Quiz

What Happens in the Brain When You Learn a Language?
The Guardian

From: Valerie Stephenson (valeries1 comcast.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--consonance

Consonance! What a great word. As a musician and ancient music teacher of all ages and instruments, Dissonance is its partner and my favorite balancing seesaw. It's rather like Thanksgiving dinner with family, in-laws, and a few uninvited guests.

I loved teaching those two words in "sounds". Dissonance was easier than consonance, but resolution from dissonance to consonance made sense even to a four-year-old. After all, in a classroom of any kind, there is consonance rarely, and dissonance eternally. Ah! But when they GOT IT, they knew it. And POOF, I had a classroom from preschool through college who also "got it". If one might relate these words to reality, they are really FUN!

Valerie W. Stephenson, Jacksonville, Florida

From: Steve Kirkpatrick (stevekirkp comcast.net)
Subject: consonance and dissonance

One reason for the lack of consonance between the music of Max Bruch and Anton Bruckner was that Bruckner was known for his dissonance. He had a more modern and radical style, while Bruch's music was old school classical romanticism, along the lines of Brahms, etc.

Steve Kirkpatrick, Olympia, Washington

From: Dave Horsfall (dave horsfall.org)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--levee

And who can possibly forget Don Maclean's song "American Pie"?

So bye-bye, Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry
And them good old boys were drinkin' whiskey and rye
Singin' "This'll be the day that I die
This'll be the day that I die.

It's full of historical references, such as Buddy Holly, Kent State University, Janis Joplin, The Byrds, the "Eight Mile Club", etc. Bliss to this se_xagenarian.

Dave Horsfall, North Gosford, Australia

From: Ellen Nichols (nicholseg gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--levee

Thanks to today's words I now have a whole new insight into one of my favorite songs: Don Mclean's "American Pie". I first assumed that the line "took my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry" referred to going to drink beer down by the river. Later I learned that there was a bar named The Levee, and the song might be referring to that. But today I see that this was a formal event sans alcohol.

Ellen Nichols, Kansas City, Missouri

From: Kathryn Holleman (kholleman bjc.org)
Subject: levee

Seeing or hearing "levee" always takes me back to the summer of 1993 when the Mississippi and Missouri rivers destroyed levees as they never had before. People from Davenport to Cairo frantically sandbagged night and day to reinforce the levees that protected their homes, farms, and business.

But dirt, stone, and even concrete were no match for the swollen, angry rivers. Every few days brought news of a new levee breach or a break, like the one that basically washed the town of Valmeyer, Illinois away. When the water finally receded, some, like Valmeyer, relocated to higher ground. Others, like in the Chesterfield, Missouri valley rebuilt the levees, trusting that the flood, as the meteorologists and geographers said, a once-every-500-years event.

Kathryn Holleman, St. Louis, Missouri

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

From: Evelyn Falkenstein (evfalkenstein yahoo.com)
Subject: levee

Other usages of levee include the levée en masse, which was

1. an uprising of the general population or a requirement of the local lord of the manor or large medieval estate which involved a certain number of days that had to be spent by each serf belonging to the lord's lands in rebuilding or building roads, repairing defenses, and eventually that extended to fighting in the noble's or king's wars and
2. a current use is levée de fonds -- fundraising. It's so suitable!

The levée du roi was a tactic used by Louis XIV to manage the nobility by giving them insignificant tasks to do for him, which then took on the character of huge privileges, disabling them and centering all life around the king himself rather than in rebellion against him. But the idea of levée itself predates that period by centuries as a prerogative of the nobility to squeeze the people under their control. I can easily see why the work aspect is connected with the levees since I live where there are many and the task of keeping them in repair so that they don't break down and flood the land is endless. Downtown of the capital of the 8th largest economy in the world is protected by levees from constant flooding -- in Sacramento, CA.

Evelyn Falkenstein, Davis, California

From: Mike Grundmann (mikegrundmann hotmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--loblolly

Not for the first time has a word from AWAD sent my mind scurrying back to the school classroom. I remember looking it up in the dictionary at the time and not being a great deal wiser what the poet meant (although I imagine our teacher told us the meaning didn't entirely matter). I suppose Larkin might well have enjoyed the fact it has so many different connotations!

Philip Larkin/Toads -
Lots of folk live on their wits:
Lecturers, lispers,
Losels, loblolly-men, louts-
They don't end as paupers;

Mike Grundmann, Poole, UK

From: Leela Vinod Kumar (leelavinodkumar gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--loblolly

This one definitely has had the most interesting etymology note in recent time I'd say -- almost like a story narration. I could almost picture them all as I read them like reading a story. A broth cooking in a cabin or house near the woods, with a mud-hole out front (rather back) with these pine trees and someone in surgeon's clothing feeding this to a sick person and on.

Leela Vinod Kumar, Hyderabad, India

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 not an abstract construction of the learned, or of dictionary makers, but is something arising out of the work, needs, ties, joys, affections, tastes, of long generations of humanity, and has its bases broad and low, close to the ground. -Noah Webster, lexicographer (1758-1843)

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