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AWADmail Issue 657A Weekly Compendium of Feedback on the Words in A.Word.A.Day and Tidbits about Words and Language
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From: Diane Campbell (diane.campbell internode.on.net)
There are odd names -- what image comes to mind with “Geriatric Physician”?
Diane Campbell, Adelaide, Australia
From: Garry Stahl (tesral wowway.com)
English is indeed rather slippery in its possessives and meaning at times. I consider it fun. Bread knife, steak knife, boy scout knife?
At the local market deli the girl was getting my order and noticed the line of dips in the cooler. “So,” said I, “chip dip is for chips, and vegetable dip for vegetables. I would assume the fruit dip is for fruit.” She replied in the affirmative. “What is the Mexican dip for?”
The poor girl lost it. English is fun.
Garry Stahl, Dearborn, Michigan
From: Alain Gottcheiner (agot ulb.ac.be)
There is something to be said about genitive forms, and you’ve put your finger on it. Taken to the letter, a “children’s hospital” is a toy.
There is a tendency in official English to overuse the so-called Saxon genitive form. In languages which use case endings, the word “children” would be to the dative or, in the few which have this feature, to the attributive. The correct English equivalent would be “hospital for children”, as it is in French and Italian.
Alain Gottcheiner, Brussels, Belgium
From: Beni Downing (mabenid aol.com)
Beni Downing, Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania
From: Prunella Barlow (prunella shaw.ca)
Ellen DeGeneres borrowed from Robert Burns, in his poem “To a Louse”
“Oh wad some Power the giftie gie us, to see oursels as ithers see us”
Many people will correct this .. oh, no, he wrote To a Mouse, but he also wrote To a Louse which he observed crawling up the bonnet of a well-dressed lady in church.
Prunella Barlow, North Vancouver, Canada
I have a greeting card line and this is one of the more popular cards. It may not exactly fit the bill for this week’s words, but it is a light touch for a not always pleasant circumstance.
I so enjoy A Word A Day, it’s the first thing I read in the morning. Thank you!
Catherine McKnight, Los Angeles, California
From: Darla Doxstater (condorita sbcglobal.net)
Children’s Hospital of Orange County, California apparently has a new advertising company which is responsible for the current “CHOC Children’s” campaign. I gnash my teeth every time I go near the place or see any of their advertising. *cringe*
Darla Doxstater, Buena Park, California
From: Andrew Pressburger (andpress sympatico.ca)
In Toronto, the children’s hospital is affectionately -- and universally -- known as the SickKids, plain and simple.
One of the characters in the radio series of the mid-twentieth century comedy team Bob & Ray was a guest expert named Dr. Sickening, Child Psychologist. His weekly appearance was invariably prefaced by the caveat that he was not a child. Then the host (Bob, I believe) would read write-ins from desperate parents seeking his advice. The doctor’s fall-back recommendation, if other treatment suggestions failed, was: “Whack ‘em!”
Andrew Pressburger, Toronto, Canada
From: Ronald Davidson (davidsnr cogeco.ca)
I’m a pediatrician and was sitting at the nurse’s station working on charts one morning; an officious nurse was standing at the door to the toilet, clipboard in hand, waiting for a maybe three-year-old girl to emerge. When she did, the nurse asked, “Did you go #1 or #2?” The little patient answered, “I didn’t see any numbers in it.”
Obviously, this little scenario can easily be depicted by a cartoon and I promise you that it actually occurred!
Ron Davidson, MD, Ancaster, Canada
From: Randa Serag (rserag gmail.com)
I have seen many jaundiced patients in my medical practice, but none as cute (or yellow) as Big Bird!
Randa Serag, MD, Irvine, California
From: Diana Malley (kendiana juno.com)
Diana Malley, North San Juan, California
From: Marni Hancock (mrh330 gmail.com)
At some point during the school years from fall of 1962 to June of 1965 my history teacher in high school stated this description: Los Angeles didn’t grow, it metastasized.
Marni Hancock, Creswell, Oregon
From: Dominique Mellinger (dominiquemellinger yahoo.co.uk)
Thanks for today’s word, scabrous. We have it in French too where it is commonly used with the meaning of knotty, complicated, and hard to believe, with a pinch of darkness to it. Typically, we’ll use it in ‘une histoire scabreuse’, ‘des explications scabreuses’, when what you hear feels far-fetched and not delivered with an air of authenticity. It usually implies one doesn’t believe in the ‘explications scabreuses’. I felt surprised to discover the origin of the word and happy to see it has more meanings than I thought, as if it were now in three dimensions..
Dominique Mellinger, Gorze, France
From: Mike Stone (mstone lorencook.com)
The quotation in today’s (1/30/15) AWAD:
Books are humanity in print. -Barbara Tuchman, author and historian (30 Jan 1912-1989)
was previously (I’m sorry, I don’t record the dates quotations first appear in AWAD) cited as part of another quotation:
Without books the development of civilization would have been impossible. They are the engines of change, windows on the world, “Lighthouses” as the poet said “erected in the sea of time”. They are companions, teachers, magicians, bankers of the treasures of the mind. Books are humanity in print. -Arthur Schopenhauer, philosopher (1788-1860)
Mike Stone, Springfield, Missouri
Thanks for catching this! We featured Schopenhauer’s quotation on Dec 19, 2006. We’ve replaced Tuchman’s with Schopenhauer’s for today’s thought.
From: Steve Benko (stevebenko1 gmail.com)
Some sailors afflicted with scurvy
Steve Benko, New York, New York
From: Joan Perrin (perrinjoan aol.com)
This week’s theme, “Words for Diseases”,
Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York
A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:Standard English is a convenient abstraction, like the average man. -George Leslie Brook, English professor, author (1910-1987)