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AWADmail Issue 665

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

Sponsor’s Message: “Old’s Cool” sums up our philosophy of life in a neat little turn of phrase. Look at what this UP-i-tee shirt is saying loud and clear: Common sense. Nerve. Backbone. Self-reliance. Perseverance. Old school with a shot of wry, served neat. So, we’re offering this week’s Email of the Week winner, Rick Condee (see below), as well as all AARP AWADers the TODAY-ONLY 10% discount off our regular price -- so why not flaunt your charming lack of political correctness with wit and style, and save a bit to boot? Use coupon code “lagniappe” --now.

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

A Loss for Words: Can a Dying Language be Saved?
The New Yorker

Arabic Pledge of Allegiance Brings Protests
The Web of Language

From: Gary Muldoon (gmuldoon muldoongetz.com)
Subject: expectorate

In movie theaters during the silent film era, between films, a slide might be projected that read, “If you expect to rate as a gentleman, do not expectorate on the floor.”

Gary Muldoon, Rochester, New York

Email of the Week (Old’s Cool is old school -- With a shot of wry, served neat.)

From: Rick Condee (prcondee charter.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--expectorate

Frenchy Bordagaray, a baseball player, was ejected from a game for spitting at an umpire. He was then suspended for several days. Asked for his response to the suspension, Bordegaray answered, “The penalty is a bit more than I expectorated.”

Rick Condee, North Brookfield, Massachusetts

From: Angela M. Rosati (Angelamarie5 hotmail.com)
Subject: expectorate

When I was a little girl, there was a sign in the subway car: DO NOT EXPECTORATE. We didn’t know what that big word meant. We were too poor to own a dictionary during the depression. We never asked our teachers because we were expected to answer not ask questions. Had they written PTUI! we would have known instantly what they meant and we wouldn’t have expectorated at all.

Angela M. Rosati, Port Orchard, Washington

From: Philip Gottling (gottlingbsn usa.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--expectorate

That reminds me of a fake irregular verb declension we shared in Latin class: spitto, spittere, achtui, splattus. Also piggo, piggere, squeali, gruntus.

Philip Gottling, Honolulu, Hawaii

From: Larry Ray (callball bellsouth.net)
Subject: seism

Your example of hundreds of thousands of small seisms could accurately be called “The Brady Bunch”. The word bradyseism (from Greek bradus: slow, sism: movement) has been part of the Neapolitan vocabulary since it was coined in 1883 by Italian geologist, Arturo Issel. The term means very slow uplift or descent of part of the earth’s surface ... which happens a lot around bella Napoli.

These seisms are caused by complicated filling and emptying of calderas beneath the earth’s crust that can really shake things up topside. In the Naples area the coastline of the Roman age is actually at a depth of 10 m below the present day sea level. In recent times all this up and down heaving has forced relocation of entire communities inland including parts of Sophia Loren’s hometown of Pozzuoli.

Larry Ray, Gulfport, Mississippi

From: Stefan Kalmelid (stefan kalmelid.net)
Subject: leechdom

That old English word is still used in Swedish, läkedom, or if you don’t have Swedish characters, transcribed as laekedom. It still means healing, medicine.

Stefan Kalmelid, Linköping, Sweden

From: David Ornick (david.ornick ymail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--festinate

When I was in the US Army 40 years ago the motto of one unit was Festina lente. The barracks rumor said that it meant “Make haste slowly.” Today I see that the translation was correct and that there was a learned person somewhere up the line.

Dave Ornick, Morgantown, West Virginia

From: Gary Niditch MD (goodbishop aol.com)
Subject: Festinate

I am a retired neurologist. Patients with Parkinson’s disease often have gait Problems. Their gait is frequently shuffling and many find themselves walking faster and faster trying to catch up to their center of gravity which is forward from usual owing to their flexed posture. This gait problem where the patient is walking faster and faster is termed a festinating gait.

Gary Niditch, Prairieville, Louisiana

From: Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)
Subject: Limericks

Wherever the town health inspector ate
His girlfriend would say, “You have wrecked our date”
For the look on his face
Was a mark of disgrace
And she’d quickly decide to expectorate.

-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

She spies pretty shoes, and she tries ‘em.
They fit very well, so she buys ‘em.
Wearing the pair
feels like walking on air--
quite handy in case of a seism!

-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

An Australian autochthon named Jack
Was crying alone by a track
When asked was he lost
He said “No, I’ve just tossed
And my boomerang won’t come back!”

-Bob Thompson, New Plymouth, New Zealand (bobtee xtra.co.nz)

The President’s doctor beseeched him,
“You must, sir, take all of this leechdom”
A girl he loved to zap
Had transmitted the clap
He got better, but then they impeached him.

-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

There is something that I do hate,
When a friend does festinate,
As the old adage goes,
Which everyone knows,
Haste makes waste, I indicate.

-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

From: Carolanne Reynolds (cr carolanne.ca)
Subject: Response to the Guardian article in last week’s AWADmail

Last week, one of the stories described as “interesting from the net” rued/scrambled the meaning of “ex-pat”. Rather than describing its definition or provenance Mawuna Remarque Koutonin chose to ascribe racist and “superiority” values.

It is important that definitions be established to facilitate communication. No doubt there’s a difference between an ex-pat and a migrant! In addition, both can be referred to as immigrants as well.

Most of us know, ex-pat/expat refers to a person from another country now living elsewhere. With so many colonies, no surprise often the person is British. When I lived in Beirut many decades ago, my girlfriend and I mixed with the ex-pat community -- a diverse group (yes, most were British or Australian or Kiwi or Canadian, as we were, but sometimes tangentially American). Of course those with similar backgrounds initially and quickly congregate.

Naturally they tend to be the same colour, but that’s not the defining part of the word, nor its use. To convey the idea of someone from the “old country”, in the Spanish colonies, to differentiate from ppl born locally and those born in Spain, the term was “peninsulares”.

OTOH, in Quebec to differentiate those who were born in Quebec (rather than coming from France or elsewhere) are called “gens de souche” (refers to roots, ie locals, not a foreigner or from somewhere else).

btw, the top of the animosity/dislike list of the blacks in South Africa (where I also lived for a year) was another tribe, then those in the next two categories; the category mostly with Europeans/whites (note, which also included the Japanese) was down to fourth or fifth on the list.

It is unfortunate to complain/condemn “whites” using a word that does not and was not coined to indicate that. Uber-sensitive? assuming insult when insults not intended?

There are many misunderstandings and miscommunications in the world today -- wdn’t it be better to work for improvement in relations rather than make up interpretations to criticize and denigrate?

Carolanne Reynolds, West Vancouver, Canada

The meaning of a poem is the outcome of a dialogue between the words on the page and the particular person who happens to be reading it. The interpretation can only be false if the reader does not know the contemporary meaning of the words. -W.H. Auden, poet (1907-1973)

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