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AWADmail Issue 694

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

Sponsor’s Message:
Who said you can’t buy the American Dream? And for a song? We’re offering our motorcycle-loving subscribers, and this week’s Email of the Week winner, Florence Galtier (see below), a two-wheel deal on Indian Summer, a terrific seat-of-the-pants documentary we filmed 20 years ago that’s been a surprise hit as a digitally-remastered DVD. A steal at $15; get 2 for $20 today only. Vroom, vroom!

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

Foul Language -- Do Young Arabs Snub Arabic?
Saudi Gazette

More Than Any Other Foreign Language, European Youths Learn English
Pew Research Center

Reviving the Ancient Language of the Mohawks
Montreal Gazette

From: Alexander Nix (revajnix yahoo.co.uk)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--ambit

I like this week’s opening gambit.

Alexander Nix, Cambridge, UK

From: Roger Lass (lass iafrica.com)
Subject: resumptive

There’s a special use in grammatical description for ‘resumptive’. A resumptive pronoun is one inside a relative clause that repeats the relative marker (to its left in Germanic languages). So in my dialect ‘The man who I used to date his sister’ where ‘his’ is resumptive. This is a casual-speech construction usually in English: it’s a way of avoiding wh- pronouns (The man whose sister ... is virtually unsayable for me, though I can write it in formal discourse).

Roger Lass, Diep River, South Africa

From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: uberous

I was almost tempted to affix a letter “h” to today’s word “uberous”, but realized, right-off, that the almost homophonic word “hubris” is NOT spelled “huberous”. (D’oh!)

But adding the letter “t” to “uberous” gives us the legitimate word, “tuberous”, an adjective meaning being a plant tuber.

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California

From: Glenn Glazer (gglazer ucla.edu)
Subject: olio

‘Olio’ is also Italian for ‘oil’ and many pasta recipes have this word in their names, e.g., Spaghetti aglio e olio.

Glenn Glazer, Felton, California

Email of the Week (Courtesy Indian Summer - Buy the American Dream movie now.)

From: Florence Galtier (flogalt gmail.com)
Subject: Words with hooks

Would it be presumptive to speculate that the Natural Decline Gambit advocates dishonestly claim that polio was cured by eating tuberous plants and grains?

Florence Galtier, Prades le Lez, France

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

His professor set young Sam an ambit
for his research. Sam thought it a gambit.
Said, “my thesis will be
what it should be to me!”
For the Prof’s words, Sam cared not a damn bit.

-Zelda Dvoretzky, Haifa, Israel (zeldahaifa gmail.com)

Cries Madoff, “My Ponzi’s not second-rate!
‘Twas never intended to peculate.
You misapprehend.
Has it not taught my friends
a lesson re: how not to speculate?”

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

On seeing her trespass resumptive,
Pa Bear finds the girl too presumptive.
“Hey, Curly Blonde Hair!
Don’t you know this is where
me and Ma and our baby bear son live?”

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

When we doggies and kitties get uberous
The humans, it seems, like to neuter us
They take lots of measures
To keep their own pleasures
But us? Bye bye testes or uterus.

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

Pity Malvolio’s plight-
promised greatness (and ardor each night!)-
but the note was a fraud,
droll Maria its bawd,
in the folio known as “Twelfth Night”.

-Laurence McGilvery, La Jolla, California (laurence mcgilvery.com)

From: Phil Graham (pgraham1946 cox.net)
Subject: Puns on Words of the Week

“I ambit!” yelled Evander Holyfield to the referee.

“Meet me after midnight, darling, and I’ll peculate.”

After digging a new septic tank, Adam said, “I’ve resumptive.”

“Ya, it’s sehr gut to have a roof uberous.”

Compared to a one-trick pony, an olio is margarinely butter.

Phil Graham, Tulsa, Oklahoma

Words are not created by academics in universities and suchlike, rather it is the man in the street who does so. Dictionary compilers almost always recognise them too late and embalm them in alphabetical order, in many cases when they have lost their original meaning. -Gabriel García Márquez, novelist and journalist, Nobel laureate (1927-2014)

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