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AWADmail Issue 705

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

Sponsor’s Message: Hate dumb winter? This week’s Email of the Week winner Ellen Peel (see below) as well as all AWADers everywhere can buy 2 x tickets to wicked smart sunny word fun paradise for only $25. Escape now!

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

Electronic Toys for Infants Associated with Decreased Quantity and Quality of Language

Mapped: The 7,000 Languages Across the World
The Daily Telegraph

Cracking the Code to Speak Cherokee

From: Dave Hatfield (ddhatfi verizon.net)
Subject: Paternoster

On my first trip to Frankfurt am Main in 1980, I stepped into the Headquarters for the US Army V Corps in the Abrams Building, formerly known as the I.G. Farben building. Following my host to his office, I got my first look at a paternoster, which I was about to ride to the 4th floor of the building. It didn’t seem quite safe by American elevator standards, but I was assured by my host that only a few dozen soldiers were killed on it each year. I chose to assume he was joking, so I jumped in the next open car and took my first ride. Quite the experience.

Dave Hatfield, Severn, Maryland

From: Yitzhak Dar (yitzhakdar gmail.com)
Subject: Paternoster

In 1966, as part of the renewed relations between Israel and Germany, a group of German-speaking young Israelis was invited to Germany for a seminar with young German students of the Paderborn Pädagogische Hochschule. It was, for most of our group, including for my wife and myself, the first trip abroad.

The first German town we visited was Munich, and we watched open-mouthed the paternoster elevator, which was used in a tall building, trying to figure out what happens when it reaches the top. We rode it, of course, more than once. Checking Wikipedia I found that there are still many paternoster elevators in Europe, most of them in Germany, though a large number of them are for the use of the building’s employees only.

Yitzhak Dar, Haifa, Israel

From: Andrew Pressburger (andpress sympatico.ca)
Subject: Paternoster

The photograph of the entrapment in the contraption, attached to today’s word, illustrates the dilemma I once found myself in, the attempted escape resulting in my pate being crowned with a sizeable bump and the misuse of the prayer in the form of an oath. Ironically, according to my sources, there is no relation between pate and pater, except in this instance.

Andrew Pressburger, Toronto, Canada

From: Paul Lentz (patptc.tmv gmail.com)
Subject: paternoster

Also used to describe a chain of lakes in a glacial valley.

Paul Lentz, Peachtree City, Georgia

From: Rick Loveland (rick_l global.co.za)
Subject: Paternoster

Up the west coast and 160 kilometres from Cape Town there is the quaint little fishing village of Paternoster and, although it is unconfirmed, one of the old tales from the area is that it was named after the Catholic Portuguese seaman who survived a shipwreck and prayed to the Lord on reaching dry land.

Rick Loveland, Port Alfred, South Africa

Email of the Week (Purchase One Up! - Word-perfect heaven awaits.)

From: Ellen Peel (epeel sfsu.edu)
Subject: paternoster elevator

A hilarious scene involving a paternoster elevator appears in David Lodge’s novel Changing Places, the tale of a faculty exchange between a professor from Euphoric State (a thinly-disguised UC-Berkeley) and a professor from Rummidge (an imaginary red brick university in the UK).

The American, Morris Zapp, has incurred the wrath of Gordon Masters, the somewhat loony former chair of the Rummidge English Department, and thinks Masters has been shooting at him. Zapp flees Masters by stepping into the paternoster, and a farcical chase ensues, with the two of them stepping into and out of the elevator on various floors. At one point, as Zapp

“stood pondering on the landing Masters appeared before him moving slowly downwards, standing on his head. They gazed at each other in mutual puzzlement until Masters sank from Morris’s sight. It was only much later that Morris deduced that Masters, having been carried upwards beyond the top floor of the paternoster’s circuit, and being under the impression that the compartment turned over to make its descent, had performed a handstand in the belief that he would drop harmlessly from ceiling to floor when his compartment was inverted.”

Ellen Peel, San Francisco, California

From: Steve Birch (albinvega@btopenworld.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--paternoster

A paternoster is also an item of fishing tackle used to keep the hook length/s away from the main line at right-angles to stop tangles. Used them from the 60s.

Steve Birch, Malvern, UK

From: Tessa Rosier van Rooyen (tessnic iburst.co.za)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--gaudeamus

When I read today’s word -- gaudeamus -- I immediately broke out in song. We were taught that drinking song that starts “Gaudeamus igitur, juvenes dum sumus” at my Camps Bay, Cape Town school in the 60s. Ah sweet memories!

Tessa Rosier van Rooyen, Cape Town, South Africa

From: John Harrier (thecraw windstream.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--gaudeamus

So now when I hear a young person say “YOLO baby” I’ll think “Gaudeamus, (yawn), how 1823”.

John Harrier, Glenford, Ohio

From: David Micklethwait (micklethwait hotmail.com)
Subject: gaudeamus

In Oxford, a gaudy is a college feast, supposedly from “gaudeamus”, not from the adjective “gaudy”, meaning showy or ostentatious. Hence the title of one of Dorothy L. Sayers’ detective stories, Gaudy Night. In Cambridge, the summer post-graduation college celebration is a May Ball, which takes place in June.

David Micklethwait, London, UK

From: Steve Kirkpatrick (stevekirkp comcast.net)
Subject: debenture

My father was an accountant and explained debenture to me, when I was a teenager. Later, when Janis Ian used debenture in her song At Seventeen, it occurred to me that one of her parents might be an accountant. Who else would use such a word in a song? Despite more accounting lyrics in the same verse, “when payment due exceeds accounts received”, I think neither parent of hers was an accountant.

Steve Kirkpatrick, DDS, Olympia, Washington

From: Karen L. Lew (karen karenllew.com)
Subject: Magnificat

Ever since I moved out of a Hindu ashram, where I learned Sanskrit, I have been giving my cats Sanskrit names. One cat (still with me) is a very large Ragdoll, whom I named Maha, meaning big or great, which she is. Thus I was pleased to see her being recognized in your word of the day: Magnificat. Particularly fitting right after Christmas when many of my choral singing friends had also sung her praises.

Karen L. Lew, Lynnwood, Washington

From: Julie Baker (bakerjulie5 gmail.com)
Subject: Word of the Day

Your emails are a bright spot in my morning. Among all the negative news of politics and terrorism that fill my inbox, I can relax a bit and learn something new from the Word of the Day. The Thought of the Day is actually my favorite part. Great quotations!

Julie Baker, Willoughby, Ohio

From: Dharam Khalsa (dharamkk2 windstream.net)
Subject: Anagrams of this week’s words

All five words, plus this title, are equal to the one anagram:
1. paternoster
2. mittimus
3. magnificat
4. debenture
5. gaudeamus
= 1. sequential formula
2. permit to get outlaw to the slammer
3. praise in faith, sing ‘Ave Maria’
4. unsecured debt
5. student gala
The complete text in the right box is an anagram of the complete text in the left (each individual line is not an anagram of the corresponding line in the other box).
Dharam Khalsa, Espanola, New Mexico

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

At the summit of tall roller coasters
I mumble a few paternosters
I don’t go to church
But up high on that perch
I’m as chicken as Frank Perdue’s roasters.

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

The prisoner put up a fuss,
When he was served with mittimus,
‘Cause he did the crime,
He had to serve time.
There was nothing left to discuss.

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

Screamed the zombies,”Forget gaudeamus!
We’re furious. Don’t try to calm us!
We can’t ambulate,
much less congregate.
The mortician forgot to embalm us!”

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

A poor chap had to sign a debenture.
The result of requiring a denture
when he still had the rent to pay,
his bills never went away;
so his life was a cash misadventure.

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

For your car’s registration certificate
You fill out the forms all in triplicate
Three hours you wait
For a clerk that you hate
Now you’re done! Praise the Lord! Sing “Magnificat!”

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

From: Phil Graham (pgraham1946 cox.net)
Subject: AWAD of puns

Hoping no one noticed, her finger repeatedly paternoster’l a visit.

Oklahoma mittimus of Clayton Lockett’s execution.

“Her gold lamé dress is so gaudeamus say something catty!”

She played very poorly and the coach had debenture.

“I carry a .44 magnificat attacked, I’d use it.”

Phil Graham, Tulsa, Oklahoma

Bare lists of words are found suggestive to an imaginative and excited mind. -Ralph Waldo Emerson, writer and philosopher (1803-1882)

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