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AWADmail Issue 717A Weekly Compendium of Feedback on the Words in A.Word.A.Day and Tidbits about Words and Language
From: Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)
From: Beth Ullman (beth.ullman gmail.com)
I was fascinated seeing “bema” as today’s word, wondering at first if it had any relation to the word it sounds like that we use all the time. Reading the definition I found it is the *same* word, but spelled a way we’ve never used; we always spell it “bimah”. My old Random House/Webster’s Dictionary defines “bimah” (under the listing for “bema”) as a platform specifically for the table used for reading from the Torah, not a general purpose platform. Seems the word went from Greek to Hebrew and is usually shown as “bimah” when transliterated. The other definition matches your #2.
Thanks for edifying us with the original language of the word we always assumed came from Hebrew.
Beth Ullman, Northridge, California
From: Charles H. Hegarty (chheg61 yahoo.com)
Quayle: For some, spelling “potato” is a subjective experience.
Charles H. Hegarty, St. Johnsbury, Vermont
From: Charlie Cockey (czechpointcharlie gmail.com)
In Czech, “starets”, spelled “starec”, the C taking the “ts” sound, means simply an old man.
What is interesting is that the English word uses the same plural as its Slavic source (in Czech it would be spelled starcy).
Charlie Cockey, Brno, Czech Republic
From: Evan Hazard (eehazard paulbunyan.net)
For a subset of your readers, genera is the first word that popped into our minds Monday. BTW, I’ve never heard a fellow biologist say or write “genuses”. Of course, there is also species, which is its own plural, but where the abbreviation for the singular, sp., is different from the plural, spp. For literati in general, there is woman and women, where changing the second syllable’s spelling changes the first’s pronunciation.
Evan Hazard, Bemidji, Minnesota
From: Chris Allinson (chrisallinson bell.net)
"An important cause is the original sin working defects in human embryo while yet in his mother's womb. It causes the parietes to yield to the forces of the intra-abdominal pressure."
Hanna Rizk Wannas; The Original Sin and Human Diseases; WestBow Press; 2014.
A positively weird usage for today’s word -- trust the good doctor (sic) does not work for a national health system?
Chris Allinson, London, Canada
From: Peter Armstrong (armstrong.pete gmail.com)
My favorite common singular with an unusual plural is cow and kine, a plural containing none of the letters of the singular.
Peter Armstrong, Lafayette, California
From: Marc Williams (msw60223 gmail.com)
The focus of this week on plurals reminded me of a brilliant routine by comedian Brian Regan on the “intricacies” of the English language. The portion that addresses regular plurals occurs between 1:40 and 3:30 of this clip.
Marc Williams, Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania
From: Maurice Herson (mherson phonecoop.coop)
When I was a classics student, our joke was about the possible plural of rhinoceros. The -ceros bit is from a Greek word ‘keros’ meaning horn, whose plural is ‘kerata’ But ‘rhinocerata’? -- hardly.
I also lived in The Netherlands for a while, and there -- pleasingly to a classicist -- they use ‘musea’ as the plural of ‘museum’.
Maurice Herson, Oxford, England
From: Dharam Khalsa (dharamkk2 windstream.net)
Dharam Khalsa, Espanola, New Mexico
From: Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)
Quacksalvers perched on their makeshift bemata
“Lissen up,” said the coach; “I mean all ‘o ya:
Online ad: “Young SF, seeking startsy,
A tennis player named Venus,
Whether Gemini, Virgo, or Aries
From: Phil Graham (pgraham1946 cox.net)
One of these dais will you bema valentine?
I prefer objectivism -- not creepy quale things.
The unordained Religion 101 professor said, “Your training starets now.”
The damaged chromosomes cried out to the scientist, “Help! Genus!”
The redneck cook told his helper, “Paries here apples.”
Phil Graham, Tulsa, Oklahoma
From: Addisyn Draco (addisyn.draco gmail.com)
Honestly, your daily emails have enabled me to survive day to day. My HIV medication has effectively dropped my vocabulary by 50% since I’ve started taking it, but your daily words have made it possible to retain and improve the intelligence I had before. Thank you.
Addisyn Draco, Redcliffe, Australia
A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:Uttering a word is like striking a note on the keyboard of the imagination. -Ludwig Wittgenstein, philosopher (1889-1951)