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AWADmail Issue 732

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

Sponsor’s Message: Hey, Traditionistas -- does “Old’s Cool” sum up your philosophy of life: old school with a little wry, served neat? Where courage, integrity, authenticity and excellence matter? Same here. So, we’re offering this week’s Email of the Week winner, Mary Postellon (see below), as well as all everyone who thinks that the way things were is sometimes better than the way things are 10% off our retro-wicked ludic loot. Jezz use coupon code “SHOPYESTERDAY”.

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

My Little Free Library War

It’s Time for the Geeks to Fight Back
The Guardian

From: Peter Armstrong-See (armstrong-see dlgtele.dk)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--knavery

In German Knabe (lad, boy) is rather poetic, as in Goethe’s Heidenröslein, devoid of any negative meaning or connotation (unless used ironically).

The meaning of the Danish word knagt (knaegt) falls somewhere in-between the English and the German.

How wondrous, the mutation not only of the words themselves, but also of their meanings.

Peter Armstrong-See, Grevinge, Denmark

From: Rafi Markus (markus netmedia.net.il)
Subject: knave

First, knave and knaap (somewhat obsolete Dutch: boy, lad) are related etymologically. Second: in Dutch the letter k in knaap is pronounced, just as it is in knie which means the same as knee.

Rafi Markus, Jerusalem, Israel

From: Gary Loew (GaryWLoew gmail.com)
Subject: knavery

Well, the initial K may be silent in knave or knight or know, but if you go into a kosher deli and ask for a “nish” they might not know whether you are mispronouncing nosh or knish!

Gary Loew, Atlanta, Georgia

From: Dave Campbell (museumofdave gmail.com)
Subject: The Marx Brothers Waxing Wroth

In the Marx Brothers’ college satire, Horse Feathers, Groucho is Quincy Adams Wagstaff, president of Huxley College. A concerned secretary races into his office to announce that, waiting in an outside office, “The Dean is furious! He’s waxing wroth.” “Is Wroth out there too?” responds Groucho, “Tell Wroth to wax the dean for a while.” (video, 3 min.)

Dave Campbell, Chico, California

From: Keith Allen (keith_allen53 yahoo.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--knar

This word also means rough or complex and difficult terrain. Commonly used by mountain bikers: “That was some knar (or gnar) terrain!”

Keith Allen, Palmer Lake, Colorado

From: Anthony Shaw (shawpas pacbell.net)
Subject: Knar

My late wife was of Armenian descent and was thus given an Armenian name, Knar, which is an Armenian musical instrument, usually a harp. She was tiny, therefore I called her Knarig, “little harp”.

Anthony Shaw, Pasadena, California

From: Carolyn Keating (cckeating comcast.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--knar

In thinking back, I once had a wonderful neighbor who among other talents created interesting bowl, vessels, boxes from interesting pieces of wood. I had a very large holly tree in my front yard which alas had to be cut down -- it was blocking entrance to the house, also darkening two rooms seriously -- hated to lose it, but had to -- to wit -- my neighbor asked if he could have some of the trunk pieces if I were not using them -- I gave them to him of course. I know he made wood plaques with them -- reminded me of the gorgeous bowls crafted from olive tree wood in the Mediterranean -- SO very beautiful, lovely. Unusual grains, swirls in that lovely wood.

Carolyn Keating, Marstons Mills, Massachusetts

From: Gigi Gottwald (gottwalds axxess.co.za)
Subject: wrick

The word “wrick” is well-known to Germans in the North Sea coast region. The infinitive “wricken”, with the w pronounced as a v, refers to a kind of rowing: the boatman stands at the stern of the boat and wiggles a single oar in the water to propel the boat. It may not sound very efficient, but it works! “Wricken” is usually only done on the calm waters of one of the many inland canals which in Hamburg are called “Fleet”, obviously related to the English word “fleet”, meaning a creek, only in German we pronounce it more like “flayt”. If you say it with a big grin, you’ll get the pronunciation more or less right!

Gigi Gottwald, Polokwane, South Africa

From: Peirce Hammond (Peirceah.03.01 gmail.com)
Subject: Wrick

Did you wrick your knee? Oh, pshaw!

Peirce Hammond, Bethesda, Maryland

From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--wrick

Ouch! Just wricked my right wrist trying to wrest a wrought-iron branding rod from an irascible, overwrought ‘Silent “W” Ranch’ wrangler.

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California

From: Georg Trimborn (gtrimborn gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--gnomic

Are you in cahoots with xkcd? See today’s posting for an interesting coincidence if you’re not!

Georg Trimborn, Skokie, Illinois

From: Patricia Dolan (pdolanwy verizon.net)
Subject: initial silents become pronounced

This week’s topic brings to mind the wonderful Flanders and Swann song “The Gnu” (lyrics, video 5 min.) , in which gnus, offended at being misidentified, introduce themselves.

At first just the silent initial G in g-nu (two syllables) is pronounced, then initial Gs are added to other words beginning with the letter N (g-nicest, g-nature), then other initial silents are pronounced (k-now, w-ho).

As the second gnu says:

I’m a g-nu
A-g-nother g-nu

Patricia Dolan, Chatham, Massachusetts

From: Kathleen Kluegel (kmkluegel gmail.com)
Subject: Silent First Letters

I was a reference librarian and I ended up spelling many words over the telephone to our patrons. This led me to contemplate a “Diabolical Spelling Alphabet” where instead of A as in Apple, etc. I had terms such as “P as in Psalter” and “K as in Knight”. Some letters refuse to be silent as far as I can tell. But I welcome this week’s words as a chance to supplement my long ago project.

Kathleen Kluegel, Urbana, Illinois

From: Yitzhak Dar (yitzhakdar gmail.com)
Subject: Words with initial silent letters

My mother tongue is German. Before traveling to Germany in the 1960s, I was told by my mother to buy a Knirps umbrella, because they are the best, and that’s what I did. When I moved to New York in the 1970s, I looked around for an umbrella. I was surprised to find that Knirps umbrellas were sold in the US. My surprise was even bigger, when I found out that although it’s the same umbrella, manufactured and sold under the same name, the name is pronounced in the US with a silent k in the beginning (like knee). Same name -- different pronunciation.

Yitzhak Dar, Haifa, Israel

From: Cayla D. Tchalo (cdtchalo yahoo.com)
Subject: silent s or c

In answer to your question, “Is it the letter s or c that is silent in the word ‘scent’?” I pose two other questions: Why must we assume that either s or c must be silent? And why can’t we claim they are both being pronounced?

Cayla D. Tchalo, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Email of the Week - Have an OLD’S COOL summer. Get your authentic on HERE.

From: Mary Postellon (mpostellon hotmail.com)
Subject: silent letters

During their childhood, my children took full advantage of a wonderful opportunity in the Lathrup Youtheatre summer program. The brainchild of Joanne Lamun, who penned most of the musical plays, LYT called itself the world’s largest company of children performing for children.

One summer’s play, The Wild, Wild Quest, centered on the theme of silent letters. My son played one of the Gnomes of Knickerbocker Knoll, who didn’t understand silent letters and pronounced all those Gs and Ks. The Quest in the title was for the Horn of Nrocinu -- say it with a silent N, please! -- and my daughter played the faerie who first addressed the Great Unicorn to whom the horn belonged.

Every child who auditioned was given at least one line to say and was in a song or dance number. The signing-only deaf child who tried out one year signed his lines. I don’t know how many LYT kids went on to careers in show business, but some did; I know of at least one whose writing earned her an Academy Award last season.

Mary Postellon, Grand Rapids, Michigan

From: Doris Waggoner (waggonerdoris gmail.com)
Subject: Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

People are like stained glass windows: they sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light within.
-Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, psychiatrist and author (8 Jul 1926-2004)

Kubler-Ross, author of today’s Thought for Today, was also the originator of the Hospice movement in England [correction: see Cicely Saunders]. I was a Hospice Chaplain for several years, and can certainly attest to the truth of this sentence. Family members often said, “If you’d only known him/her in their prime.” But often there was a wonderful spark still left. I remember especially the patient with a brain tumor who taught me the difference between the brain and the mind. One day we discussed what was keeping him alive. “My family visits me every day, you visit me every day, and orange juice still tastes good.” The next day, he lost the ability to swallow, and the following day, he died. His relationships, and the glory of fresh-squeezed OJ, were his light within. I also saw this in my mother, who died on hospice at 100 and 11 months. She was able to go on a car ride four days before her death and identify the birds she saw, something that had been important to her for as long as I’d known her.

Doris Waggoner, Seattle, Washington

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

The anagram to the right is composed of the letters in the five words below, plus this heading:
1. knavery
2. wrick
3. knar
4. wroth
5. gnomic
1. dishonest dealing, theft; the instance of this
2. spasm or crick (“Oh, why?” Grab the warm wrap.)
3. tree knot
4. livid, overwrought
5. gnome-like
The text in the right box is an anagram of the text in the left.
Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina

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

“The government’s mischief and knavery
We shall fight with conviction and bravery.
Their power’s too strong!
For more freedom we long!”
(This was said by proponents of slavery).
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

The Donald, to curry our favor, he
Attempts to appear less unsavory.
Trump U., it would seem,
Was a pyramid scheme,
Just one in a series of knavery.
-Adam Perl, Ithaca, New York (adam pastimes.com)

Father Simeon, a man of the cloth,
Not usually prone to wroth,
Saw a hole in his robe,
And continued to probe.
“It’s confession for that sneaky moth.”
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodth snet.net)

The Brexit has turned my hair grey
And taken a chunk from my pay.
I’m completely annoyed,
My portfolio’s destroyed,
And I’m left with a wroth IRA.
-Adam Perl, Ithaca, New York (adam pastimes.com)

The tree surgeon said, “Well, a scar
will result, but applying some tar
should help it to heal,
so you won’t have to deal
with much more than a miniscule knar.”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

Pinocchio said, “It’s bizarre.”
In the mirror, he saw a scar,
But Geppetto, his dad,
Said, “Don’t worry my lad.
You see it is only a knar.”
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

A fearless cage fighter named Dick
had a lightning left and killer kick.
He was fast, he was smart,
and he showed lots of heart;
wricked his ankle but fought on the wrick!
-Zelda Dvoretzky, Haifa, Israel (zeldahaifa gmail.com)

Ilsa, when given her pick,
Decided to fly off with Vic.
She left Casablanca
With barely a “Danke”
And thereby avoided a wrick.
-Adam Perl, Ithaca, New York (adam pastimes.com)

“In our families is where wings take dream,”
One fine day was George Dubya’s theme.
The talk can be gnomic
Down by the Potomac,
But that time I wanted to scream.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

The candidate’s loud blustery speeches
Sound awfully much like owl screeches;
His reasoning confusing,
Astounding, bemusing,
Makes gnomic his fervent beseeches.
-Steven Hight, Bedford, Indiana (stevenehight gmail.com)

From: Phil Graham (pgraham1946 cox.net)
Subject: Silents please (or do they?)

Our horse didn’t knavery loud whinny was stolen.

It has performed so poorly that my Roth IRA brings wroth i-r-e.

“Give me a knar,” yelled the cheerleaders for the Renton School of Lumberjacking.

“Ach! I wricken I’ve sprained my back.”

Seamus said, "Ya gnomic, a short one would taste good about now."

Phil Graham, Tulsa, Oklahoma

You can never understand one language until you understand at least two. -Ronald Searle, artist (1920-2011)

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