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AWADmail Issue 753

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

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

Google Translate AI Invents Its Own Language to Translate With
New Scientist

How the Swahili Language Took Hold Across Africa, and Beyond
Public Radio International

From: Katy Capella (kl.capella gmail.com)
Subject: Shred the gnar

One can also “shred the gnar”, a term used in extreme sports, but specifically for me, in surfing. When your session leaves you exhilarated, grinning from ear to ear and stoked to get back in the water as soon as possible...the gnar has been shred :)

Katy Capella, Asbury Park, New Jersey

From: Christoph Dietzfelbinger (info bearmountaineering.ca)
Subject: gnar

“Gnar” today means something different to anyone involved in mountain and snow sports in western North America. It is the re-formation of a noun from the adjective gnarly, which is used to describe difficult and/or dangerous terrain. To shred the gnar is a commonly used locution for skiing steep and demanding terrain.

Christoph Dietzfelbinger, Smithers, Canada

From: Renata Hazelman (renchik gmail.com)
Subject: cackle

As a part-time chicken farmer (hubby is full time), I get to hear the cackle in its first definition 800 times a day. Who knew that was the original (or at least primary) meaning? I guess I do now!

Renata Hazelman, West Milford, New Jersey

From: Jul Hansen (jrshcoup2 gmail.com)
Subject: cackle

A movie moment that sticks in my mind is a scene from the Music Man of a group of women as they gossip about Marian the librarian. At one point they are viewed from above (so not possible to see in the stage version); wearing their stylish feathered hats and with the cackle of their voices, the resemblance to chickens is clear. As the usage quotation indicates, however, I’m not sure this resemblance would be as readily recognized if they were men. See the clip “Pick-A-Little, Talk-A-Little” starts about 45 second in.

Jul Hansen, New Hartford, Connecticut

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From: Oscar Romero (romeroo goldtip.com)
Subject: susurrate

I immediately connected that word with the Spanish equivalent, “sururrar” which of course also means to whisper -- and, another word; “suspirar” which means to sigh....two quite often used words in the Spanish language. Sure is nice to see and to know the English cousins.

Oscar Romero, San Diego, California

From: Dorothy S. Stewart (latinlogos8 att.net)
Subject: susurrate as an adjective

Just recently I used this word as an adjective while writing about voices I loved: Think of the great voices you have heard. Some are bosomy, boudoir voices, persuasive and susurrate; others resonate, thunderous and insistent. I have a favorite onomatopoetic word: the sound your feet make when walking through fallen leaves in Italian is fruscio.

Dorothy S. Stewart, Cedar Park, Texas

From: Marianna Dadejova (marianna.dadejova nhs.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--susurrate

I am so glad for this word. It’s reminded me of my evening classes, Community Interpreting, where we were also talking about different types or techniques of interpreting.

Whispered interpretation or Chuchotage is a technique where the interpreter provides interpretation simultaneously to a small audience, usually less than four people. In this setting, the interpreter sits or stands close to the audience and whispers the interpretation into their ears. It is used mainly in bilateral meetings and small settings. Headsets are not needed since it is a small group and no extra time is needed to interpret because the interpretation is done while the speaker is speaking.

Marianna Dadejova, Barking, UK

From: Ian Gordon (awad ipgordon.me.uk)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--blubber

When I was growing up, my Dad used to (often) make a quip around two of the definitions of today’s word:

“The Eskimos used to eat whale meat and blubber. You’d blubber too, if you had to eat whale meat!”

Ian Gordon, Surrey, UK

From: Helen Colvin (tcolvin sympatico.ca)
Subject: Blobfish

Words are so important obviously, but this picture illustrates the fact that you can sometimes communicate without words! I cannot have been the only person who saw a great resemblance!! Beyond hilarious if the actual situation was not so desperately sad.

Helen Colvin, Mountsberg, Canada

From: Anne Russell (annerussell99 outlook.com)
Subject: blubber

A picture is worth a thousand words: the blubber fish.

Anne Russell, Austin, Texas

From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: cackle and blubber

Cackle Blubber
Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California

From: Hans Rollema (hans.rollema gmail.com)
Subject: This week’s onomatopoeic words

This week’s words made me remember the refrain of John Prine’s song “Onomatopeia” on his album Sweet Revenge (1973):

“Bang! went the pistol.
Crash! went the window.
Ouch! went the son of a gun.
I don’t wanna see ya
Speaking in a foreign tongue.”
audio (2.5 min.)

Hans Rollema, Mystic, Connecticut

From: Michael New (mike noozoo.com)
Subject: Onomatopoeia in Japanese

The Japanese have a very rich tradition of onomatopoeia in informal language, and in their case the words go far beyond sounds and into feelings and descriptive words (adjectives and adverbs, called phenomimes, I just learned). For example, waku-waku is what you might say if you’re excited. Goro-goro is the sound or condition of something rolling.

From the page:
Kinds of walk

Japanese Phenomime  Japanese Verb  English Verb
noronoroarukuinch (along)
yoroyoroarukustagger, stumble, shamble
furafuraarukushamble, teeter
buraburaarukustroll, loiter
zorozoroarukuswarm (in/out), cluster

Also see here and here.

Michael New, Ottawa, Canada

From: Tom Payne (tpayne iglou.com)
Subject: Onomatopoeia

You may enjoy Mel Brooks’ assertion of the word “egg” being onomatopoeic: from the grunting sound the chicken makes when laying it.

Tom Payne, Floyds Knobs, Indiana

From: Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)
Subject: Anagrams of this week’s words

1. gnar
2. cackle
3. susurrate
4. blubber
5. chunter
= 1. cruel ‘grr’
2. hen’s act
3. cause rub
4. bulk
5. banter
= 1. snarl
2. burble
3. scrunch
4. utter, rue cake
5. gab
= 1. anger burst
2. cluck
3. shrub
4. tear
5. be unclear
    -Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com)   -Robert Jordan, Lampang, Thailand (alfiesdad ymail.com)   -Josiah Winslow, West Allis, Wisconsin (josiah12301 yahoo.com)

The text in any box is an anagram of the text in other boxes.

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

Two tigers walk into a bar,
take stock of each other, and gnar.
One cat is a phony;
the other is Tony,
a popular cereal star.
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

As a child young Churchill would gnar
At most everyone, even a Czar.
His mother, perplexed
About what to do next,
In his mouth finally stuck a cigar.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Some holes in the wall we could spackle
But our house is becoming ramshackle.
When bigotry sizzles,
Democracy fizzles,
In victory, demagogues cackle.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Oh something went on that’s not fair!
Of illegal votes he’s aware.
But he knows that her cackle
Was what the voters did shackle
And he’s glad it finished up good and square.
-Kathy Deutsch, Melbourne, Australia (kathy deutsch.net.au)

From the dark and the cold we recuperate
In spring when the leaves start to susurrate.
Young men tend to fancy
A girl and get antsy
When married, of sloth she’ll accuse her mate.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

The autumn leaves silently susurrate,
Blanketing lawns that lie in wait.
They cover the ground,
With barely a sound,
While they colorfully decorate.
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodthmw gmail.com)

Sue had the librarian’s fate,
When she talked, she would susurrate,
And she’d whisper so low.
Could you hear her? Ah, no.
It was such an annoying trait.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

“If a girl doesn’t have too much blubber,”
Says the Donald, “I grab her and rub her.”
It’s quite a concern
For that’s him in the stern
Of the ship of state manning the rudder.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Helen has the face to launch a thousand ships,
Menelaus the nose that continually drips.
A Spartan, a landlubber
‘Fore a Trojan will not blubber,
But Paris has a grace and Helly likes his lips.
-Mike Parsley, Malaga, Spain (slussen2 gmail.com)

He stood there, afraid to confront her.
He trembled, beginning to chunter.
When he managed to say
what he’d practiced all day,
his message could not have been blunter.
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

In hiding down deep in his bunker
Herr Hitler would mumble and chunter,
“My Eva won’t like
What I’ve done with the Reich
And I’m too terrified to confront her.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

She may cackle and chunter and gnarr,
Or blubber: “More votes have I by far.”
But, with intent to irritate,
He will just susurrate:
“I won it ‘cause I am a star!”
-C.W. Elliott, Setauket, New York (sevenports msn.com)

From: Phil Graham (pgraham1946 cox.net)
Subject: More mangles

The Rhino’s cheerleader exhorted the crowd to, “Gimme a gnar!”

Don’t tickle me! It gets my cackles up.

The pageant won’t include susurrate only the other girls.

Lennon and McCartney’s saddest song may be, “And I blubber.”

“When the 4:19 pulls in let’s chunter over to the siding.”

Phil Graham, Tulsa, Oklahoma

Uttering a word is like striking a note on the keyboard of the imagination. -Ludwig Wittgenstein, philosopher (1889-1951)

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