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Aug 4, 2019
This week’s theme
Powered by kids

This week’s words
hypocoristic
filiation
teknonymy
puerperal
pedantic

How popular are they?
Relative usage over time

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Words borrowed (adopted) from other languages

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AWADmail Issue 892

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

Sponsor’s Message: We’ve finally become our own worst nightmare: a sell out. Large anonymous corporation gets wind of One Up! -- The Wicked/Smart Word Game and wants to license it worldwide. We say sure, why not? Creativity, principles, artistic integrity, success on our own terms? Right out the window at the first sign of cash we’re happy to say. Seriously, we’re offering all AWADers, including Email of the Week winner, Mary Finch (see below), 50% OFF our Special Dark Edition, while supplies last. Once this limited and lovely version of our best-selling cutthroat IQ contest is gone, it’s gone forever. So, smarten up (on the cheap) RIGHT AWAY >



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

Quebec’s Language Anxiety: The French Language, Yes, But Which One?
The Globe and Mail
Permalink

A Font Created by Gerrymandered Districts in America
uglygerry.com



From: Laurie Dudash (loraly30 hotmail.com)
Subject: Y van powered by happy kids

I think I’ve had A.Word.A.Day for near 17 years now. Today I read what you wrote about the Y van and Powered by happy kids. You completely missed the statement and made a stink about child labor laws, etc. So much so that you imposed your suggestion to increase gym fees. An institution that’s been around for decades and you get offended by a slogan?? Wtf. I’m disgusted with myself that I’ve been part of this for this long never realizing what you are. Be gone. Good riddance.

Laurie Dudash, Pottsville, Pennsylvania

Dear Laurie:

Thanks for your note. After reading it, I realized I have been neglectful. I should have done my due diligence. This morning, I went back to the Y, popped open the hood (bonnet, for you Brits) of the van, and found the little kids moving the gears with their little hands were actually smiling. So, yes, they were happy.

My apologies for the misrepresentation. I’m disgusted with myself too. Would you please come back? If you do, I promise to never put gas (petrol, for you Brits) in my own car and instead make it powered by active, happy kids.

-Anu Garg



From: Rolf Wucherer (rolfwucherer gmail.com)
Subject: hypocoristic

When I was born in Frankfurt, Germany, my mom and dad didn’t know I would be a boy or a girl until I popped out. In those days parents often didn’t debate for months about names for their children and no name was waiting for me. After a couple of days it came time to put one on the birth certificate. My father’s name was Rudolf, and my parents came up with the hypocoristic Rolf. Just as they were discussing it, my grandmother burst into the room and declared, “I know what you should call him; you should call him Rolf!” The rest is history...

Rolf Wucherer, Manistee, Michigan



From: Vijay Sharma (vijaysharma hotmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--teknonymy

In the Arabic society a person is often referred to as “Abu somename”, as in Abu Ahmed, or Abu Fateh, or Abu Bakr, for example. It means father of Ahmed, or father of Fateh or father of Bakr. The mother may be known as Umm Ahmed.

Vijay Sharma, Normal, Illinois



From: Donna Wells (donnacoxwells gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--teknonymy

I do this at the dog park all the time, e.g., “Hi, Fluffy’s Mom.”

Donna Cox Wells, Tarzana, California



From: Jill Harris (barharris comcast.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--teknonymy

From our son, Samuel Bar, who served with the Peace Corps in Mozambique:

Reminds me of the practice in Moz wherein there is no real family name, but just your father and your grandfather’s first name. So I’d be Samuel Daniel Maurice. Makes it kind of confusing when you meet their parent though, because their name shares two of three words.

Jill Harris, New York, New York



Email of the Week brought to you by One Up! -- Play mind games on the cheap NOW >

From: Mary Finch (finchm evergreen.edu)
Subject: teknonymy

When my son, Peter, was in first grade I volunteered in the school library. One day when his class came in, a rather timid boy came up to me and tugged on my pants leg to get my attention and then asked “Mrs. Peter’s Mom can you help me?” I thought at the time in was adorable to be Mrs. Peter’s Mom; but I didn’t know there was a word for that. Now I do. Thanks for all the interesting and new words to help build my vocabulary.

Mary Finch, Olympia, Washington



From: Gopalakrishnan Sankaran (geeess gmail.com)
Subject: teknonymy

My elder sister, who was about 10 years elder to me, always called me konthai (child, a corrupted form of kuzhanathai, in Tamil language), since her husband’s name was the same as mine, Sankaran, and prevailing custom was not to call the husband by name or even mention his name.

Gopalakrishnan Sankaran, Chennai, India



From: Aarthy Ramasamy (aarthu28 gmail.com)
Subject: puerperal

Today’s word “puerperal” caught my attention. I am a physician and public health practitioner in India and during my post-graduation teaching, I was taught about “Ignaz Semmelweis” a Hungarian doctor. He was a pioneer of antiseptic precautions and was instrumental in bringing down the maternal deaths due to puerperal sepsis which was common during his time (1847). His finding was based on a simple observation.

He noticed that in one hospital the doctors who performed autopsy immediately carried out deliveries without cleaning their hands. He hypothesised that the doctors carried the pathogens from the autopsy hall to the labour ward causing infection. He compared this finding with another hospital where no autopsies where carried out and hence the maternal death due to puerperal sepsis was low. Based on this observation he instituted the policy of washing hands using chlorinated lime between autopsy and the examination of the patients. He observed some amazing results. The death rate in the first hospital dropped to 90% in comparison with the second one. He stressed on cleanliness, which was at that time ignored, rejected, or ridiculed. His finding was before the germ theory of disease and he was dismissed from his hospital for political reasons and harassed by the medical community in Vienna. The medical community did not accept his finding for many years and his work was not recognised, which moved him to a mental asylum. It took many years to understand the importance of his work and, in today’s world, we all know the importance of cleanliness. (Source)

Dr. Aarthy Ramasamy, MBBS, MPH, Chennai, India



From: John Penry (jpenry texrocks.com)
Subject: pedantic

A friend of ours built a house where the deed restrictions stated that 75% of the house exterior must be masonry. They made the front and sides of stone, and the back side of wood. The code compliance person in charge measured the lineal feet of the house and told them that they must make an additional 10 feet on the back side of the house stone to comply. I think that was pedantic gone haywire.

John Penry, Midland, Texas



From: Margie Miranda (mmiranda222 hotmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--pedantic

I have a customer who sells our products. I have worked with him for many years. When asked to describe him, I say, pedantic. I have found no other word that engulfs his tendencies or deliberate personality better.

Example: When an interested party wishes to make a purchase, he will delve into such detail about the protocol for use and cite investigative studies that he leaves the interested party with feelings of inadequacy rather than excitement. The potential purchaser walks away rather than buying.

Margie Miranda, Chicago, Illinois



From: Grant Agnew (ggttwwaa gmail.com)
Subject: Quotation from James Baldwin

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
I love America more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually. -James Baldwin, writer (2 Aug 1924-1987)

A very nice quotation from James Baldwin. It chimes beautifully with a blog post I saw recently. It told Trump supporters who don’t like that man being criticised that they are always free to move to a place where such behaviour is illegal.

Grant Agnew, Coopers Plains, Australia



From: Simone Mehta (simonemehta me.com)
Subject: James Baldwin

Your thought for today where you quote Baldwin is misleading in the extreme. I suggest you watch the 1965 Cambridge Union Debate between James Baldwin and William Buckley, the original video not chopped into pieces. This could cause you to consider where we are some fifty years later when the team getting the occupant of the White House into the White House consisted of many former Ku Klux Klan men.

I do not fancy Baldwin’s chances today if he spoke loudly and openly in the United States. Incidentally, I have lived there, in New York starting in 1959, and seen the sickening pervasive racism from university staff to the street. While I am at it, the term AfroAmerican is absurd, as Baldwin says. He is a black American who has been there for 400 years. Perhaps the term AfroAmerican eases the conscience of white Americans.

I confess I have not watched Buckley’s reply and the reasons are simple. 1) While Baldwin is speaking, Buckley’s body language is insulting enough; and 2) There can be no answer.

Simone Mehta, Bayeux, France



From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: hypocoristic & teknonymy

Trouble in paradise... or perchance, a faux pas in the boudoir? Here, the use of a hypocoristic (pet name) with a decided confectionary tone, “Snickerdoodle”, has clearly touched a raw nerve with hubby, who seemingly has lost his ardor, with his wife’s seemingly innocent pet term of endearment. Hmm... I doubt Froggy’s proffered “Little Tootsie Roll” come-backer would be much of an improvement. True confession, I had no clue that Snickerdoodles, essentially a crunchy cinnamon-infused sugar cookie, has zilch do with the popular chocolate-coated, nutty, caramel/nougat Snickers candy bar. Who knew?
Hypocoristic Teknonymy
Many a Trump critic has argued that he carries a huge chip on his shoulder. Behold US presidential teknonymy writ large: the symbiotic relationship between Donald Trump Sr. and eldest son, Donald Jr. Curiously, Trump Sr. has managed to unabashedly hone nepotism into a veritable art form. In this admittedly bordering-on-the-grotesque scenario, I’ve hopefully captured the essence of Trumpian father/son bonding. For some reason, the Old Testament verse “The sins of the father shall be visited upon the son” just happened to have popped into my noggin.

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California



From: Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)
Subject: Anagrams of this week’s words
This week’s theme: Powered by kids
1. hypocoristic
2. filiation
3. teknonymy
4. puerperal
5. pedantic
=
1. pet name, i.e. “Tweety”, “Dearie”
2. kinship
3. we copy your kid’s name, “Tony’s pop”
4. of childbirth
5. stickler
-Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com)



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

A nickname that’s hypocoristic
can arise from a reason simplistic
Like what grows on your head:
Blondie, Blackie, or Red,
Or from impulses mean and sadistic.
-Zelda Dvoretzky, Haifa, Israel (zeldahaifa gmail.com)

It’s a hypocoristic uneasy;
When I hear it I feel somewhat queasy.
Good grief and Oh, brother,
Pence calls his wife Mother;
The moniker sounds rather cheesy.
-Gayle Tremblay, Saint John, Canada (gayletremblay hotmail.com)

I’m so fond of my given name Joan,
It is one I’m quite happy to own.
But my hypocoristic
Will just drive me ballistic.
Call me Joanie, you know, I will groan.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

“Pocahontas”, a hypocoristic,
Used to help Donald feel more sadistic.
“It’s so foreign!” he’d laugh,
Until told by his staff
‘Tis of natives more characteristic.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


That Frankenstein guy’s filiation
is vague, but for one revelation:
Meticulous checks
find the cork in his neck’s
from an oak tree in some foreign nation.
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

Their family tree looked like a tower,
The filiation they found gave them power --
Straighten shoulders and strut,
Others may say “Tut, tut” --
‘Cause one forebear sailed on the Mayflower.
-Marcia Sinclair, Newmarket, Canada (marciasinclair rogers.com)

To a writer immersed in creation,
an apt phrase is a source of elation.
But there’s always the fear
that a rival or peer
might declare it was mere filiation.
-Zelda Dvoretzky, Haifa, Israel (zeldahaifa gmail.com)

If it’s true about reincarnation,
I aspire to be a Dalmatian.
But it doesn’t seem right,
For a husband at night
Wants his wife, not canine filiation.
-Janice Power, Cleveland, Ohio (jpmarlin456 gmail.com)

After working five days on creation,
Said the Lord, “Now I’ll do filiation.
For the weekend has come,
And I’m lonely and glum
Without kids to bawl out on vacation.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


Her Daddy this daughter has wowed;
Teknonymy’s therefore allowed.
He’s “Tiffany’s Dad” --
Oh no, that’s my bad --
Ivanka makes Papa so proud.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

Being “Junior” some might think a curse
given possible choices diverse,
but in matters eponymous
a naming teknonymous
might very well be even worse.
-Zelda Dvoretzky, Haifa, Israel (zeldahaifa gmail.com)

“If there’s one thing I hate worse than sodomy,”
Said the Lord, “It’s the use of teknonymy.
Just plain ‘God’ is my name,
‘God the Father’ sounds lame;
Keep it up and I’ll wreck the economy.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


If arrested for speeding some morning,
explain you’ve a child soon aborning.
Quite likely, the trooper’ll
deem you puerperal,
smile, and just give you a warning.
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

On all matters that are known as puerperal,
Let’s get down to the regions peripheral.
But no need to opine,
Get that shot in the spine,
Then lie back, give a push, it’s so visceral.
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodthmw gmail.com)

Despite Prissy’s boasting, in fact,
Puerperal know-how she lacked.
When under duress,
She had to confess;
This ignorant girl Scarlett smacked.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

Giving birth is a moment transcending,
with so many emotions contending.
Though discomfort puerperal
is more than peripheral
No matter. The joy is unending.
-Zelda Dvoretzky, Haifa, Israel (zeldahaifa gmail.com)

For a woman, the process puerperal
Isn’t quick, like a cat or a squirrel.
It’s a harrowing gig,
For the head is too big;
My advice? Get a shot epidural.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


Though the ring that he bought was gigantic,
the girl was extremely pedantic.
“You dropped to your knees,
but you didn’t say please!”
she declared. “And you call that romantic?”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

The mood on their date was romantic,
But then she made comments pedantic.
“I believe you misspoke,”
She corrected the bloke --
He found this a turn-off gigantic!
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

Though she still entertained dreams romantic,
to get married the poor gal was frantic.
And just as she feared,
the swain who appeared
was as dry as dust, dull, and pedantic.
-Zelda Dvoretzky, Haifa, Israel (zeldahaifa gmail.com)

“Dan Coats? He was way too pedantic,”
Said Trump, “I prefer sycophantic.”
Answered Stormy, “I know,
For when bootlickers crow,
What was tiny on you grows gigantic.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)



From: Phil Graham (pgraham1946 cox.net)
Subject: Are you kiddy me?

“Brahms’ Requiem” sung by only a trio would be hypocoristic.

When a young female horse shuns eating hay is it called filiation?

A parody of this old standard goes, “None of me... why not teknonomy?”

Obstetricians need to have good puerperal vision... tunnel vision, too.

The Marx Brothers always pedantic scenes in their movies.

Phil Graham, Tulsa, Oklahoma



A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
America has changed over the years. But these values my grandparents taught me -- they haven’t gone anywhere. They’re as strong as ever; still cherished by people of every party, every race, every faith. They live on in each of us. What makes us American, what makes us patriots, is what’s in here. That’s what matters. And that’s why we can take the food and music and holidays and styles of other countries, and blend it into something uniquely our own. That’s why we can attract strivers and entrepreneurs from around the globe to build new factories and create new industries here. That’s why our military can look the way it does -- every shade of humanity, forged into common service. That’s why anyone who threatens our values, whether fascists or communists or jihadists or homegrown demagogues, will always fail in the end. -Barack Obama, US President (b. 4 Aug 1961)

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