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Oct 18, 2020
This week’s theme
Words about words and language

This week’s words

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Words that appear to be coined after presidential candidates

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AWADmail Issue 955

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

Sponsor’s Message: What are Sleeping Beauty’s two other names? “GED” is an abbreviation for a high school equivalency diploma -- what does it actually stand for? What’s unique about the word “facetiously”? WISE UP! -- The Wicked/Smart Party Card Game asks tons of devilishly difficult questions that’ll give you know-it-alls plenty of life lessons in humility, history, sports, science, literature, and geography. And wit. Here’s another: Everyone knows the First and Second Amendments -- what’s the Third? But BEWARE -- there’s also a slew of “challenge” cards that chuck Darwinian physical and mental wrenches into the works. For example: Throw this card on the floor and pick it up without using your hands. So much humbling fun for everyone, including this week’s Email of the Week Winner, Janine Harris-Wheatley (see below). WISE UP! NOW.

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

The Pandemic Is Changing the English Language

Never Say Die? German Bill Using Feminine Word Forms Sparks Row
The Guardian

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

Readers came through with haiku, limericks, sonnets, clerihews, couplets, and more on Noah Webster’s birthday. Here’s a selection.

My haiku set to Noah Webster:

Old Noah Webster
Renowned lexicographer
Wordsmith devotee

State house to classroom
A legislator and prof
Amherst he founded

Words, writing his love
A Bible version and books
He tirelessly penned

When one thinks: “Webster”
A dictionary appears
Ultimate Wordsmith!
-Donald Williams, Great Bend, Kansas (via website comments)

Would Webster have yelled bloody murder
At being nicknamed a “word herder”?
Well, as for yours truly
I think it is cool -- he
Was certainly that, look no furder!
-Bindy Bitterman, Chicago, Illinois (bindy eurekaevanston.com)

Reading of Noah Webster and his birthday Oct 16 led me to respond, but with a sonnet:

Noah and Webster are two ancient names,
Each telling quite a different story:
“Websters” means weavers (they made cloth on frames);
Noah, tenth of the Patriarchs hoary.
Noah Webster from Hartford would never commission
An Ark to save Man from a Heaven-sent flood --
The biblical Noah was given that mission,
Saving creatures from drowning in water and mud.
Our Webster weaved words giving us their true meaning,
Whence they had come, to allow us to choose,
With spelling assured and with good usage gleaning,
Of so many words the most fitting to use.
While Ark-builder Noah saved creatures in pairs,
His scholarly namesake has eased writers’ cares!
-Jesse Hellman, Baltimore, Maryland (jessemhellman gmail.com)

Noah Webster, a man of deep thought,
By his country is owed quite a lot,
He made zed into zee,
But a plagiarist, he,
Definitions from Sam Johnson got.
-Robert Lee, Robert Lee, Calgary, Canada (jandrlee shaw.ca)

There once was a man: Noah Webster.
Who became an Amherst professor.
Our words he arranged,
so we w’d not be deranged,
and think Aardvark should come after Zester.
-Bill Hagel, Leland, North Carolina (3048olio gmail.com)

Noah Webster
Marries Rebecca then lets her
Spend her days in childbed
While ordering words from A to Z.
-Amanda Potts, Ottawa, Canada (amanda.potts ocdsb.ca)
[Editor’s note: Their children were Emily, Julia, Harriet, Mary, William, Eliza, Henry, and Louisa.]

Noah Webster ordered words
Into alphabetical herds,
Gathering words from A to Z
So meanings quickly can be read.
-Rodney Mazinter, Camps Bay, South Africa, (mavrod iafrica.com)

Noah Webster,
Word herder.
Herded words A to Z(ed)
To An American Dictionary shed.
-Kit Rigg, Halifax, Canada (krigg ns.sympatico.ca)

Happy Birthday two sixty-two.
Noah, no one herds words like you.
Webster’s fame will live on,
With his great lexicon.
It’s one book that’s never past due.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

Etymologically speaking, Noah in Arabic, is written ﻥﻮﺣ which is also the trilateral root for: wailing, moaning, lamenting! I bet Noah did a lot of that while compiling and editing his dictionary. And here’s my tribute to Noah:

If I were a mourning dove,
I’d lament coo-coo-cooah!
But I’m with words in love,
and chanting noo-noo-nooah!
-Brenda J. Gannam, Brooklyn, New York (gannamconsulting earthlink.net)

I started thinking, “Webster, Webster...” And thus this:
Webster Webster pudding and pie
Kissed the words and made them fly.
When the words came back to play Webster didn’t shy away!
-Amelia Nurse, Paekakariki, New Zealand (anurse11 gmail.com)

A rhyme in couplets:

Back in Noah Webster’s time
Anyone could hear a rhyme

And when they went to write it down
Spelling never made them frown

Convention wasn’t yet the rage
Then Noah put words on the page

He gave us quite a lengthy book
Where anyone could have a look

At meaning and pronunciation
History and derivation

He tried to bring rigidity
To English’s fluidity

He’d halt linguistic evolution!
Catalog a revolution!

Make an orthodox convention
Slow ridiculous invention

But folks would not cooperate
And new words still proliferate

Did you know that his bestseller
Was his American English speller?

(I adored mine and can spell
Others found them living hell)

I still have an OED
(Though I think it pines for me)

Now, my phone takes its place
In fact, most homes bear no trace

Of reference books of any kind
And so an era does unwind

To Noah Webster, raise a glass
For though he was a pompous ass

For he did give us valuable tools
So we know when we break his rules.
-Kathy Borst, Yorkville, California (kborst mcn.org)

like golden leaves falling
on the fertile soil of our mind.
-Janice Power, Cleveland, Ohio (powerjanice782 gmail.com)

From: Michael Poxon (mikethestarman gmail.com)
Subject: of zed and zee

This reminds me of an incident in the USA, where I was giving a talk at an astrophysics meeting. One of the stars I was discussing was RZ Piscium which, as a Brit, I pronounced “ah-zed”, and at which I could see some of the Americans briefly turning to one another. Knowing why, I then said “If you want to know why we say zed and you say zee, see me afterwards.” Several were interested enough to ask why.

Zed is a worn-down version of the Greek zeta. It can also be seen in the cedilla (little zed) used to indicate that a c is to be sounded as an s, not a k.

Michael Poxon, Norwich, UK

From: Tom Henderson (thenderson tsh-atty.com)
Subject: Webster

In Stephen Ambrose’s magnificent work Undaunted Courage, his account of the Lewis and Clark expedition, he noted the many critical commentaries over the years regarding, specifically, William Clark’s many “misspellings” in his journal of the expedition.

Professor Ambrose points out that Clark’s efforts pre-dated Webster’s publication of his dictionary by about 25 years, prior to which spelling (and diction) was a “hit or miss” proposition.

Tom Henderson, Flagstaff, Arizona

From: Paul Varotsis (paul varotsis.plus.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--endonym

Endonym is a particularly interesting word for me as I have had various puzzled looks from custom officers and reception staff wondering which country I came from and some even pointing that I should not follow the European Union citizen queue as my passport states Hellenic Republic. Lots of people do not know that it means Greece.

We Greeks refer to ourselves as Hellenes (Έλληνες), which at some point referred to people who believed in the ancient gods, what Christians now call pagans. More interestingly, in informal settings we refer to each other as Ρωμιοί, Romans. We Romans do not consider that the Roman Empire ended with the fall of Rome, but rather with the fall of Constantinople, about a millennium later. The Byzantine empire is a label invented after its fall and would have sounded weird to its citizens and contemporaries who referred to them as just Romans.

Greeks have a complicated relationship with Romans, who called us Greek (Graeci) and destroyed some of our most beautiful cities (Corinth), but we became them, as they adopted the Greek language to rule their empire.

Our relationship with the Ottomans was less fortunate even though Greek speakers from Walachia to Egypt were Ottoman citizens. The founding of the Greek and Turkish States and the catastrophe of Smyrna seems to have made a reconciliation difficult. And religion continues to be a defining feature of who people believe they are, even though many of us do not believe in any of it.

More interesting facts on the names of Greeks in Wikipedia.

Paul Varotsis, London, UK

From: Chips Mackinolty (chips.mackinolty gmail.com)
Subject: Basilect

Growing up in a 1950s semi-rural Australia was largely monolingual. It wasn’t until the family went to the UK, and spent time in Europe, that I learnt to appreciate the wealth of different languages. I learnt different alphabets (Greek and Russian) as well as snatches of languages from Spanish to Polish to Italian, French, and German. While I was also taught Latin at the UK school I went to, on my return I took German and French in high school.

It wasn’t until I went to Cuba in the late 70s, and came back to my Bolivian and Colombian friends who ridiculed my “coastal” Spanish on my return, that I started to learn of the myriad “dialects” of the world. On many trips to Europe from the mid 1990s until the Covid-19 lockdown on travel, I discovered in my high school I had been taught a lie: that languages such as the German and French I was taught were uniformly hegemonic and standard. Thus the derogatory term “basilect”. I had been deprived of the richness and variety of dialects: German was far more varied than Hoch- or Plattdeutsch, for example. Much later in life I spent some years in Palermo, the capital of Sicily, and was exposed to Siciliano (with my northern Italian friends thence laughing at my “southern” accent!). I then remembered and re-discovered my “monolingual” childhood had been enriched by the Maltese, Calabrian, and Sicilian market gardeners, the new foods they brought to our family, and the kids I was at school with.

For the last 40 years, I’ve been exposed to the multitude of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages and dialects in northern Australia, and the struggles these peoples have in preserving those languages.

All power to language diversity across the world, especially to those “basilects” that are too often ignored or derided.

Chips Mackinolty, Mparntwe/Alice Springs, Australia

From: Gregory Craner (gcraner gmail.com)
Subject: basilect

I often say “I am the only person I know without an accent.”

Gregory Craner, Payson, Utah

From: Andrew Ruddle (aprapr aprapr.plus.com)
Subject: words in London

There are two main types of Englishes used in London. There is the every-day working-class version, originally from the East End, but more recently adopted by many around the place. The original was called Cockney, and would have spread “naturally”, but as in the last 20-30 years it has often been taken on by rather pretentious and higher-class groups, it has become called “Mockney”. You may have seen an old Brit sitcom Only Fools and Horses, which has an awful lot to answer for.

The other type -- more accurately called Oxford English -- was and is spoken by middle- and upper-class people and has, broadly speaking, stayed there and not percolated down.

Note 1: Oxford English derives from Oxford University, not the city, that has its own accent and dialect. I have always understood that Cambridge English is a non-starter, although the town/gown accent divide is similar to that in Oxford. Geographically, Cambridge is that bit further from the central area of upper-class England than Oxford is.

Note 2: To be a Cockney (person) required birth within a certain area, the main features of which were poverty and proximity to the docks. This combination (compare Liverpool, NYC, and San Francisco) promoted a great deal of intermixing of people and languages.

Note 3: I have always generally understood that REAL Parisians have their own accents and dialects, and bitterly -- repeat bitterly -- resent upstart incomers coming in to run the government for a few years and then vanishing. France, like Britain and unlike Germany, is extremely capital-centred.

Andrew Ruddle, West Molesey, UK

From: Kumpul Rebo Yan Z. (kumpulrebo gmail.com)
Subject: A.Word.A.Day--basilect

The Javanese, before becoming a Hindu kingdom, was of only one dialect with variants from the western part of Middle Java to the easternmost. Somehow rather uniform longitudinal-wise. The eventual kingdom created two more dialects, or more distinctly, dialects with different vocabulary. Arguably two languages. The basilect is called Ngoko, mesolect is Kromo, and you have to be conversant in acrolect when you’ve got the chance to speak to the royals; Kromo Inggil. The early age Ngoko is alive and well used from Têgal in the north to Banyumas in the south.

Kumpul Rebo Yan Z., Sydney, Australia

From: Richard Stallman (rms gnu.org)
Subject: Which dialect is the “language”?

In the 1500s, Italy had many regional dialects. The literati decided that the Florentine dialect was the most beautiful and developed that with their writing.

It was Piedmont which reunified Italy in the 19th century, but Florentine, despite the defeat of its army and navy, became the national language (standard dialect), known as “Italian”. Meanwhile, the regional dialects still exist.

Dr Richard Stallman, Boston, Massachusetts

From: Bruce Adgate (rossgate gmail.com)
Subject: basilect

There’s nothing more important in unifying a country than language. Italy, where I live, was divided into different states up until the Garibaldi unification of 1861. Many of the areas of Italy were under foreign rule up until this point. A decision was made at that time to make the dialect of Tuscany the official language of the new country. It was chosen because that was the language Dante used in writing The Divine Comedy.

But that doesn’t mean dialects have disappeared. I live in a small city in the central region of Italy, Umbria. The Italian word for “let’s go” is andiamo. But here in Spoleto they say iemo. If you were to go to Terni, just 20 km south, it would be anamo. In Perugia, just 50 km northward you might hear gimo.

Over the years radio and television have helped reinforce the official Italian language, but that doesn’t mean dialects have disappeared, they remain to this day a locally unifying lingo.

Bruce Adgate, Spoleto, Italy

From: Richard S. Russell (RichardSRussell tds.net)
Subject: metonymy

Ah, metonymy and synecdoche -- shades of Miss Pearl Landfair and senior English back in 1962. And then just a few weeks ago (without having had a whole lot of occasion to use either term in the intervening six decades), I ran across them again.

A dangling participle walks into a bar. Enjoying a cocktail and chatting with the bartender, the evening passes pleasantly.

A bar was walked into by the passive voice.

An oxymoron walked into a bar, and the silence was deafening.

Two quotation marks walk into a “bar”.

A malapropism walks into a bar, looking for all intensive purposes like a wolf in cheap clothing, muttering epitaphs and casting dispersions on his magnificent other, who takes him for granite.

Hyperbole totally rips into this insane bar and absolutely destroys everything.

A question mark walks into a bar?

A non sequitur walks into a bar. In a strong wind, even turkeys can fly.

Papyrus and Comic Sans walk into a bar. The bartender says, “Get out -- we don’t serve your type.”

A mixed metaphor walks into a bar, seeing the handwriting on the wall but hoping to nip it in the bud.

A comma splice walks into a bar, it has a drink and then leaves.

Three intransitive verbs walk into a bar. They sit. They converse. They depart.

A synonym strolls into a tavern.

At the end of the day, a cliché walks into a bar -- fresh as a daisy, cute as a button, and sharp as a tack.

A run-on sentence walks into a bar it starts flirting. With a cute little sentence fragment.

Falling slowly, softly falling, the chiasmus collapses to the bar floor.

A figure of speech literally walks into a bar and ends up getting figuratively hammered.

An allusion walks into a bar, despite the fact that alcohol is its Achilles heel.

The subjunctive would have walked into a bar, had it only known.

A misplaced modifier walks into a bar owned by a man with a glass eye named Ralph.

The past, present, and future walked into a bar. It was tense.

A dyslexic walks into a bra.

A verb walks into a bar, sees a beautiful noun, and suggests they conjugate. The noun declines.

An Oxford comma walks into a bar, where it spends the evening watching the television getting drunk and smoking cigars.

A simile walks into a bar, as parched as a desert.

A gerund and an infinitive walk into a bar, drinking to forget.

A hyphenated word and a non-hyphenated word walk into a bar and the bartender nearly chokes on the irony.

A period walks into a bar, full stop.

An alliteration boldly bounces into a bar and later walks away with a wobble.

An onomatopoeia walks into a bar without a sound.

An incomplete sentence into a bar.

A double contraction walks into a bar although it oughtn’t’ve.

A synecdoche walks into a barstool.

A metonymy walks into a drunkard.

Richard S. Russell, Madison, Wisconsin

From: Janet Smith (jlbsmithpiano hotmail.com)
Subject: e e cummings quotation

When I was a Cave Guide at Mammoth Cave National Park, one of the tours I guided was the six-mile, six-hour Wild Cave Tour. Part of the tour involved crawling on one’s belly and hands and knees through water and mud. I would often tell my group the e e cummings quotation: “The world is mud-luscious and puddle-wonderful.

Janet Smith, Bowling Green, Kentucky

Email of the Week (Brought to you by the wicked wonderful world of WISE UP! - Yes, you can BUY BRAINS.

From: Janine Harris-Wheatley (janinehw20 gmail.com)
Subject: Mud-luscious

“In Just-”, the poem by e.e. cummings, has always been a favourite of mine. Just the mention of mud-luscious and puddle-wonderful takes me back to my childhood in Edmonton, Alberta, and those rare Springs when we were lucky enough to get a hot Chinook wind appearing miraculously to quick-melt the snowbanks. It would be an odd and joyous sensation to be playing in snow unencumbered by snowsuits, our heavy winter boots replaced by high top rubbers, racing stick boats down the streaming gutters. Hillocks of slushy snow and ice would mound the sidewalks with treacherous mini glaciers but we still brought out our precious marble collections to risk them on the perilous courses. Within days it would all be over and it would be just-spring. Thanks for the memories.

Janine Harris-Wheatley, Tottenham, Canada

From: Dave Campbell (museumofdave gmail.com)
Subject: e.e. cummings

You’ll doubtless be barraged with emails concerning this whimsical favorite of high school English teachers, most students knowing that the direct linkage of “mud-lucious” and “puddle-wonderful” never occurs in the poem, part of his Chanson Innocentes series. Perhaps, too, one should note a missing keyword concerning both coined terms: “Spring”, and so perhaps AWAD could bring the poem back when “the goat-footed BalloonMan whistles far and wee.”

Dave Campbell, Red Bluff, California

Thanks for pointing this out. Amended it (replaced “and” with ellipsis) to make it clear that some words are omitted.
-Anu Garg

From: Robert Burns (robertburns oblaw.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--homeoteleuton

(ho-mee-o-TEL-yuh-ton)? Huh, “yuh” is in there? This isn’t English, it essentially is unpronounceable, and essentially is an unnecessary, obfuscation of rhyming. I am a published poet.

Robert Burns, Ocean Beach, California

From: Linda Walker (lrwalker provide.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--homeoteleuton

If this isn’t an unnecessary word, I don’t know what is!

Who knew these scribes were so self-important that they had words for this specific an error?

Did they have a word for skipping down two lines, period?

Did they have a word for transposing two letters TWICE in the same page?????


Poor scribes. I’ll bet Mr. Scribe, who invented the profession was a tyrant.

Linda Walker, Ann Arbor, Michigan

From: Patti Wicksteed (patti.wicksteed gmail.com)
Subject: homeoteleuton

This may be one of the best illustrations of this word ever: Tom Lehrer’s When you are old and grey (video, 3 min.).

Patti Wicksteed, Thames, New Zealand

From: Sara Hutchinson (sarahutch2003 yahoo.com)
Subject: Bloody Orkney

The word homeoteleuton immediately brought to mind the World War II poem Bloody Orkney, which has been attributed to Captain Hamish Blair. He was obviously a reluctant and disillusioned British army soldier.

Sara Hutchinson, New Castle, Delaware

From: Bill Topazio (btzena hotmail.com)
Subject: homeoteleuton

Another good example from Arlo Guthrie:

Proceeded down the hall, gettin’ more injections, inspections, detections Neglections, and all kinds of stuff that they was doin’ to me at the thing There, and I was there for two hours three hours four hours I was There for a long time goin’ through all kinds of mean, nasty, ugly things And I was just havin’ a tough time there, and they was inspectin’, Injectin’, every single part of me, and they was leavin’ no part untouched!”

Bill Topazio, Zena, New York

From: Martin MacLachlan (martin_maclachlan canaccord.com)
Subject: homeoteleuton

I grew up with the word homeoteleuton and, on the eve of what would have been my mother’s 95th birthday, this word of the day brings back very happy memories. My late mother was trained as a medieval historian and she taught her family this word in its sense of the scribal error you describe although my understanding has always been that it could also include an error where a copyist’s eye skips to a word with the same ending one or more lines ABOVE where they were. The result was either a missing passage or a repeated passage.

The story is told of my youngest brother in grade school being asked to name all the words he could think of beginning with the letter H: house, hand, horse and (much to the surprise and disbelief of his teacher who, not surprisingly, had never heard the word) homeoteleuton.

Martin MacLachlan, Vancouver, Canada

From: Kim Wormald (karrawah bigpond.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--heterophemy

Ah, there’s a word for Australia’s ex-Prime Minister Tony Abbott saying “the suppository of all wisdom”.

Kim Wormald, Melbourne, Australia

From: Hugh Parsons (whiteknuckleturning outlook.com)
Subject: Heterophemy

A wonderful (or maybe wonderful) piece of heterophemy in a recent interview with the self-proclaimed “Best US President Ever”.

Talking about the effects of Covid-19, prior to catching it himself, he said that “With time you’ll develop a herd mentality.”

Come back, Mrs Malaprop, all is forgiven!

Hugh Parsons, Kapiti Coast, New Zealand

From: Alan W. Ritch (aritch berkeley.edu)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--heterophemy

So malapropism is the eponymous and near synonymous relative of heterophemy? Our stable genius is equally fluent in both.

Alan Ritch, Santa Cruz, California

From: Ullrich Fischer (uf ullrich-fischer.com)
Subject: heterophemy and Trump

Heterophemy has come to unpresidented prominence of late.

Ullrich Fischer, Surrey, Canada

From: Don Sweeny (sweeny221 yahoo.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--heterophemy

“Smart” phones sporting auto-correct for texters prove capricious with context, littering the literal landscape with one heterophemy after another, turning helpfulness into a hassle, forcing one to carefully parse each paragraph before pushing the final Send, lest unintended words carry content that can create contentious communiques.
You know what I moan...?

Don Sweeny, Quincy, Massachusetts

From: tao (kreelah gmail.com)
Subject: heterophemy

Today’s heterophemy deserves this video clip (14 sec.):

Vizzini: Inconceivable!
Inigo Montoya: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
(from The Princess Bride)

tao, Setúbal, Portugal

The Last Word
From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: Zed/zee and Noah Webster

In commemorating Noah Webster’s 262nd birthday this week, I felt a cartoon homage to the famed man-of-letters... and words, was in order. For over two-and-a-half centuries, this brilliant scholar still remains relevant, his legacy in cataloguing and defining the English tongue will be part of the lexicographic bedrock of our nation for millennia.

Lexicographic Standoff at the 49th Parallel
As a proud Canadian expat, having plied my cartooning trade and resided in L.A. for four decades, I still retain some of my diagnostic linguistic Canadianisms, eh. You can still detect a hint of an “oot” (out), or “aboot” (about), and I continue to pronounce the letter Z as a zed. Even though I grew up in Toronto, being majorly influenced by American popular culture and national politics via the three prime US TV networks airing out of Buffalo, NY, to this day I still say zed, not the Yankee zee. My still cleaving to the zed pronunciation can be attributed to both force of habit (use over time), and my being an unabashed chauvinistic Canuck.

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California

Anagrams of This Week’s Words
Words about words and language:
1. endonym
2. basilect
3. metonymy
4. homeoteleuton
5. heterophemy
1. name we noted (“Boomtown”)
2. shady Creole
3. symbol, metaphor
4. rhyme, tautology
5. unintended usage
-Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com)


Americans say “USA”.
This endonym’s long been in play.
But when in Paree
It’s “États Unis”,
The name of our land en français.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

Stephen Birmingham’s volume, Our Crowd,
limns a group of the wealthy and proud.
The title’s a cryptonym.
It’s also an endonym
for the fiscally quite well-endowed.
-Zelda Dvoretzky, Haifa, Israel (zeldahaifa gmail.com)

In praise of their brilliance -- it never dims! --
Of our children we all sing parental hymns.
But that’s out in the world;
When our hair they have curled,
In the home, we shout many choice endonyms.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Says Higgins, “We need to correct
your disreputable basilect.
Say ‘rain’, never ‘rine’,
and ‘plain’, never ‘pline’,
so a ladylike mien you’ll project!”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

The basilect language in a bar
Is amusing and often bizarre.
It’s a setting where
People just don’t care.
Too many drinks, they’ll take it too far.
-Lois Mowat, Orinda, California (lmowat1810 gmail.com)

The basilect spoken by some
Leads others to label them dumb.
Their lingo’s derided
By those who’ve decided
To snobbery they will succumb.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

The linguist was quick to detect
The flower girl’s odd basilect.
“Ey, bloke, do not mock
The wei that I talk.”
And, Higgins found his new project.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

“They’re dying to someone who’s crass elect,”
Said Steve Bannon. “Just speak in a basilect.
You’ll surely hit Bingo
With angry white lingo;
Their noses can’t poisonous gas detect.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

When he calls her the old ball and chain,
it drives the poor woman insane.
“It’s only in fun, you see,
just a metonymy,”
hubby attempts to explain.
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

Said Mike Pence, “I have lost my autonomy.
All Trump cares about is the economy.
But I have my dear ‘mother’,
A wife like no other,
She is what I call my fondest metonymy.”
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodthmw gmail.com)

When Antony says, “Lend me your ears,”
Metonymy’s used, it appears.
He’s seeking attention
When thus does he mention
The part of the body that hears.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

Downing Street or The White House can be
good examples of metonymy,
but the ones there at present
are inept and unpleasant.
Both lack true leadership quality.
-Zelda Dvoretzky, Haifa, Israel (zeldahaifa gmail.com)

Said Lot, “Being gay’s now called ‘sodomy’?
That makes my whole town a metonymy.
And my wife’s a salt pillar!
That’s such a buzz killer;
Hey Yahweh, how ‘bout an apology?”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

“Since the syllabus calls for our turning
the things we’ve been learning concerning
the homeoteleuton
into a lexicon,
class,” says the prof, “is adjourning!”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

The professor of English, from Charleston,
Had a penchant for homeoteleuton.
To his class he would bleat,
“Final sounds must repeat,
As: ‘go on’, ‘carry on’, ‘don’t be put upon’.”
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodthmw gmail.com)

Oh, homeoteleuton’s fun!
I’ll tell you just how it is done.
“Adventure” and “creature”
The same endings feature --
Put words such as these in a run.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

“In your limericks, homeoteleuton
Is a no-no; taboo; lower echelon,”
Says Anu, “Want ink?
Wrack your brains, really think;
For more varying rhymes is the pressure on.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

“That’s heterophemy I think!”
Declared Dr. Freud with a wink.
“My specialty’s dealing
With slips thus revealing
To unconscious feelings a link.”
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

He said to his wife named Phoebe,
“Please, dear, don’t be mad at me, gee.”
For while during sex,
He called out name of ex,
A ghastly heterophemy.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

“I’ve delivered our best-ever sodomy!”
Tweeted Donald, intending “economy”.
“But ze vay zat he toyed
Vith the language,” says Freud,
“Vas subconsciously-ruled heterophemy.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


When it comes to making a mess of it, you can always deep-endonym.
-Peter Jennings, St. Catharines, Canada (peterj benlo.com)

When the evil king in Genesis finally died, people shouted, “That’s the endonym-rod!”
-Jim Ertner, Greensboro, North Carolina (jde31459 gmail.com)

Why are you so happy about the election?
Cause it’s going to be the endonym.
-Joe Budd Stevens, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico (joebuddstevens gmail.com)

When the tenor and bass were given the choice of who would sing the solo, the basilect-ed to do so.
-Jim Ertner, Greensboro, North Carolina (jde31459 gmail.com)

As usual, the grand pooh-basilect to disdain the opinions of the little people.
-Peter Jennings, St. Catharines, Canada (peterj benlo.com)

Miss Piggy: “Keep him away. I don’t want that frog cur-metonymy.”
-Peter Jennings, St. Catharines, Canada (peterj benlo.com)

“We have metonymy and he is us,” Said Pogo.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

After the surgery, I couldn’t wait to get that cath-heterophemy.
-Peter Jennings, St. Catharines, Canada (peterj benlo.com)

George Floyd's Revenge?
From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: Trump’s Foibles & Follies

Revisiting Trump’s orchestrated return to the White House after his treatment at Walter Reed Hospital for Covid-19, in this scenario, Trump has just trudged up the East Wing balcony stairs, planted himself in a Mussolini-esque pose, and in a dramatic flourish removed his face mask. He then gives the two-thumbs-up gesture, indicating that he’s beaten the beast. Yet he’s clearly suffering from shortness of breath, as the specter of George Floyd haunts him.

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California

What I like in a good author isn’t what he says, but what he whispers. -Logan Pearsall Smith, essayist (18 Oct 1865-1946)

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