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AWADmail Issue 96

July 26, 2003

A Weekly Compendium of Feedback on the Words in A.Word.A.Day and Other Interesting Tidbits about Words and Languages

From: Anu Garg (garg AT wordsmith.org)
Subject: Stories from the net

Reports of the Aussie English's demise are exaggerated:

Inspired by "It was a dark and story night":

From: Jayne Pynes (jpynesATutep.edu)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--beestings

I just had to respond to your story about your daughter. Last November, on her 7th birthday, our daughter asked if she would be allowed to go to Hogwarts when she turned 11 if she got a letter. My immediate impulse was to say it was make believe, but I mastered myself and told her that if she got a letter, I'd go with her! Having kids has given me my magic back--you are right. Thanks for such a lovely note.

And kudos to JK Rowling; our 7 year old just finished reading an 860 page book, and her vocabulary is that of a 6th grader because of it! Hooray for reading and for words!

From: Alison Jameson (qetalATptd.net)
Subject: parenting magic

I had exactly the same reaction as your daughter when *I* got a "magic paint set" at age 8. I thought it would enable me to paint anything I wanted to. Fat chance! I know just what your daughter felt like. To this day I still can't paint (or draw) anything that my 3-y-o can recognize.

So I use words instead.

From: Lynn Fox (lynnfoxATprairieinet.net)
Subject: Tooth fairy

When my children were young, I always told them, when they asked, that I was Santa. Of course, they didn't believe me. My daughter, at age five, asked who was the Tooth Fairy, and again I told her I was. Her response was, "Yeah, you think you're Santa Claus, too. Let's see you fly."

From: Scott Andrews (scott.andrewsATdisney.com)
Subject: Beestings/Colostrum

When my son was born I made this sign. Lactation specialists thought it was hilarious.

From: Susan Perry (sperryATchec.scu.edu.au)
Subject: Beestings

In Australia the cake shops sell a cake called a 'Beesting'. It's a yeast bun with custard filling and a sugar and almond topping. I've heard it is supposed to be a German style cake. Regardless, it's quite delicious.

From: Brian Boyle (myrudehandATcomcast.net)
Subject: beestings -- a Swedish connection?

I thought it was interesting how close the Old English origin of this word (bysting) is to the Swedish word "bystig" which means "busty." It's sort of an old fashioned word in Swedish, but it's still used. I wonder if there's any connection.

From: Bob Seegmiller (bob.seegmillerATngc.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--pythoness

In the most recent issue of Scientific American, there's an article on the Temple of Apollo at Delphi, and where the Oracle's seat was. They make a connection between ethylene gas coming from seismic cracks in the ground (the Oracle's seat apparently sits right over the intersection of two faults). There are some bituminous limestone deposits (limestone with some hydrocarbons in them) in the area. The theory is that the deposits are heated by geological or seismic action, and some of the fumes contain this gas. Ethylene has anesthetic properties, and can put someone into a trance-like state.

Very interesting article, there.

From: Sheila Carrodus (scarrodusATwanadoo.fr)
Subject: "courrier electronique," the literal translation of electronic mail

The French also use "mél", abbreviation for "messagerie électronique" and pronounced very much like "mail" in e-mail. This would seem to be "legitimate" French and has the advantage of being closer in sound to e-mail. I have seen this used frequently in university circles.

All words are pegs to hang ideas on. -Henry Ward Beecher, preacher and writer (1813-1887)

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