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A.Word.A.Day--diglot

Pronunciation RealAudio

diglot (DY-glot) adjective

Bilingual.

noun

A bilingual book, person, etc.

[From Greek diglottos, from di- (two) + -glottos, from glossa (tongue, language).]

"On their traditional, and legally defined, ground, he (Bagster) challenged the privileged presses directly, with pocket editions of the New Testament, while his diglot editions of the Bible, in English with accompanying German, French, Italian, Spanish or Portuguese, were aimed partly at the cosmopolitan immigrant market." David McKitterick; A History of Cambridge University Press: Vol 2; Cambridge University Press; Aug 27, 1998.

"The oldest inscriptions in a Berber language - two diglot inscriptions found at Dugga in Tunisia - are written in Tifinag." George L. Campbell; Concise Compendium of the World's Languages; Routledge; 1995.

A diglot isn't someone who digs a lot. Nor is it one who digs much or one who digs a parcel of land. Rather, the term refers to one who is bilingual or speaks two languages. And a diglot book is one that has side-by-side text in two languages, on the same or opposite page.

From digging lots to digging languages -- it's quite a far reach. But that's what happens sometimes when we try to guess the meaning of words. We tend to parse them among familiar boundaries, leading to unusual results. We've collected five misleading words for this week's AWAD -- words that aren't what they appear to be. Maybe we should call them politician words.

-Anu Garg

X-Bonus

The love of one's country is a splendid thing. But why should love stop at the border. -Pablo Casals, cellist, conductor, and composer (1876-1973)

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