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AWADmail Issue 159

Apr 2, 2005

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: Interesting stories from the net

A Town With Sign Language as its Official Language:
guardian.co.uk

"Gates Do Good Marketing Job in Microsoft":
seattletimes.com

Searching for the Welsh-Hindi Link:
news.bbc.co.uk


From: Jim Pfingst (jimpfingstATcox.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--antanaclasis

I always used one of these with the kids. When getting in the car I'd tell them to put on their seat belts, and then remind them (jokingly, of course!): "If you don't get belted, you'll get belted!"


From: Dwight Williams (dwight.williamsATshaw.ca)
Subject: Antanaclasis

Surely one of the most famous examples of antanaclasis is the one made by Benjamin Franklin when he signed the "traitorous" U.S. Declaration of Independence:
"We must indeed hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately."


From: George McCoy (mccoygATcvinternet.net)
Subject: antanaclasis

Greetings from Alaska. Here is Alaskan antanaclasis proclaimed by the women about the men here: the odds are good, but the goods are odd.


From: Jan Fair (janfairATcox.net)
Subject: antanaclasis

I taught my high school students the word 'antanaclasis' by saying "My Aunt Ana's class is trying ... very trying!"


From: Sara Simon (snsimonAThotmail.com)
Subject: Antanaclasis

My favorite example is from Groucho Marx:
"Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like bananas."


From: Jay Schrier (jay_schrierATskyepharma.com)
Subject: antanaclasis

Another antanaclasis, used in my analytical laboratory when the boss is in a hurry:
"He wants the data real bad, so that's just how he'll get it, real bad."


From: Frank Muller (frankoATpixie.co.za)
Subject: Re: antanaclasis

Another example of antanaclasis in corporate culture is: "If you can't change the people, change the people." This quip is anecdotally attributed to the South African industrialist Anton Rupert.


From: Michael Tremberth (michaelt42ATtiscali.co.uk)
Subject: Antanaclasis

How about, drawing on a current problem in the UK Conservative party involving its leader and one of its Members of Parliament: "Howard ends Howard's end". Embodying a pun on the word "end" it has the advantage that it can make sense whichever Howard is taken to be the subject of the statement and reflects the situation in which the two Howards are at cross purposes (different ends!). I wonder if either of these two has thought of the posssibility of calling his home Howards End?


From: George Feissner (feissnergATcortland.edu)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--antanaclasis

As soon as I mentioned today's word to one of our students, she shot back "If you eat the chili, you won't be chilly." I guess it's not a true antanaclasis, so perhaps we could call it a "phonological antanaclasis".


From: Jane Saral (janesaralATwestminster.net)
Subject: paralipsis

I've also taught the concept of including something by pretending to omit it as praeteritio (anglicized as preterition). It was used a lot by Chaucer's knight in his long chivalric tale.


From: Hugh D. Hyatt (hughhyattATbluehen.udel.edu)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--oxymoron

At Occidental College (http://www.oxy.edu) several decades ago, my friends and I observed that /Oxy moron/ is itself an oxymoron.

By the way, as of this moment, oxymorons.info has a list of 895 them, one of which is indeed /Oxy moron/.


From: Roger Dean (roger.deanATcec.eu.int)
Subject: Esprit d'escalier

Who defined this as "repartee is what you think of when you've become a departee"?


From: Nancy Bronwell (nancybbATnts-online.net)
Subject: Esprit d'escalier

In the 1920s and 1930s, the Philadelphia, Pa., Bulletin, carried a daily feature in a small box, called "The Cheerful Cherub" by Rebecca McCann. It featured a philosophical little Kewpie, whose quatrains and other poems have stuck in my memory for lo! these many years.

And "esprit d'escalier" makes me remember this:

"Oh, how I regret in the night
With pangs that will never abate,
The brilliantly crushing retort
I think of...a little too late!"


From: Eric Shackle (eshackleATozemail.com.au)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--esprit d'escalier

Can the once-popular phrase "as the actress said to the bishop" be termed an esprit d'escalier (thinking of a witty remark too late; hindsight wit or afterwit; also such a remark)? Charles, Prince of Wales, heir to the British throne, made headlines around the world when he used it in Melbourne last month. "The language was fruitier and the jokes a little more risqué," Caroline Davies reported in London's Daily Telegraph. You can read about it in the April edition of my free e-book.


If a homological adjective is one that is true of itself, e.g., "polysyllabic", and a heterological adjective is one which is not true of itself, e.g., "bisyllabic", then what about "heterological?" Is it heterological or not? -Grelling's Paradox

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