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AWADmail Issue 220July 30, 2006
A Weekly Compendium of Feedback on the Words in A.Word.A.Day and Other Interesting Tidbits about Words and Languages
From: Catherine Bolton (translationsATbolton.it)
Interestingly enough, I recently finished a translation (Italian-to-English) about the city of Amelia (Roman Ameria, in central Italy) and one of its citizens, Sextus Roscius, who was defended by Cicero. (The oration is "Pro Sex. Roscio Amerino M. Tulli Ciceronis Oratio".)
Sextus Roscius was wrongly accused of parricide by one of Sulla's favorite freedmen. The case became famous because Cicero not only managed to get Roscius acquitted, but during the trial he also refused to be intimidated by the fact that one of Sulla's men was involved.
This was Cicero's very first "causa publica" or criminal case, and he became an overnight success because of it.
It seems that the name Roscius brought him luck!
From: Dave Zobel (zobeldaveATaol.com)
In Woody Allen's short story "The UFO Menace" (anthologized in Side Effects, 1981), a Louisiana factory worker uses this word to describe his close encounter of the third kind: "Roy and I was catfishing in the bog. I enjoy the bog, as does Roy. We was not drinking..." A glowing spacecraft appears and is mistaken by Roy for a whooping crane. "I said, 'Roy, that ain't no crane, 'cause it's got no beak.'" Aliens lure the speaker onboard and subject him to a physical examination. "I went along with it, as I had not had a checkup in two years. By now they had mastered my own language, but they still made simple mistakes like using 'hermeneutics', when they meant 'heuristic'."
From: Daniel Eisenberg (daniel.eisenbergATbigfoot.com)
As a Hispanist who has done a lot of work on the Spanish sixteenth century, I very much suspect that the quotation attributed to Charles V is apocryphal. It doesn't sound like him (or any king) at all. Also, "asuntos de hombres" is not something a Spanish speaker would say; it sounds like a translation from the French "affaires des hommes". There were very few if any Italian-speaking "damas" in Charles V's court.
There is a similar proverb or saying in French: "l'italien on chant, le franšais on parle, l'anglais on crache, l'allemand on vomite." "Italian is sung, French is spoken, English is spit, and German is vomited." (Not positive of the spelling, French isn't my primary language.)
From: Saralee Etter (setterATreadingrecovery.org)
In AWADmail Issue 219, Tracey Johnston called the lumps on yarn "schlubs".
I believe she means "slubs".
From: Linda Scott (asleepyheadATyahoo.com)
I have enjoyed receiving AWAD very much, but at times been perplexed as to the best way to use the words. At times I have inserted the words into a word processing document, printed them and made up a list I use to test myself later. This morning, before coffee, no less, I was wondering, how about throwing the question out to the other readers... "How do you use AWAD?" I would love to read some creative ideas, wouldn't you? Now, for some coffee...and my AWAD list!
From: Eric Shackle (eshackleATozemail.com.au)
Another eponym is Helenism (not to be confused with Hellenism with two Ls), a word coined by witty New York computer guru, Steve R. White, to describe his wife Helen's hilarious mixed metaphors. A list of Helenisms is featured in the August edition of my free e-book.
A word has its use, / Or, like a man, it will soon have a grave. -Edwin Arlington Robinson, poet (1869-1935)