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AWADmail Issue 266

June 17, 2007

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


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From: Florence Bonanno (hyssop7 aol.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--stalworth

At my darling grandfather's funeral, the priest called him a stalwart. I've loved the word since. To me he was a slender old country Polish coal miner who grew magnificent roses, giving me one to pin on my dress or in my hair as a tween. To his friends, he was "sheet-iron Mike" who, although slim and sinewy, was noted for his strength.


From: John Acuff (acuffsbxr blomand.net)
Subject: Stalworth

I guess the word is still used; one stallworth just made the Pro Football Hall of Fame (John) and another seems headed that way (Danti).


From: Danielle Meinrath (danielle2820 aol.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--peradventure

The lovely word peradventure has recently been resurrected by the great Paul McCartney in his 2005 album, 'Chaos and Creation in the Backyard'. In the song 'English Tea', he sings,

"Do you know the game croquet / Peradventure we might play."

In an interview with Observer Music Monthly, he explained,
"[The song is] about living in England and listening to the way some English people speak and parodying that. I love it but I also find it funny. I mean, I say, 'Do you wanna cup of tea, la?' But somebody else will say, 'Would you care to take tea' or, 'As a rule, we take tea at three' or whatever. [ . . . ] I went to a grammar school, and had a really good English teacher, and I love to read Dickens, so I love the English language. I even worked in the word, 'peradventure' (Sings in snooty voice) 'Do you know the game croquet/ Peradventure we might play'. (Laughs) In a way, I was playing Noel Coward. He could sing that straight. [ . . . ] I'd sort of heard it and it had stuck in some little corner of my brain. It fell out of my head into the song then afterwards I had to go to the dictionary, and go, 'Please, let there be a word peradventure!' And there it was."

Full interview at observer.guardian.co.uk.


From: Victor Lund (vlund mahoney-law.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--dehort

Dehort brings back memories of classes in classical Greek. After a few months, one learns that sentences such as "Let's go!" in Greek are formed with a grammatical construction known as the hortatory subjunctive, meaning, of or pertaining to exhortation. Not to be confused with the dative of respect, or future less vivid, or contract verbs, or the optative mood, or articular infinitives, or the aorist tense, or dialects of Greek such as Lesbian.


From: Rex King (rexking bigpond.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--latchet

Many of your readers who grew up with the King James Bible (1611) will remember what John the Baptist says about Jesus in Mark 1:7: "There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose." We can go back 85 years earlier to William Tindale's version where we have: "Whos shue latchett I am not worthy to stoupe doune and vnlose."


If you know only one language, you're a prisoner, stuck in the tyranny of that one language. -Andrew Cohen, professor of linguistics (1944- )

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