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AWADmail Issue 329

October 19, 2008

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


From: Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)
Subject: Univocalic headline contest

Gloomy economy and the US presidential elections were clearly on readers' minds, as shown by the number of entries on these topics. "DOW, STOCKS, BONDS" and "ALASKAN MADAM SARAH" were employed well (see below).

More than 800 readers responded with thousands of univocalics. It was hard to select a winner from so many fine entries. Congrats to Michael Choi of New Jersey for his winning entry:

BIG SHIP SINKS IN FIRST TRIP
(Titanic, Apr 15, 1912)

Michael writes: "The Titanic came quickly to mind because I've been interested in ocean liners since I was a kid. In fact, one of the highlights of my memorabilia collection is a pre-disaster postcard that trumpets the apparent impregnability of the T and its sister Olympic in a rosily optimistic scene set at dawn."

He wins a copy of The Dord, the Diglot, and an Avocado or Two, which Karl Boyd-Nafstad (boydnafstad gmail.com) described as DORD: BOOK ON WORDS ON TOP OF WORLD.

A special mention goes to Amy Guskin (muse fjordstone.com) for her suggested headline for the last week in Oct in Everytown, US:

REMEMBER, NEXT WEEK: ELECT THE BEST

Thanks to all who participated. Some sent one, some a dozen. A few teachers told their classes about the contest and encouraged their students to come up with univocalics. Read on for a few selections from all the entries.

Describing real events:

RIGID BLIMP KILLS THIRTY-SIX IN FIRST FLIGHT
(Hindenburg disaster, May 6, 1937)
-Bryan Lahey (lahey911 yahoo.com)

DEWEY ELECTED!
(Incorrect headline on the front page of the Chicago Tribune details)
-Ann Collins (collins351 cox.net)

DEWEY BESTS DEM PREZ
-Mark Scheerer (markscheerer verizon.net)

FOOT ON MOON
(Moon landing, Jul 20, 1969)
-Lisa Mallia (redleaf55 yahoo.ca)

A MAN, A PLAN, A CANAL - PANAMA!
I'm not claiming to have made this up, of course, but it fits the bill.
-Stephen Record (stephenrecord netscape.net)

BUSH SNUBS UN
POLLS SHOW MOST LONG FOR GORDON BROWN TO GO NOW
-Ronnie Anderson (ronnie ireland.com)

PREZ RE-ELECTED
(Presidential election, Nov 2004)
-Gautam Basu (basug searo.who.int)

VP's STAFF HARD AT WAR AND SCANDAL
-Matthew Tindle (tindlemj fljud13.org)

LAND AT LAST!
(Columbus lands in the New World)
"IT MIGHTN'T FIT!"
(OJ Simpson's place relative to the bloody glove)
-Mark (ducaticorse gmail.com)

OTTO OPTS FOR TOP SPOT
(Otto von Bismarck accepted the position of Chancellor, Mar 21, 1871)
-John Gibney (jgibney t-mlaw.com)

JAPAN ATTACKS NAVAL ARMADA AT DAWN!
(Pearl Harbor, Dec 7, 1941)
-Steve Stermer(steve.stermer lmco.com)

JAPAN ATTACKS YANK NAVAL YARD AT DAWN
-Ken King (kenneth.king mnps.org)

CHENEY RESENTS CHECKS, DECREES EXEC EXEMPT. DEMS ELECTED.
And in the wishful-thinking alternate-history vein:
KERRY ELECTED. CHENEY BEGS CLEMENCY, EX-PREZ SERVES STERN SENTENCE.
-Bruce Keeler (bruce drangle.com)

BELL DEFENSE KEEPS QUEENS THREE FREE
(All three police officers acuitted in the Bell shooting case details)
-Ellen Cohen (ellen.cohen hamot.org)

LIZ SMITH'S INSIGHTS IN LIMITING STRICT CHILD DISCIPLINING WINS CITING
(Journalist Liz Smith to be honored on Oct 27 by The New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children details)
-David Danzig (david danzig.com)

"DORD" - SHORT WORD BLOTCH ON WORDBOOK (1931)
OPT TO CHOP OFF BOOBOO (1939)
(Ghost word enters the dictionary and is exorcised details)
-Larry Fjeldstrom (fjeldsl shaw.ca)

Economy:

MOST STOCKS NOW WORTH $0 -- BORROW LOOT FROM GOVT
-Glenn Thomas (glenn.z.thomas jpmchase.com)

DOW HORROR: FROM BOOM TO DOOM, GLOOM
-Eileen Saks (eileensaks gmail.com)

BANKS GAG AT CASH DASH
-Jacob Jackson (jacobjackson netspace.net.au)

DOW DROPS: NO BOON FOR DOT-COM STOCKS
-Lydia (sheepmon comcast.net)

GREEDY DEEDS EXCEEDED NEEDS
-John (jaws007 cableone.net)

STOCKS GO - DOW TOO - BOO HOO
Bad Day: Banks Can't Pay
-Karin Cash (kcash ix.netcom.com)

WORTH DOWN FOR WORLD STOCKS
-Libby Durbin (ldurbin oregonvos.net)

STOCKS DROP, FOLKS HOLD ON TO BONDS
-Amparo Ballivian (aballivian worldbank.org)

STOCKS SWOON, NO BOTTOM SOON
-Chris Papa (doxite verizon.net)

NASDAQ CRASH: ALL AGHAST AT SLASH
-Mary Hodge (mary citydash.com)

BUSH BURNS BUCKS, BULLS RUN
-Don French (dcfrench gmail.com)

BANKS BACK BARACK's PLAN
-Wendy Johnston (johnston mnr.org)

STOCKS' DROP STOPS FOR NOW
-Leo Lazalde Jr (leo.lazalde-jr boeing.com)

MASS ANGST AS WALL ST. FALLS
-Stephan David Hewitt (stephandavid adelphia.net)

DOW DROPS; SOLD-OFF STOCKS PROMPT FOLKS TO OPT FOR LOTTO
-Jeff Reardon (jeff.reardon post.harvard.edu)

TOO LONG TO HOLD ONTO STOCKS?
WHERE WERE THE FEDS?
EVEN MEN WEEP WHEN WEEK ENDS
-Nadine McBeth (lionlady13 wideopenwest.com)

THE END'S HERE
-Clifton Siple (clifbrew aim.com)

FED EXTENDS HELP: STREET STRENGTHENS, MESS DEEPENS
-Hiren Pasad (hirenp vt.edu)

DOW DOWN! DON'T WORRY, GOVT. OWNS STOCK
-Tammi Hill (sassinachs yahoo.com)

BERK EXEC'S SCHEME ENGENDERS EXTREME RESPECT EVERYWHERE
-Anil Nerurkar (arnerurkar yahoo.com)

Elections:

JOHN NOT TOO OLD TO GO ON
-Cheryl Oribabor (coribabor parentenet.com)

SARAH P. (ALASKA) CAST AS MAC'S 2nd BANANA
-Carol Culwell (cculwell dynavax.com)

ALASKA'S SARAH MAD AT BABY'S DAD
-Dale Roberts (droberts casarino.com)

SARAH ASKS: NAFTA? WHAT'S THAT? QATAR, CHAD, GHANA? CAN'T SAY... AAH - CAN YA CALL AN ALASKAN PAL?
-Carolyn Bartlebaugh (bartlecs aol.com)

BARACK ATTACKS SARAH'S ALASKAN PAST
-Dan Johnson-Weinberger (dan.johnsonweinberger gmail.com)

"BARACK'S BAD MAN," SAYS SARAH; "SARAH'S PATH BACKWARD," SAYS BARACK
-Londa Smelser (londasmelser att.net)

ALASKA ASKS SARAH: ALL GAS?
-Laura Lynn Walsh (lwalsh acsalaska.net)

ALASKA'S SARAH LACKS SPARK AND SMARTS, SAY BARACK FANS
-Kris McElwee (mcelweek mac.com)

ALASKANS SAY SARAH ALL FLASH AND GLAM
-Dee Benson (deebenson comcast.net)

AGHAST AT RALLY, ALASKA'S SARAH SAYS "ABRACADABRA!"
-Anne D. Lunt (auksnest aol.com)

SARAH FALLS AS MANY BACK BARACK
-Ken Slocum (bayslug aol.com)

PRESS'S LETTERS FLED WHEN NEW DENSE PREZ ELECTED!
-Danielle Hill (hilldani gmail.com)

SHARK SARAH SLAMS SHAM STAFF SCANDAL
-William Ames (ameswi bc.edu)

ALASKANS MAD AT SARAH
SARAH HAS A BAD DAY
ALASKANS MAD AT SARAH'S TAB
SARAH LACKS FACTS
SARAH'S GAB SPARKS ALARM
SCRAM, SARAH, SCRAM!
BARACK SLAMS SARAH'S ATTACKS
BARACK BRANDS SARAH A SHAM
While none of these univocalics is very original this has been the best catharsis I have had in a long time!
-Jane Wilson (jwilson6056 charter.net)

BARACK'S PLAN: PACK JACK AND ALASKAN BACK
-David Schildkret (david.schildkret asu.edu)

MAC CALLS BARACK PAGAN
-Neil Conner (bullcook msn.com)

MS. P. WINKS, THINKS VP WIN IN SIGHT
-Heidi Fitch (thefitches peoplepc.com)

BARACK STANDS TALL AS MAC FALLS
-John Sassone (cfpstrider aol.com)

PUCK MUM SHUTS UP, TURNS 'N RUNS
-Jody Kaylor (jkaylor gmail.com)

DEM ELECTED
BARACK AT LAST
-Barry Levenstam (blevenstam jenner.com)

AT LAST! BARACK CRACKS WH GLASS CAP
-Ian Hoffman (ian.hoffman usdoj.gov)

BARACK HAS ALABAMA, ARKANSAS, KANSAS, AND SARAH'S ALASKA
-Louise Gilmore (lgilmore10 aol.com)

PM BESEECHES - RE-ELECT ME!
(Canadian parliamentary elections last week)
-Belinda Wilson (canuck.indie.music gmail.com)

Oddball:

AAAA AND AAAAAA: AAARGH!
(Amateur Athletic Association of America faces costly court case against American Association Against Acronym and Abbreviation Abuse)
-John Forster (inquizition aol.com)

VEWEL SHERTEGE; E'S SEBSTETETED FER ELL ETHERS!
-Daniel B. Martin (danielbmartin earthlink.net)

Meta:

"THE NEWS" ENDS STEEL-TYPE PRESS
-Matt Ryan (mryan abnamromorgans.com.au)

NEWS NEVER RESTS EVEN WHEN LETTERS END
-David Van Eyck (d.vaneyck cgiar.org)

WE'RE LEFT SPEECHLESS!
-Jogesh Motwani (jogeshmotwani gmail.com)

VEXED, PERPLEXED TYPESETTER VENTS: SEND HELP! NEED NEW LETTERS!
-Erica Finegold (erica.finegold hotmail.com)

FEW LETTERS LEFT. WHERE WERE THEY WHEN WE NEEDED THEM?
-Janette R. (amicitia hotmail.com)

ESTEEMED PEER SEEKS CLEVER SENTENCES: ENTER HERE
-Doug Beale (dbl747 gmail.com)

GARG AWARDS MAD GRAMMAR FAN ANDY AN AWAD CANT ALMANAC
-Andrew Fookes (andrew.fookes bordernet.com.au)

MADCAP LADY BLASTS CRAZY AWAD TASK
I was sidetracked from my work but will never forget the word!
-Kim Wormald (karrawah bigpond.com.au)

Miscellaneous:

BUSH U-TURN: MUSTN'T USURP GULF!
And here's hoping next week's AWAD announces:
TOP-NOTCH OXFORD DOCTOR SCOOPS WORD SHOWDOWN
-Dr. Andrew Kay, Oxford, UK (music1 wildruby.co.uk)

EDEN NEWS: EVE REJECTS SERPENT
-Jill Stevenson (jill.stevenson uct.ac.za)

REED MED CENTER EXPERTS CHECK VEEP CHENEY
-Joshua Saks (joshua.saks gmail.com)

BRITISH MINISTRY DISMISSING KIPLING'S WRITINGS! RIKKI TIKKI HIGHLY SKITTISH!
-Aram Pirjanian (apirjani uci.edu)

DOCTORS NOW KNOW HOW TO STOP COMMON COLD FOR GOOD
-Jean B. Hall (jeanbhall aol.com)

MAN GNAWS AFGHAN
(A variation of the classic)
-Roland Schweitzer (roland.schweitzer gmail.com)

NOW PROOF BOSONS BOND WORLD
To celebrate the presumed eventual discovery of the Higgs Boson.
-Joshua Richman (jsrichman gmail.com)

As an Anglophile German I read AWAD every day. Your contest has been a challenge to try in German. A univocalic headline in a German newspaper:
SCHWEDEN EMPFEHLEN: SECHS LEERE SEEBECKEN WEGEN FEHLENDEN REGENS EHER VERMESSEN
Translation: Swedes recommend to survey six empty sea-basins earlier because of missing rain.
-Sabine Kehr-F.-Nasse (sabinekfn hotmail.com)

Comments:

A real headline from Variety from the 1930s:
STICKS NIX HICK PIX
It has long been my favorite headline and now, thanks to you, I learn it's also univocalic. The article is about how rural people in the US don't like to see movies about rural people.
-David Gravitz (davgrav gmail.com)

TEX FLEX BEX PEX
The boffo exercise flick sensation "Workouts With Sports Celebrities" featured all-live appearances by some of the greats in the sports world, all live, that is, except we've just learned that David Beckham's rippling pectorals were actually generated by computer animators. -Daily Variety
-Michael Wiesenberg (queue att.net)

I think it interesting that "univocalic" contains four of the five vowels.
-Jay Lewis (j-lewis jaylewislaw.com)

Ellen Degeneres's name is univocalic.
-Bobbi Taylor (girlygirl426 msn.com)

I am reminded of James Thurber's book, _The Wonderful O_ and his Captain Black of the ship _AEIU_. Since the captain's mother had been stuck in a porthole and had to be pushed out, he set about to eliminate the Os in all names and objects as well as the objects themselves. "Books were bks and Robinhood was Rbinhd. Little Goody Two Shoes lost her Os and so did Goldilocks, and the former became a whisper, and the latter sounded like a key jiggled in a lock."
-Mary Anne Huntington (huntinm sunysuffolk.edu)

During a heat wave in 1985 when I was on the New York Post copydesk, I wrote the one-vowel headline "HELTER SWELTER", which was memorialized in the Spike Lee film "She's Gotta Have It" in a scene where a newspaper spins off the press to reveal the front-page headline. I guess Spike Lee liked it because three years later, when he made the film "Do the Right Thing", there is a news stand scene that dwells briefly on the same headline -- but this time, it appears under a Daily News logo.
By the way, your contest asks readers to imagine writing a headline "back in the days when metal type was used", which compels me to mention that in the days of hot lead type, the big front page letters were actually carved out of wood. British editors called the front-page headline "The Splash", but old hands at the New York Post always referred to it as "The Wood".
-Caroline Rodgers (caroline.rodgers hotmail.com)


From: Janine McVeagh (janine.mcveagh ihug.co.nz)
Subject: Noah Webster

I can understand the desire to separate American from English English -- we have a New Zealand dictionary too -- and most of us are used to 'translating' American, but the one word that does make me stumble is 'aluminium', rendered by Americans as 'aluminum' and pronounced entirely differently.

Never mind, as long as you can read us and we can read you, vive la difference!


From: Kelly C. Boylan (kboylan mvpcorp.com)
Subject: Webster

Q: How did Mr. Webster come to write the first dictionary?
A: Every time he'd say something, his wife would ask, "Well, now, just what's that supposed to mean?"


From: Clive Cowper (clivealive juno.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--paragoge
Def: The addition of a letter or syllable at the end of a word.

The American science fiction author C.J. Cherryh offers a use of this word. Her real last name is Cherry, but her publisher thought that an author with that last name wouldn't be taken seriously. His solution: add a silent letter "h" to the end of the name. It worked!


From: Beth Showman (rb.showman gmail.com)
Subject: paragoge

I've always liked Han Solo calling Princess Leia "Your Highnessness" in Star Wars, and now I have a word to describe it.


From: Alan Ogden (alanogden talktalk.net)
Subject: Paragoge

The people of Bristol, UK often put an L on the end of words, especially if they end in a vowel. That is how the city got its name. It was originally Bristowe, the town with a bridge.


From: Andrew Robinson (Via Wordsmith Talk bulletin board)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--semasiology
Def: The study of meanings in a language, especially the study of semantic change.

"It must be left to students of musical semasiology to account for the psychological association that exists between the spiritual concept of goodness and saintliness and the notational accident of the absence of sharps and flats in the key signature, which results in the 'whiteness' of the music."

There are two factors that can make music notation look whiter: one is the absence of sharps and flats, the other is the use of longer note-values (whole notes and half notes).

The first was the subject of an edict from the Council of Trent in the 16th century: the church authorities wanted to clean up the (to them, unnecessarily) complications of church music, including sharps and flats. The product of this reform was ... Palestrina.

A composition teacher I attended once told me that in his choir-boy days he would judge the interest of a piece of music by how white it looked. Black meant later, therefore interesting, while white (all semibreves and minims) meant earlier (Palestrina etc.) and boring.


From: Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)
Subject: Interesting stories from the net

He Counts Your Words:
The New York Times

Diagramming Sarah:
Slate

Its Native Tongue Facing Extinction, Arapaho Tribe Teaches the Young:
The New York Times


To know another language is to have a second soul. -Charlemagne, King of the Franks (742-814)

This week's theme
Words about words.

This week's words
epeolatry
univocalic
paragoge
semasiology
cacology

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