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AWADmail Issue 338

Dec 21, 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: Dispatches from Mumbai - part 1 (Re: Trip to Mumbai)

Hi from a hot and humid Mumbai! Quite a change from sub-freezing Seattle.

After I landed at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport here and boarded a waiting taxi, I peeked out the windows on both sides. The city of Mumbai looked the same to me as it had on my previous visit a year and a half ago.

The same hustle and bustle on the streets; the same construction scaffoldings pulling high-rise apartments towards the sky; the same hoardings (billboards) promoting the newest in reality shows, the latest in mobile phone plans, the greatest in suiting and shirting (menswear).

Yet something was different; something had changed since 26/11 (that's what the Nov 26 attack by Pakistani terrorists has been named).

"How are things after 26/11?" I asked the taxi driver. He explained that his employer has a fleet of 150 taxis. While earlier all those vehicles were on the road, now only about 30 are running.

"People are not visiting," the driver told me.

In spite of what happened in the last week of November, Mumbai remains one of the safest large cities in the world. You can go out on the street in the middle of the night without any fear. And the Mumbaikars (Mumbai residents) haven't changed either.

In a spontaneous demonstration of unity, a couple of weeks back more than twenty thousand showed up near the Taj Hotel, one of the sites of 26/11. Hindus and Muslims joined hands with Sikhs, Christians, and everything in between from Atheists to Zoroastrians.

Read more: part 2, 3

Upcoming Talk
English: A Long-Separated Cousin of the Indian Languages. Anu Garg will be speaking on this topic at Crossword Bookstore, Kemps Corner, Mumbai on Fri, Jan 2, 2008 at 7pm.


From: Pankaj Sethi (neelpank yahoo.co.in)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--golconda
Def: A source of great wealth

The name Golconda itself is derived from "golla" (which means shepherd in the Telugu language spoken in these parts), and "konda" which means hill. So literally -- shepherd's hill.

The most famous of the diamonds mined at Golconda was the Koh-i-noor literally, "mountain of light", which travelled across the world from the Mughals to Persia (Nadir Shah), back to India (Maharaja Ranjit Singh of Punjab) and is now part of the British Crown Jewels.


From: Suba Peddada (suba ti.com)
Subject: Re:A.Word.A.Day--golconda

It is believed that the Hope diamond, on display at the Smithsonian, was most likely from the Golconda region. It weighs approximately 45 carats.


From: Peter Ives (pives unm.edu)
Subject: Golconda

Although your quotation referring to Golconda was recent, as a metaphor it flourished in the late 19th century and much of the 20th. A classic stock market history is "Once in Golconda: a True Drama of Wall Street, 1920-1938" (1969); another business history is "The Black Golconda: the Romance of Petroleum" (1924). Several hopeful mining companies in the USA have used the name and there are towns in Illinois and Nevada called Golconda.


From: M Nazareth (mn-ccd lth.ltindia.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--doolally
Def: Irrational, deranged, or insane

I spent many happy summers in lovely Deolali, a pretty little cantonment, and yes, the summer heat is dreadful. Lots of military officers in their twenties are stationed there -- Young Officers, or YOs as they are called -- and with all the little romances going on, Deolali still has its share of doolally!


From: Melissa Emmons (melissa.emmons gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--doolally

In the 1973 Disney animated classic, "Robin Hood", the characters are often heard exclaiming, "Ooo, doolally!" And I have vague memories of a stage adaptation of the film that our elementary class did, and one of the songs we sang was, "Ooo-doolally, golly, what a day today!"

I thought it was a made-up-word, never knew what it meant till now. Thank you! Now I know how to describe myself most Mondays!


From: Cate J (tuliptoe gmail.com)
Subject: doolally

Here in the South (Atlanta, USA) we use the word doolally to describe something we can't remember the name of right off, i.e. "Hand me that doolally" with accompanying pointing at said item. It's kind of an all-purpose word though I have heard it used "He went all doolally in the head", so its true meaning is still evident as well.


From: R Noessel (thor610 yahoo.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--jodhpurs
Def: Riding breeches loose above the knees but close-fitting below

I was in the beautiful city of Jodphur, India two years ago. When my tour guide showed up wearing jodphurs I asked him jokingly, "Can I get jodphurs in Jodphur?" He replied quite seriously, "Of course, jodhpurs originated here." Later I visited a museum where on display was a pair of the largest jodhpurs anyone had ever seen. They had been worn by one of the royalty of India to play polo, if I remember correctly.

Ah, Jodphur and Jaipur, the blue city and the pink city. I love India.


From: Greg Mitchell (wolf write-brain.net)
Subject: jodhpurs

"Jodhpurs" also refers, informally, to a style of low-cut riding boot. These are correctly called "Jodhpur boots" or "paddock boots", but humans being the lazy creatures we are, we tend to shorten the name to "jodhpurs", or simply "jodhs".


From: Ellen Walker (emnwalker yahoo.com)
Subject: jodphurs, updated

Today, jodhpurs are no longer baggy around the hips and thighs. That was necessary in the days before stretch fabrics were available. Now, most riding breeches and jodhpurs fit more or less like tights. The difference is that breeches are meant to be worn with tall boots, so end a little above the ankle. Jodhpurs are meant to be worn with ankle-high boots ("jodhpur boots", or "paddock boots"), and so extend all the way down to the foot. Traditionally, children wore jodhpurs and adults wore breeches, at least on formal occasions like horse shows and foxhunting.


From: Danica Larson (danicalarson comcast.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--calico

I love seeing a calico cat as I can immediately identify it as a female! That provides an excuse to transmit my nerdy knowledge about chromosomes. Hair color is on the X chromosome and the particular calico color is determined by which of the two Xs is working (for white patches, neither is turned on).


From: Rudy Rosenberg (rudyrr att.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--calico

And who can forget the song A Gal in Calico.


From: Vaishali Kamath (vaishalikamath hotmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--tamarind
Def: The pod of the tree Tamarindus indica, the pulp of which is sour in taste and used in preparing food and drinks.

Tamarind: From Latin tamarindus, from Arabic tamr (date) + hindi (Indian)

That makes 'Tamarindus Indica' a case of double trouble? :-)


From: Lillian Rodberg (lillian.rodberg verizon.net)
Subject: cummings quotation

To be nobody but myself -- in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else -- means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight, and never stop fighting. -E.E. Cummings, poet (1894-1962)

Great quotation, but it seems ironic, especially given the sentiment expressed, that you would not defer to cummings's preference for spelling his name without uppercase: e e cummings.

See the Wikipedia entry on this issue, and be sure to check out the references in the article.
-Anu Garg


From: Forvo.com Team (info forvo.com)
Subject: Forvo, the pronunciation guide, presentation

My name is Israel, from a new pronunciation project called Forvo.

What's about? We have created a database for word pronunciations, all the words in all the languages. That is our goal. In the near future we hope Forvo becomes a useful tool to learn languages and be a huge database of pronunciations. (Now we have 70000+ pronunciations in 80 languages in only 8 months). The recordings are 100% real human natives not text-to-voice applications.


A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
While language is forming, writers are applauded for extending its limits; when established, for restricting themselves to them. -Isaac Disraeli, writer (1766-1848)

This week's theme
Toponyms from India

This week's words
golconda
doolally
jodhpurs
calico
tamarind

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Next week's theme
Words related to the names of fish

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