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AWADmail Issue 400February 28, 2010
A Compendium of Feedback on the Words in A.Word.A.Day and Other Tidbits about Words and Language
This week's Email of the Week is from Jo Ann Lawlor (see below) who receives the Darwinian word game: "One Up! - Smart Always Wins."
From: Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)
Germany to Promote "language of ideas"
Linguistic Pet Peeves
From: Barbara Ardinger, Ph.D. (bawriting earthlink.net)
I've always been fond of this term. When I graduated with my Ph.D. in English, as my major professor draped my hood over my shoulders, he said that henceforth I could speak ex cathedra on English literature and grammar, but not on any other topic. Of course, that was many years ago, I'm a freelance book editor now, and I dare to speak ex cathedra to my clients on any number of topics.
From: Therese Kulawiak (therese.kulawiak nordstrom.com)
I am a long time subscriber to AWAD and always enjoy reading it first thing every morning, but I am insulted and very surprised by your remark in the Notes section today. You say the "Pope's supposed infallibility" and "as if an office or position conferred immunity from error". I am a Roman Catholic and, yes, that is our belief. The Pope is not infallible in all his statements and decrees, but we believe when he speaks "ex cathedra" he has divine intervention and his word is infallible.
From: George Pajari (george pajari.ca)
The US Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson (1892-1954) once said:
From: Shalini Srivastava (shalsri hotmail.com)
The word for today brings back childhood memories. At my brother's convent school, the Principal was liberal with using the ruler for other purposes than measurement. And when she did so, she made it a point to mention -- 'de jure we don't allow corporal punishment but de facto we do'.
From: Tim Aaronson (taaronson comcast.net)
From: Harry Grainger (the.harry gmail.com)
One of the classic fallacious argumental styles, seeking victory through:
Ad hominem - personal attack on the opponent
There are others, and many without Latin descriptions.
From: Justin Tilbury (justin_tilbury standardlife.com)
At one of the prep schools I attended one boy used to be assigned to the door to watch for a teacher in between classes.
This was called 'keeping cave' (pronounced 'KV') and left the rest of us free to lob stuff at each other, draw inappropriate anatomies on the blackboard, and generally cause a row. But when the watchman called out "Cave!", order would rapidly be restored. At least, that was always the plan.
From: Christine Mason (formosap telkomsa.net)
This word really struck a chord: when we were free-ranging children with nothing but mischief planned, we'd always appoint someone to "keep cavey" so that we'd have enough time to escape the "big people"!
(Email of the Week - Presenting One Up! - The Perfect 10 for Mental Olympians.)From: Jo Ann Lawlor (jal_573 yahoo.com)
Whenever I hear this word, it reminds me of Gone With the Wind. Near the end of the book, Scarlett O'Hara has decided to open a store, a general store, if I remember right. Rhett Butler, who has no illusions about his Scarlett, suggests that it should be called the Caveat Emptorium. She is delighted with this fancy-sounding name -- until she learns what it means. Then the fur flies.
From: Ilona Klein (shootingstars99 yahoo)
Latin is still very much alive and spoken today. It is the official language of the Vatican State.
A dead language is one that's no longer learned as a native language. Latin may very well be the official language of the Vatican, but it's still a dead language. The Vatican might conduct certain rites in Latin, but they don't use it as their day-to-day language. Their website is available in seven languages and Latin is not one of them.
From: Diana Waygood (ditreas iinet.net.au)
I did Latin 101 at the University of Western Australia in 1984 and found a lot of truth in the schoolchildren's rhyme:
Latin is a dead language
From: Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)
The A THOUGHT FOR TODAY section in last Monday's AWAD was left blank. How thoughtless! It brought a ton of email from readers. A few selections:
My AWAD arrived with nothing for the "a thought for today". How Zen!
-Steven Stine (scstine comcast.net)
I really appreciated the "thought for today" for Monday. Sometimes we must
take a break from the thoughts of others and listen to our own. =)
Lord knows, I've had that same thought for decades. :o)
In wracking my brain for several hours this morning for my thesis on a Japanese
absurdist novel, "The Woman in the Dunes" I found your blank "A Thought for the
Day" delightful. I actually laughed out loud at my own plight.
Dang! I had to think for myself today. Just imagine the consequences!
It looks like whatever you were thinking got censored.
HA! Loved today's thought for the day! I'm afraid it's a prevailing thought
for me, ergo my lovely wrinkle-free brow, but you've also given us the
perfect thought for meditation. I'll be sure to hit SAVE!
What a pithy thought for today!
The importance of nothing?
I missed your thought for the day. And then I thought...maybe it is
refreshing to be a blank page today!
The Thought for Today -- Blank. Empty Space. Void. Silence. Today that's
just what I'll try to practise -- Nothingness.
I actually felt something in my heart when I found no Thought for Today. I
hadn't realized how much I looked forward to it each morning!
A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:Often the accurate answer to a usage question begins, "It depends." And what it depends on most often is where you are, who you are, who your listeners or readers are, and what your purpose in speaking or writing is. -Kenneth G. Wilson, usage writer (b. 1923)
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