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AWADmail Issue 664

A Weekly Compendium of Feedback on the Words in A.Word.A.Day and Tidbits about Words and Language


Sponsor’s Message: “Old’s Cool” sums up our philosophy of life in a neat little turn of phrase. Look at what this UP-i-tee shirt is saying loud and clear: Common sense. Nerve. Backbone. Self-reliance. Perseverance. Old school with a shot of wry, served neat. So, we’re offering this week’s Email of the Week winner, Ed Valla (see below), as well as all AARP AWADers the TODAY-ONLY 10% discount off our regular price -- so why not flaunt your charming lack of political correctness with wit and style, and save a bit to boot? Use coupon code “oldscool” --now.


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

Did a Human or a Computer Write This?
The New York Times
WebCite

25 Maps That Explain the English Language
Vox
WebCite

What the English of Shakespeare, Beowulf, and King Arthur Actually Sounded Like
The Week
WebCite

Why Are White People Expats When the Rest of Us Are Immigrants?
The Guardian
WebCite


From: Hope Bucher (hopebucher gmail.com)
Subject: Not Abstentious

My favorite Christmas cookies were my mother’s Scottish tarts. During my first year in the Convent as a postulant, my mom made tarts and drove over 150 miles to deliver them. As was the practice, on Christmas morning, we were allowed to open packages from home but then had to hand everything we received in to the nun in charge of the dispensary (knowing that the likelihood of getting anything of our own back -- whether food or a pretty nightgown -- was highly unlikely). Therefore I decided not to hand in the tin of tarts. Instead I headed to the bathroom, removed the top of the tin, and ate all but three of the tarts. The problem arose two days later when I had to confess publicly in the Chapter of Faults. It took place in the Chapel and I confessed to a number of faults like breaking silence, then, as quickly as possible, I slurred the facts saying that I had eaten the whole tin of tarts. All the novices and postulants in the Chapel broke into uncontrolled laughter -- not appropriate and not abstentious in spirit.

Hope Bucher, Naperville, Illinois


From: M Henri Day (mhenriday gmail.com)
Subject: Re: abstentious

Those abstentious athletes were presumably abstemious as well!

M Henri Day, Stockholm, Sweden


From: Paul H. Blaney (pblaney ehc.edu)
Subject: Words with all vowels

Fifty or sixty years ago, my father’s favorite riddle was as follows -- posed in exactly this fashion: “What common English word contains all the vowels in order? I should warn you that the answer is facetious.” It was, of course, this second sentence that caused embarrassment in persons who offered no solution.

Paul H. Blaney, Emory, Virginia


From: Janette Emmerson (janettea tpg.com.au)
Subject: vowels

Not meeting the vowels-in-order condition, but perhaps of interest, near my home, in the Blue Mountains area of the state of New South Wales, Australia, is a village called Faulconbridge.

Janette Emmerson, Wentworth Falls, Australia


From: Giulio Cesare Cassani (gcasmarina aol.com)
Subject: vowels

In Italian the word ‘aiuole’ (flower beds) fits, but it cannot be enhanced by a Y.

Giulio Cesare Cassani, Menlo Park, California


From: J.L. Rosner (jlrathome juno.com)
Subject: All five vowels

A favorite baseball player was Aurelio Rodriguez, with all the vowels in his 1st name. Too bad his name hadn’t been Aeriolu.

J.L. Rosner, Arlington, Virginia


From: Ron Frazier (ronfraz frontier.com)
Subject: Vowels in order

Abstentious leads to abstemious, arterious leads to arteriosus, but I am only HALF-SERIOUS when I say that vowels in order are certainly affectious.

Ron Frazier, Clackamas, Oregon


Email of the Week (Old’s Cool is old school -- With a shot of wry, served neat.)

From: Ed Valla (valla.ed1 gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--duoliteral

Duolitera: If it is to be, it is up to me.

Ed Valla, Tallahassee, Florida


From: Peter Collins (pcollins fieldlaw.com)
Subject: RE: A.Word.A.Day--duoliteral

To be distinguished from duolittoral (having two coastlines)?

Peter L. Collins, Calgary, Canada


From: Dave Zobel (dave davezobel.com)
Subject: Two-letter words

Inside a computer’s memory, a “byte” (an eight-bit quantity) can be used to store a single letter of the alphabet. The term “word” is often used to denote a two-byte quantity, although its sixteen bits theoretically only provide enough storage for two letters. Still, there are plenty of two-letter words -- for example, “ah”, “uh”, and “ew” -- which (as mentioned in The Science of TV’s The Big Bang Theory) could constitute an entire day’s worth of conversation for some programmers.

Dave Zobel, Los Angeles, California


From: Sheila Pfeffer (sheilalpf hotmail.com)
Subject: vowels

I believe the ‘all five vowels’ only refers to the alphabet: a collection of letter/scribble names, a convenient way to order words. IPA is a system that illustrates the spoken English language and identifies the 20 vowel sounds as well as the 24 consonant sounds (phonemes) and the many, many letter combinations representing those sounds (graphemes). These combinations of graphs, digraphs, trigraphs, and quadgraphs are letter choices that a writer and/or reader uses to decode and encode words.

Back to the “all five vowels” -- they are the limited traditional view of a vowel. Examples to ponder are “through” (quadgraph ough), “neighbour” (quadgraph eigh and trigraph our), and “reindeer” (digraph ei and trigraph eer).

Sheila Pfeffer, Melbourne, Australia


From: Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)
Subject: Limericks

There are some who say, “Let’s be abstentious.”
Which into the works would throw wrenches
The natural way
To get through the day
Is by starting it off being sens’ous.

-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

On Los Angeles highways arterious
We shout, “Will you be f---ing serious!”
In that kind of traffic
Our language gets graphic
Stay calm, though, if CHiPs stop and query us.

-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Chez Addams the speaking of French is
To Gomez quite madly placentious
If we say “Mon amour”,
With Lurch looking dour
His master with kisses will drench us.

-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

I was told by a clever young nerd
That “aerious” was a real word
But it was so rare
That it meant only air
Or at least that is what I inferred.

-Bob Thompson, New Plymouth, New Zealand (bobtee xtra.co.nz)

When game of Scrabble I play,
I love to play the word, ai.
This duoliteral word,
Is a sloth, so I’ve heard,
Helps me to win, by the way.

-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

The duoliteral editorial “We”
Gave this aerious health tip with glee,
“In matters placentious,
Be somewhat abstentious.
Let arterious circulation flow free!”

-Greg Holmes, Louisville, Kentucky (gregholmes2100 gmail.com)


A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
My words fly up, my thoughts remain below: Words without thoughts never to heaven go. -William Shakespeare, playwright and poet (1564-1616)

Mar 22, 2015
This week’s theme
Words with all the vowels

This week’s words
abstentious
arterious
placentious
aerious
duoliteral

How popular are they?
Relative usage over time

AWADmail archives
Index

Next week’s theme
Unusual synonyms
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