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Another Word A Day : Chat with the Author

Excerpts from the chat with Anu Garg.

Brad in Florida
Had your coffee by now?

Anu Garg
Ah... I don't drink coffee, but I've had my breakfast and now I'm ready for a long day of booksigning.

Brad in Florida
Seattle stereotyping gone awry. I miss it.

Anu Garg
But we do have rain today. (-:

EngLover
I just wish to let you know you have a fan in Istanbul, too. Wishing you all the best.

By the way, Nickname EngLover belongs to Hayriye Karliova! I am also in love with Latin. I went back to school at 50 to learn it, and it was worth the effort.

Anu Garg
Thanks, EngLover!

Tim Foley Hollister CA
Hello, Thanks for the site...you can always count on it to be sure something right will happen that day.

Anu Garg
Tim, great to have you here.

Janet Davidson - Cincinnati
Anu, I love the new book. I'm using to raise the vocabulary levels of my co-workers, although why they don't just subscribe to A.Word.A.Day mystifies me.

Anu Garg
Janet, I'm glad you enjoy the book. Well, don't give up on your co-workers. Sooner or later, they'll catch the bug.

Janet Davidson - Cincinnati
They like me to read an entry from the book, then try to guess the meaning and etymology.

Tim Foley Hollister CA
I would love to see another series of equine-related words...what an immense contributor to our vocabulary the horse is.

Anu Garg
Tim, I featured a couple of weeks of words having equine origins, and certainly could do more.

Anu Garg
Janet: I love the dictionary game.

Mohan
Hi Anu, this is Mohan from India.

Janet Davidson - Cincinnati
Well, it's lunchtime here in Cincinnati, so I'll be leaving. Thank you, Anu, for the work you do for us every day, and for the new book. It brings joy to us linguaphiles.

Anu Garg
Janet, Thanks for being a part of Wordsmith community!

Mohan
Hey, Anu, I wanted to know - is there any word to describe the pain of the tail of a lizard after it is severed?

Anu Garg
Mohan: Good question: I don't even know if the lizard feels pain after it has autotomized its tail.

Mohan
I even chatted with few senior colleagues, even they are not sure.

Mohan
So I turned on to the expert - YOU.

Anu Garg
I think of myself not as an expert, rather a lifelong student of the English language.

Mohan
Is there any word to mean "to remove an evil/bad thing from another thing?"

Anu Garg
The closest word I can think of would be something like "to poltergize" from poltergeist.

Rather to depoltergize.

Mohan
Ok, thanks.

julieta - New Jersey
Hi Anu - I just want to tell you how much I enjoy getting your daily mails.

Anu Garg
Thanks, Julieta. We're glad to have you as a part of the Wordsmith.org community.

julieta - New Jersey
Were you born in India? What made you interested in words - have you thought of writing your bio?

Anu Garg
Julieta, Yes, I was born in India. And I came to Cleveland to attend graduate school. So I call myself a Cleveland Indian.

Mohan
Anu, just wanted to share with you that my grandfather was a lexicographer, he compiled four dictionaries !

Anu Garg
Mohan: You've a great pedigree. What was your grandfather's name? What are the titles of the dictionaries?

julieta - New Jersey
So, have you thought of writing your biography?

Anu Garg
Julieta: Many people have asked for a biography. I'll just have to find some time to sit down and write a memoir.

Anu Garg
Julieta: I wasn't born with the sports gene. But I loved to read. My mother would reprimand me, "Don't read so much. You'll ruin your eyes. Go watch some TV instead!"

julieta - New Jersey
Books were and are my best friends (though I have the human kind as well!) My daughter asked me if I were an Indian as well when she read how you feel about books and your story about not putting your feet on them.

Anu Garg
Julieta: Your daughter is lucky to have a mother like you.

julieta - New Jersey
Thanks, Anu! I am glad you are thinking of writing your bio. I have not filled out the info for the booksigning yet and I ought to do it before the time in Philly runs out, right?

Mohan
Well Anu, my grandfather's name was MV Jambunathan, he was a true scholar, he came to Karnataka from Tamil Nadu and mastered Kannada and Urdu and wrote dictionaries in those languages too

He did his PhD in Stats under Edward Deming, Father of Total Quality Management!

Anu Garg
Mohan: You should be proud.

Mohan
I am very proud of my lineage! And I want to make my country proud, too!

Mohan
By the way, I came across a few words such as "Telecrastination" i.e. deliberately not lifting the phone even when it is within reaching distance and procrastinating. Can this be considered a word in the real sense?

Anu Garg
Mohan: There is no official organization for the English language to dictate what is or isn't a word. So the moment you write or say a word, it's a real word.

Now, having a word widely accepted and be a part of the dictionaries, that's another matter.

Mohan
Hey Anu, was just inquisitive to know your age!

Anu Garg
Mohan: Age is a state of mind (mostly).

Mohan
When the things are "so tough" that most would give up and someone keeps going even at this toughest hour? A stronger word than persist?

Anu Garg
Mohan: You have had your recommended daily allowance of questions. Just kidding...

Mohan
How about sang-froid?

Anu Garg
Sang-froid is a good word but I'm not sure it fits what you suggested. Sang-froid indicates calmness or composure but I don't think it has the sense of "toughness and/or keep going in the darkest hour".

Anu Garg
Mohan: Can you think of a new word to describe what you just asked?

julieta - new jersey
I agree what you said about words above - language is very fluid and the more one travels and incorporates words from other cultures into one's language, the faster these words are assimilated - case in point - all the French, Italian and Spanish words that are included in American English - what do you think?

Anu Garg
Julieta: If you speak English, you know words from at least a hundred different languages.

julieta - new jersey
That's very true!

Anu Garg
Yesterday my daughter went trick-or-treating on Halloween and collected lots of candy. I told her that the word candy comes from Sanskrit khand meaning a piece.

julieta - new jersey
Really? Any piece whether sweet or not?

Anu Garg
Yes. Also, the word khand has a specific sense also. It means a kind of raw sugar. You can go to a grocery store in India and ask for it.

julieta - new jersey
Anu - what do you do for a living? Do you teach?

Anu Garg
Julieta: I play with words for a living. Wordsmith.org is my playground where I both teach and learn.

julieta - new jersey
How wonderful for you - what a splendiferous way to live!

AnnaStrophic - NY
Hi, Anu and congrats. I'm just upgrading my Mac so it may take a while before I come back, but I wanted to get in here first. Thank you so much for what you do. (remember. you were the yenta who introduced me to my future -- now --husband? The love of words...)

Anu Garg
AnnaStrophic: Thanks. For the benefit of other chat guests, would you tell them how you met your husband here?

AnnaStrophic - NY
Thanks for the opportunity, Anu. I started subscribing to your AWAD many years ago, and then was thrilled when you started up a message board. My husband, who goes by the screen name of Faldage, read about you in the December 2000 issue of Smithsonian magazine, and joined then. We found out we shared a love of words, language, Baroque and classical Indian muisc, and minor league baseball -- and the rest is history. :-)

Anu Garg
AnnaStrophic: Yours is a fascinating story. And you both have something in common you're truly passionate about.

AnnaStrophic - NY
Anu, I'm think about writing a magazine article about our meeting. May I call upon you as a (THE) source?

Anu Garg
AnnaStrophic: I'll be happy to help with your article in any way I can.

Prithvi
Hello Anu, how are you? I have read your first book 'A word a day' n look frwd to reading (learning from) your next book.

Anu Garg
Thanks, Prithvi! Where are you calling from?

Prithvi
I am calling from Pune city (close to Mumbai) - western India.

Mohan
Anu, I have your book "A Word A Day" - a prized possession, truly excellent book.

Anu Garg
Mohan: Thank you. I'm glad you liked it.

Mohan
Well, Anu, I buy a lot of books and hoard them but never find time to read. Is there a word to describe this peculiar behavior?

Anu Garg
Mohan: It's called bibliomania. (-:

Mohan
Is "bibliotaphe" a correct word?

Anu Garg
Mohan: Yes, bibliotaph (or bibliotaphe) is also a word that you might consider. It means one who hoards books.

AnnaStrophic - NY
Anu, are you left-handed?

Anu Garg
AnnaStrophic: No, I'm not sinistral (or sinister :-)

julieta -
Anu - I have filled out requests for four bookplates - for my children, my friend and myself - hope that is not too many?

Anu Garg
Julieta, I have them. The more the merrier -- thanks for helping spread the joy of words.

Prithvi
Anu, are you sitting at your place and chatting away or are you in the confines of your publisher's office?

Anu Garg
Prithvi: My publisher is in New York. I'm here in Washington state.

AnnaStrophic - NY
I asked because you used a left-handed smiley (-:

Anu Garg
AnnaStrophic: Ah, I see. I guess I tilt my head the other way.

Prithvi
Anu, your book is so neat that one experiences at least three occasions during which one can use the words from your book....daily.

Anu Garg
Thanks, Prithvi. Though I wouldn't recommend more than thrice a day.

Prithvi
Haa... I used the word oscitant today and I got plenty "duh's" from my folks at home. I showed 'em your book and they all said "Good guy - I'm reading the right things at last."

Anu Garg
I wonder if ostriches get oscitant often...

ken
Hi Anu! I can't stay long--I'm at work. Just wanted to say hi and congratulate you on the book

Anu Garg
Thanks, Ken.

Martha Grant - Presque Isle
My mother and my brother were here for supper last night and I read them the whitewash story. My mother (age 93) was amused. My brother said he told the story first!

Anu Garg
Martha: What's the whitewash story?

Martha Grant - Presque Isle
It's on page 142 of your new book!

Martha Grant - Presque Isle
Repaint and thin no more!

Anu Garg
Martha: Ah, yes, thank you!

Martha Grant - Presque Isle
You're welcome. My mother says I should have included the details about how she tried to tell it with her feet up in stirrups at the doctor's office. The staff started arguing about whose church was the cheapest!

Emily statesboro georgia
Hi! AWAD has improved my vocabulary...I tried writing a lipogram the other day.

musick
Hello. Hope this holds up behind my co. firewall.

Anu Garg
Emily: Care to share your lipogram here?

Emily statesboro georgia
I don't know what happened to it...

Mohan
Well, you don't have to thank me, Anu. Good things will always be shared with others (what we call in management jargon as word-of-mouth advertising or Viral Marketing).

musick
Viral Marketing.... Yes! Marketing does seem to consume all available resources and then move on...

Anu Garg
Though there are some benign viruses.

Emily statesboro georgia
I think that's an oxymoron.

Emily statesboro georgia
musick
How do I get my virtual book signed... (just kidding).

Anu Garg
Musick: Virtuously.

Anu Garg
Musick, Do you know if it was Webster who changed the spelling from musick to music?

Mohan
Webster seems to have removed the "sick" from "Musick"!

musick
No, but I've read some citation of the spelling going back to at least @ 1000 AD.

Anu Garg
So maybe Webster helped reinforced it...

Mohan
Ok, Anu, see you. It was nice chatting with you, really a stimulating chat. Hope to receive my e-citation, by the way! Thanks.

Anu Garg
See you, Mohan. Thanks for stopping by to chat.

AnnaStrophic - NY
On the message board we have an ongoing battle between prescriptivists and descriptivists... as a copy editor, I belong to the former group.

Anu Garg
Prescriptive vs. descriptive approach: well, I think both have their place, depending on the context.

julieta
Anu I am going to say goodbye and thanks for the enlightening chat - thanks in advance for the bookplates.

Owlbow
I just dropped in to check it out. I don't have the book yet. I'm at work in Rhode Island US

Anu Garg
Good to have you here, Owlbow.

Owlbow
I've asked my lovely librarian to get us both your books.

Anu Garg
Owlbow: Let me know what you think after you've read them.

Owlbow
OK - AWAD has been a very good place for me for so many reasons, thanks for that. I will let you know about the books. ... I need to type faster. Gotta go. see ya soon! Love, O.

Anu Garg
See you, Owlbow!

Dagny - Portland OR
Any big Halloween activities to report, any of you?

What did Ananya dress up as?

Anu Garg
Ananya was a rabbit. With rabbit ears and all. I told her all she was going to get as treats was carrots.

Dagny - Portland OR
Ha! Did she buy it?

Anu Garg
Of course not. She's eight years old and knows the world (-;

Dagny - Portland OR
Naturally.

Marianna - Madrid
Good evening, Anu. Good evening, Anna, Dagny and musick.

AnnaStrophic - NY
Hola, Marianna!

Marianna - Madrid
Hola. I'm glad to be here and of this opportunity to chat to you all.

Anu Garg
Hi Marianna!

AnnaStrophic - NY
It's good to see you, Marianna, and thanks for your explanation of "homicide" in Don Quixote.

Anu Garg
What was the explanation?

Marianna - Madrid
Glad to help, and to promote one of our great works of literature.

AnnaStrophic - NY
Anu, tsk tsk. You should read your message board. :-D

Anu Garg
I know...

Marianna - Madrid
In the English translation, Don Quixote was mentioning that no knight had ever been arraigned before justice for "homicide", to which Sancho replied that he knew nothing about "omecils"

Marianna - Madrid
This had a reader wondering what was this "omecils"

AnnaStrophic - NY
Marianna, I'm on dial-up and a bit slow -- could you link to the thread on the board?>

Marianna - Madrid
Goodness me, can I do that?... just type the link on here or something?

AnnaStrophic - NY
Oh, never mind, you're re-creating it quite well.

Marianna - Madrid
Oh, ok... so I looked at my Spanish Quijote, and I find that where DQ says "homicides" we have our "homicidios", but then Sancho replies about "omecillos".

Marianna - Madrid
So I went to our Academic dictionary and found out that in 16th century Spain, there were two words for homicide, one was "homicidio" and a lower, corrupted form was "omecillo"... they both mean the same, and I suppose the translator simply took "omecillo" and anglicized it somewhat into this "omecil" word.

Marianna - Madrid
So they are both talking about the same thing, on two different registers.

Anu Garg
Ah, fascinating!

AnnaStrophic - NY
See what you're missing, Anu? :-D

Marianna - Madrid
In Castilian Spanish the two words are close in pronunciation.

Anu Garg
Googling for omecillos brings up a few hundred citations, most of which are from DQ: Yo no sé nada de omecillos, respondió Sancho...

Marianna - Madrid
There you go... :-)

AnnaStrophic - NY
I work sometimes as a translator (from Portuguese) and it's a thankless job.... the best you can do is try to be invisible.

Anu Garg
Soy un estudiante de español, by the way.

Marianna - Madrid
¡Qué bien, Anu! Me alegro mucho.

Anu Garg
A me gusta español mucho.

Marianna - Madrid
Es una lengua muy bonita e interesante, ¿verdad? :-)

Anu Garg
ĄClaro que si!

Marianna - Madrid
Great! So soon we'll have a Spanish Word.A.Day, will we? ;-)

Anu Garg
Maybe you can start one, Marianna?

Marianna - Madrid
Maybe I should! ... heh heh... By the way, how did you come up with the idea of A.Word.A.Day?

Anu Garg
I discovered the Web back then and figured this would be a great place to share my love of words with others.

AnnaStrophic - NY
*Ahem* Eu também gosto dos idiomas español e português.

Marianna - Madrid
And it's been a few years, right? Did you envisage it going on so long and growing so much, or did you not think about it that way?

Anu Garg
This is the twelfth year. Of course, I had no idea at the time how much this would grow.

Marianna - Madrid
Anna, sorry... I was going to comment on your previous post about translating... you're right that it's a thankless job, but sometimes it's exciting and fascinating, huh?

Marianna - Madrid
As a side-note, I can't believe you really scheduled this chat to last twelve hours! And this was a work-day in the US? It's All Saints Day here, a holiday.

Anu Garg
Well, I'm doing a number of things: signing bookplates, catching up on my email, and chatting. The idea was to make sure that readers in all time zones could make it.

Marianna - Madrid
And I assure you that I am grateful... I can hardly ever catch your other chats.

David - Midland MI
Hello, Anu. Congratulations on your new book, from a fellow CWRU alumnus ('83).

musick
Anu Garg
Thanks, David! Always good to meet a fellow Case alumnus.

David - Midland MI
I just stopped in to thank you for AWAD. My dad sent me the link. Now, he's getting AWAD and More AWAD for Christmas.

Anu Garg
You're welcome, David. Thanks for stopping by.

...

Another Word A Day
By Anu Garg
John Wiley & Sons
October 2005
ISBN 0471718459

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