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Dec 19, 2005
This week's theme
Words related to words, writing, and language

This week's words
mogigraphia
sprachgefuhl
verso
epos
curlicue

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

Last spring, I spoke to my daughter's second-grade (or standard) class. I told the children I was a writer and spent 20 delightful minutes with them talking about words and wordplay, anagrams and palindromes, puns and more. Little hands went up throughout the talk. They had questions to ask, they had answers to give, and they had their own wordplay to share.

I thought they enjoyed it but the real test came at the end. I told them artists worked with paints, musicians worked with notes, and I, as a writer, worked with words. Then I asked who would want to be a writer. About half the class raised their hands.

* * *

As an exception to shoemakers' children having no shoes, the English language has ample words to describe itself, its words, writing, speech, and other modes of expression. This week's AWAD features five of them.

mogigraphia

Pronunciation RealAudio

(moj-i-GRAF-ee-uh) noun

Writer's cramp.

[From Greek mogis (with difficulty) + graph (writing).]

Tennis players have their elbows, athletes have their feet, so what do writers get? They get their cramps. Mogigraphia is a fancy name for a writer's cramp. Advanced writers go for a block. For the ultimate, we recommend carpal tunnel syndrome. A synonym of mogigraphia is graphospasm.

"Some could barely put down their name. Eventually, they improved. Mogigraphia can be stubborn. Its cause is not always easily ascertained."
Chronicle Telegram (Elyria, Ohio); Feb 22, 1971.

X-Bonus

For all our conceits about being the center of the universe, we live in a routine planet of a humdrum star stuck away in an obscure corner ... on an unexceptional galaxy which is one of about 100 billion galaxies. ... That is the fundamental fact of the universe we inhabit, and it is very good for us to understand that. -Carl Sagan, astronomer and writer (1934-1996)

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