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A.Word.A.Day--zombie

Pronunciation RealAudio

zombie (ZOM-bee) noun, also zombi

1. A person behaving like an automaton: listless, wooden, or lacking energy.

2. A snake god in West Indian, Brazilian, and West African religions.

3. In voodoo, a supernatural force or spirit that can enter a dead body; also, the soulless body that is revived in this manner.

4. A computer process that has died but is still listed in the process table.

5. A drink made of various kinds of rum, liqueur, and fruit juice.

[From Kimbundu nzambi (god, ghost). Kimbundu is a Bantu language of northern Angola.]

"Only a zombie would fail to see the brilliance of Cowan's campaign." Peter Howell; The Beyond's Zombies Have Long, Gory Family History;
The Toronto Star (Canada); Jun 17, 1998.

"Any film that manages to put together, for example, a battle between two real-life giants; a zombie emerging from the grave; a six-car demolition derby in the lobby of the Chrysler Building; a trotting race run by dead horses; a stunning, blond athlete named Aimee Mullins, who happens to be a double amputee, ... and much more, including a final scene in which the Irish giant flings a stone into the sea, where--in time for `Cremaster 4' -- it becomes the Isle of Man, well, a film like this may be one that only a Dick Cheney could walk out on without a frisson of self-doubt."
Calvin Tomkins; His Body, Himself; The New Yorker; Jan 27, 2003.

What springs to mind when we think of Africa? Tribal wars? AIDS epidemic? Mass starvation? Those subjects provide most of the news from Africa, but there's much more we should know about that vast continent.

Great civilizations and cultures spanned Africa's history before the continent was ravaged by centuries of slavery and colonialism. Africa has been called the cradle of civilization and that's no exaggeration. It's believed the first humans evolved there millions of years ago. The oldest fossils of our human ancestors have been found on the African continent.

Today Africa is home to more than 50 countries, some 1000 languages, and a rich mosaic of stories, drumbeats, and landscapes. The English language has borrowed words from many of those languages: trek, aardvark, impala, gnu, okra to name a few. This week we'll see words that originate in African languages.

-Anu

X-Bonus

He that wrestles with us strengthens our nerves, and sharpens our skill. Our antagonist is our helper. -Edmund Burke, statesman and writer (1729-1797)

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