Seen in today’s neighborhood advertising handout:
Seeking an English teacher (mail/femail) to teach boys English, evening hours in our home.
Sounds like the parents might want to sit in on the lessons.
Received in a child’s school prize today:
PRODUCT EXPLAIN:The product for voice,light,elecericity.incorporate.the material adopt all wooland a yard wide .excellent maked and have speciality of defiant,stimalate recreational.it be propitious to children touch and mind enhanceing.atthe same time adult as well as sportful fine toys.
GAME RULE:From jumping–off pointalong pathe end 100cent the pontil go ahead on the way not blow and reach astandard.good luck !
Got it? Good.
*Actually, The Power of Babel is the title of one of my favorite books on language.
Poka-yoke (ポカヨケ) (IPA: [poka joke]) is a Japanese term that means “fail-safing” or “mistake-proofing”. A poka-yoke is any mechanism in a Lean manufacturing process that helps an equipment operator avoid (yokeru) mistakes (poka). Its purpose is to eliminate product defects by preventing, correcting, or drawing attention to human errors as they occur. The concept was formalised, and the term adopted, by Shigeo Shingo as part of the Toyota Production System. [Wikipedia]
Peter Abilla offers a great new example of design that accommodates human frailty: Embeda, a newly FDA-approved pain-killer with
…an interesting property: If you take the medication as prescribed, it works fine; if you abuse the medication, it ceases to work.
…EMBEDA(TM) contains extended-release morphine pellets, each with an inner core of naltrexone hydrochloride, an opioid receptor antagonist. If taken as directed, the morphine relieves pain while the sequestered naltrexone hydrochloride passes through the body with no intended clinical effect. If EMBEDA(TM) is crushed or chewed, the naltrexone is released and absorbed with the morphine, reversing the morphine’s subjective and analgesic effects.
After all, if pain killers can’t relate to human weakness, what can?
- Of, relating to, or of the nature of an illation.
- Expressing or preceding an inference. Used of a word.
- Of, relating to, or being a grammatical case indicating motion toward or into in some languages, as in Finnish Helsinkiin, ”to Helsinki.”
“Yet the immediate effect of these speeches [of Churchill’s] on the British people was limited. Their effect was cumulative (or, to use Cardinal Newman’s favorite adjective, illative).”
It’s an interesting use, since in this context, illative implies a significant effect produced by a prior accumulation of insignificant impacts, whereas the dictionary definition suggests a subtler manipulation.
rhodomontade: braggadocio: vain and empty boasting; vainglorious boasting or bragging; pretentious, blustering talk. (Dictionary.com)Wow.Not just an unusual word, but one I don’t think I’ve ever even seen before. I came across it in the following context:
…now Halifax asked Churchill ‘to come out in the garden with him’ for a talk. Before that Halifax told Cadogan, ‘I can’t work with Winston any longer.’ Cadogan: ‘I said, “Nonsense: his rhodomontades probably bore you as much as they do me, but don’t do anything silly under the stress of that.”‘ (from Five Days in London: May 1940, page 153 by John Lukacs)
(Do you think Cadogan actually used the word “rhodomontades” in conversation?!)
Lovers of language, unite!Back in December 2007, I quoted a passage from The Meaning of Tingo, by Adam Jacot de Boinod. Tingo is a book I enjoy dipping into; discovering words from other cultures that express a novel viewpoint is always delightful.So I was pleased to hear from Adam the other day, telling me about his new book, The Wonder of Whiffling, which discovers words from the English language as its usage has evolved around the world:
Discover all sorts of words you’ve always wished existed but never knew, such as fornale, to spend one’s money before it has been earned; cagg, a solemn vow or resolution not to get drunk for a certain time; and petrichor, the pleasant smell that accompanies the first rain after a dry spell.
Even better, there’s a blog at the book’s web page with some interesting word discussions.And even better than that, you can follow @wonderwhiffling on Twitter, and get words delivered right into your Twitter feed. For example, the three most recent tweets:
NEW WORD: tyromancy (1652) fortune telling by watching cheese coagulate
new phrase: ash cash (UK slang 1989) a fee paid to a doctor for signing a cremation form
today’s word: pingle (Suffolk) to move food about on the plate for want of an appetite
Tergiversation:  equivocation: falsification by means of vague or ambiguous language, fickleness;  apostasy: the act of abandoning a something or someone, betrayal
Wow, I saw this used in a highly-charged letter — it would have to be a pretty sensitive subject to trigger use of such a word, I guess.
Did the author already know the word tergiversation prior to writing this letter, or did it show up in a thesaurus? If he knew it, why? And did he get all worked up just to create the context in which he could use the word (smarty pants)? Enquiring minds want to know.
It’s cruel, but it must have provided some welcome humor during a frustrating drive. A great sign, posted by @caseywright.
The sign reads: “You’ll Never Get To Work On Time HaHa!!”
From the “Beyond Words” blog:
In 2004, the British Council asked this question to approximately 40,000 non-native English speakers in 46 different countries. According to the survey results, the top ten most beautiful English words from a non-native speaker’s perspective are:
In a different kind of assessment, a distinguished lexicographer and the originator of the Reader’s Digest Column “It Pays to Enrich Your Word Power”, Wilfred Funk, compiled the following list of the most beautiful words of the English language:
Do you notice a difference between the lists? Unscientifically, it seems to me that the first list of Most Beautiful Words (the list chosen by non-native English speakers) is weighted more towards the meaning of the words, plus their overall strength or punch. The second list (from a professional word lover) is weighted more towards the “mouth feel” of the words (with an apparent bias for the “s” sound!), plus their romantic or nostalgic memories (although I can’t fathom the inclusion of “bobolink”…).
I find that difference really, really interesting. It kind of points to the meaning and nostalgia with which words become impregnated over time. The layers of implication that we build up over years of use, misuse, abuse of words. Fascinating.