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Cannibal Sandwich, Anyone? (full episode)
2010/11/15
12:18pm
Lew Kaye-Skinner
Nebraska
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I like the joke. I might use it when talking with my students about the misuse of a thesaurus (which Grant was discussing in an older podcast I was listening to the other day).

You’re right about our collective ways of thinking about men and women. ‘Virile’ and ‘virus’ are rather obviously from the same root; I believe it’s Latin for ‘man’ and also appears in ‘triumvirate.’ ‘Matter,’ ‘matrix,’ and ‘mother’ also share common roots. Though we may not be aware of the roots of our words, it seems that those primary senses remain somewhere below or beyond our conscious knowledge.

Older Hebrew lexicons grouped words under their three-letter roots. Does anyone know of resources which group English words in a similar fashion? Such a resource could be of tremendous help in my teaching.

2010/11/15
4:44pm
Lew Kaye-Skinner
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Just now, I went to onelook.com, which Grant has recommended. It allows such a search, though it doesn’t separate words which come from separate roots. I learned, for instance, that the ‘vir’ in ‘environment’ is from a different root than the ‘vir’ in ‘viral.’

Still looking for a resource I can share with my international students.

2010/11/17
11:36pm
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Bill 5
Dana Point, CA
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The light dawns slowly for some, and homonyms are a killer.

In the late 1960s, in the middle of our war, I remember hearing news articles (radio or TV) about the problems with Buddhist youth in Asia. As a youth myself, and hearing all about the trouble with our (older) boys over there, I found it entirely believable that the youth in Asia had a sea of troubles.

It was only in a retrospective, perhaps 20 years later, that I learned that during the war, Vietnamese Buddhist monks had been committing suicide via voluntary euthanasia.

OOOhh….

2010/11/17
11:40pm
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Bill 5
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(It wasn’t my only dawning. That was also about the time I figured out that the Kinks’ Lola, um, wasn’t a really strong girl…)

2011/01/08
1:22pm
nancyinwi
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I am catching up on many Way With Words episodes that I’ve missed and I heard the discussion about “cannibal sandwiches”…as a Milwaukee native, I am very familiar with this phenomenon. And we always used ground sirloin, bought from a reputable butcher, and eaten in one sitting, so you never bought much of it at one time. Never heard of using butter on the rye bread though. And someone made the comment that you’d never serve this at weddings. Au contraire. When I was a kid, every wedding reception I went to had “raw beef and onions” which was the more civilized term for “cannibal sandwiches” I don’t imagine this is as popular as it once was with the “don’t eat raw beef” scare, but we still on occasion buy a small 1/4 pound to eat on New Year’s Eve.

2011/01/11
6:37pm
Wendy in Oregon
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That was my bet, too. Many of us who read beyond our vocabulary come up with mispronunciations in youth that we are startled (OK, mortified) to discover later. I suspect the colleague who talked about Gary-rigged had seen it spelled Brit-fashion, as gerry-rigged. (I had earlier assumed that the spelling came from young WWII GI’s hearing the term in England and assuming it was a pejorative reference to Germans, but it is probably more likely a typical British spelling given that they normally spell the name Gerry rather than Jerry.

MarcNaimark said:

re “gary-rigged”. I wonder if this might not be a legitimate mistake. You explained the fusion between “jerry built” and “jury rigged”, which gave “jerry rigged”. I can imagine someone hearing “jerry rigged” and imagining that it’s “gerry rigged” (and Google supports me on that). If a second person then read “gerry rigged”, he might read “gerry” as “Gerry”, which is usually pronounced like “jerry”, but could be prounced like “Gary” (that’s the weakest part of my argument).


2011/01/12
11:43am
Lee
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Wendy in Oregon said:

That was my bet, too. Many of us who read beyond our vocabulary come up with mispronunciations in youth that we are startled (OK, mortified) to discover later. I suspect the colleague who talked about Gary-rigged had seen it spelled Brit-fashion, as gerry-rigged. (I had earlier assumed that the spelling came from young WWII GI’s hearing the term in England and assuming it was a pejorative reference to Germans, but it is probably more likely a typical British spelling given that they normally spell the name Gerry rather than Jerry.


Ah, memories… I vividly remember pronouncing epitome as EPI-tome as I was reading out loud in class (9th grade world history?) and the immediate reaction of my (even better-read) best friend, who was quite amused. I had read the word before and knew it, and had no doubt heard it pronounced, but somehow had never linked the spelling and the pronunciation. The passage of several decades has done little to diminish the scene in my memory 🙂

2011/03/14
12:41pm
My Young Padawan
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Bill 5 said:

The light dawns slowly for some, and homonyms are a killer.

In the late 1960s, in the middle of our war, I remember hearing news articles (radio or TV) about the problems with Buddhist youth in Asia. As a youth myself, and hearing all about the trouble with our (older) boys over there, I found it entirely believable that the youth in Asia had a sea of troubles.

It was only in a retrospective, perhaps 20 years later, that I learned that during the war, Vietnamese Buddhist monks had been committing suicide via voluntary euthanasia.

OOOhh….


What is the connection there to homonyms?

2011/03/14
1:14pm
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Glenn
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The phrase youth in Asia sounds very much like the word euthanasia.

2011/03/14
3:03pm
My Young Padawan
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Oh. A multiple-word homophone. Thanks for the clarification; I feel a little slow now.

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