Well, I'll be a monkey's uncle! It's another newsletter from "A Way with Words"!
"Moded, corroded, your booty exploded"--that's what we talked about this past weekend on the program. "Moded" is a bit of Californian slang that you don't much hear elsewhere in the country. We also talked about the Irish "banjaxed," family miscommunication, the correct pronunciation of "llama," "kiping," the difference between "envy" and "jealousy," and more. Listen:
Chickens may be the English language's best friend! Okay, that's overstating the case, but a number of fowl words have taken up roost in our lexicon. Martha treats us to just a few of them:
As for the pronunciation of "llama," we found this particularly sharp opinion on the correct way to pronounce it and other foreign words that have been fully adopted into English:
"Who among us has not come back from some foreign trip intent on saying 'yama' for llama, or 'Nee-kar-agggh-wa' for Nicaragua, or 'Mong-rrrhay-al' for Montreal? (I confess to a dangerous flirtation with 'Budapesht' myself.) And who among us was not then kindly mocked by our friends, who pointed out jeeringly (but caringly) that such words were pronounced differently in English, and, since English was the language we had chosen to speak, could we not just speak it properly? Or were we planning on spending the rest of our lives saying 'Paree' for Paris?"
Some language-y stories we liked:
Does a raided religious sect live on a "ranch" or in a "compound"?
The year's oddest book title prize goes to "The 2009-2014 World Outlook for 60-Milligram Containers of Fromage Frais." It's not really a book, though; it's the artificially assembled product of a bunch of wonky search-and-grab algorithms.
The "what words do you hate" post continues to draw interest--and the original post it linked to is now HUGE.
More about people who have names which are suited to their professions, which we talked about on a couple of occasions.
And, finally, Ben Zimmer lays out the latest discoveries on the origins of "the whole nine yards."
Martha Barnette and Grant Barrett