polka dots

Robert S. Wachal robert-wachal at UIOWA.EDU
Mon May 28 18:32:00 UTC 2001

I am reminded of a quote attributed to Voltaire: Etymology is a study in
which consonants count for very little, and vowels for nothing at all.

I think this 'polka dot' thread has gotten frayed.

Bob Wachal

>Date:         Mon, 28 May 2001 10:12:39 -0400
>Reply-To: Robert Kelly <kelly at bard.edu>
>Sender: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>X-PH: V4.4.1 at sun.its.uiowa.edu
>From: Robert Kelly <kelly at bard.edu>
>Subject:      polka dots
>Comments: To: douglas at NB.NET
>Considering that poker work (19th/20th Century Britain, at least) means
>making decorative patterns on pale wood with a hot poker --we used to have
>the equivalent with a little electric wand much used in the 1940's, for an
>art we called 'woodburning'  - there used to be workshops in it --- I
>would argue for polka as a playful packaging of poker, and the dots the
>easy repetitive pattern of a woodburning tip.   So I'd check the databases
>for poker-work and its variants.  I dont think Poker the game has much to
>do with it, since the dots in question are round -- just what you'd get if
>you poked a hot tip against a pale wood.
>Robert Kelly
>The Writing Program
>MSC 12611
>Bard College
>Box 5000
>Annandale-on-Hudson NY 12504
>Voice Mail: 845-758-7205
>kelly at bard.edu

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