polka dots

Robert S. Wachal robert-wachal at UIOWA.EDU
Tue May 29 12:59:48 UTC 2001

The march of WHAT?????

At 04:56 PM 5/28/01 -0400, you wrote:
>Tsk-tsk. Bob; get a grip! I dutifully copy every one of these folk
>etymologies, classify it, and put it in my future fun book. Please
>keep them coming.
>Besides, every 1,000,000,000,000,000th folk etymology turns out to be
>right, so don't try to stop the march of science.
>>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
>Dennis R. Preston
>Department of Linguistics and Languages
>Michigan State University
>East Lansing MI 48824-1027 USA
>preston at pilot.msu.edu
>Office: (517)353-0740
>Fax: (517)432-2736

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