WOT ...? ("Congressional Balcony"?)

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Thu Jan 30 01:09:41 UTC 2014

On Jan 29, 2014, at 7:58 PM, Joel S. Berson wrote:

> At 1/29/2014 04:44 PM, Ben Zimmer wrote:
>> Mike Pesca suggests "demaeniation" (fr. _maenianum_):
>> https://twitter.com/pescami/status/428452196460425216
>> (Or should that be "demaenianation"?)
> I looked briefly at Latin for "balcony", but this and the other
> possibilities are too far from today's spoken conglish (Congressional
> English).  Pergulation?  Solariazation?  ecthetasizing?  Nooo.
>> On Wed, Jan 29, 2014 at 4:20 PM, Dan Goncharoff wrote:
>> >
>> > What's the matter with debalconization?...
> I pondered this alternative, with its allusion to the Balkans, before
> making my selection.  But my choice was based on the allusive inner
> rhyme with "defenestration".  (And defenestration was practiced more
> northerly in Europe than the Balkans.  Besides, debalconization might
> be confused with the breakup of Yugoslavia and its successor states.)
> P.S. Wikipedia cites an "accidental autodefenestration", in Acts ch.
> 20 verses 6--12.  Something to ponder every time one looks out of an
> open window.

Not as much fun as accidental autoasphyxiation (gasp gasp), I'm sure.  As for defenestrations, there were (at least) two famous ones in Prague, but definitely neither auto- nor accidental.  My favorite is the second one, during the Thirty Years War at the Hradčany Castle on May 23, 1618, when an assembly of Bohemian Protestants put two local governors of the Holy Roman Empire on trial in the Bohemian Chancellery for violating the Freedom of Religion edict granted nine years early by Emperor Rudolf II. The regents were convicted, and along with their scribe Philip Fabricius, were immediately flung out of the hundred-foot-high windows of the Hradčany. They landed on a large pile of horse manure in a dry moat and survived. The emperor later ennobled Fabricius as Baron von Hohenfall ("of Highfall").  Imperial officials attributed the survival of the defenestratees to the intercession of angels on behalf of the Catholic cause; for the Protestants, their preservation resulted no!
 t from heavenly dispensation but the softness of their landing site.


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