lexical query

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Sun Sep 2 19:40:13 UTC 2007

As many of you have suspected, one of my early linguistic influences was information appearing in _Ripley's Believe it or Not!_From that source, I recall the statement that _anathema_, when accented on the third syllable, means something sacred, but when accented on the second it means something accursed.

  A check with the OED shows that Ripley was more or less correct, though evidently it could one mean either no matter where you "accented" it.

  Probably my favorite "Believe It of Not!" was the tale of the "Red Hand of Ulster."  For some reason I found it to be incredibly scary, though now it just seems like regular barbarian-chief behavior. That turned out to be true also, or at least based on an actual legend of conceivable veracity.


Beverly Flanigan <flanigan at OHIO.EDU> wrote:
  ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
Sender: American Dialect Society
Poster: Beverly Flanigan
Subject: Re: lexical query

Stretching the definition a bit, English "sanction" has always needed
context to disambiguate.

At 12:07 PM 9/2/2007, you wrote:
>---------------------- Information from the mail header
>Sender: American Dialect Society
>Poster: "Arnold M. Zwicky"
>Subject: lexical query
>an old friend came to me yesterday with a language question
>(apparently, it was Ask-A-Linguist Day at the Palo Alto Farmers'
>Market): is there a language with a word referring to something that
>is both a blessing and a curse?
>(obviously, "blessing" and "curse" will require some cultural
>everybody seems to think that yiddish must be such a language, but no
>one has yet come up with a relevant lexical item.
>any nominations from the floor?
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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