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  Issue 149, page 4

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From Peter Metrinko:

Don't you think a good name for an international wine competition would be the Vintner Olympics? I was mulling that over while drinking some cider the other day.

But was that mulled cider?  If not... wine, hot?

From Qaz:

I was introduced to your site by Google recently and have spent an egregious amount of time since reading back issues and cackling with glee. People that know me well have learnt long ago to never ask what I am laughing about, or, if temptation is too much and the self-imposed guideline ignored, those who stumble in this way suffer long elucidations discovered by me concerning the most eccentric subjects. Most of my associates assure me that an ilk of humanity self-referentially referred to as normal people (to me the title seems nominal) find these illuminations of little interest. Furthermore, I am told that even when these kernels of wondrousness are interesting, they are not - and most probably should not - inspire the joyful abandon and unabashed, even fatuous displays so oft evident in me. I only offer one defense, an admission of my grave affliction. I thank you heartily for your work which has helped me to fall even more deeply into my pathology.

With the praise out of the way, I now reach my demand :) In your English Language Sites section of your links page, I was wondering if you could provide a link to a site for English idioms. I trust only Mike and Melanie or the people or institutions they designate, as purveyors of English language information on the web so your help in this matter would be appreciated.

Rest assured that we will be be revising the Links page (and the site as a whole) quite soon.

P.S. I am interested in the extent to which the net is influencing usage. I have noticed a tendency on the net to shorten some words and end them in -y. Thus, probably and address have morphed into prolly and addy respectively. Do you find such derivations a beautiful display of language in action, or, blasphemous and to be shot on sight?

Prolly shot? Sholly not!

From Tim Bender:

While looking at back issues of your excellent newsletter, I saw a speculation on whether or not the word sitar was related to the word guitar. I also noticed that in subsequent issues nobody had written a comment about this. In fact the two words are not related even remotely. 

The Indian sitar is descended from a smaller Iranian instrument called the setar, which merely means "three strings" - se meaning three, and tar meaning string. With a Hindi accent, setar became sitar. Oddly enough most of the Iranian setars have four strings these days (which would properly make them chahartar) and the Indian sitar usually has around 17.  Would this be a satdastar? (My Hindi is rusty verging upon nonexistent), Sitar is certainly easier to say.

We are constantly amazed by the erudition of our readers on amazingly obscure topics. Thanks, Tim.  Award yourself a small treat.

From Halcyon:

Is it thank you or thank-you

The usual thank-you is thank you.

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