You say hello, I say goodbye.

January 29, 2009 at 3:05 pm (Uncategorized)

Welcome buzzfeeders.  I’ve had to abandon this blog to devote more time to Publicly Relating. If you’re interested in taking over “Words I Learned From Reading David Foster Wallace,” please let me know.

nancy dot martira at gmail dot com

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vertiginously

December 3, 2008 at 11:39 am (Uncategorized)

vertiginous (adj.) – whirling; spinning; rotary

“It turns out the cause of poor tendony Mrs. R–‘s meltdown in the kitchen is that she has either a grandniece or removed cousin who’s doing some type of internship at Time, Inc., in the Time-Life Building or whatever it’s called, about which Mrs. R– and whoever she’s managed to call know only that it’s a vertiginously tall skyscraper someplace in New York City, and she’s out of her mind with worry…”

Wallace, David Foster. “The View From Mrs. Thompson’s.” Consider the Lobster. New York: Back Bay Books, 2007. p 139.

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gonfalon

December 3, 2008 at 9:35 am (Uncategorized)

gonfalon (n.) – a banner suspended from a crossbar, often with several streamers or tails

“More than a few large homes around Franklin Park or out on the east side even have enormous multistory flags hanging gonfalon-style down over their facades.”

Wallace, David Foster. “The View From Mrs. Thompson’s.” Consider the Lobster. New York: Back Bay Books, 2007. p 129.

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sine die

December 3, 2008 at 12:35 am (Uncategorized)

sine die (Latin) – without fixing a day for future action or meeting

“The American Conversation is an argument, after all, and way worse than our fear of error or anarchy or Gomorrahl decadence is our fear of theocracy or autocracy or any ideology whose project is not to argue or persuade but to adjourn the whole debate sine die.”

Wallace, David Foster. “Authority and American Usage.” Consider the Lobster. New York: Back Bay Books, 2007. p 121

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animalculum

November 26, 2008 at 8:18 pm (Uncategorized)

animalculum (n.) – microscopic organism such as an amoeba or paramecium

“Nor does he give any examples to help explain irregular participles and transitivity (“The light shone” vs. “I shined the light,” etc.), and these would seem to be more important than, say, the correct spelling of huzzah or the plural of animalculum, both of which get discussed.”

Wallace, David Foster. “Authority and American Usage.” Consider the Lobster. New York: Back Bay Books, 2007. p 118.

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pleonasm

November 26, 2008 at 7:44 pm (Uncategorized)

pleonasm (n.) – the use of more words than are necessary to express an idea; redundancy

“In other words, it is when a scholar’s vanity/insecurity leads him to write primarily to communicate and reinforce his own status as an Intellectual that his English is deformed by pleonasm and pretentious diction (whose function is to signal the writer’s erudition) and by opaque abstraction (whose function is to keep anybody from pinning the writer down to a definite assertion that can maybe be refuted or shown to be silly.)”

Wallace, David Foster. “Authority and American Usage.” Consider the Lobster. New York: Back Bay Books, 2007. p 115.

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anapest

November 5, 2008 at 10:30 am (Uncategorized)

anapest (n.) – a metric foot composed of two short syllables followed by a long one, as in the word seventeen

“You can’t say, ‘Where’s it?’ So the choice is between ‘Where is it?’ and ‘Where’s it at?’, and the latter, a strong anapest, is prettier and trips off the tongue better.”+

Wallace, David Foster. “Authority and American Usage.” Consider the Lobster. New York: Back Bay Books, 2007. p 99.

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indurate

November 5, 2008 at 9:00 am (Uncategorized)

indurate (adj.) -physically or morally hardened

“First off, the avoid-terminal-prepositions rule is the invention of one Fr. R. Lowth, an 18th-century British preacher and indurate pedant who did things like spend scores of pages arguing for hath over the trendy and degenerate has.”

Wallace, David Foster. “Authority and American Usage.” Consider the Lobster. New York: Back Bay Books, 2007. p 99.

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androsartorial

November 4, 2008 at 6:49 pm (Uncategorized)

androsartorial (adj.) -men’s fashion

From andro- (prefix) meaning “male” and sartorial (adj.) meaning “relating to clothes”

“Let us grant – as a thought experiment if nothing else – that these are all sensible and compelling objections to pants as an androsartorial norm.”

Wallace, David Foster. “Authority and American Usage.” Consider the Lobster. New York: Back Bay Books, 2007. p 95.

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pourparler

October 31, 2008 at 4:00 pm (Uncategorized)

pourparler (n.) -an informal, preliminary discussion

“If that last line of Pinker’s pourparler reminds you of Garner’s “Essentially, descriptivists and presecriptivists are approaching different problems,” be advised that the similarity is neither coincidence nor plagiarism.”

Wallace, David Foster. “Authority and American Usage.” Consider the Lobster. New York: Back Bay Books, 2007. p 92.

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