Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Stop & smell the proses - 3.7 #sol18 Story Challenge

Tuesday, an eighth grader shared with me a digital vocabulary table that she'd been building for her own edification based on choice reading. She'd arranged columns showing in what book a new-to-her word appeared, its definition, the original sentence for context, and a new sentence that she created. Warmed my logophile's heart. Then I came across this entry:
Text: Monument 14 - Page 146
Word: pall
Definition: become less appealing or interesting through familiarity
Sentence in book: And the three laughed and palled around all during dinner.
Create a sentence!: Paul palled as we carried on through the conversation.
I made a face like one used to make when a record or CD skipped: Something didn't sound right. As the student and I unpacked, the book sentence featured the past tense of 'pal' (its suffix dictating a quirky doubled consonant) while the student's hasty dictionary work had fastened on to 'pall,' a definition that infected her new sentence. I later learned the latter comes from Middle English for 'cloak' and filters into usages like pall bearer or casting a pall on an otherwise happy event. The former is from Romany by way of Sanskrit for 'brother,' yet gets disguised by the extra 'L' to dodge confusion with 'paled.'

Thus, we end up with delicious knots like: His relatives paled when Paul palled around loudly with his friends at the funeral to alleviate the pall that hung over everyone. Thanks, English; your wonders never cease.

14 comments:

  1. As a word geek myself, I love your post today.What an amazing student!!

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  2. And line blurs between "student" & "teacher". Wonderful. Your background insights are cogent, marvelous & the tongue twists are poetic with emphases placed perfectly. Nice. Worthy of a reading or writing professional conference presentation? !.D.E.O eht evil gnoL

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  3. Wow! I love your student's dedication to words. Your interaction with her is priceless, especially those "delicious knots" you shared. What fun! (says another confirrmed logophile)

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  4. My brain was doing a back flips while trying to silently pronounce the pal vs pall conundrum. Unfortunately, pall reminded me of Pall Mall cigarettes. Bleh. But at least, I had the right pronunciation in my head.
    Kevin

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    1. Makes me wonder about the naming of that brand... In my second-hand experience, pall nicely captures the feeling of a low-hanging cloud of dingy cigarette smoke.

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  5. You’re ability to manipulate words never ceases

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  6. So funny! I'm so impressed with your student for coming up with that system to organize all the new words she is learning! Glad she has you to pal around with! (ha!)

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  7. It is a wonder that anyone learned our language with all its varied definitions. Your post had me spending a little time looking up words, too!

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  8. English is a marvel. A few days ago, a student asked me the difference between fairy and faerie. I fear I cast a pall over her as my explanation was more than she bargained for.

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    1. Or maybe you revealed yourself her word-exploring pal? (Hat tip, Kathleen.)

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  9. I love that you compared the face you made to hearing a record skip, hahaha, how about the big 'clunk' as an 8 track switched tracks. But I hear you, our language is so complex, sometimes applying what we know about our language can actually mess us all up! My third graders are experts at finding exceptions and curiosities about our language and the rules we are attempting to apply to it and I celebrate their thinking! Thank you for an excellent, thought provoking post!

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    1. You know, now that you mention it, that eight-track sound has a different association for me. That 'clunk' signaled the system working as designed to cue up new music while the skips of other media meant something wasn't right

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