[lit-ideas] Re: America's Greatest Word

  • From: jlsperanza@xxxxxxx
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 31 Jan 2011 10:15:32 -0500

McEvoy:

"There was also discussion of what was
the all-correct form of the hand gesture that the astronaut should use to confirm his "OK", the one where the thumb and first finger form a circle being preferred over a thumbs up as the latter is an offensive gesture in many
cultures.¨

Indeed. Writing is supervenient (as philosophers know) on speaking. Cfr. AAVE (Afro-American Vernacular English), "axe", for "ask". Surely the "concept" is the same. Different spellings, or writings, but the phonological side to it is universal. Old English was "axian", metathesized to "ask" by Richard Coer-Lion, who had a stammer.

----

In general, if you check Geary´s options for "other" American greatest words, you´ll see that a finger or hand gesture to indicate is somewhat lacking. The f- word comes complete with a finger sign, but in general, praise words do not.

I cannot see how the thumb and first finger forming a circle may be taken to indicate the rather precise concept of "Old Kinderhook".

Speranza



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