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The Foxopedia

A pathway providing an insight into The World of Words and Writing

Did you know………

did-you-know

In the words of Stephen King….‘books are a uniquely portable magic….’

Whether they transport you to a world of war, crime, passion, mystery, love, sadness, or a completely imaginary existence, every book is unique and personal to the reader.  There are many weird and wonderful books in the world but there is one I recently came across which I found simply adorable.

Measuring just one millimetre squared, this tiny little book contains the famous nursery rhyme Old King Cole (rhyme words can be found hereOld King Cole).  It consists of twelve pages, all so tiny they need to be read with a magnifying glass or microscope and the pages have to be turned with a needle or a pin.

Created in 1985, it held a place in the Guinness Book of Records for twenty years as being the smallest book in the world.   However, as with anything, due to the creation of super technology we believe nanotechnology printing techniques have created the current smallest book – made in Japan it’s called ‘Shiki no Kusabana’ (Flowers of Seasons).   An illustrated guide to Japanese flora, it is twenty-two pages long, but smaller than the eye of a needle, and measures 0.75mm in height and has a width of 0.01mm.

Apparently, according to other printers and publishers who have created miniature books, the attraction of them was that they would often be contained within lockets which people could hang around their necks.  Having built in magnifying glasses allowed individuals to take their treasured readings wherever they went.  This was especially important during war times and as a result, a miniature edition of the bible, the Qur’an and a book containing all of the national anthems was created for this very purpose.

In summary I really believe we need an illustrative example to understand the true size of what we  are talking about.  😊

cole 1   Old King Cole against a 1p…  cole 2  And against a pencil tip…..

                        

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Word of the Week……..

words

So for this week’s word we have found a good one……we think it’s probably the most random so far but I bet you cannot believe what it means…..

ENNEACONTAKAIENNEAGON   

It is a shape with 99 sides.  We didn’t even know that a shape with that many sizes could exist or be categorised, let alone have such an unusual name. The names for polygons are actually Greek in origin so, for example, a pentagon which has five sides is:

five fifth pente pemptos

Ninety and nine have the following:

ninety ninetieth enenekonta enenekostos
nine ninth ennea enatos

 

If you have a desire to look up more of the Greek terminologies for polygons you can find them here –Polygons (of all sizes!)

Did you know……..Election Humour Special!

did-you-know

We thought this little fact might bring a little humour to Election Week.

For many of us in our working or social lives, there is often a time when we have to undertake public speaking.  I, for one, am very shy and do not like being the centre of attention;  I much prefer to listen.  For some people, however, the thrill of being in the spotlight and ensuring their words and views are heard comes naturally.

We see a lot of this at the moment with the election campaigns that are taking place; people very passionate about what they do and their views on certain subjects.  For others, it is a chance to have a blazing row in public with justification!

But, if you are one of those few that have to carry out the task of public speaking and dread it, or suffer with terrible anxiety or nervousness, here would be the advice of Charles Dickens……he had a ritual that he would carry out on a day when he had to undertake public speaking:

‘…two tablespoons of rum with fresh cream for breakfast, a pint of champagne for tea and, half an hour before the start of his performance, he would drink a raw egg beaten into a tumbler of sherry.’

I am now wondering, except for the raw egg, whether I should take up public speaking….sounds like it could be interesting.

 

 

Word of the Week……..

words

So what have we dug out for this week…..

DYSPHEMISM

An unpleasant or derogatory word or expression substituted for a pleasant or inoffensive one; the opposite of a euphemism.

A couple of examples would be using “looney bin” in place of mental hospital or using “tub of lard” for someone who is overweight.

Did you know……..

did-you-know

We all suffer with stress on a daily basis – whether it’s the commuter traffic jams, being late for work or worrying about how you’re going to pay your rent; large or small, we all have a daily stress moment.

Research, however, has discovered that reading for 6 minutes a day, just 6 minutes, can reduce stress levels by two thirds, up to 68% to be precise!  Reading for a short time is supposedly better for stress than perhaps a walk through the park or sitting down with a cup of tea.

The study was carried out by Mindlab Consultancy in Sussex on a group of volunteers and the results highlighted that not only did the participants’ stress levels reduce, but the muscles also relaxed and some individuals were found to be in a more relaxed state than before the test began.

We read, to some extent, most of the day whether it is scrolling through social media sites, watching news bulletins, reading work documents or opening bills, it is a must; a need rather than an enjoyment.

When picking up a novel or a book about a subject that you are interested in, our minds completely focus on what we are reading and as such, the body and mind relaxes. However, avoid electronic devices when reading to relax; a notification of a Facebook post or an email that pings in as having arrived, ruins the whole idea – let it be just you and the pages.

So, if you want to reduce your blood pressure and your stress levels, take a few minutes a day and switch off – pick up that book and read the next chapter – dig out that magazine and read the article you meant to read last week.  Time; make the most of it, you will never get it back and what’s six minutes in the grand scheme of things?  Personally, I would aim for at least 30 minutes…. 🙂

Image result for reading for six minutes a day can reduce stress

Word of the Week……..

words

So, a little food orientated this week…..

DEGUSTATION 

Dégustation is the careful, timely, appreciative tasting of different foods which focuses your senses, particularly those to do with taste and smell and visually, with the artistic presentation of the food.  Quite commonly encountered in restaurants when ‘Tasting Menus’ are offered – a set menu of many small tantalising dishes!

Word of the Week ……..

words

So, an unusual one this week…..

PUNALUA

I am sure you will not even begin to have an idea of what this means.

It is an old term originating from the 19th century among Hawaiians which describes a family unit that was made up of a group of sisters from one family marrying a group of brothers from another.  Similarly, one wife may have two husbands or one husband may have multiple wives, but they were generally considered to be married to all other members of the family and all lived on an equal footing, all sharing responsibility for the children.

I am sure that made an interesting way of living!

Image result for punalua family cartoon

 

Did you know……..

did-you-know

The English Oxford Dictionary (OED) is a fascinating book and, for a lot of us who work with the English Language every day, it is a trusted companion.  So, we thought we’d shed some light on this little book of wisdom with some unusual facts, starting with some statistics about the first edition, first officially fully bound and published in 1928 (but some earlier sections were published in the late 1800’s):

  • Its actual size was 10 volumes consisting of 15,490 pages;
  • Once the book was approved, it took 70 years to compile the first edition;
  • Number of original entries, (words and their meanings), 252,200;
  • Number of contributors 2000;
  • In 1972 a supplement was prepared, estimated to take 7 years but took 30 years and contained a further 69,300 entries;
  • In comparison, when the second edition was prepared in 1989 it was twenty volumes (double the size) and contained 231,100 entries, 291,500 further entries, 47,100 obsolete words, 27,100 non-naturalised words, amongst many other tens of thousands of quotations!!
  • There are currently over 600,000 words alone in the OED;
  • Interestingly J.R.R Tolkien’s first job was to be in charge of the letter W following the First World War;
  • When the OED was first put into an online format, it required 120 typists, who each keyed in over 350 million characters, resulting in the assistance of 55 proofreaders! It first went online in 2000.
  • The OED costs over four million pounds each year just in editorial costs;
  • A new word is added to the OED every two hours;
  • And finally, what is the first word in the OED. It is Aardvark but the first entry is A……  i.e. a bowl of cereal; a pleasant man.  Although only one letter it is a word and is the first entry in the OED.

Anyway, a little bit of mindless information for you……

Word of the Week……..

words

So, what do we call a word that is made up of parts of two words….

A PORTMANTEAU word

(More commonly known as a ‘blend’).

Some examples – brunch has become known for a meal midway between breakfast and lunch; motel being for motorcar and hotel and guesstimate being a guessed estimate.

However, these words are different from compound words made up of two whole words such as blackboard, website or dark room.

Do you know any more Portmanteau words?????

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