NABOKV-L post 0019382, Wed, 10 Feb 2010 19:23:50 -0200

Jerry Friedman [JM: Forty years ago, in Rio to speak good English meant avoiding most Latinate terms and stick to the Anglo-Saxon.] I hope you're joking!...
Just in case anybody picks up false impressions from Jansy's teachers, both "rich" and "wealthy" are from Anglo-Saxon, and "hand-made" is almost the opposite of "manufactured". In line with what Stan says, English has many pairs of synonyms in which one is natural and the other can sound pretentious (Shade's two examples--"naked" and "nude", "sweat" and "perspiration"*--as well as "buy" and "purchase", "storm" and "tempest", etc.), and in many of those the natural one is from Anglo-Saxon and the pretentious one is from Latin, often through French. But etymology isn't an infallible guide...

[JM: We also learned that in more sophisticated environments, only (perhaps when, under Roman influence, all those blond barbarians learned to eat cooked meat)] Another joke?

[JM: When I started to read Nabokov I was in for a big surprise] Nabokov (like Shade) seems to have chosen words based on many considerations that were at least as important as naturalness to ordinary speakers and etymology; Jerry Friedman isn't blond...

JM: I used to be the (not "holo-") typical blonde and, YES, the parenthetic remark is a joke (tease) inspired on "pig/pork" - but not the report about the strict discipline which encouraged students to avoid false-cognates or lapse into the equivalents of Spanglish or Franglais.

The example you picked for "manufactured is almost the opposite of hand-made" reminds me that it once landed me in a spot. I'd read in "Time Magazine" a blurb announcing the discovery that "iron is manufactured in the stars." So... I wrote to the Editors to congratulate them for bringing up a proof that there is life, of the featherless Homo Faber kind, in the cosmos... only to get a (well-deserved and duly manuscripted?) reprimand.

Thanks for bringing up Shade's examples and for noting that Nabokov's choices considered "naturalness to ordinary speakers and etymology." I agree with you: there's always a thrill when one realizes the aptness of VN's "fitting choices" that manage to blend "naturalness" to unexpected and magic (so it seems to me) originality.

* - Retrieved from a google-source ( Orson Welles, about his wife Rita Hayworth, on the set of Lady from Shanghai. The director of photography told him Rita was sweating and it was visible on the film. Orson said sternly, "Horses sweat. Men perspire. Miss Hayworth glows."

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