Thursday, 23 February 2012

Round and round

I am indebted to the late great Richard Boston for reminding me of the word ‘anadiplosis’ whilst  searching for something else completely.  ‘Whilst searching for something else completely’ is an activity we could do with a word for, at least I could, but at least for the rhetorical device of starting a sentence with a word or phrase with which one ended the previous one, we have one.  One way of being reminded of this sort of time-wasting activity – which can be extended to reusing said word or phrase within as well as at the beginning of a sentence – is to read ‘The Etymologicon’, a book constructed entirely around loose anadiplosis, in which you will learn, on page 46, that ‘saya suka suka rama-rama rama-rama’ is the Malaysian for ‘I love butterflies’.  I love butterflies, but I haven’t seen any yet, even though the Spring seems to be unusually advanced for February.  February's ice and sleet freeze the toes right off your feet, usually.  Your feet, usually, would prefer woolly socks and fur boots to sandals at this time of the year.  This time of the year, usually, is when you wrap up, stay in and peer out of the frost-caked windows for a bud or an insect.  An insect might have been what I saw flying off over the fence this afternoon, but I can’t be certain.  Certain poets, including Shakespeare, have written merrily of the Spring, but don’t hold out too much hope.  Hope springs eternal, it’s true, and I don’t want to pour cold water.  Cold water is not useful for filling hot water bottles.  Bottles are useful defences against false hopes, and also for getting you out of the house and down the bank when the box is full.  Full circle is where this post is going, so salutations to Richard Boston and Mark Forsyth, to both of whom I am indebted.


  1. I enjoyed that post immensely and wish I could emulate your verbal dexterity. Verbal dexterity is, of course, something for which you are well known, I believe.

    I believe there are a number of species of butterflies which hibernate - one of their number woke up last week; I rescued it, gave it a drink of sugar water and put it in a cool dark corner of the hall.

    Hall that has taken hall my henergy. Goodnight, dear 'art.

  2. What Z said, but after she said it....

  3. I snapped up Mark Forsyth's excellent book, just after Christmas. Sounds as though you're enjoying it, too?

  4. I wish I'd asked for this book for Chiasmus.

  5. It just occurred to me that I was doing this stuff 50 years ago:

    Mary had a little lamb, she thought it rather silly.
    She threw it up in the air and caught it by its...
    Willy was a watch dog lying in the grass,
    Along came a bee and stung him on the...
    Ask no questions, tell no lies,
    I saw a policemen doing up his...
    Flies are pests, bees are worse,
    That's the end of my little verse.

  6. Oh I enjoyed that.
    And I want that book!

  7. I acquired the book onto my Kindle. Kindle ike being able to do this.