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.