Reëxamine

I saw this spelling of reexamine in the New Yorker this year. I want to say to the editor, for real, dude? You are spelling reexamine with an umlaut? It's like: Oh. My. Gawd.

Isn't this just an example of pretentiousness gone waaaay too far?

The New Yorker actually mandates this usage in their style guide, along with such wonders as "The New Yorker mandates that authors must coöperate to reëducate our readership." As well as zoölogy, coördination, and so forth. They also point out that the umlaut is no umlaut in this usage but is rather a diaeresis.

The correct punctuation mark to use when breaking up things in this way is the interpunct, or punt volat. It's used in Catalan to distinguish between the standard doble ela 'll' and the ela geminada l·l. This is exactly the same purpose,— to prevent letters from coalescing into a phoneme;— such as these common cases of double letters that could, possibly, be interpreted as a long vowel sound, if read by a space alien who had never read the New Yorker, and was not yet very familiar with English: “Ree-cha-mee-nay, what is that?”

The interpunct reads and flows better, it is not a distraction, people are used to it, and it does not bring the sentence to a screeching halt as it desperately calls attention to itself. Use it well. On the Mac, opt-shift-9 summons the interpunct.

"We, the punctuative literate, ask that the board re·examine its mandate that authors should have to co·operate in re·educating their readership."

Hierophantic

Hierophantic means pertaining to hierophants, the revealers of sacred mysteries.

Found this word on this page about a famous organic farm in Tennessee and the procreative practices of its members:

"While sexual and marital practices provided only imperfect and sometimes grudging support for The Farm's vision of an ideal alternative lifestyle, the ultimate sustenance of communal life was the queen of the sacral trinity-natural childbirth. Birthing claimed central importance as a physical, emotional, and spiritual ritual at the heart of community life. It was a communal rite of renewal that recreated and redirected the energies of the dyadic unit and reforged its bonds to the whole. The spiritual midwives who guided the couple through the birth had both a hierophantic and an educative role. They stood in place of the entire community at the birthing, because only the parents and the midwives were present during childbirth. While training the couple to achieve higher levels of intimacy and a deeper sharing of their experience, they reasserted the primacy of the community over the dyadic unit. The sanctification of the couple occurred in its reabsorption into the communal energy field. Through the transcendent, telepathic sensitivity of the process of natural childbirth, communal commitment was recreated, and the couple's consciousness was anchored in the community through the support system provided by the midwife network."

www.thefarm.org/lifestyle/kerntext.html

I think it is true in general that midwives are hierophants and not just at The Farm.

Whistle Pig

How much wood would a wood chuck chuck if a wood chuck could chuck wood?

Or as many of you are probably more familiar with this proverb: "Quantum materiae materietur marmota monax si marmota monax materiam possit materiari?"

Wood chuck is an anglosization of the Algonquian word for this North American native animal, the original word of which is lost.

The animal is legendary: Bill Murray spent a life time on the day dedicated to this animal and its uncanny ability to predict the onset of spring.

In Appalachia, we of course use the correct term for the animal, which is whistle pig.