Readers beware! Here be invented words on several topics, created for budding vocabulogicians. Verbiventing is a great way to develop word logic in children and adolescents. Invent words. Interpret other's inventions. Grow in word sense.
1) Naming the season: Whether we call it harvest, autumn, or fall, it's the most brightific season of all! Could the term fall simply refer to falling leaves? Yes. Fall was originally “fall of the leaf.” For example, in 1545 Ascham wrote “Spring tyme, Somer, faule of the leafe, and winter” (OED online). A century later, the truncated form 'fall' was used. Today, the term ‘fall’ for autumn is commonly used in America but rarely in Great Britain.
2) Food! Wishing you pantries plenished and replenished with abundant nourishments! Sadly, PBS reports that 1 in 7 American households have insufficient eatings. At present, words like starvation and famished are not frequently used to describe Americans, but poverty exists. Related books: The Glass Castle (Walls), Angela’s Ashes (McCourt).
Speaking of food, this traditional Thanksgiving picture is a cornucopia, literally meaning ‘horn of plenty’ because corn means ‘horn’ as seen in unicorn (one horn), cornet (the instrument, a horn), and in the Zodiak sign Capricorn (look it up at Etymology Online). Less obviously, we see corn=horn in tricorn and corner. Is a corner like a horn? Does the other part of cornucopia (-copia) bring any abundance-related words to mind?
3) Native Americans: November is National American Heritage Month (resources). Related to that, note the brilliant design of the secret code, created and used with tremendous success by the Navajo Code Talkers during WWII. Browse the extensive, student-friendly museum of the Navajo Code Talkers. Help students crack a few codewords; it's logical and answers are provided. Check out the marvelous illustrations in the children's book, The Unbreakable Code.
4) Opining on homework: It's nearly Thanksgiving! Time to vacate the schools! Time for family and/or friends, feasting, festing, football, and refeasting (possibly followed by fasting). Let’s hope all students can enjoy vacation sans schoolwork. My opinion? Hyperhomeworking is counterproductive. Entire families, including parent(s), have become homeworkaphobic and/or ultracompetitive. A new film documents the problem; see trailer.
Thanks, visitors! I count you as fellow philologists. Here's hoping few readers unfriend me! The New Oxford American Dictionary has named unfriend the word of the year for 2009 (ABCnews) but it’s not totally new. Fuller wrote in 1659, “I hope, Sir, that we are not mutually Unfriended by this Difference which hath happened betwixt us” (OED online).
PS. I planned to write about context, but seasonal spirits fell upon me!