Not in the clamor of the crowded street, not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng, but in ourselves, are triumph and defeat.--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

REDIRECT ALERT! (Scroll down past this mess if you're trying to read an archived post. Thanks. No, really, thanks.)

Due to my inability to control my temper and complacently accept continued silliness with not-quite-as-reliable-as-it-ought-to-be Blogger/Blogspot, your beloved Possumblog will now waddle across the Information Dirt Road and park its prehensile tail at http://possumblog.mu.nu.

This site will remain in place as a backup in case Munuvia gets hit by a bus or something, but I don't think they have as much trouble with this as some places do. ::cough::blogspot::cough:: So click here and adjust your links. I apologize for the inconvenience, but it's one of those things.

Friday, June 25, 2004

I tell you, it's like the Library of Alexandria around here!

The sum total of the world's knowledge--but even better, you don't have to go to Egypt for it!

Chet the E-Mail Boy just came skipping up the basement steps (well, more like wheezing) with the following missive from Somewhat Anonymous Eric Bramblett, who lives in a place that rhymes with Ausdun, Texis, and works at some sort of education place there.

He writes:
Oh, Mighty Possum,

Since you are such a wonderful font of knowledge,
Eric recalls that I live for constant positive reinforcement...
I thought I'd ask you for the answer to a question that struck me this morning:

Why do we say that chickens "cluck," when they actually "buck?"

Thanks, and Happy Friday!
EXCELLENT question, Anonymous Eric! (And Happy Friday to you, too!)

What Eric is referring to is a word concept that linguists call onamo onomont ontoma onomantopoe opptomonintumo "imitative harmony"; that is, words that sound like the sound they are describing. Bees buzz, my head thunks the desk, guns bang--you get the idea. I hope.

ANYWAY, from the 1913 Webster's, we see that "cluck" is defined thusly:

Cluck (?), v. i. [imp. & p. p. Clucked (?); p pr. & vb. n. Clucking.] [AS. cloccian; cf. D. klokken, G. glucken, glucksen, LG. klukken, Dan. klukke; all prob. of imitative origin.] To make the noise, or utter the call, of a brooding hen.

I'm not sure what all that crap means, but I think it's pretty obvious that we say chickens cluck because it's in the dictionary.

ON THE OTHER HAND, the idea that chickens buck is ludicrous. (No offense, Anonymous Eric.) Putting a saddle on one tends to crush it, and the thought that a cowboy would be caught dead competing in a bucking chicken event beggars belief. Now, you might be able to get a tiny little saddle and strap it on to a chicken, and maybe get a capuchin monkey to ride it, and the chicken might buck then, but, really, I think it would more than likely just run around until the monkey fell off, or until the monkey started biting the chicken, leading to possible death or even injury to the chicken.

As always, we stand ready here at the Possumblog Answer Desk to help you in any way possible.

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