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< Back to current issue of Immigration Daily < Back to current issue of Immigrant's Weekly

Dear Editor:
Caveat Lector (Let the Reader Beware) More about "Words".

"I disapprove of what you say, but will defend to the death your right to say it." --Voltaire.

Exercising the right to write (right/write = homophones). A flashback to elementary school: an intimidating teacher criticized my essay, because I had used the word, "Megillah" in it. She took points off my essay, and told me that "Megillah" is not a word. I returned home that night, my head down, bewildered. My mother sent me back to school the next day, armed with a book as my proof, my only weapon. "Megillah" is a word, (a lengthy religious text--the word is used as "a lot of work or big effort" [Other ILW.COM readers can explain it better]. Off to battle at the age of seven, over a word. I was going to prove this word was indeed, "a real word!" "Disdain" was my teacher's reaction. Who ever thought I would end up as a lawyer?

I'm not infallible or omniscient, and I learn more from what I don't know, and my mistakes than when I am right. E-mail, after pressing "Send Now," usually cannot be retrieved. It often contains "forehead-slapping" {blimey/blarney], (and Freudian [deny/ever/never making] errors! (David M. in CA, pencil poem). The notion of the Queen's English (or King's English), depends on who is the ruler at the time. It is traced back to the sixteenth and seventeeth centuries. The monarch's usage was a model of speech and writing for society. See, e.g., http://www.ic.arizona.edu/~\sp/QueensEnglish.htm

Why did I promote "tautology" (redundancy)? I thought if viewed not as a matter of Black and White, but grey... too bad it wasn't left as an "errata" footnote. A hypothetical. What if a definition had been intended? Redundancy could have been viewed changed into a positive light. When I was on law review staff, I was instructed on two schools of thought for writing a law review article (note or comment!): 1) the scholarly approach, using erudite terminology under the assumption all readers understood the text; and 2) the "common practitioner" approach, encouraging definitions of words and phrases that might not be understood by all readers. My vantage point follows the second school of thought (because that was the one my school taught). If a writer intends to define a term for readers who may not know the meaning, it could be "justifiable tautology!" Legal terms, terms of art, acronyms, foreign language words/phrases, etc. may be defined (rather than assumed as understood) by writers following the second school of thought. Ciao.

"Cold" Immigration Atty. in Minnesota.


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