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Mama Wong … Chyme and chyle. 30th of July, 2007 ANTE·MERIDIEM 12:16

I feel really much less inclined to articulate what I’m thinking when I’ve just started learning about a new area, like some part of me is cautious that expressing what I’ve taken on board will crystallise any misunderstandings in a way that that will make eliminating them later, harder. Which might well be specious, but it’s why I’m not posting here.

My friend Ema points me to this series of Berlitz ads on Youtube; they’re totally not representative of actual problems with dealing with spoken English, I think, but as a set of comical misinterpretations of the lyrics of some songs, they do really well.

Biological fact of the day: the stomach is not absolutely necessary for survival, but digestion without it—it converts food mixed with saliva into chyme, a greyish, acidic liquid—is very inefficient. Chyme is the word of the day; here’s what the OED thinks of its etymology —

[ad. L. chȳmus:—Gr. χῡμός juice (of plants, animals, etc.), f. stem χυ– (χευ–, χε-) to pour, shed, fuse, etc. The two forms χῡμός and χῡλός were practically identical in sense; some writers preferring one, and some the other; they were differentiated by Galen, and in Orin Etym. (c450), χῡμός is explained as ‘juice in its raw or natural state’, χῡλός ‘juice produced by decoction or digestion’ (Liddel & Sc.); this appears to be the foundation of the modern distinction of chyle and chyme.]

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