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LinguaPhile, January 2004

A monthly e-mail newsletter nurturing the development and enjoyment of English language arts at home and at school.

We welcome new subscribers from the international IDA conference, from the southern California regional ACSI conference, and from the state conference of the Learning Disabilities Association of Oklahoma!


2004 is a special anniversary year -- especially in St. Louis. It marks the centennial of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, commonly known as the 1904 World's Fair. While the Fair took place in St. Louis, it was truly a world event. In a departure from the usual subject matter, this issue of LinguaPhile will provide some background information on the Fair so that -- wherever you live -- you too can celebrate this anniversary.

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New Year's Resources

The January 2001 LinguaPhile includes articles specifically related to the new year. In addition to a quotation, writing suggestions, and bulletin board ideas, you'll find pointers for realizing your goals. (All too often, wishful thinking is the major strategy we employ in their pursuit.) You can see these resources for the new year at

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Quote of the Month: Principles

It is often easier to fight for one's principles than to live up to them.         
--Adlai E. Stevenson, U.S. statesman (1900-1965)

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Expand Your Vocabulary: sesqui-

Sesqui- is a word part from Latin meaning "one and a half." Thus a sesquicentennial is an anniversary marking one and a half centuries, or 150 years:  A town founded in 1854 will celebrate its sesquicentennial this year.

Most uses of sesqui are in scientific contexts. "Sesquih" is occasionally used in prescriptions to mean "every hour and a half."

Sesquipedalian (literally "of a foot and a half") means "given to using long words." It can also describe the words themselves and can even be a noun naming such words:
The sesquipedalian orator is difficult to understand.
Do you enjoy using sesquipedalian words?
Is sesquipedalian long enough to be considered a sesquipedalian?

Hands-On English includes nearly 200 morphemes, along with their meanings and examples. Knowing the meanings of morphemes can help you unlock hundreds of words the first time you encounter them. Reviewers of Hands-On English have said that the vocabulary section alone is worth the book's modest purchase price. Learn more -- and place your order -- at

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Q and A: "Not to Mention"

Question: Is it proper to begin a sentence with "Not to mention"? The sentence in question is "Not to mention the fact that a quarter horse by the name of 'Docs Keepin Time' starred in the movie Black Beauty." The writing is on a high school level, if that matters at all.

Answer: Thank you for your question! Analysis of your sentence reveals that the sentence lacks an independent clause. Therefore, it is a sentence fragment, generally considered inappropriate in formal use. (Lest you recognize quarter horse as a subject and starred as a verb, remember that that is a relative pronoun, introducing a dependent -- rather than an independent -- clause.)

While it would be possible to tack an independent clause to the end of a sentence that begins with Not to mention, this construction is likely to be cumbersome since not to mention signals a relationship with a preceding idea. In most cases a dash would seem to be the best form of punctuation:
The house offered a convenient floor plan and ample storage space -- not to mention a wood-burning fireplace.

Hands-On English will put a wealth of information at your fingertips so that you can quickly find what you need to know about grammar, usage, capitalization, punctuation, spelling, and more. Get details -- and place your order -- at

We invite your questions for this feature:

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An Introduction to the 1904 World's Fair -- a Centennial Worth Celebrating

As we enter the centennial year of the 1904 World's Fair, we should remember that the Fair commemorated the centennial of the Louisiana Purchase, which in 1803 had doubled the size of the United States (the Fair had been postponed from 1903 to enable more countries and other exhibitors to participate).

The Louisiana Purchase Exposition was different from any previous world's fair in that it emphasized processes rather than products. Among the hundreds of process exhibits were a working coal mine, a shoe factory, a hospital, a publishing plant, and classrooms that showed students from around the world studying at every level from kindergarten to technical school.

In the foreword to his detailed account of the Fair, The Universal Exposition of 1904, Fair President David Rowland Francis wrote the following: "So thoroughly did [the Fair] represent the world's civilizations that if all man's other works were by some unspeakable catastrophe blotted out, the records established at this Exposition by the assembled nations would afford the necessary standards for the rebuilding of our entire civilization."

People the world over brought to St. Louis the best they had to offer. Here they studied, observed, researched, conferred, and learned. Then they took home the best the world had to offer.

Remember that this was 1904. The United States stood on the threshold of the modern age. Electricity was not yet commonplace. The telephone was a mysterious newfangled contraption, and the automobile was a rarity. The Wright Brothers had barely gotten their plane off the ground.

Yet the 1904 World's Fair boasted primitive motion pictures, a machine that recorded and replayed sound on a metal "tape," turnstiles that recorded the number of admissions, a wireless telephone, a 300-foot electric elevator, incubators with live human babies, a cold-storage freight car, and a garbage disposal plant with no odor. A low-temperature exhibit could achieve cold of -259 degrees Fahrenheit, and a solar-powered machine could produce heat above 7,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

The Louisiana Purchase Exposition was a big fair. Twice as large as the Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893, it spanned 1,240 acres. The Fair had 1,500 buildings, the largest being the Agriculture Building, which covered twenty acres. The eight main "palaces" had exhibits lining 142 miles of aisles. One of the smaller palaces included a 60,000-seat auditorium. With its forty-five sit-down restaurants and eight lunch stands, the Fair could serve 100,000 patrons simultaneously; each of five restaurants could seat more than 2,000 people at a time.

The Louisiana Purchase Exposition was truly a world's fair. In addition to all states and territories of the United States, sixty-two foreign countries participated. Many of them built national buildings that replicated famous buildings in their countries. For example, the French pavilion was a reproduction of the Grand Trianon at Versailles. The Fair also had more than thirty "living exhibits." Entire villages from around the world -- representing more than fifty tribes -- were brought to the Fair. The forty-seven-acre Philippine exhibit included over a thousand natives from various tribes.

The Fair featured the purely unusual as states and countries showed off their products: a likeness of President Roosevelt made of butter, a bear made of prunes, Missouri's corn temple, California's almond capitol, an 850-pound life-size statue carved from pure rock salt -- of none other than Lot's wife.

The Fair is perhaps best known for its gigantic Ferris Wheel, also called the Observation Wheel. The Wheel stood 264 feet high and had thirty-six cars, each of which could carry sixty passengers. Weddings or dinner parties were often held in the cars. In one wedding, members of the wedding party were on horseback.

The Fair was also fun. Its mile-long midway, called The Pike, enabled fairgoers, through mechanical and electrical wizardry, to experience such wonders as Creation, the Hereafter, the Galveston Flood, the North Pole, and a ride in a submarine or an airship.

Approximately 20,000,000 people visited the Fair during its seven months. Then the magic ended and the fairgrounds were returned to their pre-Fair condition. The Fair lived on, however, in the memory of Fair visitors -- and their memories were kindled by millions of souvenirs and remnants that made their way around the world.

Various aspects of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition would be excellent topics for research in this centennial year. In addition to books, websites, and videos, newspapers from 1904 are a prime source of information. Newspapers of those days tended to be full of anecdotes rather than accounts of crime. Perusing archives of your local newspaper might reveal your community's connections to the Fair. The 1904 World's Fair Society is  dedicated to preserving the memories and memorabilia of the Fair.

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Review: Still Shining: Discovering Lost Treasures from the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair by Diane Rademacher

For decades Diane Rademacher has diligently sought remnants from the Louisiana Purchase Exposition. She has traveled thousands of miles and interviewed hundreds of people. Rademacher sought not the collectible souvenirs from the Fair but rather relics from the Fair itself -- the buildings (or parts of buildings), the sculpture, the exhibits.

Now she shares her findings in Still Shining: Discovering Lost Treasures from the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair. This volume is much more than a where-they-are-now report, however. Rademacher's introduction provides excellent background information on the Fair. In addition, she tells not only where remnants are today but also how they got there. In some cases this history even precedes an item's exhibition at the Fair.

The Louisiana Purchase Exposition generated a lot of salvage. The Chicago House Wrecking Company, which was awarded the contract for the Fair's demolition, published a catalog in which a number of items were offered for sale: "one hundred million linear feet of lumber, 'enough to build outright over ten (10) cities with a population each of 5,000 inhabitants,' new steel roofing, doors, windows, sills, pipe with fittings, stoves, office equipment, and construction materials of all types. . . . Three hundred and fifty thousand incandescent lamps were offered at 16 cents if new and 6 cents if used."

Rademacher's focus, however, is on unique items: the 56-foot statue of Vulcan that stands atop Red Mountain overlooking Birmingham, Alabama; the world's largest pipe organ (now several times larger than it was at the Fair) in the Lord & Taylor department store in downtown Philadelphia; the Connecticut pavilion that is now a stately residence in Lafayette, Indiana.  In all, Rademacher cites about sixty treasures in fifteen states plus the District of Columbia.

Still Shining is enhanced by nearly 250 photos -- past and present, interior and exterior, panoramic and detailed. These bring the treasures to life for the reader. In addition to listing the discussed items by state, Rademacher includes an index and an extensive bibliography.  Thus it is easy to find desired information.  

Still Shining is an excellent volume to help you celebrate the centennial of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition. It is likely to inspire you to look for connections to the Fair in your own community.

Published by Virginia Publishing Company, 2003, 144 pages.

If you think you might have found a relic from the Fair, Diane would love to hear from you. You can e-mail her at  

Available from Still Shining! Discovering Lost Treasures from the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair.

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Puzzler: Before and After

Find the word that completes the compound begun by the first word in each item and begins the compound completed by the last word of the item. (Take a moment to absorb those directions.) Some of the compounds are two words rather than one.

Example: gentle _____ hole [man; (gentleman, manhole)]

 1. high _____ man
 2. cottage _____ cake
 3. golf _____ house
 4. news _____ doll
 5. left _____ cuff
 6. precious _____ wall
 7. hi _____ knife
 8. police _____ hole
 9. side _____ pet
10. busy _____ line

Answer to November Cryptoquote




Is sloppiness in speech caused by ignorance or apathy? I don't
know and I don't care. 
--William Safire

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Thank you for reading. If you find LinguaPhile helpful and interesting, don't keep it a secret! Consider which of your friends would also enjoy it, and send them information about subscribing. Those receiving this forwarded message can subscribe at . People who have e-mail but do not have Internet access can subscribe by clicking on this link and requesting to subscribe: .

We welcome your comments and suggestions:

The index to LinguaPhile, which is updated monthly, is now available in either a text or .doc format on the GrammarAndMore Web site:
This makes the information from previous issues readily accessible. You are encouraged to print the index for your convenience or to share it with friends. Why not send them the URL of the text version?
It's a gift you can give, yet still have for yourself!

© 2004 Fran Santoro Hamilton


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