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Tom Wier wrote:


>Quoting Roger Mills <[log in to unmask]>:
>> In Evelyn Waugh's novel about the foreign correspondent in Africa
>> (I forget the title offhand), the men in the field were required to
>> use such constructions in their cables to the home office, to save
>> on the word count. "Nairobiwards tomorrow" and many other amusing
>> examples.
>
>Is that because they were being paid by the word, or because
>they wanted to save on printing costs? If the latter, you'd
>think that "to Nairobi" would be the cheaper option.
>
No no-- to save on the cost of the cable (paid by the stingy home office).
Nairobiwards, no matter how long or nonsensical, is one word, so cheaper
than "to Nairobi".  IIRC there were flunkies in the home office who
translated (not always accurately) these dispatches back into normal
English-- to the annoyance of the original writer of course.
Hmmm-- telegrams, cablegrams, another moribund technology. Thank God email
doesn't charge by the word.

>(I wish I had more time and space to read.  I've had Waugh's
>_Decline and Fall_ on my bookshelf for about two years now,
>but haven't even begun to have time to read it.)

Sometime when you're really down, read it.  Or its semi-sequel "Vile
Bodies".  I guarantee several days' worth of chortles, chuckles, hoots and
hollers.  If Camus shows us the absurdity of life (without a sense of
humor), Waugh celebrates the ridiculousness of life (with ample wicked
humor).
>
>=====================================================================
>Thomas Wier <[log in to unmask]> <http://home.uchicago.edu/~trwier>
>
>             "...koruphàs hetéras hetére:isi prosápto:n /
>Dept. of Linguistics  mú:tho:n mè: teléein atrapòn mían..."
>University of Chicago "To join together diverse peaks of thought /
>1010 E. 59th Street   and not complete one road that has no turn"
>Chicago, IL 60637     Empedocles, _On Nature_, on speculative thinkers