This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Thing Not To Do Today: warble.

Are you a warbler?

No, I don't suppose you're any sort of small singing bird, though I note that in Europe warblers generally do their best to be invisible:

Eurasian Reed Warbler

 whereas in America they tend to flaunt themselves all over the place:

Prothonotary Warbler.

No, I'm asking if you warble when you sing.

Do you put back your head, assume a pleasing expression, and let rip in a light tenor/soprano?

Or do you shuffle along emitting a sound like a slightly paranoid  chicken?

Singer At Open Mic

(In the USA, apparently warble can be used to mean to yodel - but naturally yodelling is not to be recommended under any circumstances whatsoever.)

I would recommend the letting-rip, myself, but if you must warble, then the vital thing is that you don't do it anywhere near cows.

No, really. Because the very most annoying of all the warblers is the warble fly, which lays its eggs in the hide of cattle and causes them a lot of irritation. In fact the mere sound of a warble fly is enough to send a herd of peacefully grazing cows into a panic-stricken stampede.

Yes, that's right, very much in the same way as when a busker  warbles a song of his own composition in a crowded street.

So, if you must warble, warble safely: find somewhere where you'll be out of the crush, first.

Thing Not To Do Today: warble. No one is sure where the word warble comes from. Some say it's a frequentative form of the Middle High German werben, Old High German hwerban, to be busy, to set in movement. Some say it comes from the Old French werbler, to vibrate or tremble. There's also an Old High German word wirbil, meaning whirlwind, that might have something to do with it. Though it's hard to see what.

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