RE: Humor in technical writing

Subject: RE: Humor in technical writing
From: "Tracy Boyington" <tracy_boyington -at- okcareertech -dot- org>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 28 Sep 2000 13:32:20 -0500

Sorry, John, but it's not as basic as you think. You should take a look at the Urban Legends site Jill recommended, where you'll find an extensive explanation of why the "commonly touted Spanish meaning for Nova" is an urban legend (in fact, the car sold well in Spanish-speaking markets). Here's a snippet from

"First of all, the phrase "no va" (literally "doesn't go") and the word "nova" are distinct entities with different pronunciations in Spanish: the former is two words and is pronounced with the accent on the second word; the latter is one word with the accent on the first syllable. Assuming that Spanish speakers would naturally see the word "nova" as equivalent to the phrase "no va" and think "Hey, this car doesn't go!" is akin to assuming that English speakers woud spurn a dinette set sold under the name Notable because nobody wants a dinette set that doesn't include a table."

(and they have an explanation of the "bite the wax tadpole" story too...)

Tracy Boyington tracy_boyington -at- okcareertech -dot- org
Oklahoma Department of Career & Technology Education
Stillwater, OK

>>> "John Locke" <mail -at- freelock -dot- com> 09/28/00 01:09PM >>>
Jill Waite belives about the commonly touted Spanish meaning for Nova and
"Coca Cola ('bite the wax tadpole" in Chinese)'":

> These two have a high probability of being urban legends, not real truths.
> Being a professional wordsmith and very interested in "word candy" of all
> types, I often use (and recommend highly) the Urban Legends
> Reference Pages
> (

Urban legend? "No va?" Didn't you ever study Spanish? That's pretty basic.

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