About Me

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Delta, British Columbia, Canada
I took very early retirement from teaching in '06 and did some traveling in Europe and the UK before settling down to do some private tutoring. As a voracious reader, I have many books waiting in line for me to read. Tell me I shouldn't read something, and I will. I'm a happy, optimistic person and I love to travel and through that believe that life can be a continuous learning experience. I'm looking forward to traveling more some day. I enjoy walking, cycling, water aerobics & and sports like tennis, volleyball, and fastpitch/baseball. I'm just getting into photography as a hobby and I'm enjoying learning all the bits and bobs of my digital camera. My family is everything to me and I'm delighted to be the mother of two girls and the Gramma of a boy and a girl. I may be a Gramma, but I'm at heart just a girl who wants to have fun.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

ABC Wednesday - the letter Q

ABC Wednesday is brought to you by Mrs. Nesbitt. Be sure to pop over to see who's participating. It should be interesting this week with Q as the letter of the week.


Q is for question mark and questions.

Have you ever wondered how this symbol came about? I turned to my trusty Reader’s Digest book entitled "Why in the World?" (all you ever wanted to know about the world around you but may never have thought to ask) This is what it had to say about our question mark:

Our system of punctuation came to us from classical Greek and Latin, where its chief purpose was not to assist comprehension but to guide those reading aloud. Different marks showed the reader how to stress syllables, and where to pause and draw breath to maintain the metre in a line of poetry.

In Latin, a query was indicated by the word "questio" placed at the end of the sentence. The laborious task of handwriting books was made easier by abbreviating many words, and "questio" was shortened to QO. Since QO could be mistaken for other abbreviations, scribes began to place the Q above the O. Before long, the Q deteriorated into a squiggle and the O became a dot.

Bet you didn't know that. I certainly didn't. And that's what is great about ABC Wednesday - it challenges me to learn something new each week.
Here are a few interesting questions from the book.

1. Why do we talk about the Man in the Moon?

Open a children's storybook, and you're likely to find a drawing of the Man in the Moon. For many people, the Moon, with its combination of light and dark areas, looks like a man's face. The Man in the Moon is always young, freshly discovered by each pair of eyes that sees him for the first time. And he is also ancient, dwelling in the Moon right down the ages, immortal as the rocks and dust of the Moon's geological face. And for those who travel for the first time to the opposite hemisphere, the Man in the Moon may have an unfamiliar face. Britons who visit South America or Australia assert - quite correctly - that their friendly figure from the north has suddenly turned upside down.

2. Why do some people have freckles?

If you have freckles, blame your ancestors. Almost certainly they are inherited. They first show up in childhood and, if you are going to have them, they have usually all appeared by your twenty-first birthday. . . In most of us, sunshine increases the production of melanin, the pigment that tans our skin and protects it. Some fair-skinned people and most redheads don't tan in the sun. Their pigment cells fail to respond, or do so unevenly. Instead of producing an even tan, the pigment collects irregularly in small dark spots. Even though freckles themselves are harmless, people who have them should take greater care out of doors. They should never go into the sun without a hat, and guard themselves with sunscreens to avoid a tendency to burn.

3. Why do chefs use dish-covers?

At many feasts and banquets, the chef's special dish is usually delivered with some ceremony. Often, it is wheeled into the dining hall, concealed under a cover to maintain the surprise. Then - presto! - the cover is removed to reveal the "chef d'oeuvre" in all its magnificence. Dish-covers serve to maintain surprise and keep the dish hot, but that wasn't their original function. When poisoning was a convenient way to dispatch an unpopular monarch, ill-lit corridors from the kitchen to banqueting hall offered ample opportunity to pop a fatal dose into the royal dinner. Before any food left the kitchen, it was placed on a dish, and the cover was padlocked. At the table, the chef unlocked the cover and tasted the food before it was served. If the chef failed to supervise his staff or made too many enemies, he ran a high risk of suffering a painful death.

I always had this book at school so that whenever an interesting question arose from my students, I would direct them to this book - or other books where they could look up the answer themselves. When they would complain and say, "Why don't you just tell me the answer?" I would simply smile and tell them they'd remember the answer all their lives if they went to the trouble of looking it up themselves. They would sigh deeply, but off they'd go searching for the answer. I hope that someday they'll remember the teacher that made them look it up for themselves.
Have a great week, everybody! I'll be popping 'round to see what you came up with for Q today.

44 comments:

mrsnesbitt said...

I am so honored to be the first to comment.to say how touched I was to see the dedication and application you applied to ABC Wednesady! This is what it is all about Leslie!

Dxxxx

imac said...

Oh well, I learnt summat today.

Great idea.


Pop over to see my Q post and the Bluebells.

ellen b said...

Amen to ABC Wednesday being a stimulus to learn. This was a great Q post Leslie...
Have a great week..

Berit said...

Great post Leslie!!!

And a beautiful story in your daugthers blog!

John said...

Great informativ Q post Leslie!

Michele (Rocky Mtn.Girl) said...

OOOooo... awesome approach at this ... I like the freckles one because gee... I got 'em... never liked 'em and yeh... I burn... and peel, burn, peel, and never tan.. sigh.

leslie said...

Denise - you're very welcome. I'm so glad I came upon this fun way of celebrating Wednesdays.

Imac - be right over!

Ellen - that's what I like about ABCW - a way to learn something new every day.

Berit - thanks so much and also for the kind words re daughter.

John - glad you were informed. ;D

Michele - when I was a kid, I'd get freckles every spring but then they'd just join up and give me a great tan! lol

me and my camera said...

This is a wonderful explanation about puncutation! As a former teacher I enjoyed it thoroughly. This is a very interesting Q posting.

photowannabe said...

I'm on information overload. This was so interesting Leslie. Thank you for sharing it with us.
I like how you encouraged your students to think for themselves.

Judy said...

Great Q post. I think the letter Q is the best ABC wednesday so far.

Katney said...

I'll have a question answered in my Q entry, too. It will appear magically at midnight. Another question--how does that work?

Your book of questions was a good resource for your students. I always had an encyclopedia in my classroom. It may have been an old one, but the questions of first grade do not required a lot of currency. Insects, dogs, dinosaurs, and flags seemed to be the most popular look-it-ups.

In the library I still try to teach the kids to find it themselves.

Louis la Vache said...

"Louis" was elucidated by your post here - and by your correction of his error at San Francisco Bay Daily Photo. Ducks; Geese; how's une vache to know? They had beaks, feathers and wings; at least "Louis" was close given that they are both waterfowl.... :-)

Texas Travelers said...

I didn't know about the question mark.
This get my vote for best today.
Thanks for sharing.

Come visit my Quadruped,
Troy

Louis la Vache said...

"Ackworth Born" had the answer "Louis" was looking for at his "Q" post! CAIRNS is the name! See - "Louis" wasn't trying to be dirty at all! :-)

Ruth D~ said...

You are such a teacher, Leslie. I learn so much, and you make it so interesting.

Paulie said...

Love how you answered all those questions today. Fun stuff to learn about! Come see my sole Q.

Picturing of Life said...

wow..great post for Q. I also have question mark at my post, but it is little bit different with yours. Yours better ^__^

Will you visit mine Thanks

Neva said...

What a great post....and so informative. Well done.
mine seems so unoriginal after all that I have seen!
Mine is up.

RuneE said...

Many good lessons here. I knew some of them, but certainly not the one about the dish-covers!

It is never to late to learn. Thank you for telling me!

ArneA said...

Just great.
not only questions, but answers as well
Thanks for letting my brain rest

babooshka said...

A good interpretaion of the q.

Ackworth Born said...

Quite so!

Russell said...

Sounds like a great book! I will need to get a copy of it! I always love trivia and learning how things came to be.

In the legal word, we often use a set of questions called interrogatories that we send to people. These are supposed to be limited to 30 "questions" however.... what people do is they will have, say, Question #1 and then there will be "parts" A through ZZZ!!! In other words, one question actually includes dozens are more of mini questions.

Your information about the question mark was quite interesting. Take care!

Jonna said...

Very nice post, and very informative. Good choice.

Chuck Pefley said...

Well, you've Quenched my thirst for information I didn't know I wanted to know. Interesting information about the origins of covered serving dishes. Who woulda thunk??

mylittlephotonook said...

Thanks for sharing all this information today!

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

Hi Leslie...Great post.

Yes it would be great if we all could meet up in the summer, just let us know, when and where!! :-)

Can you send me your email address...mine is annearnott1@hotmail.com..thanks.

Nancy said...

You were such a great teacher! I love the way you inspired your students to "think" and "find it themselves"! Now that is a blessing indeed.

Heading to your daughter's blog....

Powell River Books said...

I never knew that about the question mark. Thanks for sharing that piece of history. Your posts always teach me so much.

I chose to use nearby Quadra Island for Q. It is a fun vacation destination that you can see by clicking here. – Margy

JR's Thumbprints said...

Nice Q-tip. Now I have to dig the wax out of my ears.

Josie said...

Leslie, that's very interesting! I always learn something over here on your blog. You're a great teacher. You inspire inquisitiveness. Is that a word? :-)

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

I never thought bout that before and that sounds a great book to have.

Gordon said...

A great post Leslie; interesting information, especially about the question mark.

When I was teaching, there was a well worn path to the library, as I encouraged my students to research for themselves. Thankfully we had a resourceful librarian.

david mcmahon said...

Lovely to see great answers to Eternal Questios!

AVCR8TEUR said...

I love Reader's Digest. The stories in each issue is fascinating, but I haven't read the book. No wonder you were/are a teacher. Many of your readers have learned something today. :D

Aileni said...

Thanks for the comment at my 'Q'. I'll be back when my eyes wake up.

Miss_Yves said...

Questions are very important to get knowledges ...And there is no "silly question" wrote Jostein Gaarder in "Le Monde de Sophie"!
Miss Yves

Liz said...

it's interesting that ? came from Q. I'd never thought about it but it makes sense.

My dictionary sits just above my computer and is my favourite learning tool.

Dragonstar said...

I've never Questioned the Question mark - it's always been just the way "it is". Thank you so much for enlightening me.

Aileni said...

I'm back !
I rather assumed the symbol came from Arabic though I believe our numbers are from Moorish mathematicians.
I imagine your students wouldsonner turn to the pc these days... then get side-tracked.

Jean M Fogle said...

VEry nice post, I love the way you addressed questions instead of just using it as a q word. Fun to read, keep up the good work!

Trubes said...

Another good post Leslie, loved it.

I've written to you via your e-mail, hope you've received it.

Di.xx

starnitesky said...

Always interesting facts from your blog, we often just accept things as they are and don't look into the why.

Helena said...

What a great post!
I had a hard time trying to think of a "Q"!