Wednesday, September 30, 2009


I have been loving reading the books of Anne Fadiman. Ex Libris was amazing and I'm happily slogging through the dense, but fascinating The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down.

I love the way she writes, because it keeps me on my toes. Like for the last 20 pages, all I can think is "...why does she keep using the phrase polygyny instead of polygamy? I need to look up the difference."

As I suspected, Polygyny is the act of having more than one wife and Polygamy is the act of having more than one spouse.

I am certain that Anne Fadiman choose the word Polygyny simply for it's clarity. The Hmong people that she is studying do not have more than one spouse, the men often take more than one wife. I am certain that linguistic clarity is an admirable trait. Something that I am sure she strives for. Much like not ending sentences with prepositions, something that I pledge to work on.

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