Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0004425, Mon, 27 Sep 1999 20:05:28 -0700

Garbus/Grabus--and your editor's apology (fwd)
From: Donald Barton Johnson <chtodel@humanitas.ucsb.edu>

NOTE: See editor's note below:

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Mon, 27 Sep 1999 10:05:45 -0400

From: Jay Livingston <LivingstonJ@Mail.Montclair.edu>
TO DBJ (or whoever posted this -- I receive the Listserv in Digest
form, and I don't always believe the "from" line) made an interesting
garbling a lawyer's name. The lawyer is Martin Garbus, not "Grabus." Any
guesses as to how this metathesis might have happened?

Jay Livingston

>The New YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW of 26 Sept. 1999, p. 35 has an article
>"Lolita and the Lawyers" written by attorney Martin Grabus. Grabus
>represented Barney Russet's Foxrock


Dear Subscribers,
Thanks to Jay Livingston for catching my multiply-intriguing typo
re Mr. Garbus' name. It was entirely unwitting. The moral is that aging
academics should not do their e-mail chores late in the evening.
As to deep reasons for my error, there are several lines of
association that could be made, I, as a onetime Slavic linguist, feel
constrained to point out the AR/RA metathesis is a common one in the
migration of roots into Slavic, a phenomenom known under the heading of
TORT groups. Note, for example, the amusing metathesis of the Germanic
root underlying ARBEIT into Slavic RAB (slave) and Russian RABOTAT' (to
work) (and latterly the Czech-English ROBOT). Appparently in the Slav
tongues, ARBEIT does not "macht Frei." I confess that this an attempt to
obfuscate the psychological tentacles of an innocent typo.

D. Barton Johnson
Department of Germanic, Slavic and Semitic Studies
Phelps Hall
University of California at Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, CA 93106
Phone and Fax: (805) 687-1825
Home Phone: (805) 682-4618