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Oct. 27, 2011 at 6:00 AM
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Author: 'Text speak' replacing old words

LONDON, Oct. 27 (UPI) -- A British author said a survey carried out to mark the launch of his language book suggests words such as "verily" and "salutations" are falling by the wayside.

J.P. Davison said the survey of 2,000 adults Sept. 19-27, carried out to mark the release of his book, "Planet Word," indicates words including "verily," "rambunctious," "salutations," "betwixt" and "bally" are falling out of style in favor of digitally inspired "text speak" such as "lol" (laughing out loud) and "jel" (jealous).

"Language is something that is constantly evolving," Davison said. ''You only have to look on Twitter to see evidence of the fact that a lot of English words that are used say in Shakespeare's plays or PG Wodehouse novels -- both of them avid inventors of new words -- are so little used that people don't even know what they mean now."

''This could be viewed as regrettable, as there are some great descriptive words that are being lost and these words would make our everyday language much more colorful and fun if we were to use them," he said. ''But it's only natural that with people trying to fit as much information in 140 characters that words are getting shortened and are even becoming redundant as a result."

California man found stuck in tree trunk

LAGUNA HILLS, Calif., Oct. 27 (UPI) -- California police, responding to reports of someone screaming for help, discovered a man stuck inside the hollow trunk of a standing tree.

The man, whose name was not released, had crawled into a hole in the trunk leading to a cavity about 4 or 5 feet underground in Laguna Hills, The Orange County (Calif.) Register reported Tuesday.

Battalion Chief Kris Concepcion of the Orange County Fire Authority said only the man's head and arms were visible and it took 90 minutes to retrieve the equipment necessary to cut him free.

Firefighters were called to the scene to check the man's mental health.

"Why he's in a tree, I have no idea," Concepcion said.

It is unknown how long the man was stuck in the tree, and he was freed without suffering any injuries, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Snake found in Toronto apartment's toilet

TORONTO, Oct. 27 (UPI) -- An apartment-dweller in Toronto says he found a 3-foot-long python coiled up inside his toilet bowl.

Ramdat Punwassie told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. he called authorities after discovering the snake about 10 p.m. Tuesday.

"I didn't want to take chances," the native of Guyana said Wednesday. "I close the door and call for help. I see [snakes] in my country. This is the first time I see it here."

Two Toronto police officers removed the python, which had slithered into Punwassie's bathtub, and turned it over to the city's animal services department.

It was the officers' second snake call of the day. Hours earlier, they had removed a 3-foot corn snake that had crawled out of a wall in an apartment in another building in the neighborhood.

Neither snake is venomous. They will be turned over to a reptile zoo if the owners can't be located, police said.

"Like finding a stray dog, now we're finding stray snakes," Staff Sgt. Leslie Hildred said.

Missing dog found 600 miles away

ERIN, Tenn., Oct. 27 (UPI) -- The Tennessee owners of a dog that went missing in July said they were overjoyed and baffled when he turned up 600 miles away in Michigan.

Tyanne Morrison, 54, said her stepfather, Jim Arrighi, 73, had been searching for Petey the Jack Russell terrier since the dog disappeared from his Erin, Tenn., yard July 28 and he was delighted when a Michigan Humane Society volunteer called to say the dog had been found in Rochester Hills and traced back to him with an implanted microchip, the Detroit Free Press reported Wednesday.

"He's tickled to death," Morrison said. "We've hunted and hunted everywhere. He's had pictures put in the paper. We put posters up everywhere. We rode around on four wheelers in the area, so we knew he wasn't hit by a car."

No one knows how Petey made the 600-mile journey, but Morrison said Arrighi believes his wife, Juanita, 77, who died Oct. 12, helped guide Petey to the Humane Society.

"That's what he thinks -- he truly thinks that," Morrison said. "A lot of people think that. They think she was looking over him."

Humane Society volunteer Nancy Greiser agreed to drive Petey home.

"This story put a smile on the faces of our entire adoption center team," said Marcelena Mace, shelter manager at the MHS Rochester Hills Center for Animal Care. "It's wonderful when we see microchip reunions, including those that seem like miracles. It really proves that no matter how far your pet may travel, a microchip can help him find his way home!"

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