July 3, 2004 2:48 PM   Subscribe

Academical? While listening to NPR this afternoon, a UVa student giving a tour used the word "academical" in describing a portion of UVa's campus . The use of "academical" struck me as sounding very odd although it is arguably correct. Is it all academic?
posted by Dick Paris to Writing & Language (10 answers total)
it sounds ungrammatical.
posted by quonsar at 2:58 PM on July 3, 2004

It goes back to at least 1537 and is more or less a synonym for academic, but it is very rare. My instincts suggest the student did not know this.
posted by Mo Nickels at 3:24 PM on July 3, 2004

Irregardless of grammaticability, it's tough to dispute its roots of historicality...

The academical village was a notion envisioned by Thomas Jefferson to not only unite students and faculty in the pursuit of learning, but also in residence. My UVa literature reads as follows:
"The Rotunda at the University of Virginia was designed by Thomas Jefferson as the architectural and academic heart of his community of scholars, or what he termed the 'academical village.' As the phrase implies, learning was for Jefferson an integral part of life. The academical village is based on the assumption that the life of the mind is the pursuit of all participants in the University, that learning is a lifelong and shared process, and that interaction between scholars and students enlivens the pursuit of knowledge. "
Basically: It's all TJ's fault. But coincidentally, so is the Declaration of Independence, so I imagine we can't fault him for any grammatical styles that might have become outdated over the years.

And to tie this thread and the weekend together even further, here's some more history: "Shortly before his death in 1826, Jefferson told Madison that he wished to be remembered for two things only; as the Author of the Declaration of Independence, and as the founder of the University of Virginia. Jefferson died on the 4th of July, as the nation celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of his splendid Declaration."
posted by Hankins at 3:26 PM on July 3, 2004

(...btw, here's a copy of the Declaration of Independence. This weekend is as good as any to read/reread it. It's not a bad piece of work.)
posted by Hankins at 3:31 PM on July 3, 2004

The other fun tradition is that he's always Mr. Jefferson, and, flowing from that, professors are Mr. or Ms. So-and-so., not Dr. Wouldn't want them implying a station higher than Mr. Jefferson's. Also, there's no campus, only grounds, and no freshmen, only first-years, second-years, etc.

Hankins: that leaves out something else he wanted on his headstone:

"Here was buried Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of American Independence, of the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom, and Father of the University of Virginia." He also brought macaroni and cheese to the new world.

Drive up to Monticello and look at it. They'll even give you change in twos. (CLAS 92, who still remembers College Inn's phone number)
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 3:53 PM on July 3, 2004

(I don't know about 'academical,' but I heard someone on NPR refer to the inhabitants of Pakistan as 'Pakistanians.')
posted by carter at 5:34 PM on July 3, 2004

Response by poster: Thank you, Hankins.

I have great respect for Jefferson's work as an architect. He was a modernist before we knew we would have modernists. (Whom are really classicists but that's a whole other matter.)
posted by Dick Paris at 7:58 PM on July 3, 2004

"Academical" is a self-conscious archaism at UVa, one of which I got very tired on my first tour of the grounds. In fact, UVa actually managed to make me tired of long Tom himself, at least while I was there. (I got better afterward.)
posted by jfuller at 8:18 PM on July 3, 2004

There's a Scottish football club who have gloried in the name of Hamilton Academicals since the 1870s.
posted by misteraitch at 3:01 AM on July 4, 2004

"Academical" is a self-conscious archaism at UVa, one of which I got very tired on my first tour of the grounds

Same here. TJ was invoked waaaaaay too much there, but I still love the guy.
SARC '97
posted by LionIndex at 9:59 AM on July 6, 2004

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