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AWADmail Issue 9

April 3, 1998

A Compendium of Feedback on the Words in A.Word.A.Day and Other Interesting Tidbits about Words and Languages


From: Marian Herman(hermanmATih.k12.oh.us)
Subject: RE: AWADmail Issue 8

I love both AWAD and the AWADmail. I do wish you had included the poems you received " lamenting the intractability of English orthoepy and orthography." I enjoy the play of language in poetry a lot, and I know other word enthusiasts would enjoy it as well. Thanks.

    Including all those poems and writings would make the mailing too lengthy. Instead, I have put them on the Web site. -Anu


From: Al Magary (almagaryATconcentric.net)
Subject: Pronunciation hilarity in Limerick, San Francisco, Vermont

A few years ago, when my wife and I -- Californians both -- were touring Ireland, starting in Limerick, we found ourselves in a genuine Irish pub. I thought I'd order what the locals drink, so I gestured to a tall glass of foaming black liquid down along the bar and asked the bartender, "What do I ask for if I want one of those?"
"A point," he said.
"Okay," I said, "a point, please."
I thought he'd kill me on the spot. Instead he glared hard and filled a pint glass with Guinness stout.

On the first day of jury duty the other day in San Francisco, the bailiff calling the roll apologized twice for "mispronounciating" any of our names.

And once in college in Vermont, my roommate introduced me, "Uncle Jack, I'd like you to meet Al Magary."
"How do you do, Alma?" said Uncle Jack.


From: Dave Andrew (daveoradATaol.com)
Subject: Re: AWADmail Issue 8

That's a good theory, but the truth is simpler. Russian and English both borrowed the Greek "khaos". The pronunciation changed regrettably in English, but the Russian "khaos" (or, in Cyrillic, "xaoc") retained the same pronunciation, which is indeed something like "house". So in their study of English, your Russian colleagues evidently recognised the word "chaos" as similar to their own word, and assumed that the English pronunciation would be similar too. That's all.

(BTW, maybe it's a blessing that the pronunciation changed in English. Who'd want to come home to a "chaos"?) :)

    Also noted by Jo Zarboulas (jozarbATdeliverator.io.com). -Anu


From: Dominik Gaillardetz (dominikATnortel.ca)
Subject: Re: AWADmail Issue 8

I believe that one such returned loanword is "budget". The English borrowed it from the French "bougette", a small bag or purse. The French took budget back, with the French pronunciation (bu-djeh, with "u" as a short French u or German u umlaut, and "eh" as in ebb, set, merry).


From: Larry Kunz (ldkunzATus.ibm.com)
Subject: Re: AWADmail Issue 8

After your AWAD series on pronunciation, several people mentioned Shaw's lament about GHOTI = FISH. It's actually worse than that. Consider:

GH as in "night"
O as in "people"
T as in "bouquet"
I as in "piece"

...and GHOTI = " "

    Also noted by Sverker Nordgren (sverkerATsnida.se). -Anu


From: Bruce Bailey (bruce.baileyATtandem.com)
Subject: Odd pronunciations for letters.

Your example of "'l' as in 'colonel'" reminded me of a list compiled while lying around in traction for a few months with nothing better to do. Having gone the military spelling route (Alpha Bravo Charlie ...), I preferred to confuse. Here are some I came up with:

a aye (I)
b bdellium
c czar
d djin double-u
e eye , egg
f Ffolks
g gnu
h hors d'oeuvre , hour
i Iyar (eyar), Ibo (e bo)
j Jaeger (yager), Jai-alai
k knight
l llano, -- also "colonel" is a fun one!
m mnemonic
n ngwee (engwe = Zambian equivalent of one cent)
o oestruc, one
p ptomaine, pneumatic, psychiatry, pfizer
q queue, Qatar, qoph, quintar, quiviut
r
s see, sheep, sgraffito (z)
t tsunami
u Uitlander (ATE lan der)
v vrouw or vrow (frau) Dutch or Afrikans woman
w wring, Wagnerian
x Xingu (shingoo) river in Brazil, xhosa (kosa - Bantu language)
y you
z zwieback (sweebak)

If anyone can come up with an example of "R" not sounding like an "R" PLEASE PLEASE tell me!


From: Rebecca T. Watson (beccatATmidland.cc.tx.us)
Subject: Words that don't sound as pronounced

I was amused to learn that "colonel" was a most commented on word. My grade school in The Dalles, Oregon, was named Colonel Wright. So, as a first grader I learned much about spelling vs. sound.

    So did those who went to Lieutenant Reed, and Sergeant Rhythmatic. -Anu


From: Peggy Lewis (mlewisATegusd.k12.ca.us)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--augustan

I think Joplin's "Augustan" relates directly to the city, Augusta, and indirectly to the Emperor, Augustus, and that the definition might need a third entry "Of or referring to Augusta, Georgia".

    Also noted by Milton Cherry (quondamATnetropolis.net). -Anu


From: Bill Osborg (osborgwATstennis.navy.mil)
Subject: spreading the word, so to speak

I've enjoyed AWAD for quite some time now in various e-mail incarnations-- it's been quite informative.

I'm on a ship in the US navy, deploying to the Persian Gulf. AWAD is something I anticipate daily, and I have decided to post each word and the quote on a white board in our library, where I work, so that for the benefit of others. Clearly, AWAD reaches more people than just via e-mail.

    Your words are much appreciated. I hope you are back home soon, unharmed, and unharming. -Anu


Language is a city to the building of which every human being brought a stone. -Ralph Waldo Emerson

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