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Mar 29, 1999
This week's theme
Words that go out of their way to not apply to themselves

This week's words
phonetic
abbreviation
monosyllabic
hemidemisemiquaver
descender
diminutive
opuscule

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

Why isn't phonetic spelled the way it is pronounced?

Ever wondered why "shorter" is longer than "short"? No one said English was logical. If you've ever bumped into a pauper named Midas and wondered how inappropriately he was named, you'll understand this week's theme in AWAD: words that go out of their way to not apply to themselves.

phonetic

Pronunciation Sound Clip RealAudio

phonetic (fuh-NET-ik) adjective

1. Of or relating to phonetics.

2. Representing the sounds of speech with a set of distinct symbols, each designating a single sound.

3. Of, relating to, or being features of pronunciation that are not phonemically distinctive in a language, as aspiration of consonants or vowel length in English.

[New Latin phoneticus, representing speech sounds, from Greek phonetikos, vocal, from phonetos, to be spoken, from phonein, to produce a sound, from phone, sound, voice.]

"Before infants are even 1 year old, they can distinguish subtle phonetic sounds in all languages. For example, a baby can recognize two `D' sounds in Hindi that sound identical to an English-speaking adult."
No Subtleties in Baby Talk, ScienceNOW, 23 Jul 1997.

X-Bonus

It is only the wisest and the stupidest that cannot change. -Confucius, philosopher and teacher (c. 551-478 BCE)

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