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AWADmail Issue 9April 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)
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.
From: Al Magary (almagaryATconcentric.net)
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?"
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."
From: Dave Andrew (daveoradATaol.com)
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"?) :)
From: Dominik Gaillardetz (dominikATnortel.ca)
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)
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"
...and GHOTI = " "
From: Bruce Bailey (bruce.baileyATtandem.com)
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)
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)
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.
From: Peggy Lewis (mlewisATegusd.k12.ca.us)
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".
From: Bill Osborg (osborgwATstennis.navy.mil)
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.
Language is a city to the building of which every human being brought a stone. -Ralph Waldo Emerson