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Aug 16, 2001
This week's theme
Words about words

This week's words
Hobson-Jobson
dittography
eye dialect
epenthesis
idiolect


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with Anu Garg

epenthesis

Pronunciation (uh-PEN-thu-sis)

noun: Insertion of an extra sound into a word, e.g. fillum for film.

[From Late Latin, from Greek epentithenai, to insert : ep-, epi-, (in addition) + en- (in) thesis (to place), stem of tithenia (to put).]

"Mosner also asked whether there is a name for 'the insertion of a nonexistent syllable or sound in a word?
Exhibit 1: the regrettably ubiquitous 'ath-a-lete'.
Exhibit 2: 'height-th'.
"Yes: It is epenthesis. Another instance of it is el-lum for elm." Alden Wood; Wood Caught in a Snare Andalusian; Communication World (San Francisco); Jun/Jul 1996.

X-Bonus

Written laws are like spider's webs; they will catch, it is true, the weak and the poor, but would be torn in pieces by the rich and powerful. -Anacharsis, philosopher (6th century BCE)

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