Archive for the ‘Pronunciation’ Category

Chic peas and more

October 13, 2018

The fall special at Dan Gordon’s (on Emerson St. in Palo Alto), as it first appeared on the menu, about a month ago:

Summer Stew $16.95
smoked pork / cippolini onions / chic peas / prunes / red rice

(with the very notable spelling chic peas and with the misspelling cippolini for cipollini). But now the ingredients list reads:

smoked pork / cippolini onions / chickpeas / dehydrated plums / red rice

(with the notable dehydrated plums). Actually, all four ingredients have linguistic interest.

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Goldenrods and Boston cops

September 3, 2018

… with a note on the pronunciation of botanical names.

The crucial moment came in a re-run showing of the Rizzoli & Isles episode “Love the Way You Lie” (S3 E12, first aired 12/4/12), when the Boston detective (Rizzoli, played by Angie Harmon) and medical examiner (Isles, played by Sasha Alexander) pondered the significance of the fact that they had identified some pollen as coming from Solidago macrophylla, with the species name macrophylla pronounced /ˌmækroˈfɪlǝ/ (with primary accent on the third syllable). I was startled by the pronunciation: it’s Greek ‘big leaf’, so surely it should have the accent on the second syllable (as in thermometer, Hippocrates, etc.), something on the order of  /mǝˈkrafǝlǝ/, and the writers had just gotten it wrong.

But no. The writers did their homework, and I was the one who was wrong.

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Ruthie faces literal ambiguity

August 28, 2018

In the 7/30 strip, on the ambiguity of the word letter; in the 7/31 strip, a play on the name of the letter Y:

(#1)

(#2)

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Fantasy originalism

August 25, 2018

A SMBC “Gif” from sometime in August 2017:

Yes, a stupid discussion, on several fronts.

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The turquoise dish

May 15, 2018

Plant news from my house, a song in silver, gray, and blue (and of course green).

Off to the nursery yesterday to upgrade the pots for several plants: a much larger pot for the big Spathipyllum houseplant I call Spathy (see my 1/4/18 posting “Spathy in maturity”), which was grotesquely potbound; and a larger dish for a succulent garden I wrote about in a 4/26 posting “New on the patio”–  #2 there:

(#1) Blue Curls, plus four other succulents, three of them quite blue, one green and juniper-like

Freed from the confines of their little plastic containers from Trader Joes, they all set out to bulk up and spread over their new world, and almost immediately needed a bigger territory. That led me, eventually to the Turquoise Dish, where they live now, with some new gray sedum ‘Cape Blanco’ companions.

Along the way I picked up a creeping lamium with silver leaves, which goes by the name ‘Lami Mega Purple’.

Variety in foliage color, beyond nature’s basic green, is a developing theme outside my window. Coleus with red and yellow in their leaves; a Cordyline (ti plant) hybrid with bronzy-burgundy leaves; and now the silver / gray / blue succulents and  lamium.

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Spoiling

May 8, 2018

An AMZ poetry moment.

From the New York Times Magazine, Terrance Hayes’s Poem column: “Too Many Cooks Spoil the Broth” (in print 5/6, on-line 5/4), by Aimee Nezhukumatathil:

Too many needles spoil the cloth.
Too many parrots spoil the talk.
Too many chapped lips spoil the gloss.
Too many teasel burs spoil the paw.
Too many bubbles spoil the froth.
Too many doorbells spoil the knock.
Too many seeds spoil the floss.
Too many feathers spoil the claw.
Too many lightbulbs spoil the moth.
Too many holes spoil the sock.
Too many sunbeams spoil the moss.
Too many kisses spoil the jaw.
Too many wolves spoil the flock.
Too many necks spoil the block.

All edgy domesticity until the end, when ravening wolves and beheadings erupt.

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The roar of the reporter, the sound of the comics

May 5, 2018

Today’s Bizarro/Wayno collaboration:

(#1) (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 6 in this strip — see this Page.)

Tintin, the reporter and adventurer in the comics, suffers from tinnitus. tintinnitus: portmanteau in form, hybrid in semantics.

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Deacccenting

March 26, 2018

Coming past me every so often on tv, a commercial for the Car Gurus company, in which the pronunciation of the company name varies from a clear car gurus, [ˈkarˌguruz], with a secondary accent on the first syllable of gurus, to something like cargaroos, [ˈkargəruz], with this syllable unaccented and its vowel reduced to schwa — indeed, including the intermediate variant [ˈkargʊruz], with that syllable deaccented and its vowel laxed but not reduced to schwa.

My ears perked up at the pronunciations with deaccented second element, because they sounded so odd — because they effaced the identity of the guru component of the name, which is surely semantically important to the image of the company, which proposes to offer gurus, in this sense from NOAD:

noun guru: an influential teacher or popular expert

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In the neighborhood, with an O

May 28, 2017

I wander the streets of Palo Alto, on foot or in a car, with my helpers Kim and Juan, and they ask about the flowers that line the streets, especially, at eye level, showy shrubs and low-growing flowers. Many of them are entirely familiar, like roses and geraniums, but some are exotic, at least to Kim and Juan. Lots of the exotics are now in bloom, including two with names that begin with the letter O, two that are growing right out my back door: Nerium oleander, oleander; and Oenothera speciosa, Mexican primrose or pink evening primrose. (Spelling note: oleander begins with O, pronounced /o/; oenothera begins with OE, pronounced /i/.)

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Special counsel appointed

May 19, 2017

Informed opinion has been very positive about the appointment of Mueller as special counsel to investigate allegations in the semolina affair. Commenters are generally agreed that Mueller is a respected authority in such matters, with a long public career in the field and experience in both semolina matters and the byzantine world of elbow-cheese casseroles.

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