Archive for the ‘Pronunciation’ Category

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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Pronouncing the 59th Street Bridge

April 10, 2017

In the latest (April 10th) issue of the New Yorker, Slight Headache Dept.: “I Say Koch” by Nick Paumgarten, on pronouncing the family name Koch. The lead-in has Apple Maps directing someone to the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge (which is really the Fifty-ninth Street Bridge — do honor to Simon & Garfunkel — or just the Queensboro Bridge),

pronounced Koch “coke,” as in the Koch brothers, Charles and David, the industrialists and underwriters of right-wing causes — rather than “kotch,” as in the Mayor. What a maroon.

Ed Koch contemplating the 59th St. Bridge (caricature by Tom Bachtell)

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That’s a moray

October 17, 2015

Yesterday I posted about (among other things) the song “That’s Amore”, as made famous by Dean Martin. Immediately friends began providing plays on the title: That’s a Moray”. Eels! It turns out that there is a small industry in this bit of linguistic playfulness. On to the parodies, and then some words about morays.

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Anglicizing German

April 18, 2015

Following my posting on the sandwich issue of the NYT Food section, a Facebook discussion sprung up about the sandwich beef on weck; what, people wondered, was weck? The answer is partly about food, and partly about the German and English languages.

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Wiscahnsin

March 22, 2015

In yesterday’s NYT, a piece by Patrick Healy, “For 2016 Run, Scott Walker Washes ‘Wiscahnsin’ Out of His Mouth”, beginning:

Columbia, S.C. — Out on the presidential campaign trail, Gov. Scott Walker has left “Wiscahnsin” back home in Wisconsin. He now wants to strengthen the economy, not the “ecahnahmy.” And while he once had the “ahnor” of meeting fellow Republicans, he told one group here this week that he simply enjoyed “talkin’ with y’all.”

The classic Upper Midwest accent — nasal and full of flat a’s — is one of several Walker trademarks to have fallen away this month after an intense period of strategizing and coaching designed to help Mr. Walker capitalize on his popularity in early polls and show that he is not some provincial politician out of his depth.

Although Healy leads with pronunciation matters, they are not the focus of the piece, which is about how Walker is being coached in general on ways to make himself attractive to a wide range of voters.

Now on the main dialect feature in question, the Upper Midwest “flat a”.

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