I don’t know why I’m writing anything here, my point is so clear from the title.

It’s been mentioned recently in my Linguistics course that the perception of speech by listeners is a strong factor in language change. Sometimes, listeners become aware of the true phrase, and are mocked as in the FedEx commercial: “We get fringe benefits, not French benefits.” Putting myself on the chopping block, I used to think that the Juan de Fuca tectonic plate was the Wanda Fuca plate, and that Prog Rock was Prague Rock. (Rock on Czech Republic!) The other option is that listeners are not corrected, misinterpret the divisions of words, and make new words based off of that assumption. These are 3 examples.

[and then suddenly…]

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February 7, 2012

in arabic,english,Etymology,history of language,Words & Origins

I have written or presented about this topic at least 3 times in school, and it still amuses the hell out of me. I have distilled it down to 5 words, but I just found a paper that lists the whole 10, and I think it’s worth recording these down while the information still bubbles and frolicks around for me when I talk about it.

1. Fabular

-Spanish is one of the Romance languages which means it comes from Latin. Other Romance languages include French, Italian, Romanian, Catalan, and Portuguese, unfortunately.
-Fabular means ‘to tell a tale,’ which has morphed over the years to become the verb hablar, to speak. There are many words which begin with ‘f’ in Latin that changed to ‘h’ in modern Spanish. Exceptions are words with a diphthong after the ‘f’ like fuente (fountain), fuerza (force), and fuego (fire). [and then suddenly…]


March 21, 2011

in arabic,basque,best list ever,best post ever,diphthong,Etymology,history of language,IPA,izquierda,left-handedness,not basque,old-timey,patronyms,phonological constraints,spanish,Words & Origins,zurda

1. Haiti
2. repertoire
3. edelweiss
4. endophthalmitis
5. xebec

Robert, Leila, Andy and I sat eating pizza before the bee, and Andy, Leila and I tied for 3rd, knowlingly leaving the stage at the same time when the other two spellers got their words right. Ah well, it was a good exit.


March 1, 2011

in arabic,nautical terms,spelling,spelling bee

1. symbolic
2. memorandum
3. patronymic
4. geophagy
5. sebec (I spelled it wrong)
6. aegis (I spelled it wrong)
7. strongylosis (I spelled it wrong)
8. patroon

They ran out of sufficiently difficult words so I tied for 2nd with 2 other ladies. Sort of unsatisfying, but if I can keep it for 2 weeks in my wallet, I’ll have a drink ticket the next time I go to spelling.


February 8, 2011

in 2nd place,arabic,greek,spelling,spelling bee,tied for 2nd