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Words that misled in youth
Posted: 20 March 2007 12:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]
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languagehat - 20 March 2007 09:46 AM

May I suggest suede?

We might be swayed to allow the suggestion.

~Valerie

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Posted: 20 March 2007 12:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]
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Now I wonder why I never had any trouble with “suede” whereas I was wrong with “segue” right up until I started reading this thread....

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Posted: 20 March 2007 01:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]
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It’s different at the end of the word. You think of things like ‘vague’ and ‘Hague’. Though not, of course, ‘ague’.

I once thought of changing my last name to Montague just to be able to say to everyone, ‘No, it’s pronounced mon-TAIG.’

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Posted: 20 March 2007 02:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]
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kurwamac - 20 March 2007 01:03 PM

It’s different at the end of the word. You think of things like ‘vague’ and ‘Hague’. Though not, of course, ‘ague’.

I once thought of changing my last name to Montague just to be able to say to everyone, ‘No, it’s pronounced mon-TAIG.’

Ah...ague is another one. I used to rhyme it with vague and Hague.

You’d get awfully tired of correcting everyone. Far too much inconvenience for a practical joke!

~Valerie

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Righteousness and unrighteousness move material things,
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Posted: 20 March 2007 05:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]
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When I first ran into the word “phalarope” I thought it was pronounced FAL uh roap.  I was soon told that it was really fuh LAIR uh pee.  Only recently did I come to find out that I was right in the first place.  On the other hand I have always pronounced “aphelion” ap-helion.  I still insist that that is correct even though I am told that the correct pronunciation is supposed to be uh feelion.  I guess I’m fighting an uh-fill battle on that one.

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Posted: 20 March 2007 05:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]
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On the other hand I have always pronounced “aphelion” ap-helion.

Me too!  I gave in to the standard pronunciation only with mulish reluctance.

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Posted: 20 March 2007 05:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]
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languagehat - 20 March 2007 05:19 PM

… gave in to the standard pronunciation only with mulish reluctance.

At some point someone tried to claim that the ph got turned into an f sound in Greek even before the word got crammed into the English word horde.  Might could of been Uncle Jazzbeau.

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Posted: 21 March 2007 01:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]
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To return to ‘fluck’ at the beginning of this thread I’m reminded of a rap at the beginning of a Chumbawamba song about censorship by DJ Fusion:

Fluckin’ ‘ell, fluckin’ ‘ell fluckin’ ‘ell/oh my/it’s a good job Fusion cannot spell

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Posted: 21 March 2007 05:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]
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someone tried to claim that the ph got turned into an f sound in Greek even before the word got crammed into the English word horde

Oh, it did, before there was an English language in fact.  There’s no question the f pronunciation is correct, just as in words like aphesis and aphorism (which both have the ap- prefix followed by an aspirated vowel in Greek); compare, say, cathode from kat(a)- + hodos.  I don’t know why aphelion seems like it should have p + h, but somehow it does.

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Posted: 21 March 2007 06:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]
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I don’t know why aphelion seems like it should have p + h, but somehow it does.

For me its because:
a) ‘helios’ is a familiar word and to keep the h sound in a related word seems right
b) the meaning (of aphelion) suggests to me that the pronunciation should be sound-related to apogee

So its a case of mulish reluctance here too language hat!

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Posted: 21 March 2007 09:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]
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(peri-gee, apo-gee, peri-helion, aph-elion?)

Etymonline on aphelion:

“point farthest from the sun (of a celestial body’s orbit), 1676, from Mod.L. aphelium, the modern form an alteration by Johannes Kepler, based on Gk. apo heliou “away from the sun,” from apo “away from” + heliou, gen. of helios “sun” (see sol). The whole was formed on the model of Ptolemaic apogæum (see apogee) to reflect the new helio-centric model of the universe.

That’s not entirely clear to me, but it doesn’t sound like the ancient Greeks used the word at all.  Doesn’t specify what Kepler “altered” either. Did he take it from the Greek phrase or was there an earlier Latin form (perhaps apohelium?)?

Merriam Webster online allows both pronunciations (though the f one comes first) so I’ll stick with the ap-helion and say pe-rih-elion to the people who correct me. (^_^)

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Posted: 21 March 2007 09:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]
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IIRC the ancient (pre-Ptolemy) Greeks (and Romans) believed that the Sun and other “planets” moved around the Earth in perfect circles (being affixed to crystalline spheres) with Earth at their center.  There would therefore be no position of greatest or least distance to the Earth; all points on a circle or sphere are equidistant from the center.  Ptolemy introduced the idea of epicycles, which implied that at least some of the planets could vary their distance from the earth.  The original meaning of apogaion (the letter etymonline is transliterating as u is actually a nu, equivalent to n) was just “away from the earth” (adjective) according to the OED2; Ptolemy used it absolutely to mean “the point in the planet’s course farthest from the earth”.

I think by “alteration” they are trying to say that Kepler altered the Latin aphelium to the modern “aphelion” (more consistent with the Greek roots).  I also think they are mistaken about this.

[ Edited: 21 March 2007 09:43 AM by Dr. Techie ]
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Posted: 22 March 2007 10:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]
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It’s true the ancient Greeks didn’t use the word, but (modern) Latin -ph- unambiguously represents the f sound, so the “feel” pronunciation is historically correct.  Perihelion is a different story; the h of helios is on its own there, but in aphelion is combined with the p in ap(o)-.  It doesn’t make any more sense to say ap-helion than it would to say cat-hode.

Doc T: If they’re mistaken, so is the OED, which says “Græcized form of mod.L. aphelium… formed, by Kepler...”

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Posted: 22 March 2007 11:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]
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Dr. Techie - 21 March 2007 09:32 AM

I think by “alteration” they are trying to say that Kepler altered the Latin aphelium to the modern “aphelion” (more consistent with the Greek roots).  I also think they are mistaken about this.

Since Kepler was German and wrote in Latin, it seems odd that they would credit him with inventing the English word.  The German word is still Aphelium according to this German dictionary

I’m still reading this as saying he “created” the Modern Latin word for his writings in Latin as an alteration of something else.

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Posted: 22 March 2007 01:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]
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Doc T: If they’re mistaken, so is the OED, which says “Græcized form of mod.L. aphelium… formed, by Kepler...”

I had already read the OED entry, but I parsed it somewhat differently--I think you and the etymonline guys are misreading it, actually.  As I understand it, “formed, by Kepler, after the apogaeum, {apogaion}, of the Ptolemaic astronomy...” refers to aphelium and means that Kepler formed that word (in imitation of apogaeum), which has since been Graecized.

I haven’t been able to find any of Kepler’s Latin writing online except for a facsimile edition that consisted of non-searchable page images in an archaic font (or hand), which I wasn’t prepared to search visually in order to find if he wrote aphelium or aphelion.  But since he was writing in Latin, I suspect he’d have used the former.

Correction: Using Googlebooks, I found a compilation of Kepler’s astronomical writings, in Latin, published in 1866: Joannis Kepleri astronomi opera omnia.  Searching turns up many uses of aphelium, none of aphelion (well, the search function turns up one, but on inspection of the page, it turns out to be an OCR error for aphelium).

[ Edited: 22 March 2007 02:23 PM by Dr. Techie ]
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