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Posted: 27 May 2013 04:12 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Sometimes I get confused because I forget what list I’m reading. Right now my astronomy list has several threads about conjunctions, which is throwing me for a loop.

Any other words like that that trip you up because you forget what context you’re discussing?

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Posted: 28 May 2013 05:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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The classic example of a word not only used but pronounced differently in different spheres is unionized; we used to say you could tell the humanities majors from the science majors by the way they said it.

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Posted: 28 May 2013 06:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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But those are actually two different words that happen to be homographs.

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Posted: 28 May 2013 02:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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And you can divide the science majors by how they pronounce periodic.

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Posted: 28 May 2013 09:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Nice ones, languagehat and Faldage. :-)

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Posted: 29 May 2013 02:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I owe the periodic one to my sister.

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Posted: 29 May 2013 03:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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How about ‘nuclear?’ Several US Presidents and most scientists differ on the pronunciation.  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nucular )

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Posted: 29 May 2013 07:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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I don’t see how that’s an example.

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Posted: 31 May 2013 07:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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I had one this morning.  I saw the phrase “Atomic Bonds” in a headline and for some reason my mind went with finance instead of chemistry.

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Posted: 31 May 2013 08:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Regarding periodic, again that’s really two different words. The more familiar one is period + -ic, whereas the obscure one (periodic acid, HIO₄) is per- (a chemical prefix indicating a higher oxidation state) + iodic (the iodine-based oxyacid HIO₃).

Also, I think that even most chemists would normally perceive the isolated word as the familiar PEER-ee-odd-ic, since even in chemistry there’s the periodic law and periodic table, which (unless you happen to specialize in periodate chemistry) crop up a lot more often than periodic (per-eye-ODE-ic) acid.

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Posted: 31 May 2013 08:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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It’s not exactly the same thing, but I stumbled across a reference to “evolutionary geologists” on wordnik (I can’t remember what word I was looking up, but I don’t think it was either evolutionary or biologist.)

My first thought was that it referred to geologists who focus on the aspects of geology that would be of particular aid to researchers attempting to reconstruct the evolutionary history of life, as, for example, analyzing the soil around a fossil, to see what clues if any the soil would provide in helping to date the fossil.

However, I soon twigged on to the fact that the one who used the phrase was a Creationist, and, by “evolutionary geologists”, he or she meant, “geologists who think the Earth is much older than my interpretation of Genesis makes me think it is.”

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Posted: 02 June 2013 12:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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"Regarding periodic, again that’s really two different words”

Well, same for unionized.

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Posted: 02 June 2013 02:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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OP Tipping - 02 June 2013 12:29 AM

“Regarding periodic, again that’s really two different words”


Well, same for unionized.

Not to mention cleave.

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Posted: 10 June 2013 09:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Cleave has not just different, but completely opposite meanings. Another Janus word I like is Sanction.

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Posted: 11 June 2013 06:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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“Regarding periodic, again that’s really two different words”

Well, same for unionized.

As I had already pointed out, hence my “again”.

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