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Across the Great Divide

One wonderful thing about message boards is you get to trash people for their grammar, syntax, spelling and word choice. You can get really mad about it. You can refuse to respect someone who doesn't know or care if he means "their" or "there" or "they're."

In real life you can do this too, of course, but it's less acceptable. (Besides, unless they provide closed-captioning, it's hard to tell if they misspell the words they're using.) And if you remain silent nobody knows that you know an error just occurred. In real life there is rarely a dictionary handy and rarely another smug word snark there to catch it.

In this way I have avoided ever having to confront illiteracy in someone I respect. Especially someone whose fluency with English I respect. Until now.

In a speech on April 29, Barack Obama called the Rev. Jeremiah Wright's comments "divisive and destructive." That looks fine. It did not, however, sound fine. At least to me.

I generally adore Obama's linguistic choices and the way he speaks, but this was sweet bells jangled out of tune and harsh. He pronounced the divisive as "di-VISS-ive" Okay, I thought, this is a little sad, but surely anyone who speaks on camera as much as Obama does will mess something up once in awhile. He is allowed an occasional mispronunciation. It's hardly "nucular." We'll live.

But then, just more than a week later, Jon Stewart said "divissive" on "The Daily Show," I'm not sure how one can track these things, but a search for "divissive" found a lot of people complaining about divissive, spelled that way, but even more people who simply spell it that way. I worry that people who, like me, look up to Obama and Stewart when it comes to English, might think this is the cool new way to pronounce it.

But mostly I am worried about how unenthused I am about making fun of Jon Stewart's pronunciation. I like Jon Stewart. And he said it, so it must be a real word. I can't muster any more outrage about it. Divissive is already an alternate pronunciation, per M-W online. Jon trumps English wonkitude! It's an ambiguous day for nerds.

-- Rachel Manteuffel

By Editor  |  May 15, 2008; 6:00 AM ET
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Good morning, Boodle. Hi, Cassandra. Hi, Martooni. A new start for the new day.

Posted by: daiwanlan | May 15, 2008 6:34 AM | Report abuse

It's nonstandard. Let's not tolerate it anymore. If we get real hyped up about dissing it, we can get it out of the dictionary!

Proper pronouncers of "divisive" of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but all your friends who pronounce the word as "divissive"!

Posted by: Lindemann | May 15, 2008 6:44 AM | Report abuse

Now its open season for bad spelling, grammer, AND pro-noun-ciation. It's gonna be like Lord Of The Flies in hear today only without cute British school kids.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 15, 2008 7:12 AM | Report abuse

Rachel, you're completely right about this. But I sympathize with Senator Obama, having had the problem with different words all my life.

A couple of days ago, I purchased a new plant. It's a bromeliad. Now, at the tender age of 55, I'm trying to remember how to say the word correctly. Bro ME li ad, not bro me LIAD.

Good morning everyone, and a happy Thursday to all. We woke up to clouds and a light shower. The rain seems to be going north and south of us, but, for now, that's okay. I'm just grateful we are getting some, here in the South.

Posted by: slyness | May 15, 2008 7:18 AM | Report abuse


Knitting Orchestra?

Weaving a Tapestry of Sound:

Posted by: omni | May 15, 2008 7:32 AM | Report abuse

The word that I am probably in the wrong on is HARR-ass-ment. I tend to pronounce it ha-RASS-ment. Thank goodness people don't need to pronounce words correctly on restraining orders appeals.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 15, 2008 7:37 AM | Report abuse

Morning all, s good day for me to be travelling to Calgary - my list of misspelled, misused, mispronounced words would clog the boodle.

Have a good day all - I going west to were it is warm and sunny. Dr, Kerric, SoC, Yoki - how nice is it for you that you are considerably warmer than here today - you guys have earned it - enjoy.

Posted by: dmd | May 15, 2008 7:44 AM | Report abuse

The one that's fingernails on a chalkboard to me is primer, as in an elementary book...prim-er, not prime-er.
Unless you're talking paint.

Posted by: LostInThought | May 15, 2008 7:45 AM | Report abuse

God loves us so much more than we can imagine through Him that died for all, Jesus Christ.

Good morning, friends. When one talks about grammar and pronunciation, I cringe because I'm so bad at both. I think it has a lot to do with the environment. If one is exposed to correct speaking and writing, I suspect the influence will make for better everything. Good kit.

I went back and read the comments from yesterday, well I kind of skimmed them, and boy did it get testy, although interesting. Mudge, as always, you were in fine form.

Slyness, I don't know what it is doing outside, but I suspect it is cloudy. I slept late this morning, had a long night.

Scotty, Martooni, everyone, it is Thursday, May 15, 2008, and good morning to all.*waving* The older I get, the more I appreciate someone telling me the day and the year. It helps me to get started, and some days, it is information that is very much needed.

Good morning, daiwlan. May God bless and keep you.

I read the Milbanks' piece on Clinton. It was kind of funny, but not that much. Women are still bashed and abused too much for me to find hearty laughter in that piece. Monty Python, yes, women, not so much. Even Clinton. And did she really say,"white people"?

Will Edward's endorsement of Obama help? When I saw the picture on television this morning, I thought, running mate?

Time to go. I'm feeling really out of it this morning, but then, I haven't had the coffee. Perhaps the coffee will improve the feelings. Another long night in the picture,but I'm spending them in church, so it's all good.

Have a great day, folks. Just think, the weekend is right around the corner. One can almost see it.

Posted by: cassandra s | May 15, 2008 7:57 AM | Report abuse

One American complaining about how another American mispronounces English words is pretty funny.

Posted by: Boko999 | May 15, 2008 7:59 AM | Report abuse


you are loved here, stop pushing it away. it does bite sometimes, but perfection doesn't exist in this reality. have a great day, and yes, I mean it.

Posted by: cassandra s | May 15, 2008 8:01 AM | Report abuse

The word I've read hundreds of times but cannot pronounce is "scythe" - I always want to say it like "sith" - and writing this entry made me realize that not only can I not pronounce it but I cannot spell it either. Growing up in Oklahoma reading 19th century novels, there were a lot of words that I knew but could not say, but by now most of them have been clarified one way or another. But "scythe" is just not a word people ever say out loud.

Totally off-topic: I've been reading BC (the comic not the boodler) for more than 4 decades and today is the very first time I ever thought it was funny. It just hit me very close to home.

P.S. Yellojkt it's okay to say harr-ASS-ment on the U.S. side of the Atlantic. IMHO.

Posted by: kbertocci | May 15, 2008 8:03 AM | Report abuse

You say either and I say either,
You say neither and I say neither
Either, either, neither, neither
Let's call the whole thing off.

You say potato and I say potato
You say tomato and I say tomato
Tomato, tomato, potato, potato
Let's call the whole thing off.

I'm sorry I can't see a thing wrong with this relationship.

Posted by: Paraphrased from | May 15, 2008 8:17 AM | Report abuse

Unenthused? *Unenthused*? UNENTHUSED?

My dear, there is no verb "to enthuse". It is an adjective: "enthusiastic." It derives from "enthusiasm," a religious ecstasy that may end with the rending-alive and bloody devouring of a lamb (or, in one notable mythological case, a musician). You are not unenthused. You are unenthusiastic.

"Primer" always has troubled me.

Yes, Cassandra, she really did say "white people," and she drew a direct equation between being American, being hard-working, and being white. I think she just mis-spoke, but she should know not to misspeak in such dangerous territory. I don't think Hillary Clinton should quit the race, I think she should run it out, but she should run cleanly. She's not going to win, but a solid and credible near-win helps to establish the seriousness of future female candidates. But she's destroying all that with this sort of divisi... uh, schismatic campaign style.

Posted by: StorytellerTim | May 15, 2008 8:23 AM | Report abuse

*really-wanting-to-let-my-overly-cranky-tired-and-sore-side-cut-loose-with-a-very-pertinent-post-but-I-know-better Grover waves*

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 15, 2008 8:27 AM | Report abuse

*Tim, I winced at that "unenthused," too.

And I cringed when Hillary said that she was supported by "hard-working Americans, white Americans..." but I have justified her in my mind by thinking that she is so accustomed to talking with her campaign advisors in terms of demographics, she didn't realize how it would sound in the real world. "White" is a demographic, as is "Baby Boomer" or "East-coast liberal" or "Hispanic"--none of us would like to be reduced to that kind of stereotype, but it's how the polls report results and it's how the campaign strategies are developed. Hillary is trying to make the case for her electability. But this is the biggest gaffe she's committed so far.

Posted by: kbertocci | May 15, 2008 8:33 AM | Report abuse

Schismatics have usually been some class of enthusiast.

Posted by: Boko999 | May 15, 2008 8:36 AM | Report abuse

Isn't di-VISS-ive just the elitist way of saying divisive?

g'morning boodle from the rain soaked north (and glad to be so).

Posted by: frostbitten | May 15, 2008 8:38 AM | Report abuse

Oh Scotty, go ahead. It's likely to be exactly what we need.

Cassandra, I think you write a clear and grammatical sentence, so don't sell yourself short.

My father, the English major and journalist, always held us to high grammatical and pronunciation standards. He gave me all sorts of trouble when I started saying "git" instead of "get." But it's hard for young ears to hear the difference. I also remember not getting the difference between gulf and golf.

Posted by: slyness | May 15, 2008 8:42 AM | Report abuse

I like enthuse so it's natural I like enthused and I will continue to use it until everyone who objects stops using "donate" and "diagnose."

Anyone who stresses the first syllable of "insurance" has no right to critisise anyone.

Posted by: Bokko999 | May 15, 2008 8:50 AM | Report abuse

At some point in the past few years "homage" went from being pronounced ah-midge to oh-mahjzh. Any explanations?

Posted by: Raysmom | May 15, 2008 8:51 AM | Report abuse

Ambulance is often mispronounced, but egg (egg or aig?) is one of those words that shows where you're from. (from whence you came? reared just sounds wrong even though it isn't.)

Posted by: LostInThought | May 15, 2008 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Nah, slyness, I've had my coffee, so I'm better now, thanks. :-)

But FWIW, Milbank's got his Monty Python skits crosswise... He should have used the Black Knight sketch from the Holy Grail.

*much-cheerier-but-still-pooped Grover waves*

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 15, 2008 8:59 AM | Report abuse

I'm an Obama supporter, but I have to admit, Rachel has hit the nail on it's head. Every time I hear Obama say divissive I want to yell at him to quit saying it that way! I didn't know Jon Stewart has gone there, though. Regrettable.

I was about 20 or so, when I realized that melancholy was pronounced mel-an-KA-ly, (or something like that) and not me-LANCH-o-ly.
I knew what it meant, of course, I just don't think I had ever heard the word spoken. Oooh, did I get roasted when I said it my way!

Posted by: Kim | May 15, 2008 9:03 AM | Report abuse

I was an avid reader growing up. Whenever I came across an unfamiliar word I would look it up, or write it down for later if a dictionary wasn't handy. I could never remember to look at the pronunciation, cause I just always assumed it would be pronounced the way it was spelled.

Ha, stupid french gets me everytime.

Posted by: omni | May 15, 2008 9:06 AM | Report abuse

I remember how confused I was when I learned that the word I had always heard pronounced as "Tall-sah" was spelled with a "u". And I've already told the story of my humiliation when, newly arrived at my snobby private college, I asked a classmate if I could borrow an "ink pen" (pronounced "ink pin") Ouch.

A related humiliation was when I was wearing a t-shirt with the word "PHILLIPS" across the front and some preppie-type said to me, "Oh, do you know someone at Phillips?" In the ensuing conversation, I explained that the t-shirt referred to Phillips University in Enid, Oklahoma and further lowered myself in the young man's esteem by pronouncing "Groton" incorrectly. Ouch, again. It's a wonder I survived the first month of my freshman year.

Posted by: kbertocci | May 15, 2008 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Protestant. That word tripped me up all the time. Since I am one, that's not a good thing. A friend drilled me till I got it right. Metropolitan is another one that gave me trouble.

Dialects are fascinating, especially when one gets into the dialect/socioeconomic relationships. I only briefly studied linguistics, but I like hearing the different Southern dialects. Amazing the differences one hears, from one county to the next.

Posted by: slyness | May 15, 2008 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Pronouncing scientific names of plants and animals is something of a no-win proposition. You've got classical gods, Latin place names, at least one Japanese place name (Tsuga, for hemlocks. It was a surprise to see an expressway sign in Japan for the Tsuga exit)--and all sorts of things named for people.

Not to mention that Linnaeus's name for an American pea vine isn't quite printable here.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | May 15, 2008 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Whyanchu guys learna speak bettersall I wanna know.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 15, 2008 9:21 AM | Report abuse


I had heard this word pronouced, but to me there were three words that meant the same thing:

1 lingerie pronouced the french way.
2 lingerie pronounced the way it is spelled
3 negligee

I was about 26 before I ever said lingerie out loud, and was of course corrected.

Stupid french pronunciations...

Posted by: omni | May 15, 2008 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Bustier must have really messed you up Omni.

Posted by: LostInThought | May 15, 2008 9:29 AM | Report abuse

I have never ever heard the word pronounced də-vī-siv, only di-vis-iv. I would have looked funny at anyone who said it that way. Shows to go ya. I wonder if we have a British/American pronunciation happening with this word?

I submit that pronunciation is influenced by how a thing is said by those around us and by the sounds we were taught to pronounce as children. If everyone said every word exactly the same, the world would be a sorrier place.

Or Canada where west of the border of Quebec there are few regional pronunciations.

Posted by: dr | May 15, 2008 9:29 AM | Report abuse

My spelling and grammar are, er, liberal.

I *am* the Jackson Pollock of the English Language, so please bear that in mind when reading anything I've written.

Some folks wield English with surgical precision, and I admire them.

I go wherever my muse takes me. Typically my writing is the textual equivalent of fingerpainting and throwing sponges dripping with colorful ambiguity against a blank canvas of subjectivity.


Posted by: bc | May 15, 2008 9:36 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: LostInThought | May 15, 2008 9:44 AM | Report abuse

I have tremendous sympathy for anyone who mispronounces words. As a kid I did this all the time because I learned new words from reading. Part of me still internally pronounces "algae" as Al-Gah. I was well into middle school before I realized that "disingenuous" did not have a hard "g" sound. And the lest said about the female body part that does not, in fact, rhyme with "Valoris" the better.

Then there is simple regional variance. Might the "divisive" divide be an example of this? I mean, I have heard tell that there actually exist people who think that "what" rhymes with "squat." Seriously. Such individuals walk freely amongst us.

In my case, having been raised in the Pacific Northwest, I have a slightly nasal sound that sometimes makes people think I am Canadian. (So I figure if there is ever a call for undercover operatives Up North I'm their man.)

To me "tournament" is rightly pronounced "Ternament." "Don" and "Dawn" sound the same, as do "Mary" and "Marry."

Then there is the color you get when you mix yellow and red. In my mind there is no way that "Orange" begins with the same vowel sound as "Aren't." Hence, the advertising catch phrase popular some years ago, "Orange you smart" always struck me as ironic. To my ear "Awrange" just sounds wrong, wrong, wrong.

Not to be divisive or anything.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 15, 2008 9:48 AM | Report abuse

You say either and I say either,
You say neither and I say neither
Either, either, neither, neither
Let's call the whole thing off.

You say potato and I say potato
You say tomato and I say tomato
Tomato, tomato, potato, potato
Let's call the whole thing off.

I'm sorry I can't see a thing wrong with this relationship.

Posted by: Paraphrased from | May 15, 2008 9:48 AM | Report abuse

LiT, Bustier: boos-tya. Actually no, at least on the pronunciation. Never a problem. Now finding one that fits...

Posted by: omni | May 15, 2008 9:49 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: Boko999 | May 15, 2008 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Hey, bc, I meant to tell ya yesterday: on the plaza right outside my window at work they had a demo car on display. It was a 7-series Beemer whose engine had been converted to burn either normal gasoline *or* liquid hydrogen. I had a stainless steel liqH tank in the trunk about where the battery goes in a hybrid. It holds 8 kilos of liqH, without any cooling (the tank is built like a thermos bottle). Der two Cherman engineers who vas explaining it to de volks said the 8 kilos would yield about 150 to 200 miles of range. The only conversion the engine needed was to change the shape of the pistons, and to replace the old manifold with a new dual-manifold system that allow regular gasoline fuel injection on one side of it, and 12 valves on the other side for the H. There where two small buttons on the steering wheel, almost like channel-changers, that allowed the driver to switch back and forth between gasoline and H fuels, even while moving. It was pretty cool. (Of course, putting it into a 7-series Beemer was pretty obnoxious; those things run what? $80,000 somebody said.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 15, 2008 9:55 AM | Report abuse

RD, the northwest dialect seems to have a lot in common with that of western New York. I pronounce Mary, merry, and marry the same (and strongly denounce Weingarten's opinion that this is "lazy"). And orange is pronounced with a long O.

A friend in high school publicly learned that "subtle" isn't pronounced sub-tull.

Posted by: Raysmom | May 15, 2008 9:59 AM | Report abuse

My mother was raised in upstate New York ("home" district of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton!), and pronounced/pronounces words strangely to my Hoosier ear. In particular, television programs were broken up by "ad-VER-tiss-mints", rather than "ad-ver-TIZE-ments." I think that the pronunciation of "divisive" by Obama and by Stewart is a dialect thing, not a lack-of-knowledge thing.

I think that homage (ah-midge) has been taken over by hommage (pronounced oh-mahjjjjjj) due to the ascendance in the film and film-commentary world of the director as auteur (pronounced jerk). I also have heard hah-midge, which at least has the virtue of being a spelled-like-it's-written pronunciation of homage.

Speaking of French words and English/American speakers: Mudge, how did y'uns pronounce the name of John Paul Jones' ship, the Bon Homme Richard, back in the day? As an uneducated Hoosier child, my best guess was bon-hommy rich-erd. (Hmmm, where is the key-combination to get that schwa?)

Posted by: PlainTim | May 15, 2008 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, to me a car is a living room on wheels (without the closet. unless it's a Caddy, then you've got a closet *and* a breakfast nook.) (I never understood why anyone would need 10 speakers in a car either, but I digress.) A car is a car is a car. It gets you from point a to point b. But now I want the car in your 9:55!

Off to the salt mines. Have a happy day all!

Posted by: LostInThought | May 15, 2008 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Obama and Michelle have real problems with prepositions in the nominative and objective cases. When this duo misuses prepositions, it feels to me like the sound of fingernails across a English-classroom chalkboard.

What Obama certainly did use effectively yesterday was John Edwards. As one pundit pointed out, it was the battle of competing news cycles. I was flipping between NBC and ABC television broadcasts, and ABC's Charlie Gibson actually cut away to the Michigan rally. Given that Edwards' positions on topics such as universal health care were more closely aligned with Clinton's, Edwards' endorsement of Obama came to me as a surprise.

I think CNN and particularly John King has it right. If Obama can't appeal to working class white voters, then these voters could easily switch to McCain. I was impressed with King's wizardry with his electronic map last night, when he played out a number of possible scenarios, and which states may be in play in the fall general election. Note, in rural areas in Texas, Clinton overwhelmingly won the rural white and Hispanic vote.

A recent Boston Globe column by Ellen Goodman was reprinted here yesterday, in which she suggests that Obama use his mother's story to appeal to Hillary's women demographic. I might suggest to Goodman that she do a compare and contrast of Obama's book "Dreams of My Father" with James McBride's "The Color of Water." I think Goodman's suggestion is a huge dose of pandering, unless of course, Clinton is on the ticket. Otherwise, I see the ticket shaping up as the greenhorn versus the greyhorn and we'll see whose bullhorn resonates most with voters.

That said, literary is not on my mind today. Something happened yesterday when I was doing dishes that bothers me. I went to put an item in the freezer when I noted the Dreyer's Slow Churn (lower fat) ice cream that my husband purchased late the night before. The carton shrunk.

I saw that I had washed on the weekend a carton of the same flavor ready to be put into the recyclable bin in the laundry room for curbside pickup on Friday. I rushed to read the label. The carton we had just eaten up was 1.75 quarts. The newly opened ice cream in the freezer was 1.5 quarts. I presume the price was the same for both sizes, if not higher.

We recently bought from T.J. Maxx a Canterbury-brand black bean and pasta mix--two of them, with dried spice packets. I made the first bag and among the fresh ingredients that the cook is supposed to add into the mix are two 14-oz. cans of beef broth. How old is this mix that T.J. Maxx sells? I ask because what's on store shelves these days are 10 3/4 oz. cans of soup or broth.

My husband worked late several nights this week and one night we went to our favorite walk-in hamburger place, Cheesy Jane's, not far from our house. The basic burger had gone up 30 cents, the fries had gone up 30 cents, and a soda from the fountain had likewise gone up 30 cents.

In April, I bought several short-sleeved tops from Kohl's when the price went to 50 percent off, to $7. I had bought several of the same tops last year, thick, soft cotton. When I held what I had bought this year up to look more closely at it, I realized that I could see through it--big shapes, not detail, but you get the picture--the quality had drastically declined for the same price. I had cut the tag from one; I promptly returned the others.

I bought two tank tops at Sears in the last month. I bought two sleeveless tops from Sears last year. Once I got them home and had cut off the tags, I tried them on and realized that the width of the shoulder seam is extremely narrow, so that my strap is showing more often than I care for. What a chintzy way to cut corners--to cut back on fabric in a key area.

Did I mention that one of my husband's co-workers bought a Vespa and now rides to work? My husband is considering doing the same.

I would like Clinton, McCain, or Obama to address the issue of rising-too-fast inflation, no matter what grammar they use. Just as I would like them to address national security concerns, and a variety of other really important topics. Should the word "sacrifice" be part of the candidates' vocabulary? Or will we be better off as individuals and as a nation if we cut back on our portions of gasoline and Dreyer's--if we shrink our waistlines, our closets, our cars, our lifestyles?

Posted by: Loomis | May 15, 2008 10:08 AM | Report abuse

I alwas thought the USS Bon Homme Richard was pronounced Duc de Duras.

Or maybe it's bun-uhm ree-SHAR

stupid french words

Posted by: omni | May 15, 2008 10:11 AM | Report abuse

I am more interested in the regional variations like "stand in line" vs "stand on line" and "graduate college" vs "graduate from college."

Posted by: kurosawaguy slightly tangential | May 15, 2008 10:13 AM | Report abuse


That coffee does wonders for the body(mind) in the morning. I probably should not post anything until I've had that first cup. Nonsense, big time without it. Of course, that could just be me, coffee or not.


I love hearing(used to)the people in South Carolina talk, the African-Americans in some parts of the state. It is like music to the ears. When I first heard that sound I would ask questions just to hear the people talk. It is a mixture of everything, and it like words and music together in speech. There are some sounds I have to realize through memory because I cannot hear them any more. Music is a big loss, and the voice that speaks words with melody. Oh, folks, you are so blessed to be able to hear.

Posted by: cassandra s | May 15, 2008 10:21 AM | Report abuse

I was all ready to knock everyone down with my vast sociolinguistic knowledge, but you're all being distressingly sensible and non-judgmental, so I've really got nothing to do. Sigh. I guess I should just get back to work.

Posted by: bia | May 15, 2008 10:21 AM | Report abuse


And I love your writing, bc. That description of your writing is so warm and witty.

Is it too late to trim my rose bush down? It looked so promising a few weeks ago,now it looks like road kill. Anyone?

Posted by: cassandra s | May 15, 2008 10:33 AM | Report abuse

I can only get so worked up about mispronounciations given the area where I grew up. For many, many decades we have been verbally abusing our town names. For example, there's the lovely little town of Buena Vista. To look at it, you would think bwainah veestah, but no -- it's byoonah visstah. There's also Buchanan (buck cannon) and the ever-verdant Botetourt (bottehtot)County. Even my hometown has lost the middle a in its name, much like the extra a in karaoke. :)

Posted by: CentrevilleMom | May 15, 2008 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Properly, we called her the Bahn-hahm Ree-shar. Somewhat less affectionately, the Bonny Dick. Sometimes just "the Dick," "Old Dick," etc. (Her name is Bonhomme, not Bon Homme. Bon homme means "good man," but "bonhomme" means "poor," since Jones named her after Ben Franklin's almanac nickname, Poor Richard.)

omni is right about her older name, Duc de Duras, a.k.a. Duck Yer A$$.

(Remind me sometime to tell you about the night we crossed broadsides with the Serapis, captured her, but lost the Dick in the process, off Flamborough Head. Worst street brawl I'd ever been in in me whole seagoing career, I tells ya.)

(FYI, a good friend of mine is on the team that discovered the wreck of the Ree-Shar off the Limey coastal town of Filey, up near Yorkshire. See

Also FYI, the U.S. Navy today has an amphibious assault ship called the USS Bonhomme Richard, designated LHD-6. ( She is the fourth U.S. Navy ship to carry that name. The second was a carrier being built during WWII; while under construction the USS Yorktown was lost in the Battle of Midway, and to honor that ship the BHR was renamed the Yorktown. So that really doesn't count as the "second" BHR.

The third BHR was a carrier, CV/CVA-31, whose name was spelled Bon Homme Richard. When she was launched, her "sponsor" was Mrs. John McCain, wife of Adm. John McCain (mom and daddy of you-know-who). She saw a little bit of combat off Iwo Jima, but saw a great deal of action during the Korean War and later in Vietnam.

(An amphibious landing ship is a ship halfway between a baby carrier combined with a troop transport. BHR's air wing has 5 Harrier "jump-jets" and 10 choppers in the H-46 group like the ones Frosty flew. The BHR is one of seven sistership in the "Wasp" class, the largest class of amphib assault ships in the world.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 15, 2008 10:55 AM | Report abuse

As long as you don't roll around in the paint and press your naked body against the canvas like Farrah Fawcett does, I think I can hold my breakfast down.

But Canuckis go to University.

A vintage Eugene Burdick novel was called "The 480" based on the number of sub-demographics political pollsters had broken the population down to. That may be an order of magnitude too low nowadays.

I get nervous that I may someday have to ask for directions to Fauquier County.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 15, 2008 11:10 AM | Report abuse

bunnhum (bun-uhm?)Richard? Easy.
Should actually be written Bonhomme, methink.

Don't start me on the heteronyns in the English language. If it's pronounced differently write it differently fur COL.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | May 15, 2008 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Fauquier? You brought 'er, you Fauquier.

Posted by: hadtobesaid | May 15, 2008 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Just be glad that this place is not in Fauquier!

Posted by: kurosawaguy | May 15, 2008 11:24 AM | Report abuse

cassandra, what a nice thing to say; thank you. And I think it may be OK to trim the roses, but I wouldn't wait much longer. Prime time was a couple of weeks ago around here...

On topic: I once heard "segue" pronounced "see-goo" by a lady who was leading a rather large meeting.

I was mortified for her; lots of head shaking and eye-rolling in the meeting. Very unfortunate situation and timing for that lady...

Mudge/LiT, the hydrogen-powered 7-series Bimmer prototypes have been around for awhile and these newer hydrogen/gasoline hybrids are pretty nice pieces, IMO. One reason they use the bigger sedans is because the dual fuel ststems take up a lot of space. If you tried to put all that stuff into a 1-series, you'd probably just have enough room for a driver. Also,I think those big hydrogen thermoses are under a *lot* of pressure in order to keep the H in liquid form.

Also, putting the system in the top-of-the-like sedan is part of the marketing of such (expensive) technologies from BMW's perspective. They're trying to make it aspirational and inspirational to be clean and green without having to sacrifice performance or luxury. Personally, I think it would be cool if they made a smaller system to fit into a MINI Clubman, but that's just my opinion, and clearly not part of BMW's marketing.

Years ago, I helped a guy convert a Triumph GT6 to run on propane as a bit of a lark. It ran, but not well. Needed more time and money, and interest, frankly. I think I could do a methane conversion if properly motivated...


Posted by: bc | May 15, 2008 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Mudge beat me to it again.

Yello, don't ask for direction to the "Baie du Phoque"/Seal bay either. In the Navy, of all the trades only shipwrights (Hull technician in bureaucratese) preferred the French name of their occupation, i.e. Spécialistes de la coque.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | May 15, 2008 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Just a little piece of peace would be nice!!

Posted by: greenwithenvy | May 15, 2008 11:31 AM | Report abuse

An exchange I observed in graduate school between a reporter and my advisor:

REPORTER: What's the correct way to pronounce "Allosaurus"?

MY ADVISOR: Confidently, while looking the other person straight in the eye.

Posted by: Dooley | May 15, 2008 11:32 AM | Report abuse

'Allo, Saurus, 'ows yer mum? :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 15, 2008 11:38 AM | Report abuse

1. Any French word with three vowels together. Gets me every time. I usually get offered first aid.

2. I was incorrect on many Brit locations (eg Leicester) until university.

3. I thought the ad VERT is ments pronunciation was Brit. It sounds affected to me to hear it here. Aluminium gets its different Brit pronunciation with different spelling - but still funny to hear.

Posted by: SonofCarl | May 15, 2008 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Old joke punchline: No, that guy was flying a Messerschmidt!

Posted by: SonofCarl | May 15, 2008 11:44 AM | Report abuse

My brother came back from a business trip to Yorkshire pronouncing schedule the British way. Quite different, I don't think I could reproduce it.

Hey Dooley! Good to hear from you.

bc, years ago the City converted some old police squad cars to propane. I went to Chapel Hill for a three-week class with an assistant chiefs who was assigned one of these clunkers. The last Friday afternoon we were on our way home in it, and it lurched and wouldn't accelerate and was generally balky. I didn't think we'd survive. But the chief stopped and put some gasoline in the tank and switched over and we made it. Later, he told me the mechanics said the problem was that the coolent was low.

Posted by: slyness | May 15, 2008 11:59 AM | Report abuse

May it please the court, since this is about correcting grammar and pronunciation, it is Messerschmitt. No "d."

Messerschmitt was one of my alltime very favorite words-- a flugzeugwerke (aircraft factory). The actual name of the company was also a doozey: Bayerische Flugzeugwerke AG, called BFW. Willy Messerschmitt became its chief designer in 1927. In 1937 it changed its name to Messerschmitt AG. By that time, though ol' Willy had designed the famous fighter known to the lay public as the Me-109, but which was properly the Bf-109. Planes built before 1937 were prefixed Bf; planes built after were prefixed Me (not ME and not BF).

Problem is, I don't get a lot of opportunity to work "flugzeugwerke" into conversations.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 15, 2008 12:05 PM | Report abuse

The British pronounciation of schedule (shedyoowool, as best as I can approximate) does drive me a little crazy. They don't send their kids to shool, so why the allergy to the hard sk of sch?

A real nitpick to be sure, but what the hey...

Posted by: CentrevilleMom | May 15, 2008 12:07 PM | Report abuse

yellojkt, the olive oil does not really allow the paint to adhere to my skin anyway. I've tried, believe me.

Which is a shame, because I think I look *fabulous* in my summer gladiator outfit. It would be wonderful to record that for posteriority...

So I suppose your breakfast is safe, though the world is deprived of staggeringly beautiful art.


Posted by: bc | May 15, 2008 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Hi Dooley!
Love the regional variations on word-sounds. Not right. Not wrong. Just the democracy of language before us.

Mudge,the secret joy of all sounds Deutscher!

SofC -- All lu MIN ee umm....makes me think of the way Brits say


Hey, I still say crick and ruff! I love love love love saying you-all. I only say y'll occasionally, with fake peach-eating accent.

Posted by: College Parkian | May 15, 2008 12:15 PM | Report abuse

CP I think you spell that YAW. The towns I live near are Great Cacapon pronounce just Capon by the locals and to the west is Paw Paw pronounced paw paw Their motto is "a town so great we named it twice"

Off to work yaw. Have a Great day Yaw!!

Posted by: greenwithenvy | May 15, 2008 12:28 PM | Report abuse

My grandmother used bah-zeel, my mother used bay-sul (which I sometimes use, depending on who I'm talking to) but most the time, I use bay-zul.

Posted by: LostInThought | May 15, 2008 12:38 PM | Report abuse

What drives me crazy is that on some of the cooking shows I watch they pronounce it PAP-rika. All my life we called it pah-PREE-ka.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 15, 2008 12:42 PM | Report abuse

I remember the first time I said *indicted*, having only read the word in the newspaper or in books. You can imagine the embarrassment.

Posted by: jlessl | May 15, 2008 12:56 PM | Report abuse

There are certain legal terms that get butchered now and again. Like Prima Facia. I have heard it referred to as everything from "Pree-maw Fawsh-eeaw" to "Pry-ma Fake -eye-ah."

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 15, 2008 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of differing connotations on this side of the Atlantic, the BBC might want to rethink the first line of this piece-

Posted by: kurosawaguy | May 15, 2008 1:01 PM | Report abuse

And this just in from Reuters:

EXCERPT: Carbon dioxide and methane trapped in tiny bubbles of air in ancient ice down to 3,200 meters (10,500 ft) below the surface of Antarctica add 150,000 years of data to climate records stretching back 650,000 years from shallower ice drilling. "We can firmly say that today's concentrations of carbon dioxide and methane are 28 and 124 percent higher respectively than at any time during the last 800,000 years," said Thomas Stocker, an author of the report at the University of Berne.

Greenhouse gases highest for 800,000 years Wed May 14, 2008 10:44pm IST

By Alister Doyle, Environment Correspondent

OSLO (Reuters) - Greenhouse gases are at higher levels in the atmosphere than at any time in at least 800,000 years, according to a study of Antarctic ice on Wednesday that extends evidence that mankind is disrupting the climate.

Carbon dioxide and methane trapped in tiny bubbles of air in ancient ice down to 3,200 meters (10,500 ft) below the surface of Antarctica add 150,000 years of data to climate records stretching back 650,000 years from shallower ice drilling.

"We can firmly say that today's concentrations of carbon dioxide and methane are 28 and 124 percent higher respectively than at any time during the last 800,000 years," said Thomas Stocker, an author of the report at the University of Berne.

Before the Industrial Revolution, levels of greenhouse gases were guided mainly by long-term shifts in the earth's orbit around the sun that have plunged the planet into ice ages and back again eight times in the past 800,000 years.

The U.N. Climate Panel last year blamed human activities, led by burning of fossil fuels that release heat-trapping gases, for modern global warming that may disrupt water and food supplies with ever more droughts, floods and heatwaves.

"The driving forces now are very much different from the driving forces in the past when there was only natural variation," Stocker told Reuters of the study in the journal Nature by scientists in Switzerland, France and Germany.

The experts, working on the European Project for Ice Coring in Antarctica, drilled down almost to bedrock in Antarctica. They recovered layers of ice formed by compressed snow, which can be counted much like the rings on trees.


Stocker said Chinese and Australian scientists were examining possibilities for drilling in parts of Antarctica with even deeper ice, in some places 4,500 meters thick, that could yield atmospheric records dating back 1.5 million years.

The study also found big natural shifts in carbon dioxide levels. "We find very conspicuous natural oscillations of carbon dioxide 770,000 years ago that bear the fingerprint of abrupt climate change during ice ages," Stocker said.

And the Nature report also set a new record low for carbon dioxide at
172 parts per million (ppm) in the atmosphere about 667,000 years ago, about 10 ppm below the previous known low and giving an ancient natural range of 172 to about 300 ppm.

The study suggested that the low might be a sign that the oceans once soaked up more carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide levels are now at about 380 ppm.

Taken together, the data "allow us to learn more eventually about the carbon cycle and its responses to climate change."

Temperatures in an ice age are about 5-6 Celsius (9 to 11 Fahrenheit) colder than now, already a mild period in earth's history. Climate change could add a "best guess" of 1.8 to 4.0 Celsius this century, according to the U.N. panel.

The study also linked variations in methane to monsoons.

"The variations of methane concentration point to a strengthening of the monsoon system in the tropics in the most recent 400,000 years. These monsoon cycles have become stronger in the second half of this long time period," Stocker said.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 15, 2008 1:01 PM | Report abuse

I like southern accents a lot - even the dreaded IN-surance and thee-AY-ter. As I've mentioned many times here, I can't stand the Pittsburgh accent, which includes "ink pin" (to distinguish it from "safety pin"). A friend and I used to visit her relatives in western New York state, where they say "pop" with the broad "ah" sound, almost like Chicagoans. Love English, Irish, Scottish accents too - especially shedule and jag-u-ar. I find Australians very hard to understand.

My brother married a woman from Michigan, with a very pronounced Chicago/Michigan accent, but their kids have "no accent", despite having grown up in Michigan. I find that kind of surprising. Not sure if it's TV's influence, or what. They used to tease my brother about how he pronounced "greazy" and "houzes" (for "greasy" and "houses"). I think I say "greasy" and "houzes"...

Posted by: mostlylurking | May 15, 2008 1:13 PM | Report abuse

I guess this is slightly on topic, but Dana Priest's chat has a pretty interesting explanation of why the Post and some others continue to call the country "Burma" rather than the alleged (and phony) newer name of Myanmar.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 15, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse

I'm surprised no one is taking about McCain's lastest flip flop. He now has a 'timeline' for getting combant troops out of Iraq. 2013. One year after his first term. Speach in Ohio this morning.

Posted by: bh | May 15, 2008 1:30 PM | Report abuse

As a long time lurker, I have decided to take the plunge and post. A lot of times the boodle has discussions on right and wrong usage, and I know I may not live up to boodle standards (also, by the time I put my thoughts together, it will have gone on to many other topics.) Oh well, here goes.

The first thing I learned taking anthropology and linguistic courses in college is language is not fixed and permanent; it changes, especially the spoken language. Otherwise I'd have been able to read Beowulf in the original. I alsolearned that my husband, who doesn't hear the distinction between the vowels in 'pin' and 'pen', was perfectly normal. Thankfully he could hear the difference between 'ee'and 'i', some non-english speakers don't learn that distinction as a child, which makes for great stories, mostly along the lines of Mianus jokes.

Pronunciation, vocabulary and meanings change faster than syntax. Grammar is our attempt to formalize the underlying rules of the language, and I think English formal grammar was probably based on Latin, giving you a "correct" sentence of "Ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I will not put". To 'put up with' does not mean (verb - 'put'+ adj - 'up'+ preposition - 'with'). It acts a lot more like a German two part verb.

Linguistics aside, when someone becomes a national figure, we expect them to speak correctly, which if I remember correctly (did I mention, college was a long time ago) is using a mid-western dialect. But when a usage grates on our ears, it probably says more about us than the person speaking.

Still, although I have listened to accents like JFK, Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, without qualm, I will never again hear the pronunciation "nucular" without wincing.

Posted by: km2b | May 15, 2008 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Back in the 18th century, English elites thought it a bad thing that English wasn't more like Latin. So their experts set up rules of grammar so that the toffs could sound as though they'd started out with Latin, then picked up English so they could communicate with the servants. Or revise Shakespeare's plays. Whichever.

I can still seemingly pass for native in the upper Midwest, thanks to picking up northern lower-peninsula Michiganese as a small kid.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | May 15, 2008 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Welcome, km2b. I'm with you on the nucular. Yeouch.

Posted by: slyness | May 15, 2008 1:43 PM | Report abuse

KM2B Wise and well spoken and welcome. Scottynike will send you a welcome packet and a decoder ring. Do you want pink or blue or perhaps the neutral sea foam green?

PSST: Mudge is in charge over there. He looks like a thunderer but don't worry, everything will be fine in the secret initiation ceremony.

Posted by: College Parkian | May 15, 2008 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Hi km2b! That was a great post. I hope you stick around. Somewhere I remember reading that one of the reasons language changes is that words get mispronounced by children, who then carry this over into adulthood. Do you think there is anything to this?

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 15, 2008 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Public service spot:

Watch out for evite spam.....I thought that my social capital was rising suddenly, but not really. FAKED-out electronic invitations to parties. Be wary.

Posted by: College Parkian | May 15, 2008 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Hey k2mb! *welcome Grover waves*

As with slyness, don't get me started on that pronunciation you mentioned.

Actually, 'Mudge handles the official Boodler paperwork stuff, I just stand here confused by the wonder of it all. :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 15, 2008 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Catching the CNN headlines at noon after working in the yard. (Another storm last night, more cleanup--an inch in two days' time--very good news indeed.)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- The California Supreme Court has overturned a voter-approved ban on gay marriage, paving the way for the state to become the second in the United States where gay and lesbian residents can marry.

LL: I hope that this reversal by the California Supreme Court can give my former brother-in-law some happiness, should this be the route he wants to pursue.

It certainly beats the lie he lived to his mother, my parents, my sister, and especially to his children, and perhaps to his school administrators. To some he was more dishonest than to others. My parents and I knew that he was living as openly gay before he and my sister began to share a townhouse owned by his mother. Theirs is such a long and painful story.

Posted by: Loomis | May 15, 2008 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Welcome aboard, km2b. Feel free to post at any time. We're generally pretty tolerant about usage here. The only one who goes bat---- crazy is me when yello uses "that" instead of "who." But he only does it now to make me go crazoid.

That old "don't end a sentence with a preposition" rule was never a "true" or "proper" rule of English. Bill Walsh, the Post copy editor and author of two excellent editing books, does a lecture on all the "rules that aren't rules," and that's one of them.

Others he cites are:
Never split and infinitive;
Never begin a sentence with a conjunction;
Never use contractions;
Always write in complete sentences;
Never use the passive voice;
Never write in the first person; and
Never address the reader directly.

Says Walsh: Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong. ("The Elephants of Style," p. 63)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 15, 2008 1:54 PM | Report abuse

SCC: km2b, of course. *SIGH*

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 15, 2008 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Boodle standards! We lower 'em all the time. Raise spirits not standards. We weave around topics; we post new ones. Some of us keep beating the old nags of

boating ephemera
knitting knowledge
80s music liner notes details
plants to love
weeds to pull
recipes ranging from clafoutis to carbonara

What will YOU though into the gumbo?

Posted by: College Parkian | May 15, 2008 1:56 PM | Report abuse

So, for those of us who snuck into the Boodle without paperwork, do we become citizens after a number of years of hard work and paying dues or do we get deported back to the blogs from which we fled? :D

Posted by: CentrevilleMom | May 15, 2008 1:59 PM | Report abuse

One of the funny things about language is how words and expressions change, by being mispronounced. I notice that "quash" has become "squash", which I find vaguely amusing. Weingarten talked about this in one of his chats not long ago...I can't recall any examples, unfortunately. Many people say "chomping at the bit" instead of "champing at the bit".

I've become a lot more tolerant about this kind of thing. What does grate on my nerves is "between you and I" instead of "between you and me" - even Bill and Hillary say that.

Welcome, km2b!

Posted by: mostlylurking | May 15, 2008 2:00 PM | Report abuse

C-mom....I read that as STUCK in the Boodle...this is true.

By common law norms, you are now Boodles with or without the decoder ring.

Right on Bill Walsh on those sacred elephants of style. Mudge has some of the same books I do.

Posted by: College Parkian | May 15, 2008 2:04 PM | Report abuse

km2b, welcome. Mianus?! Boy you've been lurking a long time! In which case, you know 'boodle standards' is a very loosely defined term.
If you can bake, bring something sweet to the bunker next time. Otherwise, you're in charge of sodas.

Posted by: LostInThought | May 15, 2008 2:05 PM | Report abuse

BTW, I'm "working" from home today, which is why I'm posting so prolifically during the day. It's supposed to get into the 70s - not sure it will as it started out misty and cloudy. Tomorrow the temperature may hit 90! Huzzah! I would have taken both days off, but I have jury duty next week, so I'm trying to make sure I have things caught up. And if I'm at home I can sneak outside easier.

A thousand apologies for using so many quote marks.

Posted by: mostlylurking | May 15, 2008 2:07 PM | Report abuse

End a sentence with a preposition? Never! As Winston Churchill famously said,"That is a situation up with which I will not put."

Posted by: K:LOTD | May 15, 2008 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Rising from my torporitude to rail against the use of "impact" as a verb. It drives me positively nutz. It always makes me think of that condition that requires lots of enemas!

Posted by: Maggie O'D | May 15, 2008 2:13 PM | Report abuse

I've read through the whole 'boodle and find none of you will confess to an error similar to mine -- reading a poem in freshman English (yes, college freshman.)

Pronounced "omnipotent" as if omni was really strong.

I had never heard it pronounced!

Posted by: nellie | May 15, 2008 2:17 PM | Report abuse

"Thunderer"???? [insert chili/Mexican food joke du jour here]

C-Mom, if you don't have the proper Boodle paperwork, we turn your name over to ICE (because we here are true-blue Murkins helping to fight the global war on tara), they dose you up with haldol, and ship you to a rendering plant in Krakow. We take this precaution just in case you are some kinda secret muslin or something. Or maybe a cheesecloth, or even a taffeta.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 15, 2008 2:19 PM | Report abuse

I said "EP-i-tome" instead of "e-PIT-oh-me" - I think I was at home, so my older sister ridiculed me. Those dang Greeks!

Posted by: mostlylurking | May 15, 2008 2:20 PM | Report abuse

omni IS pretty potent around here, yanno...

But what's all this propositioning around here, then?? This ain't the Mayflower, yanno...


Posted by: Scottynuke | May 15, 2008 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Welcome km2b! You've gotten off to a great start.

Belated welcome to CentrevilleMom. Are you a refuge from the Mommy Blog?

Posted by: Raysmom | May 15, 2008 2:24 PM | Report abuse

My mispronunciation was fairly early on...

ann-HILL-ee-ate, despite my older brother's protestations to the contrary.

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 15, 2008 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Heh. The fabric references reminds me of the time I took my best friend fabric shopping with me for a costume he wanted me to make. We reached the prom/bridal section and he picked up a shiny bolt of fabric. "What's this stuff? Gold lame?", he asked. Snickering a bit, I replied, "lahMAY. It's pronounced lahMAY."

He pondered the fabric for a moment more, shelved it, and said, "Nope. It's lame."

Posted by: CentrevilleMom | May 15, 2008 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Oh, Magie, heart of my heart: I despise "impact" as a verb, too, along with "author" and "partner." I routinely change all of 'em in whatever I'm editing.

I also change "persons" to "people" and "utilize" to "use."

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 15, 2008 2:26 PM | Report abuse

And another thing... "is because" "is how" and the like is enough to make me shake my fists at reporters and editors who should know better. Sloppy, sloppy.

Posted by: Maggie O'D | May 15, 2008 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Raysmom, I am a refugee from On Balance; that place got too scary for me.

Posted by: CentrevilleMom | May 15, 2008 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Tuh-set-suh fly. Encountered, of all places, in an old collection of BC comic strips, from back when Johnny Hart was reasonably sane, funny, and possibly under the influence of devil liquor. My sister still tries to get mileage out of that.

Posted by: ScienceTim | May 15, 2008 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Good for you, C-mom, this is a much nicer place.

Don't mind Mudge. He's shop steward so he thinks that gives him authority. We allow him that fantasy to keep him in line. Actually, his only responsibility is to open the bunker when we need to retreat or to party. Come to think of it, normally those times are one and the same.

Posted by: slyness | May 15, 2008 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Sign me up for the Impact=Verb Haters Club.

Posted by: frostbitten | May 15, 2008 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Well, I *do* straighten the doilies and take the empty beer bottles out to the curb, yanno.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 15, 2008 2:36 PM | Report abuse

This just in: the California Supreme Court overturned the ban on gay marriage. It now joins Massachusetts as the two states that specifically allow it.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 15, 2008 2:44 PM | Report abuse

There's a difference between "pin" and "pen"? Who knew?

Well, actually Mrs. D. has been telling me that for years, but I told her it was just her northeastern elitist bias.

Posted by: Dooley | May 15, 2008 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Here's disheartening news from today's Tulsa World: one of our elected representatives, U.S. Congressman Dan Boren, son of former Senator/Governor (and current OU President) David Boren, has been named to the Board of Directors of the National Rifle Association. Please note that this is one of our DEMOCRATIC Congressmen--imagine what the Republicans are like. (Well, you don't have to imagine Sen. Jim Inhofe; he has made himself pretty well-known...)

And I have to say that the phrase, "Boodle standards! We lower 'em all the time." reminds me of one Joel's classic columns, "Vote for Me!" which contained the immortal phrase, "When you say 'Sink,' I say 'How low?'"

Posted by: kbertocci | May 15, 2008 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Yeah yeah yeah.

When was the last time YOU cleaned the bathrooms, huh huh huh? I seem to recall that *I* am the only one with the stomach for that task!

Posted by: slyness | May 15, 2008 2:57 PM | Report abuse

A "pin" is the secret number you use at the ATM. A "pen" is a sort of corral or enclosure for stock. All clear now?

Posted by: kurosawaguy | May 15, 2008 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Potent? And hear I thought I was Science!

Posted by: omni | May 15, 2008 3:03 PM | Report abuse

The Boodle: Lowering Our Standards Since 2005 (TM)

Posted by: Raysmom | May 15, 2008 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Holy cow! I think I need a legal ruling. I just found this: "The use of peer-to-peer file sharing, chat rooms, and instant messaging for communicating with persons or entities outside the internal network
network is prohibited."

Could this-here thing be termed a chat room?

(Tee hee. It said "persons.")

Posted by: Raysmom | May 15, 2008 3:10 PM | Report abuse

* desperately trying to remember whether I lowered the toilet seat*

That's good, Raysmom. I also like "The Boodle: We doan need no steenken' standards."

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 15, 2008 3:10 PM | Report abuse

or a pin is the exact center of the target in curling, and a pen is the place you put criminals.

Posted by: omni | May 15, 2008 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Our only standard, as far as I can tell is: To go off topic as soon as possible.

Posted by: omni | May 15, 2008 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Glenn Beck is a self-contradictory asshat. Alert the media.

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 15, 2008 3:16 PM | Report abuse

I dun killed da Boodle. I sowwy.

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 15, 2008 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Scotty, I think that CNN site just had some interesting links. I know I got sidetracked by headlines such as:

- Mom indicted in deadly hoax
- Calif. gay-marriage law annulled
- Child bride's book causes stir
- Beer wages for man cave
- Dems: Bush remarks 'outrageous'
- iReporter captures quake exodus

And...they're off and surfing!

Posted by: kbertocci | May 15, 2008 4:10 PM | Report abuse

We so far have had a 41.7 degree temp increase in 7.5 hours.
51.1 @ 6:30 and now 92.8 @ 1:00 and still rising.
Humidy 18%. Wind speed 10.1 km/hr.

Alas I didn't get my debris pile burned last week when we had Oregon mist.

Posted by: bh | May 15, 2008 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Welcome aboard, km2b.

Hey, I just cleaned the bathrooms this past weekend - I still smell like bleach!

I'm glad to hear about the California Supreme Court decision. I'm curious as to how states will consider recognizing - or not - out-of-state unions.

On topic for a second, other pronunications that come to mind: "Warshington," "pasketti," "am-buh-lance."

I would note there that the is *no* mispronunciation for "Mianus." It's all good as long as we know what we're talking about.


Posted by: bc | May 15, 2008 4:15 PM | Report abuse

LiT nominates km2b (welcome!) to be in charge of soda. We're still looking for volunteers to be in charge of pop.

Does anyone call it a tin of pop/soda?

Mudge, I just *knew* I was going to get called on the mat for Messerschmitt.

Posted by: SonofCarl | May 15, 2008 4:36 PM | Report abuse

One thing that bugs me about McCain is that he says "Warshington". Not that it's the biggest thing that bugs me about him, but still...

Posted by: mostlylurking | May 15, 2008 4:38 PM | Report abuse

There's something odd among the, for lack of a better word, intelligensia, that promotes sudden changes, without discussion, almost mindlessly, in the pronunciation of words that have been pronounced one way, and then all of a sudden, Niger is pronounced "nigh-zhay." Okay, we'll be French. I didn't get a memo, because there WAS NO MEMO.

The one that gets my goat is "processes." All of a sudden it became "processeez." As if it's the same as hypotheses, or theses. I disagree! With umbrage!

Posted by: Jumper | May 15, 2008 4:48 PM | Report abuse

And they will take my jigabyte when they pry it from my cold dead tongue!

Posted by: Jumper | May 15, 2008 4:50 PM | Report abuse

IIRC, Jimmy Carter also pronounced it "nucular."

Why am I now thinking of Chekov, "Where do I find the nuclear wessels?"

Posted by: Raysmom | May 15, 2008 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Running for the early bus.

Kim, a new episode of "Lost" tonight.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 15, 2008 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Jumper, for me it's "negotiate" pronounced as neg-oh-see-ate.

Posted by: Raysmom | May 15, 2008 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Many Europeans learn English in school with the word GHOTI, which is pronounced "FISH". This is how it goes -- GH as in "rough"; O as in "women"; TI as in "nation". Easy as pie, or, well, ghoti, you know? Kinda cute, eh?

I, too, wince at certain mispronunciations. And I'm with Mudge on the oh-so-common "that" for "who" -- that alone drives me nutz.

My mother made up words a lot. One of them, which is now to see the light of day for the very first time in cyberspace (watch how you apply it in your daily lives, please): SNOCK. Snock is a verb, as in "Snock these papers together for me, will you please?" What a superb and onomatopoeic word (almost onomatopoetic, don't you think?) -- and not just 'cause it was my mom's inventiveness. Well, maybe so, after all. She was a very funny woman.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | May 15, 2008 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Raysmom, you are thinking of Chekov because he was way funnier than Jimmy Carter.

Posted by: nellie | May 15, 2008 5:28 PM | Report abuse

The "GHOTI" pronunciation was used as a riddle in an old Batman episode. Boy Blunder figured it out. Which leads us back to brain bloops and superheroes.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 15, 2008 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Kinda off topic, but had to include this little slice of life dialog:

Me: So what's your first pick?

Son: William and Mary.

Me: You know, Rachel Manteuffel went there.

Son: Who?

Me: This young woman who writes for the Post sometimes. She's very good. She's writing some bits for the Achenblog.

Son: And this is supposed to encourage me?

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 15, 2008 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Wasn't it George Bernard Shaw who first noted the ghoti pronunciation when he started his campaign to reform English spelling?

Silly man. It would never have worked.

Posted by: slyness | May 15, 2008 7:13 PM | Report abuse

I'm pleased to announce that the temperature here in Seattle has broken the 70 degree mark. Yay! Still windy, but not a cold wind. The ostrich fern I planted last fall is finally sending up fiddleheads - thought it might have been a dud. The Chinese tree peony is self-pruning - the flowers are so heavy the branches are breaking. Guess I'll have to prune it back properly when they're done. (I say PEE-oh-knee - when I hear pee-OH-knee, it makes me laugh.)

Cassandra, roses are tough, so some light trimming probably won't hurt anything. I wouldn't cut it down to the ground, but I never do that with my roses.

Posted by: mostlylurking | May 15, 2008 7:34 PM | Report abuse

Interesting Kits and Boodles the last few days, including the missing Boodle over the weekend. Had a bit of a scare as they found something they didn't like when they took out my gall bladder. But after an MRI, turns out to be nothing, just something to 'watch.' I'm okay with that.

Mispronounciation of words. Guilty. I still have to think before I say indict. Toile wants to come out of my mouth as 'toil' and there are words I just won't say unless I look them up first. Funny how some words get fancified (is that a word?). Around these parts there used to be two groups of people, those who went to FIlene's and those who went to F'lenes. We were the long I people, which is the correct way to say it, at least I think it is correct. I still say either with a long 'e' but wish I could change to the long 'i' way, but I'm probably too old and set in my ways. I do get their, they're and there and that and who altho' sometimes which will trip me up. Ah well, nobody's perfect.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | May 15, 2008 7:36 PM | Report abuse

Hey, where'd everybody go?

Yoki, you out there? We need a progress report, want to know that all the gang arrived safely at the Shark Wrangler Dude Ranch for Wayward Women.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 15, 2008 8:24 PM | Report abuse

Jon Stewart played soccer for William and Mary. (class of '84)

Posted by: frostbitten | May 15, 2008 8:34 PM | Report abuse

Thank you frostbitten, all makes sense.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 15, 2008 8:52 PM | Report abuse

FIlenes vs F'lines. I'm a F'lines girl. Also a F'lines B person. I did love the B.

When my mother died and my father needed a suit, I went to the B to buy one for him. It was 1993, and he and I were about the same size. (He was born in 1907.) I bought two suits; he chose one, and on the same day, the tailor took up the pants, and he looked quite elegant at the wake and the funeral.

At HIS funeral, he wore the same suit and looked quite the dandy in his casket.

My daughter, aged 15, wrote this poem about him.

Arms crossed,
Fingers clutching the purple beaded rosary,
Face a molded calm,
Lips painted thinly shut and
Chest fluffed out like a proud father robin,
Framed by elaborate flowers, their cards placed obviously
Resting on silver steel stands
In a yellow-lit room with fading silver and blue wallpaper,
Viewed from five rows of chairs,
As if he were going to climb out and dance a jig.
But he won't.

I am reminded as I kneel in front of him,
Praying for his soul's journey through purgatory,
wanting to reach out and touch his hand, and
Greet him with our exclusive handshake
"How d'you do? and How d'you do again?"

Posted by: Maggie O'D | May 15, 2008 9:01 PM | Report abuse

Wildlife report:
I have been seeing alot of wildlife lately and I think I saw my first bear on my way to work today, well actually all I saw was a big black hairy behind running into the woods. Last sunday I was lucky enough to see the Albino deer,too dark for any pictures though. I have been seeing very many piliated woodpeckers so far this spring,some big ones too. Also a Bald Eagle and a few Owls. Oh and finally plenty of frogs on the road after rains. Sure is nice living amongst all of this wildlife. I will miss it when I am gone.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | May 15, 2008 9:05 PM | Report abuse

SCC my 10:08 from this morning: Pronouns, not prepositions.

Didn't sleep well last night.

Posted by: Loomis | May 15, 2008 9:17 PM | Report abuse

Maggie, you have quite a daughter there. The part about dancing a jig is so sad. All funeral homes are the same no matter how different they may appear to be. By the way, how are your ribs, are you recovered?

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | May 15, 2008 9:50 PM | Report abuse

gwe -- is there some significance in the phrase "I will miss it when I am gone."

Such a sad phrase! Are you moving?

Posted by: nellie | May 15, 2008 9:56 PM | Report abuse

Attention wine drinkers:

My daughter, who lives up in the Napa VAlley, recently told me of a wine she says she "really likes," a Cabernet by

Screw Kappa Napa

Posted by: nellie | May 15, 2008 10:00 PM | Report abuse

Yes Nellie, that is the plan.I want to move back to my home town, help my Mom out and hopefully find a job that pays better,with a shorter commute. But I have friends in WV so I could always come back for a visit. Heck, I got to live in Paradise for 8 years.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | May 15, 2008 10:15 PM | Report abuse

Great story, Maggie.

Taking the econonmics/entropy/ecology exam during happy hour on Friday: can you imagine that between 4 and 7 rather than a cold beer or iced glass of pinot grigio?

EEk a nom ics
ECK a nom ics

I believe I say, ECK; can't think straight about it.

ICK a nom ics? Nah. Good stuff.

Sneaks! OlderDot read these lines from MacBeth thusly:

Twowel. Twowel. Twowel and Trouble. I believe she was ten or so.

Wow on the move for GWE. Lucky mom.

Any word from the cross-border boodle meet up?

Back to the books.

Posted by: College Parkian | May 15, 2008 10:53 PM | Report abuse

Bad Sneakers,
Thanks for asking; my ribs are still killing me. I went to New Orleans this weekend for a wedding. I didn't take any pain killers because I knew I'd be toasting the bride and groom. And more.

I got home Monday night and am still trying to recover.

I really over did it.

Posted by: Maggie O'D | May 15, 2008 11:02 PM | Report abuse

gwe -- that is more than kind of you, your mother will appreciate having you near -- probably more than she will be able to say.

Posted by: nellie | May 15, 2008 11:17 PM | Report abuse

Slyness said: Bro ME li ad, not bro me LIAD.

See, this is better than me. I'd be tempted to pronounce "Bromeliad" to rhyme with "gnome ride".

Posted by: Wilbrod | May 16, 2008 1:04 AM | Report abuse

Hi, km2b.

Maggie and Bad Sneakers, hope you feel better soon.

CP, good luck in your exam.

gwe, best of luck in your move and finding a job.

I pronounce some words the British way and some words the American way. I say KAN't and not CAN't. I use to eat TOMATO, now I eat TO-MAY-to. Sometimes I SHAYjuool, other times I SKAYjuool.

Our spellings use to be only British in the past, but no longer. We used to "centre" and "theatre" but now we "center" and "theater." We are still "colour." Our "advice" is a noun and "advise" is a verb. It's the same with "licence" and "license"

French words around here get butchered every single time. They are mostly names of shops. "femme" which is pronounced "FAM" becomes "FEM me". "Carrefour" (pronounced CARR foo), the hypermarket, becomes "CARRY for." Most people just pronounce everything they see.

People in this region (Bn, M'sia & S'pore) speak a mixture of languages and dialects. We speak Malay mixed with English and vice versa. We speak Mandarin mixed with Malay and English. The 6 main Chinese dialects are peppered with Malay words. Chinese dialects also take up English words, like, wire, summon and vitamin. It is the same with those who speak the Indian languages. In other words, we speak "rojak."

Posted by: rainforest | May 16, 2008 2:24 AM | Report abuse

Km2b, have you ever read the "unfolding of language?" Good if academic read.

Latin infinitives and verbs do tend to have long vowels. "Stare" meaning 'to stand' is actually staaar-e. Nouns tend to come from the gerund form of Latin, which almost never has the long vowel.

So proDUCE is from Prooduuuucere, while PROduct is from proooductum.

ProTECT is from Proteeegere. (Protegeo= I protect.)

So, you have pro TEKT vs PRO dekt... which certainly helps with seeing the difference between two similar words. Yet they become proDEK-tive and ProTEK-tive

Division would be di VI shun. This is because -sion is not part of the stem, but an inflection.

I do see a pattern of -sive verbs being pronounced with the -siv pattern (which would sound like an uninflected "sieve"), parallel with the "-shun" sound, as the final consonant is clipped from the root.

Divid-tum = divisum, hence divisive.

Interestingly, intervocalic d+t patterns tend to be collapsed into "ss" in Latin-- also in Sanskrit, and most languages-- this is a natural consonant shift, and actually bridges the d and t nicely by just hissing one consonant.

(Pre-classical Latin originally rhotacized all "s" when it fell between vowels... Flos= florem (flower). Yet, on the other hand, almost every classical latin root you see as "casus", etc. almost always came from a verb like "Cadere", etc.)

Yet English is not Latin. We never clip the final consonant in forming suffixes; we are apt to add an extra vowel if need be. So when we latinize English words with-ive, we actually use -ative... Talkative.

The folk English adjectivization of "divide" would be dividative- di-VIII-duh-tive. This would be easier to understand if faintly ridiculous compared to "divisive"... if it could be said clearly-- this is more apt to come out as "diviiidadive" or "divititive", or diviidive. Which is why the dt to ss (or r, or whatever) rule occurs in so many langauges.

Imagine if a similar consonant shift occured in English from Dividative, forget that it's already been done in Latin/French.

The product would be "Di VIS ive", because we say divide with a long -vide sound, while the original French divisif came from a French diviser verb, short vi-ser sound.

So... is "Di VIS ive" actually a phonetic re-creation in English of "dividative"? Or just subconsious influence from "divide" as the verb? Or is it influence from other languages other than French?

What you consider an egregious mispronuncation, I consider to be an interesting application of phonetic rules.

(Which is what I wish people would think whenever I mangle speech.)

Posted by: Wilbrod | May 16, 2008 2:47 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: omni | May 16, 2008 5:32 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle. Omni, did you just hurt yourself?

Still no word from the Shark Wrangler Dude Ranch for Wayward Women. Musta been a helluva party.

Good Eugene Robinson and E.J. Dionne columns this morning.

Must go find food, coffee, shower.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 16, 2008 6:13 AM | Report abuse

Fine, fine poem Maggie. What an insightful girl. Hope you feel better soon.

gwe, good luck with the move and I'm sure your mom will appreciate the help.

I too eagerly await word from the Western Canucki Boodle Estrogen Fest and Knitting Bee. They are three hours behind and hangovers can linger on til noon. If we don't hear anything by quitting time, eastern seaboard, we may have to send out a search party.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 16, 2008 7:08 AM | Report abuse

I'm here.

Which, for a TGIF, is not too bad.

*also-desparately-seeking-caffeine Grover waves*


Posted by: Scottynuke | May 16, 2008 7:18 AM | Report abuse

Goodmorning! No coffee for me today, I'm cramming for the usual tests at the doctor's office. No coffee means I will probably pass the blood pressure test. Some trampoline action gets me by the random blood sugar test, and if I don't eat, I can pass the cholesterol test. Drink lots of water and I pass the urine test. Yeah!

I'm still looking for a way to cheat on the hemoglobin A1C, but no luck so far on that one.

Hmm, the computer doesn't speak the word "hemoglobin" correctly, I probably spelled it wrong.

Posted by: DandyLion | May 16, 2008 7:21 AM | Report abuse

DandyLion - I imagine you have a special perspective when it comes to the way words get pronounced! Best wishes on those tests!

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 16, 2008 7:30 AM | Report abuse

I woke up early, that 'click.bang' was the TAIF starter gun. Then iPhoto hung up and froze me out of Safari. So I just shut it all down, took a shower. And got all wet again commuting to work.

Forgot to shave, but my hair looks fine

Still, I need more caffeine...or a nap

yeah right...who naps at 7:30 AM?

Posted by: omni | May 16, 2008 7:38 AM | Report abuse

Omni, I usually wait until 8:10.

What a wet dreary day in the DC area. And it looks to be a busy morning.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 16, 2008 7:46 AM | Report abuse

RD, for the nap, or the starter gun

Uncle Albert

Posted by: omni | May 16, 2008 7:54 AM | Report abuse

God loves us so much more than we can imagine through Him that died for all, Jesus Christ.

Morning, morning, friends. Kbert, I really got a good laugh out of your two something comment yesterday. It sounds so much like me, when asked, how low.

Maggie hope you're feeling better. Sneakers, I was wondering if you were okay after I saw the fires on television. Good to hear from you. Dandylion, hope the check up is good.

I will try the advice for the roses, and thanks.

Mudge, did not read Robinson this morning, but will come back to it. I have to take the g-girl to school this morning. She stayed the night.

Slyness, we have rain. And more rain. It is all good.

Scotty, I've had the coffee, and still I'm not quite there. The trip to the school will spring me into the day.

Martooni, where are you? Check in with us. I may have overlooked your comment. It is getting harder to catch up. By the time I finish writing this comment, we may have a new kit.

Got to go. I have a funeral to attend today, and service tonight. It has been a busy week.

Posted by: cassandra s | May 16, 2008 7:55 AM | Report abuse

When I was a kid I always said pizza with the double ZZ sounding like a a regular single Z. My brother spent several minutes trying to correct this. Remember now that I have high frequency hearing loss, so I don't hear consonants all that well. Finally, almost totally exasperated, my brother said forget it. A few seconds later he said what is the name of that smelly kid in your class. I said 'Pete'. Then he said 'Za'. I got it then. I've been able to hear the 'T' in Pizza ever since. It was a long while before I could enjoy a slice again though. Stoopid smelly Pete. "ZA"!

Posted by: omni | May 16, 2008 8:03 AM | Report abuse

Believe it or not 'ghoti', is how the Klingons spell 'fish'.

ow, my head hurts.

Uncle Albert, I need more caffeine!

Posted by: omni | May 16, 2008 8:10 AM | Report abuse

oh Maggie, my eyes are damp. that's like right out of an oscar performance movie

Posted by: omni | May 16, 2008 8:16 AM | Report abuse

Morning all, we slept in, which is the right activity for a Friday morning in the mountains. However, Mr. T has gone to get a load of mulch; I must be brief so I can get dressed and be ready when he returns.

Maggie, hope you feel better today! You too, Sneaks.

Cassandra, we had rain here in the night but the clouds are being blown away and I think the sun will come out. It's cool, though, just the right temperature for working on the bank.

I'll check in later, folks.

Posted by: slyness | May 16, 2008 8:45 AM | Report abuse

One would think wayward meant on course if one considers that the direction of motion is along the axis of the boat's way.

Posted by: Boko999 | May 16, 2008 9:02 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all.

Am partially caffienated, need an IV of sugar and black coffee stat.

I don't have any special wildlife reports to make other than seeing (and occasionally hearing) the usual: deer, opossum, racoons, foxes, hawks, mice, frogs, toads, bats, and a remarkable variety of insects and arachnids.

Maggie, I hope you're feeling better.
cassandra, my thoughts are with you today, too. Another funeral for you - seems to be too many, too often.

DandyLion, sounds like you do a lot of studying for that urine test.

omni, thanks for that Klingon klarification. I don't think they eat much ghoti - which is what you'd expect from folks who consider gah a comfort food.


Posted by: bc | May 16, 2008 9:04 AM | Report abuse

new kit

Posted by: omni | May 16, 2008 9:41 AM | Report abuse

by a new guest blogger

Posted by: omni | May 16, 2008 9:43 AM | Report abuse

I'm consistently excluded from polite company (most especially by math teachers!) because I loudly scoff when they insist upon pronouncing the process used to determine factors as, "da-vizzhen". It is, of course, "duv-I-zhun". [Rhymes with "horizon", right?]

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