I watched Shakespeare in Love in order to assess the new Collector's
Edition DVD. The best compliment I can give a movie: when I finished Shakespeare
in Love, I couldn't bear to take it out of the DVD player and watch
something else. I went to sleep so I could enjoy the mood. It is now in a Collector's Edition DVD
is a truly lame movie about people being murdered. The title? They live in a house. Christina is one of the people that lives there. It is like a
slasher film, except there is no actual slashing. All the early murders are committed off screen.
- there is now a new page for that little
beastmistress, Tanya Roberts. Link there
through the main members' links (Encyclopedia of Naked Celebrities, R section).
- of course, there is also a page for Gwyneth Paltrow, which now includes
everything above. Link there
through the main members' links (Encyclopedia of Naked Celebrities, P section).
Charlie's French Cinema
Nudity site is updated. Big update this week.
in the following, Scoop's comments in
white, other people's words in yellow
I got nearly 100 letters yesterday about words. I had no clue that
it would mushroom like this.
Several people wrote in to say there were good reasons for Dr
Johnson to change the common conjugation of the past tense of the verb"
to be". Yes, Johnson stated some reasons, and they were very scholarly.
He was probably right, but the point I made is that almost nobody actually spoke that way, and he single-handedly
changed the language with his scholarship.
Around 1750, people of all social classes used to say
"you was the best singer in the play", but "you were the best
singers in the play". Right or wrong, justified or not, that's the way
people really spoke at the time, and one man changed it.
To understand it in
modern terms, think of this. Suppose one man could get all people everywhere
to pick up the phone and say "Hi, it's I". That is, of course,
correct English, as defined by the scholars, but nobody
speaks that way.
Whether or not this word is mispronounced depends
on where you happen to be at the time, but it certainly has a lot of
pronunciations. That word is water. Besides the usual wat-ter, I have heard
wad-der (rhymes with fodder), wad-der (rhymes with bladder), wat-ah, and wad-dah.
wat-ter (rhymes with otter) is only #2 in American speech. Waw-ter
(rhymes with daughter) is the most common. I think this is just a matter of
regionalism, as well as national speech. Americans and Brits don't pronounce
"t" the same. For many Americans, "latter" and
"ladder" are homonyms.
The juicy R is a sound
to the Americans and Irish among English speakers, so that gives us a distinctive
pronunciation of words like water, but the juicy r disappears or virtually
disappears in many places in the USA and elsewhere.
When I say this word, it sounds like none
of the above. More like WAW-der. Not really a "d', but not a
"t" either. I don't think I'll be able to change it, even though I'd like to.
enjoyed your talk on pronunciations. I'm irritated to hear educated adults use
"axe" for "ask" (If you axe me nice, I will do it.) I
think it came from switching the letters to aks - then to axe. We have
had discussions among teachers about "fixin' to" as in, You're fixin'
to get an ass-whuppin. Also, yonder: Yonder is my grade book. I think it came
from Hither and Yon, but no one says, "Hither are my glasses", do
I won't print them all, but I got 25+ letters
about "axe" for "ask".
Personally, I like
regionalism. It's colorful, and fun. Back in the 50's, America's schools tried to get
everyone to speak one dialect. Network TV accelerated the drive to conformity,
the interstates took away the colorful backroads we used to travel, and we lost a lot of regional charm.
Some people say
"axe". Some people say "ah-ite" for "all right",
including my daughter. Some people say "ay-aw", or "yep",
or "yup" or "yeah". Just colloquialism, isn't it?
language has survived as a single language under more difficult circumstances.
Think about it. From 1776 until sometime after WW1, there was no electronic
communication between us, so we didn't really have any significant reinforcement
to let us know how
the other guys were talking. Despite that, the language remained more or less
mutually intelligible from urban Harlem to rural Scotland to India. So I'm
fixin' to reckon that a passel of regionalisms out yonder won't hurt us any. We can all hear each
other every day now, and we'll sort it all out eventually. We have a
"bigger" language now, but it is big enough to embrace everyone.
story told to me by a flight attendant (ex-girlfriend). Indian guy in first
class is pressing the call button to get help on an all-night flight. Nobody
comes for a while. When the woman arrives, the guy is irritated, and says, "I am fingering
the stewardess for many minutes, and she is not coming"
tell me regionalism isn't a good thing!
- How do you pronounce it? Fish. This is a trick question. The playwright George Bernard Shaw (an advocate of spelling reform) supposedly
said the word "fish" could be spelled "ghoti" because gh
is pronounced like an f in "cough", o is pronounced like an i in
"women" and ti is pronounced like a sh in "nation"
This famous example may be new to some of you.
The word that kills me every time I hear it is zink instead of sink.
"Go put your dirty dishes in the zink" or "I tried every
thing but the kitchen zink."
Being a baseball fan, you are probably familiar with the misused term RBIs.
"Johnson has four RBIs in the game already." RBI of course stands
for Runs Batted In. RBIs would be Runs Batted Ins.
I would also like to mention a word added to our language by Joe Pesci in
the movie My Cousin Vinny. Pesci was explaining to Fred Gwynne about
the two yutes entering the Sack o' Suds. Gwynne stopped him and asked,
"What was that word? What's a yute?" Pesci says, "Sorry,
judge. I meant youths."
Nostalgic memory from the
distant past. My maternal grandfather said "zink and "zofa".
The greatest thing about the guy was that he spoke about a zillion languages
and could communicate and joke with everyone on the planet. The funniest thing
about him was that he spoke them all poorly, and often confused them, like
that monk in "The Name of the Rose". German was one of his childhood
languages, and he never lost that German "s" in his English
My dad, the legendary Suits
Sparrow, still says "yute" and "one, two, tree". He is
a native Polish speaker, so I assume this must be some vestigial Polish thing
which would also be found in other non-English languages. Both "th"
sounds (as in "theater" and "the") seem to be very
difficult for non-English speakers to master. One ends up a "d", the
other a "t", as in that famous Chekhov play, "da tree
Speaking of my ballplayin' dad, he and I both say "100
RBI's". If "RBI" can only mean "runs batted
in", then it is not proper to say "he only has one RBI this
game". I guess I would argue, based upon universal usage, that RBI must
be the abbreviation for "run(s) batted in".
This isn't a mispronounced word.... it's a
mis-used word. Maybe with your tremendous influence, we can finally rid
our language of the usage (or more the addition of) the word GATE to every
scandal or problem.
Watergate (which was a HOTEL, for crying out loud), we've called every problem
and scandal the something-gate. Right up to the recent Firestone tire
recall. I read that described as tiregate. There was an article sometime
ago about a mayoral candidate that went around in some small town (I
forget now which one) giving out cookies as he
talked about why he wanted to be elected. His opponents raised all kinds of
stink about that. They called it - you got it - -cookiegate. I'm
surprised we haven't started calling our military action in Afghanistan
Can we PLEASE eliminate these expressions from our language?? (Unless we
are describing a swinging door-type opening in a fence!)
To make it worse, the overuse of "gate" is
exacerbated by the fact that it actually has a dual source. Not only Watergate
for scandals, but also the famous movie fiasco Heaven's
Gate which, by extension, represents all financial fiascoes in the film
biz, assuming writers can make a cute rhyme. Waterworld was "Kevin's
Gate" (or "Fishtar"), and Sliver was "Evans' Gate"
Dear Scoop. Well, after all those years of naked
women, you've finally hit on a subject that truly gets me excited: etymology!
- As far as the variations on "One fell
swoop," I usually pronounce it "One swell foop." That
always seems to baffle some people and piss off others, which is the
reaction I shoot for in everything I do.
- As for redundancies, my personal pet peeve is the
ATM machine, or Automatic Teller Machine Machine. If I see that
again, I shall be forced to report the offender to the Department of
- Your note on "orientate" reminded me of
another pet peeve. When did people start "commentating" on
things? In the old days, we were simple folk who merely commented on
things. And we LIKED it that way! Nowadays, we've got a bunch
of fancy commentators commentating all over the place, and I think it
merits being commented upon, or commentated upon.
- Finally, re: the pronunciation of "rut
beer." It reminded me of our late lamented Surgeon General, Dr.
Joycelyn Elders. She provided a bonanza of material for us comedy
writers, and if you'd listen to a tape of one of her speeches, you'd find
that she could also offer endless material for future columns on tortured
Pat Reeder, The Comedy Wire
First, irregardless means regardless. So why
use the "ir-"?
Next, the word "route." Is the "ou" pronounced "oo"
or "ow"? I usually use "ow" when I'm planning which roads
I'm going to take (as in, "What route are we going to take to get
there?") and "oo" when I'm talking about a specific road (like
Actually, I haven't looked it up, but I don't think irregardless is a word -
at least that's what I learned in school. It is a common mangling of
regardless and irrespective.
However, your point could easily be made with flammable and inflammable,
both of which are perfectly good English words. and are synonyms, even though
they sound like antonyms.
Scoop - I've heard
"sharpy" used (occasionally) in the derogatory fashion you
mentioned by people of other (non-Polish) extractions.
On this subject, while the OED may not include
"card shark" and "cardsharp" per se, both
"shark" and "sharp," their root words, are. Among the
definitions for "shark" are several that refer to cheating and
swindling, including calling a person a "sharker," one who lives
by dishonesty, from as early as 1594. "Sharp" has several
definitions, many of them also early, denoting acumen or skill (which
we find in the expression "he's sharp as a tack," as well as
cardsharp). But "sharper" is also
found, and "sharp," used in the following ways: "The
sharps have queered me," from 1797, and this entry from a dictionary of
1812, "Sharp, a gambler, or person, professed in all the arts of play;
a cheat, or swindle"
I have read many times in old books where
people say they have been "sharped" by someone, to mean they've
been cheated. So the origin of the expressions "card
shark" and "cardsharp" share many similarities, even if
they are today supposed to refer to two different types of person.
Works for me. Good points! I didn't know that a
"shark" could also imply a dishonest player.
Why don't DO and SO rhyme? If DO rhymes
with DEW and SO rhyme with SEW, then why do we need the alternate
spellings? And for that matter, why don't DEW and SEW rhyme? Of course, if DO
rhymed with SO, then we wouldn't need the word DOUGH (or the newly added OED
word DOH.) And while we're on the subject, why doesn't DOUGH rhyme with COUGH?
And TOUGH doesn't rhyme with either of them.
Okay, that's ENOUGH. Gee, that doesn't
rhyme with DOUGH or COUGH either, but it does rhyme with TOUGH. Now I've
got a HEADACHE, which doesn't rhyme with MUSTACHE. So is that thing
growing under my nose a MISTAKE?
Hi Scoopy. I really appreciate the
site and as an educated Brit, I find a great deal with which to agree with you
about pronunciations (although I do accept the need for growth and dynamism in
language - which is very different to pronunciation)
Sorry if this sounds patronising, but
have you read The Surgeon of Crowthorne? It's a very decent read and
also describes how influential an American was in shaping the English
language. I'll send more details if you are interested.
read it. Ordered it from Paperbackshop.co.uk. Thanks for the tip.
Pronunciation to word use in a short time. Can
grammer (sic) be far behind? Will we be arguing about semi-colon (sic) use?
Will you be referring to previously banned Mickey Rourke as a
"hero"? Whoops, done that. This is a naked chick page, right? Are
your friends gathering for an intervention? Is there a rehab for this
problem? Get hold of yourself!
OK. You guys heard him. Stop being
interested in this stuff.