Friday, September 14, 2012

I blow my nose at you, so-called Arthur King, you and all your silly English knnnigits!

I've heard that all 26 letters in the English alphabet are mute/silent in one word or another. I've included some examples, but am stumped on a few.  Any help with F or V?

A: bread, marriage, pharaoh
B: debt, subtle, thumb, numb
C: indict, yacht, scene
D: edge, handkerchief, Wednesday
E: more, height, steak, every
F: fifth ?
G: gnarled, reign, tight, gnome, foreign
H: ghost, heir, through, hour
I: business, seize
J: marijuana
K: knob, sackcloth, knife, knight, knee
L: half, salmon, would
M: mnemonic
N: column, hymn, autumn
O: country, laboratory, people, phoenix, jeopardy
P: cupboard, psychology, receipt, pneumonia
Q: lacquer, racquet
R: February
S: debris, island, aisle
T: gourmet, listen, tsunami
U: circuit, dough, gauge, guard, court
V: ? ? ?
W: answer, two, wrist, wrestle, wreck
X: faux
Y: prayer
Z: rendezvous



At 14 September, 2012 11:19, Blogger David Kjos said...

No idea about V, but I do see some errors in your list.

The dropping of D in Wednesday and handkerchief, and R in February, reflect American (and possibly other) dialects. F in fifth is definitely not mute. J in marijuana is not mute, but according to Spanish rules, pronounced as an English W.

X and Z (and S) in faux and rendezvous are indeed mute, but both are French, not English, words, and the French have no rules, anyway.

At 20 September, 2012 16:08, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you have to say a letter, it is a good idea to use it in a word so no one is confused about which letter you are talking. For example: O as in opossum, P as in psychology, M as in mnemonic, W as in write.

For your list:
I don't believe there is one for V or F. I also agree that the J in marijuana is not silent, it is just pronounced as a W, but I am not an expert on marijuana.

For the record, I pronounce the R in February - it helps me remember how to spell it.

Here's another silly English thing: Why do we say R in colonel?

Now go away or I shall taunt you a second time.

At 26 September, 2012 17:56, Blogger GUNNY said...

I notice that I will say "fifth" of October, but then say it's on "thirty-fith" street. What's up with that?

Faux & rendezvous are certainly French in origin, but they've become part of the English language. I'm not sure they should have, but you can find both in English dictionaries. Gotta love the irony of the French undermining OUR language.

I don't know about dropping the "d" in Wednesday being an American slant. I lived in England for 3 years and even there never anything but "Wensday," and never anything close to "Wed-nes-day."

As for the "r" in February, again, in England even, it was silent. In fact, all I recall hearing was "Feb-your-ee" (i.e., 3 syllables to the American 4).

"colonel" is just nuts. See letters not there? What's up with that?

Oh, I'd like to add the "w" in sword as well. At least among the Americanos, I can't recall ever hearing the "w" in there.

I find it interesting the way these words are pronounced by the common (wo)man and how English may have devolved, but I also wonder how their pronunciation is taught in your garden variety American public schools.

In other words, would a kindergarten (not to be confused with "kinder-garden") teacher say, "Actually, Johnny, that first 'r' is silent in 'February'"?

This is one area, by the way, where I really appreciate German ... no letter left behind.

At 17 October, 2012 07:27, Anonymous D said...

From Wikipedia (which is always right)--

"The rank of colonel was popularized by the Spanish tercios in the 16th and 17th centuries. Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba, nicknamed 'the Great Captain', divided his armies in 'cornelias' or colonelcies, each led by a 'coronel' or colonel. The modern English pronunciation of the word is due to the first variant. The use of 'colonel' became more widespread as the tercios led by commanders of many nationalities fought all over Europe."

At 18 December, 2012 10:05, Blogger Homeschool on the Croft said...

Well, I'm not *English* (most definitely not!), but I *am* Scottish and I would say 'February' ... yep, with the 'r'.
As for Wednesday, I think I say something resembling, 'Wedensday'. Yes, the 'e' and the 'n' are mixed up, but the 'd' is most definitely there.

But remember .... I am *not* English!

At 20 February, 2013 12:23, Anonymous Jeremy said...

If you go by the OED, then "Halfpenny" qualifies.


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