Quickly improves English pronunciation!

  Issue 121, page 4

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New Ask Us Theory About
Sez You...
From Henry Rojo:

I don't know if this has already been mentioned, but re: the use of a plural you pronoun, I noticed while in Newfoundland that ye is used as the plural of you, as in the case of a woman who told me that when two door-to-door proselytizers visited, she said "Get ye off my doorstep". Here in Nova Scotia we have a possessive pronoun for you guys, which is your guys's (this should probably be spelled your guys' and is pronounced like "your guises").

Fascinating!  Something else interesting about Newfoundland: natives apparently pronounce it as "NEW Found Land" instead of something like "NEWfinlund".

From Ben Roberts:

Hi guys. Interesting site. One comment though - I am born and raised in London and have lived here all my life. I have never heard U.F.O. pronounced ufo anywhere in Britain, contrary to your website, and therefore disagree that UFO could be counted as a true acronym.

Weeell, Mike was born and raised in Cardiff but lived in London (where he knew a club called "Ufo") for a very long time and worked on Fortean Times (which occasionally reports ufo sightings).  Not to put too fine a point on it, we could give you the addresses and phone numbers of dozens of people to whom ufo is a word pronounced "you foe".  [For their sake, we won't.]

From Bruce Yanoshek:

I loved this week's newsletter. However, I think the language/dialect/pile of errors should be called Dubyonics [instead of Bushonics].

We agree!  [For those of you who are lost, see last week's preview newsletter at http://etymology.listbot.com.  It was Issue 120.]

From Steve Parkes:

T. H. Huxley (Issue 120) is, I believe, the man responsible for the expression "the survival of the fittest" in Darwin's Origin of Species. Darwin's original words were on the lines of "the best fitted", with the obvious sense of "the most appropriate adaptations for an evolutionary niche ". Huxley's version fitted(!) his views better by its associated (and unintended) sense of "stronger". The man has a lot to answer for!

Huxley may have suggested the phrase survival of the fittest for use in Darwin's Origin of Species, but the man who popularized the phrase was the 19th century theorist Herbert Spencer.  Simply put, Spencer's philosophy was that the rich and powerful deserved to be rich and powerful because they were rich and powerful.  He claimed that this was survival of the fittest and called his idea Social Darwinism.

From Guy DeRome:

Thanks once again for a great site. I saw the recent message about the use of foyer in French for "home." I have just moved to Barcelona where I have lived before. For that reason, Spanish and Catalan have been on my mind a lot lately. I just wanted to point out the similar use of this word in Spanish.

In continental Spanish the word hogar is used in the sense of "home" in English. The literal meaning of this word is "hearth" or "fireplace," like the French foyer cited before. I believe this comes from the old Catalan word fogar which is closer to the French and due to the f to h sound change that took place in Spanish. The modern Catalan word, however, is llar. The double L has the "y" sound as in Spanish. Llar is often used with foc, "fire", as in llar de foc, "fireplace".

Just thought you might be interested in this even though it deals more with Spanish and Catalan etymology than English. So, I guess on the Iberian Peninsula, a home is not a home without a fireplace.



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