Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Words #35

My gardening friend started it in the eighties when he insisted on pronouncing Ficus as you would say fickle. Later I learned it was actually Ficus, the i being like eye. But to this day, I cannot bring myself to say it this way.

Along came gardening guru Don Burke in the nineties, late eighties even. Never liked him, although he was interesting and entertaining. He used to say PERgola rather than perGOLa. He may well have been technically correct, but it sounds stupid. Stick with the way most people say it.

There was a brief period in the nineties when people started saying HiMALayas rather than HimaLAYas.

Pattaya in Thailand was another. Fortunately the PatTAYa pronounciation seems to have died.

I am just not going down the road of new names for Indian cities. Calcutta will not become Kolkutta in my world. My Indian workmates still call Madras as such when discussing cricket in Chennai and how could the glorious city of Bombay become Mumbai.

Saigon became Ho Chi Minh City. Only technically. No local used it. Saigon will always be Saigon.

Myanmar seems to have disappeared and we are back to Burma and Rangoon, not Yangon. Fortunately they left Mandalay alone. The Road to 'insert alternative to Madalay' would not have been nearly as melodic.

Cambodia changed to the Democratic Republic of Kampuchea. I used Kampuchea for a while, but it reverted to Cambodia and I wondered why I bothered changing.

I call Rome, Rome, not Roma. I call Paris, Paris, not Paree (although I might say gay Paree for theatrical effect). I think I shall revert to calling Beijing Peeking.

My pet peeve words remain constant.

Sport commentators have a lot to answer for as they are who promoted 'back to back' instead of consecutive. What is wrong with consecutive wins?

The biggest gripe of all for me, disorientated. Why not disoriented? I am disorientated. I am disoriented. Why add extra? It is a battle lost already.

And to finish, one that never occurred to me, but I heard of recently, why would you abbreviate world wide web, three syllables, to www, nine syllables? In fact let www just die. It has served its purpose. It is no longer needed. Just forget the http://www. No longer required and please people on the radio, stop laboriously saying www.


  1. Whenever I listen to 3aw of a weekday morning I hear Ross and John say "On the back of the ... news." Or more of this story "On the back of" these advertisements. Whay not just say "more after these messages"? Who knows Andrew. World gone mad!

  2. "The biggest gripe of all for me, disorientated."

    Totally agree...there's loads of these unnecessarily extended words about nowadays...disenfranchisation and...well...the rest of 'em. I blame Bush.

    And as for moveable stress points...the one that really annoys is me is pronounced Ooh Ranus as though it was named by an orangutan. Hours of innocent schoolyard fun swept away in one politically correct moment.

  3. I had a Psychology lecturer at University who pronounced 'trait' as 'tray' not 'trate'.

    I was so used to hearing him say this that I fell into the same habit until I left University where noone else used that pronunciation and I reverted to saying 'trate'.

  4. That Don Burke-ism PERgola drove me mad too. And Bombay sounds so much more mysterious and exotic than Mumbai.

    I grew up calling Tamar TAM-ar, but apparently it's TAY-mar. :/ erk! Words grown up with are very hard to change.

    Pet peeve on the wireless is "at the end of the day" to describe their opinion of the big picture. Gah! Hate that one.

  5. Oh - and a comment on a comment. Victor reminded me of a Uni lecturer talking about the game croquet (we were studying Alice in Wonderland in Literature) and he pronounced it 'croaky'. I just wanted to yell at him, but I thought maybe he was saying it correctly!!

  6. I hate 'on the back of these advertisements' without even hearing it Cazzie.

    That is a ripper Brian. Agree with point about Uranus. Spoiling kiddiehood nonsense.

    I don't pronounce it tray Victor, but I have heard it that way often enough.

    I never used Tamar Raelene, but if I had, I probably would have said it the same as your good self.

    At the end of the day, in the fullness of time....great Sir Humphreyisms.

    My grandfather rented a large home with a croaky lawn in Camberwell. Just old pronunciation I think. There are quite of lot of these old pronunciations changing. My grandparents used to say I(eye)talian.

  7. If you are gonna swear at me Andy, at least spell the word correctly.

  8. oh Andy! swift and succinct.
    but I was already chortling over -

    "The Road to 'insert alternative to Madalay' would not have been nearly as melodic."

    and yes to Raelene re DonBurke

    "You say PERgola, and I'll say PerGOLE-la"

    On the back of yesterday's High Pressure zone

    drives me crazy. Why not 'following' FFS

  9. I now currently dislike the word "orthodontist" just for the pronouncements of extensive work and hip pocket pain :P

  10. It will always be Ayres Rock to me..whhhaa

    I use the word Celt said as if it is a K which I think is right because they were called Keltoi ages ago. My sister says Celt as if its an really grates and its all I can do not to correct her...but she'd older than me...still a bit scared of her

  11. Anonymous5:42 pm

    Andrew, bravo! I HATE it when disorientated is used, more so when people use 'orientated' when they mean 'oriented'. Hurrah for the word police!

  12. Yeah but, like Pete the Tenterfield Saddler said and a bevy of warblers sing, "I still call Orstraya, Rome."

    You say "Orlbany", I say "Al-bany".

    You say "Layla" I say "Lorla".

    ... and those wunnerful Melbun suburbs, 'Esserd'n', 'Camberfeeled', 'Snorbans' etc.

    Ah, the rich tapestry. Bigger than the Bayeux.

  13. FFS FG?

    When I return Jayne, it will be as an orthodontist or a vet.

    Funny MC. You take on the establishment but still a bit scared of big sister. I say Celtic as you do. Oops, just realised my Queen post may offend you. Sorry.

    Just ugly words MD.

    LS, I was about 25 when I queried a resident of Lalor on the correct pronunciation. Can't recall the answer now. Love Essedon. It has been like that for a long long time, as was Dandylong.

  14. i don't like upcoming, it should be up and coming, but laziness has seen it shortened. Bothersome!

  15. That one almost seems to change the meaning Fenz. Nice to see you have taken the small i for inbox to heart and are using it for yourself too.