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Sunday, 18 September 2011


Just as some people are good with numbers and some (me!) are not, some people are good with words and some are not. I think it's genetic.
I know a woman who recently retired from a long professional career, who pronounces some words in oddly creative ways. They're words she's seen written on a page, but somehow she sees, and says, things that aren't there. 
She perks up peridot with not only an extra vowel, but an extra syllable, pronouncing it pair'-ee-o-do'. Something about the sound of it makes me want to square dance while wearing lots of pale green gemstones: Periodot and do-si-do!
Applying the same rule, the screening test for breast cancer becomes, in her mouth, mammy-o-gram, a pronunciation that thrusts into my mind a vision of Al Jolson on his knees delivering a singing telegram to me while I stand with part of my upper body clamped in a vise operated by Hattie McDaniel.
My acquaintance is not alone in her use of "unthaw," as in, "Oh drat! I forgot to take the turkey out of the freezer to unthaw. Now Christmas dinner will be three days late."
I've recently heard that from so many quarters that I predict that unthaw will become part of the language and will mean . . . thaw.