Americanisms

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Americanisms

Post by Edwin Ashworth » Mon Jan 16, 2006 7:04 pm

I'm intrigued as to the proportion of Americans pronouncing the final 's' in 'St Louis'.
I also seem to recall reading somewhere that 'Arkansas' is sometimes pronounced to rhyme with 'Kansas' - perhaps when referring to the River rather than the state, perhaps when referring to the township in the state of Kansas.
It's also on the fringes of my memory that the usual pronunciation of 'Celtic' in Britain was with a soft 'C', and not just when referring to Rangers' arch-enemies.
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Post by Erik_Kowal » Mon Jan 16, 2006 8:15 pm

Edwin, you are quite correct to state that 'Arkansas' is sometimes pronounced to rhyme with 'Kansas'. This practice is usually reserved for locations within Kansas: for instance, Arkansas City, which is situated in Kansas, is pronounced as it is spelt. However, the state of Arkansas would still be pronounced 'ARK-un-saw', even by a Kansan.

As to the proportion of Americans pronouncing the final 's' in 'St Louis', it should be borne in mind that the vast majority of Americans have about as much knowledge of French as I do of Swahili (in other words, next to none), and so pronouncing St Louis in anything approaching the French manner either does not come naturally to them, and/or they do not realise that there is a French connection (the city being named after King Louis IX of France).

I cannot comment on your Celtic fringe, other than to suggest a visit to your barber.
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Americanisms

Post by russcable » Mon Jan 16, 2006 9:42 pm

Edwin Ashworth wrote: ... the proportion of Americans pronouncing the final 's' in 'St Louis'...
AFAIK, the standard pron. is Loo-is not Loo-EEs, so SAYnt Loo-ih wouldn't be very French either. It may have previously been more widely used, but Loo-EE currently mostly appears jokingly and in the song "Meet Me in St. Louis, Louie."
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Post by Edwin Ashworth » Mon Jan 16, 2006 11:51 pm

Thank you for the information, Erik and Russ.

You know the barber's is full of trios and quartets, Erik.
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Post by Bobinwales » Tue Jan 17, 2006 2:04 pm

Edwin, as far as I am aware Celt should always be pronounced “Kelt” if you are referring to the cultures. Just why the Glasgow and Belfast football teams should call themselves “Seltic” is a mystery to me.

I understand that “celt” pronounced “selt” is a stone axe.
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Post by norton112200 » Tue Jan 17, 2006 2:44 pm

Erik_Kowal wrote:
As to the proportion of Americans pronouncing the final 's' in 'St Louis', it should be borne in mind that the vast majority of Americans have about as much knowledge of French as I do of Swahili (in other words, next to none), and so pronouncing St Louis in anything approaching the French manner either does not come naturally to them, and/or they do not realise that there is a French connection (the city being named after King Louis IX of France).

I cannot comment on your Celtic fringe, other than to suggest a visit to your barber.

As far as I know, the pronuciation of Louis in St. Louis, was pronouced lewy before the louisiana purchase, but after it became part of the US, it became mingled as most things do (probably during the mid 19th century when a large number a germans began settling in and around the area, but i could be wrong). now of course its pronounced lewis, but many of the at least semi-learned St. Louisans (I don't know the correct term for people from St. Louis, so i made it up, it may be right) know the origins of the name.

as to what I'm curious about is the correct pronunciation of the state Missouri. Most people I know pronounce it like the word misery, but with a hint of "or" in the "er" sound, and more stress in the "er" than the word misery, but some few people say "miss-er-a" and I don't actually know the true pronunciation, but since it comes from native Americans, I think that I'd have to ask someone whos more knowledgable about their laguage.
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Post by dalehileman » Tue Jan 17, 2006 5:39 pm

Dictionary of Americanisms, J Russell Bartlett, goes back to 1848. Last copyright 2003, though I don't know whether they've kept up to date as haven't had a chance to peruse the introduction by Richard Lederer

Though a quick riffling suggests it hasn't
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Post by Slateman » Wed Jan 18, 2006 1:44 am

Where I am from St. Louis is pronounced "St. Lewis" uniformly. Then again, we are many states away from Missouri.

As to states, the funny pronunciation is when someone pronounces the "s" at the end of Illinois. That's sort of in the same vein as "Eye"-Talian for Italian... lol
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Post by kagriffy » Wed Jan 18, 2006 1:25 pm

As a life-long Illinoisan (the "s" is still silent), it irks me to no end to hear my state referred to as "ill-uh-noise"!

The only time I've heard St. Louis pronounced without the ending "s" is in the song, "Meet Me in St. Louis, Louie" or, occasionally, as a joke. I used to pronounce Missouri as "Miz-UR-ee," but I've noticed that the natives (at least the ones I've heard) seem to pronounce it "Miz-UR-uh," so I've adopted that. I'm not really sure which is more correct.
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Post by norton112200 » Wed Jan 18, 2006 8:30 pm

kagriffy wrote: As a life-long Illinoisan (the "s" is still silent), it irks me to no end to hear my state referred to as "ill-uh-noise"!

The only time I've heard St. Louis pronounced without the ending "s" is in the song, "Meet Me in St. Louis, Louie" or, occasionally, as a joke. I used to pronounce Missouri as "Miz-UR-ee," but I've noticed that the natives (at least the ones I've heard) seem to pronounce it "Miz-UR-uh," so I've adopted that. I'm not really sure which is more correct.
the only times I've ever heard natives of the state call it missouruh is when hearing politicians and radio hosts, mind you kagriffy, if you alk to those from st.louis, there are many that have moved to missouri from out of state and out of country (many peoples come to attend Washington University) that you might not realize aren't native.
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Post by Ken Greenwald » Sat Jan 21, 2006 5:17 pm

Collin Jackson, You can’t believe everything you read on the internet, and that is especially true of that Wikipedia ALUMINUM versus ALUMINIUM article that you quoted earlier:
<Wikipedia.org :-

Curiously, the United States adopted the -ium for most of the 19th century with aluminium appearing in Webster's Dictionary of 1828. However in 1892 Charles Martin Hall used the -um spelling in an advertising handbill for his new efficient electrolytic method for the production of aluminium, despite using the -ium spelling in all of his patents filed between 1886 and 1903. It has consequently been suggested that the spelling on the flyer was a simple spelling mistake rather a deliberate choice to use the -um spelling. Hall's domination of production of the metal ensured that the spelling aluminum became the standard in North America, even though the Webster Unabridged Dictionary of 1913 continued to use the -ium version.>
There is a certain variety of purported statements of fact that exudes an unsavory odor and that sends red flags flapping before my eyes, and this was one of them. So I did a little fact checking, and, sho ‘nough . . . .

It is NOT true, as Wikipedia claims, that Webster’s 1828 Dictionary used the -IUM ending – they used the -UM ending. I first verified this by checking the CD-ROM version of Webster's 1828 Dictionary and then, out of curiosity to see if it was perhaps some sort of transcription error, I examined the original version (not a reprint) of that dictionary and the only spelling used there was ALUMINUM. This careless  Wikipedia error, probably copied from some other source which they didn’t bother to check, casts doubt on everything else said in the article and reinforces my general skittishness about taking Wikipedia as a reliable source. Incidentally, World Wide Words made the same mistake (and was possibly Wikipedia's source on this one), but this is a rare error for Michael Quinion who I consider to be one of the, if not THE, most reliable source around for word and phrase origins.

After doing some further checking, I also would tend to classify as horseshit the Wikipedia suggestion that the spelling was not a deliberate choice but instead was the result of a misspelling on an advertising handbill for aluminum. A misspelling on one lousy set of handbills is hardly a reason for the aluminum industry to adopt that spelling – an advertising flyer isn’t exactly a binding contract, for Pete's sake!, and they could have just corrected the purported error in the next handbill go-round! More likely, from the evidence that I’ve seen, is that the spelling was adopted because it had long been the dominant spelling in both the trades and in the science community in the U.S., and the aluminum industry saw no reason to go counter to that. Furthermore, the Wikipedia statement that “the Webster Unabridged Dictionary of 1913 continued to use the -ium version” is misleading because it actually used both spellings (although the -IUM ending was used as the main headword). Webster’s 1913 use of both endings in their dictionary appears to me to be a result of their failure to recognize that, as a practical matter, by 1913 the era of the dual spelling in the U.S. had largely come to an end.

My literature search also seemed to counter the myth that some authors have offered that ALUMINIUM was the dominant 19th-century spelling for ALUMINUM in the U.S. It is true that both spellings were used, but my findings indicate that, to the contrary, taken overall, the -UM ending was the dominant one. And although ALUMINIUM was the spelling listed in the Century Dictionary of 1889, it is passing strange that the Webster 1913 Dictionary hadn't dropped the -IUM ending, since by that year it had largely fell into disuse in the United States. Between 1895 and and the end of 1912, for example, the spelling ALUMINUM appeared 139 times in the Wall Street Journal and the spelling ALUMINIUM, as far as I could determine, appeared not once!

Officially, however, in the U.S., at least according to American Chemical Society, the spelling ALUMINIUM died a somewhat later death since they did not go on record as adopting the -UM ending until 1925 - but that had little to do with the reality of how the word was being spelled by the vast majority of Americans, including chemists, years before that. And in spite of the fact, as Erik mentioned above, that The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) in 1990 officially standardized the spelling as ALUMINIUM, one would have to search long and hard to find any Americans paying any attention to that proclamation.
<1828 “ALUMINA noun: An earth, or earthy substance, which is considered to be elementary . . . , to the base of which has been given the name ALUMINUM.” Ibid. ALUMINUM noun: The name given to the supposed metallic base of ALUMINA.”—‘An American Dictionary of the English Language’ by Noah Webster, page 8>

<1851 “(chapter VI title) ALUMINUM ‘The Application of Chemistry to the Arts’ by Renwick”>

<1851 “Metal: Their names are as follows: 1. platinum, 2. gold, 3. silver 4. palladium, . . . 39. ALUMINUM, . . .”—‘Encyclopedia Americana,’ page 44>

<1854 “. . . thirty-eight of the blues contained . . . a sulphuret of sodium or ALUMINUM; . . .”—‘New York Times,’ 12 July, page 8>

<1855 “A few prefatory words might properly be expended upon the name of the metal, which is variously written aluminum, and aluminium. By the analogy of nomenclature, in which we have soda and sodium, —potassa and potassium, it would seem proper to join to alumina, aluminium. This title is accordingly used by some eminent writers on chemistry; but the great majority write aluminum; and if this metal is destined to come into common use, it is very desirable to drop any syllables that can be dispensed with, to make the word easy of pronunciation, and to prevent barbarous misnomers. It is hardly to be believed, that the mass of uneducated persons will take the trouble to say aluminium.”—‘Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society,’ Vol. 6, No. 54, May, page 148>

<1860 “Workers in metals are, we understand, finding good uses for a new kind of bronze, made by melting together 10 parts of ALUMINUM with 90 of copper.”—‘New York Times,’ 25 October>

<1870 “ALUMINUM. On an amendment offered by Mr. Butler, of Massachusetts, to the same paragraph, to insert the words ‘ALUMINUM and its alloy,’ there was again no quorum voting, and the call of the roll had to be repeated, when 150 members answered.”— ‘New York Times,’ 13 May, page 5> [[41st Congress, U.S. House of Representatives]]

<1880 “ALUMINUM particles are the only ones which form no metallic deposits”— ‘Science,’ Vol 1, No. 5, July, page 58>

<1895 “A bill of foreclosure has been filed by the Atlantic Trust Co. against the Bridgeport ALUMINUM, Brass & Bronze Co.”— ‘Wall Street Journal,’ 3 August, page 4>

<1897 “As was published in a paper published some time ago, the authors found that when an anhydrous chloride was added to ALUMINUM in alcohol . . . “—‘Science,’ Vol. 6, No.134, July, page 144>

<1899 “Ground has been broken for new plant for reduction of the ALUMINUM used from the ore.”—‘Wall Street Journal,’ 24 May, page 2> [[interview with Andrew Carnegie]]

<1899 “ALUMINUM versus Copper: Much interest is manifested in the metal trade concerning the result of the experiment being made in Chicago with ALUMINUM trolley wires as a substitute for copper.”— ‘Wall Street Journal,’ 30 October, page 5>

<1900 “Of ALUMINUM, some 6,000,000 pounds were turned out from the works of Pittsburg and Niagara Falls.”—‘New York Times,’ 1 January, page AFR6>
Ken G – January 20, 2006
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Post by dalehileman » Sat Jan 21, 2006 11:51 pm

MeL: They do have trouble with Illinois. Many say "ill noise"
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Post by Erik_Kowal » Sun Jan 22, 2006 11:32 am

Ill noise and misery go together.
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Americanisms

Post by Ken Greenwald » Mon Jan 23, 2006 4:38 pm

I contacted Michael Quinion a few days ago about the fact that ALUMINIUM was not the spelling in Webster’s 1928 Dictionary as he had claimed in his World Wide Words article, but that it was spelled, as Americans spell it now – ALUMINUM. I just received an e-mail from him telling me that I was right and that he has made the correction on his website.

Ken G – January 23, 2006
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Post by Wizard of Oz » Mon Jan 23, 2006 9:23 pm

Ken wrote:

And in spite of the fact, as Erik mentioned above, that The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) in 1990 officially standardized the spelling as ALUMINIUM, one would have to search long and hard to find any Americans paying any attention to that proclamation.
.. so what is different about this to the normal response by the US to world authorities in any field ???? .. *grin* ..

WoZ of Aus 22/01/06
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