Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Tough Coughs as he Ploughs the Dough

My Intro to Linguistic Analysis professor explained that older dialects of English used to pronounce the “k” and “gh” sounds in words such as “knight.” We sadly lost them over time, and their absence hit Dr. Pangolin hard. He spoke of these sounds as if remembering them fondly from his own youth in the twelfth century.

His nostalgia reminded me of the fading words my friend Wendy and I had sworn to preserve in middle school, at a noticeable cost to our already tenuous social standing.

Outside of Dr. Pangolin’s class, though, I reverted to the impoverished modern pronunciations of “knee” and “know” and “Knott’s Berry Farm.” Then, two years later, I learned the hard way that she who forgets her history is doomed.

I needed to speak with a Student Activities administrator about arrangements for a campus organization, and not offending her would have been a really good way to start. Brimming with responsibility and foresight, I visited the department ahead of time to determine her office hours and pick up a business card.

Everything was going swimmingly until I arrived for my appointment the next day, loudly wielding my knowledge of contemporary pronunciation.

Dr. Pangolin would have been deli-gh-ted.

Extra Credit: Further lessons courtesy of Dr. Seuss and Desi Arnaz (from about 2:45).