Monday, 21 October 2013

Happy Birthday

On 21 October 2012,, I posted this, with the intention of generating and/or maintaining interest in my lexicographical dabblings, specifically #WVGTbook. Thirty posts and 3 months later I posted this, having noticed that while posting 10 pieces a month was fun for me it was taking my eye off the ball. 60-odd posts later I've reduced the rate to about 7 a month and the book is getting on much better.

Birthday posts often include reams of statistics, but I'm afraid the schedule doesn't allow me to collect them. So here's just one: in the first 3 months of the blog (roughly BPS [Before Publication of the Schedule]) the site had under 1,900 visits – about 600 a month. In the 9 months since, the site had 6,700 – about 750 a month. This isn't a huge improvement (I reckon something like 25%), but given that it's been achieved in spite of (or because of?) less regular posts, and more work on #WVGTbook it's quite satisfying.

A propos of which, I should get on. The rest of this post is a foretaste of the latest new bit:

UI Notes

  1. cuisine
    The single exception [to a preceding g or q] is cuisine.
  2. aquifer etc
    ...and other words with the same prefix:
    • aqui- when it refers to water. There is a separate entry for aquiline, for example, in which the reference to water is lost in the mists of etymology and metaphor, if it was ever there at all.
    • equi- when it refers to equality. There is a separate entry for equip, for example.
    • quint-, except when it is attached to a stem that is not itself a word (quintet, for example).

  3. ubiquity
    The published Macmillan English Dictionary gives the transcription /ju:'bɪwəti/; but the CD supplied with the dictionary gives an audio sample with a hint [I was tempted to put whiff,  but felt such self-indulgence would be out of place in that hallowed context] a /wɪ/ vowel, in line with its transcription of the more common ubiquitous.
  4. Inuit
    The Macmillan English Dictionary gives two pronunciations: /uɪ/ and /juɪ/.
  5. casuistry
    The Macmillan English Dictionary has the transcription /zjuɪ, but the audio sample has a pronunciation in which the /z/ combines with the /j/ to give /ʒ/ . This is a common pronunciation, as is recognized in their transcription of casual.
  6. assiduity The published Macmillan English Dictionary gives the transcription /æsɪdju:əti/; but the CD supplied with the dictionary gives an audio sample with a hint of an /ɪ/ vowel.
  7. incongruity
    The Macmillan English Dictionary does not note the word congruity, but see for example Merriam-Webster's entry: congruity. (There are several other such cases, and the negative form is much more common.)
  8. intuitive etc
    A transcription with /ɪ/ rather than /ə/ would fit in with the Macmillan English Dictionary's intuition. Similarly, it is difficult to justify an /ə/ for perpetuity when there is an /ɪ/ transcription for promiscuity,  though in that case assimilation might account for it – the vowel sound in the '-uity' ending matching the vowel sound of the second syllable.
  9. breadfuit etc
    In accordance with the restrictions noted here compounds such as breadfruit are included, but not. for example, fruitcake (coined from an obvious association between fruit and cake). For similar reasons, catsuit is listed, but not lawsuit.
  10. suitor
    A suitor is indeed someone who 'makes a suit', but that does not make him a tailor – wrong meaning of make and wrong meaning of suit. For this reason it is not excluded by this book's Selection Principles
  11. enquiry
    The Macmillan English Dictionary transcribes enquiry with no /ə/ before the written 'r' – in contrast to inquiry, acquire and several other words with the ending '-ire' . Both pronunciations are common.
  12. quiet
    There is no other English word that has the sound /waɪə/, apart from those with the ending '-quire' (see notes 11 and 14).
  13. quietus
    The Macmillan English Dictionary transcribes quietus /kwaɪi:təs/, but the audio sample makes it /kwaɪ'eɪtəs/. Both pronunciations are used, but it is rarely enough used to make any distinction of little interest to the English student..
  14. /waɪə/ words
    The Macmillan English Dictionary lists only the five given here, but there are more – quire, for example: See Merriam-Webster's quire.
  15. obsequies
    The Macmillan English Dictionary's transcription makes this word unique among English words spelt with the digraph '-ui-' as having the shortened vowel /i/. The audio goes one step further, and changes the vowel to /ɪ/.
  16. ratatouille
    The Macmillan English Dictionary's gives ratatouille this vowel, whereas bouillabaisse and bouillon are given the transcription /u:j/. Perhaps this pronunciation of ratatouille was chosen to avoid the /j/ in a word-final position (which would make it unique among English words).
  17. requiem
    The Macmillan English Dictionary's gives the final vowel as /ə/, but in the same article it gives the pronunciation of 'Requiem Mass' with an /e/ in this syllable. This may be either because the speakers are different (and both pronunciations are common), or because the context 'Requiem Mass' refers – perhaps without the speaker's knowledge or awareness – to the Latin word 'requiem' (which has no /ə/) [as, of course, all choral singers know].
Update 2013.11.23.12:40  – Updated footer:

 Mammon (When Vowels Get Together V5.2: Collection of Kindle word-lists grouping different pronunciations of vowel-pairs. Now complete (that is, it covers all vowel pairs –  but there's still stuff to be done with it; an index, perhaps...?)

And if you have no objection to such promiscuity, Like this.

Freebies (Teaching resources:  over 34,100 views**  and  4,700 downloads to date. They're very eclectic - mostly EFL and MFL, but one of the most popular is from KS4 History, dating from my PGCE, with 1637 views/740 downloads to date. So it's worth having a browse.)

** This figure includes the count of views for a single resource held in an account that I accidentally created many years ago.

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