going tonto

Mark A Mandel mam at THEWORLD.COM
Tue May 21 00:40:30 UTC 2002

On Mon, 20 May 2002, FRITZ JUENGLING wrote:

#Add that horrible, horrible pronunciation "don KWIKSET" for Quixote.
#Even in the US, the standard pronunciation for the adjective form is
#'kwiksotic.' OUCH!!

I can only half agree with you there, namely on /"kwIks at t/: BLEAH! But
once you plug it into English morphology, imho the name loses much of
its claim to native pronunciation. "Quixotic" is not a Spanish word:
it's a word formed in English from the borrowed name, like "Olympian".
Or even if it proves to have been taken from Sp. "quixo'tico", the
morphology and phonology of "-ic" in general are thoroughly naturalized.

Now, there *is* a example going the other way that I find interesting:
halakhic, meaning 'in conformance with, or relating to, Jewish law
(halakhah)' -- also spelled "halachic". The third consonant is usually a
voiceless velar fricative (IPA [x]), as in the Hebrew etymon, which is
of course foreign to English. However, this word is mostly used by
people who know Hebrew, or at least enough of it to have been expected
to be able to manage the [x] for years -- which is not true of Spanish
and the people who can be expected to use "quixotic".

-- Mark A. Mandel
   Linguist at Large

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