Truly, truly awful

David Bowie db.list at PMPKN.NET
Wed Jan 26 14:30:52 UTC 2005

Dave Plotkin, a DJ at WPRK (the radio station for Rollins College, the local
liberal arts college) and an acquaintance of mine, recently stayed on the
air for 110 hours straight to set a new world record (and raise money for
the station). There were a few bits in the local media about it, one of
which described the station as playing

   ...the most godawful and sublime music you've never heard before.

(Exact wording of the line from memory.)

Jeanne, my wife, was reading this column out loud to our daughters, and she
read the word "godawful" as [g@'da.fl] (where @ is a schwa); i asked her to
reread the sentence, and she did so with the same pronunciation. This
contrasts with my pronunciation, which is ['ga.dO.fl] (where O is open-o).

The cot-caught thing aside, has anyone else here ever run across Jeanne's
pronunciation (or never heard mine, FTM) of this word? My first thought was
that it was a strategy for avoiding saying "god", since Jeanne and i were
both raised in a faith culture in which one simply doesn't *say* "god"
outside of religious or technical contexts, but i'm curious if it's more
widespread than just that.

David Bowie                               
    Jeanne's Two Laws of Chocolate: If there is no chocolate in the
    house, there is too little; some must be purchased. If there is
    chocolate in the house, there is too much; it must be consumed.

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