/ nu 'man Ik /

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sat Dec 29 01:37:00 UTC 2007

At 1:48 PM -0500 12/28/07, Michael H Covarrubias wrote:
>I put this word in a recent final exam hoping to drive home the point of odd
>spelling/pronunciation correspondence as a good clue to borrowing and
>etymological information.
>Half of them (out of 30) transcribed it just as you show.
>I've heard it for years.

Possibly a blend of "mnemonic" and "pneumatic"?  The latter, after
all, also has a silent Greek initial consonant.


>Quoting Jonathan Lighter:
>>  One of the nationally-famed Fox News
>>  anchors unmistakably pronounces
>>  "mnemonic"  (That's 'FNC,' in case
>>  you need a mnemonic.') as / nu'man Ik /.
>>  That makes it a homophone of
>>  "pneumonic," which usually designates a
>>  type of plague infection.
>>    Probably not a big deal. Ignore this message.
>>    JL
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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