British accent stereotypes - 'news'

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sat Apr 5 00:15:25 UTC 2008

At 5:18 PM -0500 4/4/08, Dan Goodman wrote:
>Doug Harris wrote:
>>---------------------- Information from the mail header
>>Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>>Poster:       Doug Harris <cats22 at FRONTIERNET.NET>
>>Subject:      Re: British accent stereotypes - 'news'
>>Wilson wrote:
>>Which reminds me of the time that a Canadian friend had an epiphany when she
>>realized that the Alphabet Song rhymes fully, if you use American "zee" and
>>not Canadio-British "zed."
>>What's with that 'zed', anyway? I remember snickers from a newsagent when I
>>said I was in search of an 'A To Z' (street map). He said, "You mean an
>>'A To Zed'.
>>I've long wondered how the Brit-English alphabet can have a letter that is
>>pronounced, and spelled, as a word.
>>Anyone know why that is?
>>From the Online Etymology Dictionary (note:
>italics not preserved):
>     c.1400, from M.Fr. zede, from L.L. zeta, from Gk. zeta, from Heb.
>zayin, letter name, lit. "weapon;" so called in allusion to the shape of
>this letter in ancient Hebrew. U.S. pronunciation zee is first attested
>1677. Other dialectal names for the letter are izzard, ezod, uzzard and zod.

Not izod, from its resemblance to the shape of an alligator doing calisthenics?


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