Joel vs Jo-El

Doug Harris cats22 at FRONTIERNET.NET
Mon Mar 3 20:40:59 UTC 2008

During the 80's, while visiting friends in England, I heard a guy
make mention several times of an American singer he called _Billy
Jo-El_. I had no idea who he was talking about until sometime
later, when my mind de-hyphenated his pronunciation and I
realized he was talking about "the piano man".
I'm assuming the British speaker had never heard BJ's name
spoken aloud, though that seems unlikely. Otherwise, it's hard
to imagine how, without intending to spoof or mispronounce, he
inserted the hyphen.

Great post, Jo-El! Thanks!

It's kinda weird, though, because, if you were black, it wouldn't be a
joke to call you Jo-El. I have a nephew, Jo-Nathan, and I've been
asked why I pronounce "Nathanael" as "NAYtha-nail" or "Nay-THANNa-el.
I "know better," of course, but I don't care. These names are
relatively rare and if it occasionally gives people a chuckle to hear
my pronunciations, good on them (if I'm using this phrase correctly. I
should check with JOnah-thon.)


The American Dialect Society -

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