Wecker = old car

Thu May 29 05:12:36 UTC 2008

In a message dated 5/29/2008 12:01:10 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time,

Still trying to explain "wecker" = "old car" in  Chinese-English.

I can take a guess at this, altho admittedly it's only a guess.  But  an
educated one, since I spend a fair amount of time with Hong Kong exchange
students, whose native language is Chinese.  So here goes: One American  slang term
for "old car" is "wreck."  NB the existence of Rent-a-Wreck,  whose name relies
on our common understanding of this connection.  For a  native Chinese
speaker to say "wreck", the  most common pronunciation would be "weck."

And for some, ending a word in a sound as hard as K either is impossible,  or
just sounds so wrong they can't bring themselves to do it.  So adding  "ah"
at the end seems logical to them.  (As it does to my native Italian  relatives,
and for the same reason.)

So the word comes out "wecka", and to the American ear, hearing "wecka"
spoken with a Chinese accent makes us think we are hearing "wecker."  So  "old
car" becomes "wecker."

Explain it? Yes.  True?  I don't know.  I'm tempted to ask  one of the
exchange students to pronounce "wrecker" for me, just to see where  it gets me.


Quidquid latine dictum sit altum  videtur: Anything said in Latin sounds

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