Noah Webster at 250

Alison Murie sagehen7470 at ATT.NET
Thu Oct 23 19:34:24 UTC 2008

I had a teacher in third grade, back before  WWII, whose name was
Stough.  She used to challenge incoming classes to decide how to
pronounce her name..  Was it "Stuff" as in enough; was it "Stup" as in
hiccough; was it "Stoff" as in cough; was it "Stew" as in through; was
it like plough, &c.?   Oddly enough, instead of making me remember
what the answer was, I'm not sure, nearly seventy years later.  I
*think* it turned out to be "Stoh" like stowaway. (Can't think of
another analog.)
On Oct 22, 2008, at 12:56 AM, Douglas G. Wilson wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Douglas G. Wilson" <douglas at NB.NET>
> Subject:      Re: Noah Webster at 250
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Wilson Gray wrote:
>> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
>> -----------------------
>> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>> Poster:       Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM>
>> Subject:      Re: Noah Webster at 250
>> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>> Dennis Baron writes:
>> "...plow, not plough ..."
>> Back in the 'Forties, there was a soap-operatic, cartoon-serial
>> entitled _The Gumps_. One day, the Gumps were expecting as dinner
>> guest an English gentleman named "Plough." Confusion reigned as to
>> how
>> this name might be pronounced, so that introductions would not pose
>> an
>> embarrassing problem. Various solutions were proposed. I went with
>> "Pluff," myself. It seemed obvious.
>> When Mr. Plough arrived and was forced to explain to his American
>> hosts that his name was pronounced "Plow," exactly as spelled,
>> millions of Americans, including your humble correspondent, were
>> taken
>> completely by surprise. My WAG is that not ten percent of the strip's
>> readers had any idea as to what what the point of this was. I didn't
>> even believe that "Plough" could be pronounced "Plow." Hence, I had
>> not the slightest idea WTF the strip's point was, until perhaps a
>> dekkid later.
> -
> Here ...
> ... is a science-fiction author named "Clough", whose books I read
> years
> ago. (Perhaps like some kindred spirits subscribing to this list?)
> Back
> when, I would have had no idea how to pronounce the surname. Now,
> thanks
> to the Internet, I am apprised of the 'correct' pronunciation, "cluff"
> (hope it's not another Internet lie). Some others with the same name
> orthographically are called "clow", I think.
> -- Doug Wilson
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list