"Fung guy"

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Wed Jul 29 21:59:14 UTC 2009

When I was an underling at the (former?) Botany Research Laboratory at
Washington University in Saint Louis in 1955, it was considered a gas
when the Americans tricked a Chinese visiting scholar from Taiwan into
thinking that "fungi" [f^ndSai], the plural of "fungus," was
pronounced [f^Ngai]. However, it now seems to be the case that *native
speakers* of American English are  fully persuaded that [f^NgaI],
which I first heard as a joke, really *is* the correct pronunciation
of "fungi."

Please note that I am *not* claiming that the new pronunciation
*originated* at Wash U. in 1955. I am merely noting an oddity of
All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint
to come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
-Mark Twain

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

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