distinguished alum

David Bowie db.list at PMPKN.NET
Thu May 7 13:32:05 UTC 2009

From:    Barbara Need <bhneed at GMAIL.COM>
> On 5 May 2009, at 7:46 PM, Wilson Gray wrote:

>> And I really doubt that the average non-classicist has any concept of
>> the the distinction in either meaning or pronunciation between -I and
>> -AE or the meaning of the nueuter plural, -A.

> Wilson,

> In my experience, non-classicists consistently use [aI] for alumni and
> [i] for alumnae.

I've generally heard [e] for alumnae, except for a few times that i've
heard [aI] for what was probably that word. (It's hard to tell, because
if someone has [aI] for both alumni and alumnae, of course, you can't be
certain which they're intending unless you have the opportunity to ask

For my part, [aI] for alumnae seems quite natural, since my high school
Latin taught me that puella, puellae is puell[*], puell[aI]. (Never
claimed my high school Latin was perfectly correct, of course, but then
again, what high school Latin is?)

David Bowie                               University of Central Florida
     Jeanne's Two Laws of Chocolate: If there is no chocolate in the
     house, there is too little; some must be purchased. If there is
     chocolate in the house, there is too much; it must be consumed.

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

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