Submariner (was "thousand-yard stare")

Thu Aug 5 22:28:08 UTC 2010

        I always pronounced "Sub-Mariner" with the accent on MAR, which
I gather was also the pronunciation used by the character's creators,
but I learned in high school that my approach was unique or nearly so
among youthful readers, who normally place the primary accent on SUB and
a secondary accent on REEN, as if the name were "Submarine" with an R
tacked on the end.

        I get the other references, but what's the joke behind the
"physics" class note in Starchie?

John Baker

-----Original Message-----
From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf
Of Wilson Gray
Sent: Monday, August 02, 2010 11:37 PM
Subject: Re: Submariner (was "thousand-yard stare")

On Sun, Aug 1, 2010 at 8:35 PM, Mark Mandel <thnidu at> wrote:
> the
> distinctive spelling made the pronunciation explicit: "the

No, it didn't. _Sub-Mariner_ doesn't exclude "Sub-MaREEner" as a
pronunciation, especially given the far more widespread "marine" in a
whole host of environments.

There is "The Rime of The Ancient Mariner." But I'd bet that the
number of people familiar with this now approaches zero. Sigh! Back in
the '60's, this poem was still so well known that there was a story in
the sports section(!) that noted that a certain baseball infielder was
nicknamed The Ancient Mariner because "he stoppeth one of three." Back
in the day, even slipping "a person from Porlock" past the hoi polloi
could be a problem. Why, people once got the joke behind the note on a
bulletin board that announced a "physics" class in Mad Magazine's


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

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