Victor Steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Thu Jan 26 08:28:15 UTC 2012

How would you spell "luge" and "luger", Tom?


PS: Can we add casual and exposure to the list, along with seizure,
occasion/occasional, lesion, collision, precision, elision, erosion,
engine?  All but "casual" and "elision" had migrated from French
complete with the [Z]. On the other hand, I was surprised to find the
OED list fissure and fission with [S] rather than [Z], thus making
fissure homonymous with fisher. From physicists--and physics
students--I've heard it, most of my life, as [Z]. But I checked with a
couple of "informants" and they do differentiate between fissure and
fisher, although it involves un-English lengthening of the [S]. Are
there any other English words (not necessarily originating in English in
some form) that involve using [SS] in the middle? Another one that I
always hear more vocalized than dictionaries list it is torsion.

Another anomaly is cringe--OED lists both [Z] and [dZ] variants for
British, but only [dZ] for US. Hinge, Fringe, lunge, binge, singe and
linge all have /only/ [dZ] listed. Range is like cringe, but grange and
derange(d/ment) are like the rest. I'll let you figure out which way
mange/mangy fall (from French!--but so is derangement).

Another odd cluster: artesian, Malaysian, Malthusian and Cartesian,
although the last three differ between US and UK (and even within US and
UK). Transient is listed in OED with [s], [z], [S] and [Z], not to
mention vowel variations. The point is not to find all the instances
(oh, look! I missed "illusion"!), but to dismiss the idea that the sound
is particularly unusual. And who is to say that "Anglo-Norman" is not

On 1/25/2012 11:46 PM, Tom Zurinskas wrote:
> Indeed. The letter "s" is by far the most used letter in English to spell the ~zh sound as in "measure" ~mezher. But the letter "s" is 60 times more likely to spell another sound, ~s. See truespel book 4.

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

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