Szechuan pepper

Tom Zurinskas truespel at HOTMAIL.COM
Sat Jan 28 16:15:15 UTC 2012 has 3 clickable pronunciations of the word "Szechuan"
US flag = ~Sechwun
UK flag = ~Zekwin ("sz" spoken like an ~s that changes to a ~z)
speaker icon = ~Sechwwaan (~ww starts stressed syllable)

But it also has "Sichuan"
US flag ~Sichwaan
UK flag ~Sichwaan
icon shows "Szechuan" ~Sechwwaan

>... Sichuan is the
> preferred Wiki form and one that perhaps is more commonly encountered
> today. And Sichuan occurs in quite a number of occasions in OED quotes,
> so it is somewhat surprising that no mention of it is made.
> The same spelling is in the OED entry, with the only
> listed alternative form Szechwan. The etymology note gives "< Chinese
> /Si-chua-n/",

Scanning for "Szechuan" you more often find "Sichuan"
pronounced as it looks ~Sichwaan

Tom Zurinskas, Conn 20 yrs, Tenn 3, NJ 33, now Fl 9.
See how English spelling links to sounds at

> Date: Sat, 28 Jan 2012 08:56:59 -0500
> From: aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
> Subject: Szechuan pepper
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster: Victor Steinbok <aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject: Szechuan pepper
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Actually, this comment is about more than just "Szechuan pepper". First,
> "Szechuan" is the correction preferred by the Windows 7 built-in
> spell-checker. The same spelling is in the OED entry, with the only
> listed alternative form Szechwan. The etymology note gives "< Chinese
> /Si-chua-n/", but no such allowances are made for spelling forms, with
> not a single example listing the Sichuan form. Yet Sichuan is the
> preferred Wiki form and one that perhaps is more commonly encountered
> today. And Sichuan occurs in quite a number of occasions in OED quotes,
> so it is somewhat surprising that no mention of it is made.
> Another oddity is the fact that the Szechuan entry is for noun only,
> with the usual qualifier "used attrib." Yet, Szechuanese is listed both
> as adjective and noun, with the noun covering the "dialect" and the
> residents of Szechuan.
> But consider one of the examples under adj.:
> > 1980 E. Behr /Getting Even/ vii. 89 There was the smell of real
> > Szechuanese cooking, chillies and hot sesame oil.
> Now, just over 30 years later (at least, in the US), this is more like
> to appear as
> > There was the smell of real Szechuan cooking, chillies and hot sesame oil.
> Following the OED convention, this case is merely "attrib.", despite
> appearance to the contrary. In fact, only "Szechuan-style" is considered
> an adjective, e.g.
> > 1979 /United States 1980/81/ (Penguin Travel Guides) 179 Honolulu
> > also has several Mandarin or Szechwan-style Chinese restaurants.
> But compare all the forms of Szechuan to Taiwan. Both form adjectives
> with -ese, but Taiwan rarely appears in "attrib." position, while such
> usage of Szechuan is pervasive (complete with "Sichuan Garden", "Sichuan
> Cuisine" and "Sichuan Delight" restaurants gracing virtually every major
> US city). On the other hand, "Taiwanese" is much more common than
> "Szechuanese". I've had similar concern about other "attrib." entries,
> but here there may be an additional complication that the -an ending may
> be re-interpreted as an adjectival suffix. (Compare Moldova/Moldavia -->
> Moldovan/Moldavian) Yunnan and Hunan suffer similar fates, while Taiwan
> really becomes an exception rather than the rule. (Note that OED has no
> entries for Hunan and Yunnan, while the entries for Hunanese and
> Yunanese are similar to Szechuanese in every way.) I would argue that
> "Szechuan hotpot" (ma la hotpot) is not "hotpot of Szechuan" but short
> for "Szechuan-style hotpot", i.e., an adjective.
> Returning back to the spelling issue, there is no "Szechuan pepper" in
> the current OED at all. But there are two quotations that mention
> "Sichuan pepper".
> Galanga n.
> > 2000 A. Dalby /Dangerous Tastes/ 78 Five-spice powder ... . In China
> > itself the typical mixture is likely to include Sichuan pepper and
> > perhaps fennel or licorice or dried ginger or galanga.
> Pepper n. 1.b.
> > 1991 /Chile Pepper/ *5* ii. 45 The brown or black seeds are also
> > marketed under the name 'Sichuan pepper' or 'Chinese pepper' and are
> > highly aromatic with hints of citrus.
> This is not particularly surprising, as "Sichuan pepper" is one of the
> latest "in" spices (since the FDA ban on its Chinese imports had been
> lifted in 2005) and usually occurs with that particular spelling (at
> least, in the US--can't really speak for the rest of the world).
> But this is further complicated by frequent attempts to anglicize such
> things. Virtually every package of Sichuan pepper that is imported from
> China is /not/ labeled as Sichuan pepper, but instead reads "Prickly
> ash". Right now I am looking at a package of spices from Chuanzhen
> Industry Co. whose English label reads "Green Prickly Ash".
> Prickly ash does appear under prickly adj. Special Uses S2.
> > prickly ash n. any of various North American prickly shrubs or trees:
> > /spec./ /(a) /a shrub with spiny bark, the devil's walking stick,
> > /Aralia spinosa/ (family /Araliaceae/); /(b) /any of several spiny or
> > prickly pinnate-leaved shrubs or trees of the genus /Zanthoxylum/
> > (family /Rutaceae/), /esp./ either of two shrubs whose aromatic bark
> > is used medicinally, the toothache tree, /Z. americanum/ and the
> > Hercules' club /Z. clava-herculis/.
> It is interesting that only North American varieties are mentioned for
> both (a) and (b) and only the use of the aromatic bark enters into the
> the picture (correctly identifying it as the "toothache tree"). But Wiki
> description of Sichuan pepper expands on this a bit.
> > Sichuan pepper (or Szechuan pepper) is the outer pod of the tiny fruit
> > of a number of species in the genus /Zanthoxylum/ (most commonly /Z.
> > piperitum/, /Z. simulans/, and /Z. schinifolium/), widely grown and
> > consumed in Asia as a spice.
> So this is indeed the same genus as the North American prickly ash. This
> sounds to me like a pretty good reason to expand the definition.
> The third component of this is the fact that the Japanese version of
> this spice is usually labeled "sansho" or "sansho pepper" (although
> other names include "Chinese pepper", "Japanese pepper", "Indonesian
> lemon pepper", etc.). The Wiki article contains an explanation that the
> Japanese name is a direct borrowing of one of the Chinese names, which
> is translated as "mountain pepper", rather than a corruption of Sichuan.
> Most dictionaries, including the OED, do not have a sansho entry.
> A brief follow up on the galanga entry mentioned above. The OED has both
> Galanga and Galangal entries, with the former simply diverting to the
> latter in definition, while possessing a separate list of forms and a
> separate etymology note. That seems odd, particularly given one of the
> quotations under galangal:
> > 1867 K. L. Dey /Indigenous Drugs India/ 11 The tubers of Alpinia
> > Galanga ... are faintly aromatic, pungent, and somewhat bitter, and
> > are sold by the name of galangal by native druggists.
> Both forms appear to have coexisted virtually from the start.
> There is an interesting twist on this, provided by GoogleTranslate.
> Galangal is "translated" into Dutch as is--perhaps reflecting the
> supposed translation, but more likely simply reflecting lack of a
> corresponding entry. Galanga is translated as Galangawortel. But if you
> shop for galangal powder at a Dutch supermarket, you will not find it
> under any name even remotely resembling either of these--instead, the
> label would reflect its Indochinese (or Indonesian) origin--"Laos". (
> )
> Translating into Russian has the opposite effect--"galanga" is
> unchanged, indicating lack of the corresponding entry, while "galangal"
> is translated as "kalgan" (long used as a traditional medicinal plant).
> VS-)
> ------------------------------------------------------------
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