Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Mon Aug 26 03:33:06 UTC 2013

On 8/25/2013 10:41 PM, Herb Stahlke wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Herb Stahlke <hfwstahlke at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Re: chic'
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> I don't remember exactly when Chic jeans first came on the market, but I
> think it was late 80s or early 90s.  My oldest boy was in high school then
> and I mentioned the pronunciation to him.  He was surprised that I
> mentioned it because he assumed it was pronounced "chick."  At that time
> "chic" was pronounced "chick" more generally by teenagers.  I don't know
> how far that pronunciation spread.
> The significance of the apostrophe is possibly that the writer assumes the
> "chick" pronunciation, knows how the French word is pronounced, and uses
> the apostrophe to mark "chic'" for the "chick" pronunciation.

T\I think that's a charitable speculation (but possibly accurate) ...
since such a use of the apostrophe would sort of make sense.

Alternative speculation #1: The apostrophe is understood to be the same
as an acute accent, it is understood that an acute accent (or grave
accent, or any similar mark, maybe) may be placed anywhere in order to
indicate a French word, and the pronunciation is either implicitly
"sheek" (Frenchy) or unspecified.

Alternative speculation #2: The apostrophe means nothing at all, and
appears as a plain error (typographical or other).

-- Doug Wilson

The American Dialect Society -

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