[Ads-l] ISIL [rhymes with whistle]

W Brewer brewerwa at GMAIL.COM
Sat Dec 12 09:28:03 UTC 2015

LH:  << I'm not sure I'd call "it-TAL-yun" elegant-ese ... >>
WB:  Nor would eye. I may have gotten things bassackwards. I have come up
with an ophthalmological explanation, or fable, as it were:  The Good EYE
vs. the Bad EYE.
     Susan Rice on Fareed Zarkariah's GPS show said multiple times
[ISS-sull]. Fareed once sheepishly interjected ISIS [EYE-siss], never once
using any variant of ISIL. Towards the end of the segment, Rice switched to
ISIL [EYE-sull].
     It struck me that Rice was half-heartedly promulgating an elegantese
pronunciation, trying to avoid the vulgar <I-> [EYE] (the "Bad EYE"), and
filled the vacant elegantese slot of ISIL with [I(SS-sull)] (the "Good
     From a political angle, you could call it the "Right EYE" [eye] & the
"Left EYE" [ih]. Maybe macho & ... wimpo?

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

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