[Ads-l] RES: cache - cachet confusible

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Fri May 26 10:58:44 EDT 2017


Another victim of this generalization may be “forte”:  This started out spelled and pronounced “fort”, sort of like the French nominalized adjectives it was borrowed from but later (19th c., apparently) began being spelled “forte”, and eventually the “for-tay” pronunciation arose, to the point that it’s now the primary one, according to the OED and AHD.  The latter includes this Usage Note, which points out the confusion from the Italian music term:

===============
Usage Note: Forte, meaning “something in which a person excels,” can be pronounced with one syllable, like the French word from which it is derived. It can also be pronounced with two syllables (fôrtā′), which is the more common pronunciation in American English and was the choice of 74 percent of the Usage Panel in both our 1996 and 2016 surveys. Some of those who dislike the two-syllable pronunciation argue it should only be used for the music term forte, which is derived from Italian.

https://ahdictionary.com/word/search.html?q=forte
===============

LH

> On May 26, 2017, at 7:46 AM, Arnold M. Zwicky <zwicky at STANFORD.EDU> wrote:
> 
>> On May 26, 2017, at 4:08 AM, David Daniel <dad at COARSECOURSES.COM> wrote:
>> 
>> Seems like hypercorrection to me. Like folks saying Coup de Grah instead of
>> Coup de Grahss. 
>> DAD
>> 
>> Para: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
>> Assunto: Re: cache - cachet confusible
>> 
>> Poster:       Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM>
>> Subject:      Re: cache - cachet confusible
>> ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
>> ---
>> 
>> On Thu, May 25, 2017 at 8:53 AM, Baron, Dennis E <debaron at illinois.edu>
>> wrote:
>> 
>>> Usu. cache for cachet
>> 
>> 
>> In my experience, hearing random speakers on TV, ranging from  newsreaders
>> through actors to "guests," cachet for cache seems to be more common.
>> Maybe. I interpret what I hear as _cach=C3=A9_ and not as "cachet." Of cour=
>> se, I may be mistaken, since I can't read the speaker's mind.
> 
> we ought to consder the role of spelling here.  compare cliche, which is properly spelled in french, and as a borrowed word in english, with a final e-acute (indicating that the e is pronounced, not mute), but is often spelled without the diacritic, because diacritics aren't available (at all, or easily), as here.
> 
> so you learn the CLICHE has two syllables, accented on the second.
> 
> then you hear ka-SHAY, and you know there's a word spelled CACHE, so you guess that this is the spelling of that word..
> 
> no problem with CLICHE, because you haven't heard a one-syllable pronounciation.  no problem with NICHE, because you haven't heard a two-syllable pronunciation.  but for CACHE...,
> 
> arnold
> 
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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


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