[Ads-l] [Non-DoD Source] "Niger" or "Niger"?

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM
Thu Oct 19 14:31:59 EDT 2017


"Military officials have announced that they will increase missions to
train, advise and assist troops in the African nation of Niger. The focus
on Niger is viewed as a direct challenge to President Trump's autocorrect."
--Colin Jost, SNL Weekend Update, Oct. 14, 2017


On Thu, Oct 19, 2017 at 12:33 PM, Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at gmail.com>
wrote:

> Maybe "Nyjer" was partly intended to forestall embarrassment and worse.
>
> JL
>
> On Thu, Oct 19, 2017 at 12:31 PM, Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at gmail.com
> >
> wrote:
>
> > Might as well observe that usu. lower-case "Niger" was the usual pre-1800
> > form of you-know-what, though presumably pronounced "NEEgur."
> >
> > JL
> >
> > On Thu, Oct 19, 2017 at 11:49 AM, Margaret Winters <mewinters at wayne.edu>
> > wrote:
> >
> >> I had students from there in the 80s and 90s - the pronunciation was the
> >> French one [niZer] with the sound in the middle of leisure and their
> first
> >> European language was indeed French.
> >>
> >>
> >> The "Mikado"  predates1900, of course...
> >>
> >> Margaret
> >>
> >>
> >> ----------------------------
> >> MARGARET E WINTERS
> >> Former Provost
> >> Professor Emerita - French and Linguistics
> >> Wayne State University
> >> Detroit, MI  48202
> >>
> >> mewinters at wayne.edu
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >> ________________________________
> >> From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of
> >> MULLINS, WILLIAM D (Bill) CIV USARMY RDECOM AMRDEC (US) <
> >> william.d.mullins18.civ at MAIL.MIL>
> >> Sent: Thursday, October 19, 2017 11:34 AM
> >> To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
> >> Subject: Re: [Non-DoD Source] "Niger" or "Niger"?
> >>
> >> >
> >> > In my day, people said "NYE-jer." Nowadays, except for a courageous
> >> journalist in the Rose Garden recently, they're all saying "Nee-ZHAIR."
> >> >
> >> > Sounds so much  more sophisticated, _non_?
> >> >
> >> > When was the big switch? The Random House College Dictionary of 1982
> >> gives only "NYE-jer."  I first heard Nee-ZHAIR" in the early '80s.
> >> >
> >> My wife used to buy thistle seeds for her goldfinch feeders.  Then they
> >> started calling it Niger seed.  Now it's trademarked as Nyjer .
> >>
> >> "The name was trademarked as Nyjer ® in 1998 by the Wild Bird Feeding
> >> Industry, however, to clarify proper pronunciation (NYE-jerr)."
> >> https://www.thespruce.com/nyger-seeds-for-finches-386574
> >> Nyjer Seed - Feeding Birds - The Spruce<https://www.thespruce.c
> >> om/nyger-seeds-for-finches-386574>
> >> www.thespruce.com
> >> Nyjer seed, also known as thistle or niger, is a popular seed to offer
> >> small birds and finches. But what is it, and which birds will eat it?
> >>
> >>
> >>
>

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


More information about the Ads-l mailing list