Dennis R. Preston preston at MSU.EDU
Tue Dec 12 13:58:21 UTC 2006

I believe it was the late Carl Sagan's PBS 'Cosmos' series which
introduced the less well known (and previously, I believe, British
English) use of URanus, although professional astronomers in the US
had apparently used the form for some time (according to my extensive
survey of one US astronomer).

That's not the fun part. In 1983 or thereabouts, a phenomenon that
occurs very infrequently took place: a lining up of the planets as
their orbits coincide (from an Earth point of view). An excited
reporter on a Detroit station I was listening to (and I admit
paraphrase) said:

"This is an unusual opportunity to see the planetes all lined up.
Just go out tonight and look up; you can see all the way to urAnus --
uhm,  I mean URanus."

Probably a contender for the better left uncorrected prize.


PS: I'm too lazy to look mup "urinous," "having to do with, coated
with, etc..., urine." Is it attested?

>---------------------- Information from the mail header
>Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>Poster:       Michael H Covarrubias <mcovarru at PURDUE.EDU>
>Subject:      Mispronunciation
>Natalie Morales on NBC's Today reported on a recent article in the "Annals of
>Neurology."  [ae]>[ej] in "annals" (ae=ash)
>"Uranus" is in the middle of a fight between prudish and bold
>pronunciations--the OED listing the prudish pronunciation first: stress on the
>first syllable and reduction of the [ej] vowel to a schwa.
>Is 'annals' so similar to 'anal' that the [ae] doesn't occur to a
>first-time  or
>nervous reader?  It seems so many other forms would work better on
>analogy with
>the spelling of other pre-'nn' A's. cf channel, flannel, annual, annotate,
>canned, planner etc.
>Is this some sort of forbidden-fruit/Freudian slip that makes annals so
>resistant to these analogies?
>    English Language & Linguistics
>    Purdue University
>    mcovarru at purdue.edu
>    web.ics.purdue.edu/~mcovarru
>   <http://wishydig.blogspot.com>
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There are many different religions in this world, but if you look at
them carefully, you'll see that they all have one thing in common:
They were invented by a giant, superintelligent slug named Dennis.
Homer Simpson

Dennis R. Preston
University Distinguished Professor
Department of English
15-C Morrill Hall
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824-1036
Phone: (517) 353-4736
Fax: (517) 353-3755
preston at msu.edu

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

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