babel babble

Michael H Covarrubias mcovarru at PURDUE.EDU
Thu Dec 14 16:44:39 UTC 2006

When announcing the Golden Globe nominations Matt Perry pronounced the movie
"Babel" as "babble."

OED doesn't list this pronunciation though M-W and American Heritage give it
second listing.

AHD includes the meaning of confusion and noise as a different entry (not
capitalized) with the 'babble' pronunciation listed first.  It traces the
etymology to the place name.

The OED lists this meaning under the Babel, obviously with the same single

Is this is a persistent false-friend pronunciation: an apparent belief that
Babel is related etymologically to 'babble'?


   English Language & Linguistics
   Purdue University
   mcovarru at


The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list