Parse this: Pentagon fields new Language Corps

Arnold M. Zwicky zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU
Tue May 15 14:39:46 UTC 2007

On May 15, 2007, at 7:23 AM, Alison Murie wrote:

>  Where shall we put :
> "Thereís a parallel here with vascillations like nuclear/nucular"
> ......does "vascular" enter into this?!

i should have realized someone would pick up on this.  here are
comments on the spelling, from the phonoloblob:


can’t resist the pedantry:

I wonder if the spelling “vascillate” (in place of “vacillate”) is
another of these errors-by-analogy, e.g. analogy to “fascicle” or
“conscience” where latinate words use “sc” to represent /s/ or esh.

For myself, I thought (until I looked it up just now) that the word
was spelled “vaccilate”, on analogy with “vaccine”, perhaps. I had a
pronunciation tendency to put a velar stop in too, which I will now
attempt to quell.

Just a meta-example of another of these cases where it’s hard to
resist spelling/pronouncing like some other word we know better.

Comment by Trochee — 3/26/2006 @ 12:26 pm

Interesting point re: va{s}cillate, Trochee. I think the word that
primed me for this was actually oscillate.

Comment by Bob Kennedy — 3/28/2006 @ 12:48 pm

The American Dialect Society -

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