Another one bites the dust?

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Thu Sep 6 14:43:57 UTC 2007

At 10:19 AM -0400 9/6/07, Dennis R. Preston wrote:
>And the historical foundation for /ey/ for Latin "ae" plurals ain't
>so good either, but it's OK for Modern English I reckon.

I've always thought that if you take one clump of the classic
post-Passover breakfast Matzobrei (it's sort of Jewish French toast,
but better), you should be able to refer to it as a Matzobra.  With
short /a/.


>>---------------------- Information from the mail header
>>Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>>Poster:       Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
>>Subject:      Re: Another one bites the dust?
>>At 10:45 AM -0400 9/6/07, Lynne Murphy wrote:
>>>Both my Pilates teacher (New Zealander, I think) and my yoga teacher
>>>(English) ALWAYS say 'vertebrae', no matter how many they're talking about.
>>>E.g. 'Try to move each vertebrae on its own'.
>>Maybe we're being (relatively) unfair, and they're really saying (or
>>thinking) "(one) vertebra" but pronouncing the last "a" /ey/ as in
>>"*a* priori" or "prima f*a*cie".  That does involve lengthening it
>>and putting it through the vowel shift, but what the hay.  The plural
>>"vertebrae" would then shift orthographically but be phonetically
>>>--On Wednesday, September 5, 2007 11:31 pm -0400 Wilson Gray
>>><hwgray at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
>>>>Heard on CSI:
>>>>[Holding up a bone]: "Looks like a human _vertebrae_."
>>>>All say, "How hard it is that we have to die"---a strange complaint to
>>>>come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
>>>>                                                -Sam'l Clemens
>>>Dr M Lynne Murphy
>>>Senior Lecturer in Linguistics and English Language
>>>Arts B135
>>>University of Sussex
>>>Brighton BN1 9QN
>>>phone: +44-(0)1273-678844
>>>The American Dialect Society -
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>Dennis R. Preston
>University Distinguished Professor
>Department of English
>Morrill Hall 15-C
>Michigan State University
>East Lansing, MI 48824-1036 USA
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