Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Thu Sep 27 14:43:27 UTC 2007

Unconsciously you knew the guy's name was / winr /.  Your brain tried to protect you.

  Poor mathematician Norbert Weiner. His name was "Weiner" *and* "Norbert."

  *And* he was a mathematician.

  But maybe things were different back then.


Charles Doyle <cdoyle at UGA.EDU> wrote:
  ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
Sender: American Dialect Society
Poster: Charles Doyle
Subject: Re: Finally!

May I share my own recent pedagogical moment?

The first day of class I was calling the roll. Toward the end of the alphabet lurked a student named Weiner. I pronounced the name [waIn at r], and he corrected me: "It's [win at r]." Even though the subject of the class is Shakespeare, I took a moment to muse on the orthographic representation of English vowels vs. those in un-vowel-shifted languages. Then, hoping to heighten word-awareness (always a Good Thing, no?), I posed a question: "OK, y'all, why is the meat item that's put in a bun to make a hot dog called a _wiener_?" Long silence. Finally, a quiet, shy-looking young woman sitting near the back earnestly intoned, "Because it looks like a penis?"

I reckon it's time for some tenor/vehicle drills . . . .


---- Original message ----
>Date: Wed, 26 Sep 2007 20:44:28 -0700
>From: Jonathan Lighter
>Another classic pedagogical moment. I was teaching from Robert Fitzgerald's great translation of the Iliad. Fitzgerald tries to preserve some extra Greekness by transliterating the Greek names into English spelling rather than perpetuate the Latinized versions that are traditional in English. Thus, e.g., Fitzgerald corrects "Patroclus" to "Patroklos."
> The laff is on itsway. "Achilles" becomes, in Fitzgerald's Iliad, "Akhilleus."
> Most of you are probably way ahead of me, but when I pronounced this as / @ 'kIl yus /, somebody snickered, "Ah kill yo' ass!"
> So Beavis & Butthead is based on fact! (Even though this happened later.)
> JL

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