Pronouncing drug names

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Tue Jan 29 23:39:16 UTC 2008

Interesting, Barbara! In BE - of my day, anyway - /i/ and /E/ tend
both to draw stress and to fall together as [E] before /l/, another

Wavill > WAY Vell (a grade-school classmate in Saint Louis called
[weivl] by prescriptivist teachers)

Lindell > LIN Dell (a Saint Louis street-name pronounced [lIndl] by
local white speakers)

Waddell > Wa DELL (the name of a Navy ship misspelled as "Waddle" in a
letter from a BrE-speaking German friend)

Arvilla > Ar VELLa


Aquilla > a KWILLa, not *a KWELLa

You never know, I guess.

I personally have always thought of Chantix as [tSaentiks]. But I
expect to hear [Saentiks] any day, now.

{How in the world does GoogleAds know to offer me a course in British
English on the basis of my having written BrE?!)


On 1/29/08, Barbara Need <nee1 at> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Barbara Need <nee1 at MIDWAY.UCHICAGO.EDU>
> Subject:      Pronouncing drug names
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> There have been ads on TV in the last several months for two drugs
> which I would say were, initially, mispronounced, based on their
> spelling. The drugs are Humira and Chantix. Until this past week, the
> former was ALWAYS pronounced with a lax mid-front vowel in the second
> syllable: [E]. The latest ads have, as far as I can tell, a lax high-
> front vowel [I]. The latter was, in the first ads early in the Fall,
> pronounced with an initial stop [k]. Soon, affricate pronunciations
> [tS] began to appear, in random variation with [k] in the same ad.
> Now, only the affricate pronunciation is used. I know that drug
> companies work very hard to get names that sound right, but why do
> they then end up with pronunciations that don't match the spelling.
> (OK, <ch> is pronounced [k] in some words, but I don't think it is
> the first pronunciation that comes to mind to an English speaker when
> those letters are seen together.)
> Barbara
> ------------------------------------------------------------
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