Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Mon Jan 25 22:46:48 UTC 2010

At 4:19 PM -0500 1/25/10, Mark Mandel wrote:
>Looks like an extension of what I think of as "French loanword final
>consonant deletion", as in /ku: d@ gra:/ ("koo duh grah") for "coup de
>grace". At some point the speaker (or an antecedent in the oral transmission
>chain) learned that "French final consonants aren't pronounced" -- a
>beginner's rule of thumb for French orthography -- and misapplied it to
>consonant *sounds*. I don't think of "precipice" as being French any more,
>but maybe this person did.
>m a m

I suspect it's not a case of the same hyper-Frenchification process
illustrated by that notorious "koo duh grah"/"coup de gras" (which
ought to refer to what would happen to the aforesaid Manning if he
got landed on by a 400 pound lineman), given the
non-French-soundingness of "precipice", nor is it obviously what
happens with "indice" as cited by Charles.  (I think there must be
two back-formations here--the [IndIs] one Charles cites and the
[Ind at si] one I've heard.)  That doesn't speak to what "prEcIpi" *is*
of course, just what I think it isn't.


>On Mon, Jan 25, 2010 at 3:56 PM, Jonathan Lighter
><wuxxmupp2000 at>wrote:
>>  Ken Rogoff is professor of economics and public policy at Harvard. Unless
>>  I'm going deef, I heard just him say on CNN that, before the stimulus
>>  package, the U.S. economy had been "on a / 'prEsIpi /."
>>  Then he said it again even more clearly. Obviously impossible.
>>  Isn't it?
>>  JL
>>  --
>>  "If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."
>>  ------------------------------------------------------------
>>  The American Dialect Society -
>The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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