[Ads-l] [Non-DoD Source] "Niger" or "Niger"?

Margaret Winters mewinters at WAYNE.EDU
Thu Oct 19 15:49:30 UTC 2017

I had students from there in the 80s and 90s - the pronunciation was the French one [niZer] with the sound in the middle of leisure and their first European language was indeed French.

The "Mikado"  predates1900, of course...


Former Provost
Professor Emerita - French and Linguistics
Wayne State University
Detroit, MI  48202

mewinters at wayne.edu

From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of MULLINS, WILLIAM D (Bill) CIV USARMY RDECOM AMRDEC (US) <william.d.mullins18.civ at MAIL.MIL>
Sent: Thursday, October 19, 2017 11:34 AM
Subject: Re: [Non-DoD Source] "Niger" or "Niger"?

> In my day, people said "NYE-jer." Nowadays, except for a courageous journalist in the Rose Garden recently, they're all saying "Nee-ZHAIR."
> Sounds so much  more sophisticated, _non_?
> When was the big switch? The Random House College Dictionary of 1982 gives only "NYE-jer."  I first heard Nee-ZHAIR" in the early '80s.
My wife used to buy thistle seeds for her goldfinch feeders.  Then they started calling it Niger seed.  Now it's trademarked as Nyjer .

"The name was trademarked as Nyjer ® in 1998 by the Wild Bird Feeding Industry, however, to clarify proper pronunciation (NYE-jerr)."
Nyjer Seed - Feeding Birds - The Spruce<https://www.thespruce.com/nyger-seeds-for-finches-386574>
Nyjer seed, also known as thistle or niger, is a popular seed to offer small birds and finches. But what is it, and which birds will eat it?

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