[Ads-l] Cooking with the Kochs

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Wed Sep 27 18:04:57 UTC 2017

> On Sep 27, 2017, at 12:50 PM, Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
> Wikipedia:
> “The Koch family (/ˈkoʊk/ <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Help:IPA/English>
> KOKE <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Help:Pronunciation_respelling_key>) …”
> This pronunciation, [koUk], is the one that I use for this name,
> irregardless of any contra-indicative evidence: Mayor Coke and not Mayor
> Kotch. I’ve never so much as seen in person anyone even rumored to bear
> this name. So, does anyone else really care? In the words of the living
> legend, Noam Chomsky, “I think not.”
> OTOH, according to the first article respecting the Koch brothers that I
> read in the NYT, the relevant Koch family itself prefers the pronunciation,
> “Cook.” By complete coincidence, there were, in post-war Saint Louis, when
> white folk still played ball, a couple of brothers - in the genetic sense -
> Bob and Jerry, who were locally-famous as b-ballaz. They even attained some
> level of all-America status. Their surname was also “Koch,” pronounced
> KOKE, as Wikipedia states. However, by further complete coincidence,
> _these_ brothers Koch also said, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
> that their surname was, in fact, properly pronounced “Cook.”
Speaking of professional athletes so endowed (onomastically speaking), the late '70s and early ‘80s brought us both Dick Pole, a pitcher for the Red Sox, and the unfortunately yclept Rusty Kuntz, an outfielder for various American League teams. The latter, unsurprisingly, pronounced his name not to rhyme with “bunts” but rather with…”boonce”.


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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