21 Accents

HT to Mommy Brain.  Do you have a favorite accent?  The Brooklyn one tickled me, but the “of course I’m Scottish” takes the cake shortbread!


Remembering Plum

P.G. Wodehouse, born October 15, 1881

What would life be without Wodehouse?  Such a funny, funny man.  I’ve said it before – I’m quite thankful for Jeeves and Wooster (two of his main characters), especially for all the literary allusions and quotes in their dialog. “Getting” the references is one of the joys of a reading life.

Here’s some fun interplay between P.G. Wodehouse and Dorothy Sayers which my son recently found:

“Pardon me, my lord, the possibility had already presented itself to my mind.”
“It had?”
“Yes, my lord.”
“Do you never overlook anything, Bunter?”
“I endeavor to give satisfaction, my lord.”
“Well, then, don’t talk like Jeeves.  It irritates me.”
                ~ Lord Peter Wimsey and Bunter in  Strong Poison by Dorothy L. Sayers

~     ~     ~

“Well, you perfect chump,” cried Nobby, “don’t you know that that dishes him?  Haven’t you ever read any detective stories?  Ask Lord Peter Wimsey what an alibi amounts to.”
                ~  Zenobia “Nobby” Hopwood in Jeeves in the Morning by P.G. Wodehouse

~     ~     ~

“What’s his name?”
“Where’s he from?”
“Hankie doesn’t know.  But Miss Meteyard’s seen him.  She says he’s like Bertie Wooster in horn-rims.”
                ~  Mr. Jones in Murder Must Advertise by Dorothy L. Sayers

Funny Mispronunciations

One of the occupational hazards of being a reader is using a word in speech that one has read silently and stumbling in the pronunciation of said word.  There’s nothing like saying a word with confidence but incompetence, watching the listener screw up their face either in confusion or laughter, hearing the illuminating correction and having a hearty laugh at yourself. 

One of the joys of listening to books read on Librivox is catching an ‘oops’ from the mouth of their lovely volunteer readers.  I laugh out loud when ‘the patience of Job’ is pronounced like a wage earner.  One of the joys of listening to professionally produced books on tape is catching one of my own mistakes.  “Oh, is that how you say it?”

My last name is commonly mispronounced.  Before “No Call”, I was tipped off to telemarketers by the botched pronunciation.  The grocery store clerks who look at the receipt and say “Thank you, Miz ________” make me laugh too.

And for those who care:  Magistra Mater is  Mah-GEE(hard G)-struh  MAH-tair  Think “TEA with MaGEEstra.”

Proper Nouns

Wodehouse  – it’s supposed to rhyme with wood
Cowper – sounds like Cooper
Goethe – my SIL’s mother quoted Goethe and pronounced it GO-eth. 

“Mother, that name is  GERT-a” she said with the proper form-your-mouth-like-an-o-and-say-e-technique, to which her mother replied, “You can call it GERT-a if you’d like; I’ll say  GO-eth.”

Isak Dinesen – for years, in my mind I said DINE-sen,

until I heard it correctly spoken DIN-es-sen

Camus – it is not CAY-mus, it’s caMOO
Dumas – another French name to trip you up: dooMAH
Keats and Yeats – wah, wah they don’t rhyme! KEETS and YATES

Edinburgh – it looks like it should end with a burg, right?  Not!  ED-in-BURR-a

My Oopses

primer – long i when it’s paint. But if it’s a book of elementary information

you say PRIMmer

Orion – there was confusion when I said ORion instead of ohRYAN
vegan – hard and soft g’s trip me up all the time. 

I thought this was VEJen instead of VEEgan

bade – the past tense of bid is pronounced BAD – forget the silent e
victual – doesn’t it look like VICK-shoe-ol?  Nah, it’s pronounced VITtle
jihad – not that long ago I said JIE-had.  Ouch! 

Everyone else knows it is jih-HAHD

Oopses from Others

xylophone – my son thought this was pronounced ex-CELL-a-PHONE
roughage – one former boss gave this a French twist, saying ROO-ahzj
chihuahua – a friend’s husband said chih-WHO-ah-WHO-ah
synecdoche – William Safire wrote about Jerry Brown (remember him?)

saying SIN-ec-DOACH in an interview. Safire pondered the etiquette of correcting a governor; the correct pronunciation is sih-NEK-duh-KEY

I’ve run out of time to ponder and remember my favorites. 

Help me out, would you?  Correct my corrections, if need be.

What words have you or yours mispronounced?

Zip Bong

This is Cody, our crazy-in-love-with-water, aging Yellow Lab.

My DIL taught us a new game: Zip Bong.
It’s a variation of Make You Laugh/Smile games.
You don’t need to be camping to play.

Form an “old man” mouth,
by covering both sets of teeth with your lips.

The goal is to get someone to laugh, to show their teeth.

The first player says “Zip!” in an upward glissando,
with the lips over the teeth.  It comes out sounding like a whistle.
[I don’t care if you are in public, you must try this out loud. Now.]
Go around the circle, each one saying, “Zip!”
until someone says, “Bong” full of nasal resonance.

The order reverses; the previous zipper zips again
until someone else says bong. 
One can never say bong two times in a roll.

It sound sophomoric, but we sure laughed hard.
You have to look at each other.
It’s the old man lips.
Your mouth gets tired, if you keep from laughing.

If Zip-Bong doesn’t float your boat, try this.

Too Funny For Words

I’m back from our church’s Family Camp, another weekend jammed packed with good things.  A group of moms sat together “talking shop” and the issue of modesty came up.  One mom argued that young girls “just don’t know what they are doing when they dress with tops too low and shorts too high.”  Another disagreed and thought girls know exactly what they are doing and want to provoke a response. 

The question was posed: “Did you dress modestly when you were young?”  I will jump right in and admit that when I look back at some photos I shudder and wonder a) what I was thinking and b) why someone didn’t say something

This picture from 1979, for example.  The only reason I would voluntarily post a picture of me (or Curt) wearing shorts this short is because it is so stomach-clutching funny!  Matching shorts (guffaw), my husband’s tucked in shirt (snort), the white piping (giggle), and the pulled up socks (snicker).  Funny peculiar and funny ha-ha. Nerds of the Year award.  My brother-in-law has always had better taste in clothes than both of us combined, as evidenced in this picture.  Ay-yi-yi!!

Do you ever look back and wince?  Laugh?  Cry?  *grin*

Do ya want to have fun tonight?

Here’s what you need:


(Just the socks, hehe, and many of them).  Here’s what you do:

1.  Make the socks compact like a tennis ball.  You can fold them and slip the elastic part over the rest or tie longer socks into knots several times. 

2.  Turn the fan on high speed.

3.  Throw the socks into the fan.  It will catch them and “bat” them all over.  Sometimes the fan will miss the socks like a batter swinging and missing.  The trajectory of the socks is unpredictable and that’s part of the fun.  You can “pitch” one sock at a time or grab several and throw them at once.  There are no rules and therefore no umpires.

Our family has delighted in this silliness for many years.  It’s only fun with a group of people.  We grab piles of clean socks, work them into balls and start throwing.  It’s certainly a unique way to dust in those hard to reach corners. 

Our fan doesn’t have a light and we don’t have vaulted ceilings, two factors that might change the dynamics.  Please don’t ask me how this tradition got started.  It must come from having boys and loving baseball.

I have a funny picture in my mind: my husband and I bent over, infirmed, arthritic, trying to muster the strength to lob a sock high enough from our rocking chairs to hit the fan, commenting in a slow, shaky voice, “look at that one go, Gertrude!”