If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.


Our reason for creating WWK originated as an outlet for our love of reading and writing mystery fiction. We hope you love it, too, and will enjoy our holiday gifts to our readers with original short stories to celebrate the season. Starting on 11/16 stories by Warren Bull, Margaret S. Hamilton, Paula Gail Benson, Linda Rodriguez, KM Rockwood, Gloria Alden, and E. B. Davis will appear every Thursday into the New Year.


Our November Author Interviews: 11/8--Ellen Byron, and 11/15--Sujata Massey. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.


November Saturday Bloggers: 11/4 Margaret S. Hamilton and 11/11 Cheryl Hollon.


Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.


In addition, our prolific KM will have the following shorts published as well: "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017 and "Turkey Underfoot," just published, will appear in the anthology The Killer Wore Cranberry: a Fifth Course of Chaos.


James M. Jackson's 4th book in the Seamus McCree series, Doubtful Relations, is now available. His novella "Low Tide at Tybee" appears February 7 as part of Lowcountry Crimes: Four Novellas, which is available for order.

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Saturday, July 19, 2014

English Spelling and Pronunciation—The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

As readers and writers, I believe we all share a love of words. At the risk of sounding like an extreme nerd, today I’d like to talk about word history and spelling. Thanks to an article, Words of Wonder & Woe by Blair Shewchuck, I recently discovered a linguistic term called “oronym.” Oronyms are words and phrases that sound like other words and phrases. 
Shewchuck writes about a bar employee who won a contest to sell the most beer in a month’s time. She thought her boss was leading her to the parking lot for her grand prize: a Toyota. She was crushed to find out she’d won instead, a toy Yoda figure from the Star Wars movie franchise. Can you say “lawsuit?” She did. The case is pending.
One also has to be careful about complimenting your friend’s mother’s gardening skills. “Your mom is the best hoer in the county,” may read okay, but to the ear it sounds a little deviant. And yes oronyms can indeed be phrases. Try saying, “Dolly Parton has some of the biggest hits in country music!” It could get you a fist in your eye.
Musical lyrics are an even better example. I was a teenager before I figured out there was no such thing as a “donserly” light. I always wondered what that was; “Oh say can you see, by the ‘donserly’ light…” People, I’m from South Carolina, and down here “dawn” is pronounced with the “aw” sound like Georgia fans pronounce “Dawgs!”  (As a side note, we also say “cee-ment” for “cement;” “Dee-troit; “Eye-talian;” and “Poe-lice.” But I digress.)
Who is this “Reverend Blue Jeans” Neil Diamond sings about? Or as Fran Drescher famously pointed out, should we feel sorry for the young lady from Lucy In The Sky with Diamonds? You know, “the girl with colitis goes by.”

As long as we’re in the region, I have to say that in the South, people here pronounce “pen” and “pin” exactly the same. If you ask me for one, I’m going to hand you a writing implement unless you specify you want a “pin to stick something with.” Could be a law down here, I’m not sure. And technically, “pen” and “pin” are homophones…ah, not that there’s anything wrong with that.
Do you have a favorite oronym or homophone, maybe a Malapropism?


8 comments:

James Montgomery Jackson said...

Sam, "Oronym" is a new term to me. Although I can't come up with an example at the moment, I know there have been lots of occasions when I have discovered actual lyrics to songs I have sung along to on the radio and been shocked (Shocked!, I say) to discover what the real words were.

I suspect as we get older and our hearing diminishes, but our vanity prohibits hearing aides, that the opportunity for oronyms will increase.

~ Jim

KM Rockwood said...

Around Christmas time, we always hear about the mean Olive, the other reindeer, who laughs at Rudolph and calls him names.

Gloria Alden said...

Sam, I can't think of any at the moment, but I certainly have seen a mix up of their and there often as well as break and brake, etc. The grammar mistake935 I hate the most is "me and my friend did such and such. Or just as often "The bear chased my sister and I."

Warren Bull said...

When I worked in North Carolina I figured out that
anyone who heard what I said as far, fair, fire or fur and gave a definition to that word deserved credit on the test. After all I had quite an accent.

E. B. Davis said...

The last homophone I crossed in a published book--taught for taut. I was taken back, but I immediately forgave the author (maybe not the editor) because I once write aisle for isle. We auditory learners have a hard time. (No blonde or beach babe jokes, Sam!)

Jim--Louie, Louie really didn't have any bad words in the lyrics that was high school rumor!

Kara Cerise said...

It was years before I figured out that Aretha Franklin was singing "chain of fools" and not "chain of food." I thought the song was about how things are going well in love and life and we're on top. Then everything breaks down and we end up at the bottom of the food chain.

James Montgomery Jackson said...

Elaine -- I was not thinking about Louie Louie, although it's history in interesting. The Kingsmen's versions was investigated by the FBI. After four months they conclude the words were unintelligible and so reported to Attorney General Robert Kennedy.

My references were to songs by Leonard Cohen, The Stones, etc.

~ Jim

Paula Gail Benson said...

Welcome home to WWK, Sam! I remember having the hardest time figuing out who the song "Mame" was being sung to until I saw the name of the musical. I thought maybe it was "Babe" for a while.