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Hans Mof
592899.  Fri Jul 31, 2009 7:25 am Reply with quote

Quote:
There are also a few words in which a silent letter is utterly spurious and has no real business being there; "debt" and "ptarmigan" are two that come at once to mind.


The P in "ptarmigan" is indeed the result of a false Greek construct following words like "pterodactyl" and "psychology". By the by, in German the Ps in "ptero…" and "psy…" are not silent.

However, the B in "debt" seems to be a remnant from Latin debere (to owe). It is still pronounced in "debit".

 
suze
593174.  Fri Jul 31, 2009 2:45 pm Reply with quote

Yes, but English took it directly from French where it was dete, and only snuck the <b> back in at a later date. The King James Bible uses both detter and debtor.

Another example is the <s> in island. That word is from Norse - originally it was igland - and does not share an etymology with isle, but it ultimately got the <s> by analogy with it all the same.

 
zomgmouse
593393.  Fri Jul 31, 2009 8:10 pm Reply with quote

Lamb.

 
nitwit02
593651.  Sat Aug 01, 2009 8:28 pm Reply with quote

Are you on the lam, zomgmouse?

 
Sadurian Mike
593652.  Sat Aug 01, 2009 8:38 pm Reply with quote

I thought that that was more a practice of New Zealanders.

 
zomgmouse
593699.  Sun Aug 02, 2009 4:33 am Reply with quote

Or Welshmen.

 
mckeonj
593804.  Sun Aug 02, 2009 6:44 am Reply with quote

Hans Mof wrote:
The P in "ptarmigan" is indeed the result of a false Greek construct following words like "pterodactyl" and "psychology". By the by, in German the Ps in "ptero…" and "psy…" are not silent.

And in the P.G. Wodehouse character psmith.

 
samivel
593906.  Sun Aug 02, 2009 8:05 am Reply with quote

Ah, but he claimed he could tell when people were missing out the silent P from his name.

 
thegrandwazoo
597229.  Sat Aug 08, 2009 12:34 pm Reply with quote

Seeing as how Mike and zm have already introduced regional and national stereotyping into the thread I feel justified in adding more. As a Mancunian (many years removed) I can't believe Liverpool doesn't appear on the list. My guess is the scallies nicked the results and altered them to put Manchester on top. Presumably Teeside is bottom cos there's nothing worth nicking there (sorry Ian!) Good to see my two nearest cities (pace Ripon!) Leeds and Bradford are doing their bit. The fiercely Yorkshire Mrs Wazoo will be so proud.

 
Ian Dunn
597247.  Sat Aug 08, 2009 1:08 pm Reply with quote

thegrandwazoo wrote:
Presumably Teeside is bottom cos there's nothing worth nicking there (sorry Ian!)


1) It's not Teesside - it's Teesdale. They are two seperate areas. Teesdale is more rural and further inland.

2) Teesside is spelt with two "S's".

 
thegrandwazoo
598075.  Mon Aug 10, 2009 2:58 pm Reply with quote

Ian Dunn wrote:
thegrandwazoo wrote:
Presumably Teeside is bottom cos there's nothing worth nicking there (sorry Ian!)


1) It's not Teesside - it's Teesdale. They are two seperate areas. Teesdale is more rural and further inland.

2) Teesside is spelt with two "S's".


Oops, that's the trouble with speed reading through threads. Ian, I am sure you are relieved that TeeSSide isn't bottom of the list!

 
Ian Dunn
598082.  Mon Aug 10, 2009 3:03 pm Reply with quote

thegrandwazoo wrote:
Ian Dunn wrote:
thegrandwazoo wrote:
Presumably Teeside is bottom cos there's nothing worth nicking there (sorry Ian!)


1) It's not Teesside - it's Teesdale. They are two seperate areas. Teesdale is more rural and further inland.

2) Teesside is spelt with two "S's".


Oops, that's the trouble with speed reading through threads. Ian, I am sure you are relieved that TeeSSide isn't bottom of the list!


Indeed I am. Still, we've got our own problems. One of our biggest and most central hotels, the Swallow, closed last week. Shame to see it go.

 
Starfish13
598215.  Tue Aug 11, 2009 7:18 am Reply with quote

Ian Dunn wrote:
2) Teesside is spelt with two "S's".


However Kinrossshire, Rossshire and Invernessshire are spelt with 3s's.

 
gerontius grumpus
598386.  Tue Aug 11, 2009 4:19 pm Reply with quote

Hans Mof wrote:


The P in "ptarmigan" is indeed the result of a false Greek construct following words like "pterodactyl" and "psychology". By the by, in German the Ps in "ptero…" and "psy…" are not silent.

Similarly, I have always suspected that the P in Afrika Korps is pronounced, although I have never heard it said that way.

Perhaps you can help.

 
Hans Mof
598392.  Tue Aug 11, 2009 4:39 pm Reply with quote

Quote:
Similarly, I have always suspected that the P in Afrika Korps is pronounced, although I have never heard it said that way.

Perhaps you can help.


Afrikakorps, please. However, sorry, in this case it is indeed silent being derived from French.

Being a homophone to Chor (choir) doesn't make it any easier. While there's by definition no Marinekorps in German (Korps always refers to the army, and German Marine translates as Navy) there is such a thing as a Marinechor (Navy Choir).

But then again you have the same trouble discriminating between "hard core" and a "hard corps".

 

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