Talking of confusing non-rhotic respellings (yesterday’s blog and comments), yesterday’s Independent newspaper had an interesting take on the correct pronunciation of German.
In German, Miele is pronounced ˈmiːlə, ending with a closish schwa. (German has a contrast between this close-mid schwa and the open-mid schwa ɐ, as in the minimal pair bitte ˈbɪtə ‘please’ vs. bitter ˈbɪtɐ ‘bitter’.)
Unfortunately, the English spelling ar, while indeed standing for schwa in nonrhotic beggar, particular, collar, standard etc, also stands for ɑː in cigar, pulsar etc. And of course rhotic readers will interpret it as implying a following r sound too.
Today’s Guardian, on the other hand, has an interesting mistake which presumably results from a nonrhotic reporter’s mishearing of what was said in court or at a press conference.
The term hermetic means (COD) ‘1. with an airtight closure. 2. protected from outside agencies. 3 of alchemy or other occult sciences, esoteric’. The word intended must have been anti-emetic.
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Happy Christmas everyone. Next posting: 31 December.