Posted by: episystechpubs | March 18, 2014

Editor’s Corner: Muskrat Love

Good morning, my little chickadees! Before I get down to business today, I’d like to congratulate Rebecca Robinson and Ruth Sherburne, the lucky Editor’s Corner contest winners! I’ll be sending you ‘Scuse Me While I Kiss This Guy (Rebecca) and He’s Got the Whole World in His Pants (Ruth) so you can read and sing mondegreens to your hearts’ content.

And now, for another pronunciation tidbit from 8 Pronunciation Errors That Made the English Language What It Is Today by David Shariatmadari. There are several more examples if you click the folk etymology link within the paragraph.

What the folk?

Borrowing from other languages can give rise to an entirely understandable and utterly charming kind of mistake. With little or no knowledge of the foreign tongue, we go for an approximation that makes some kind of sense in terms of both sound and meaning. This is folk etymology. Examples include crayfish, from the French écrevisse (not a fish but a kind of lobster); sparrow grass as a variant for asparagus in some English dialects; muskrat (conveniently musky, and a rodent, but named because of the Algonquin word muscascus meaning red); and female, which isn’t a derivative of male at all, but comes from old French femelle meaning woman.

Kara Church

Senior Technical Editor

619-542-6773 | Ext: 766773

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