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Confessions of an Old Fogey
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Heard over the weekend...

Heard over the weekend...

  • Comments 7

We were chatting with friends about the interview with Tahrmina Martely on APM's Weekend America about her first experiences in the US (listen to it here (sorry, Real Media only :())

Tahrmina tells the story about when she first came to the US as a high school exchange student.  Before she left Bangladesh, her mother told her to eat anything that her hosts offered her because it would be polite.  Well, she got to the US and her host family was having a barbeque in her honor.  Her host mom offered her a hot dog, and Tahrmina, remembering her mothers advice accepted it.  She knew that Americans ate unfamiliar stuff, but she had never realized we ate dogs.   Then she went to the grill and looked at them.  She thought and thought about it and the only thing she could figure out was that there were entire farms here in the U.S. with dogs that were all barking with really high pitched voices.  What kind of barbarians would do that to a dog?  And they fed them to their KIDS!

Anyway, Tahrmina tells the story far better than I do, you should listen to the story, but it sets the stage...

As we were all laughing about this event, Daniel made a comment about "Enoch's". 

Danel's a really fast reader, and as a consequence, he doesn't always spend a huge amount of time figuring out the pronounciation of new words.  Normally, this isn't a problem, but...

"Umm..  Daniel, it's pronounced "u-nik".

"What's the big deal, Enoch, Eunuch, who cares?"

"Daniel, Enoch is a mans name, a Eunuch is a castrata.  And Unix is an operating system.".

 

 

Ok, I guess you had to be there, Dave Barry has no fear of losing his day job...

Edit: Fixed spelling issues. and more accurately phoneticized eunuch.

 

  • Its typically spelled eunuch, and neither of you are pronouncing it correctly -- its u-nik, not e-nik or e-u-nik : http://dictionary.reference.com/search?r=2&q=eunuch.
  • Paul, that's because I'm spelling challenged. And we pronounce it correctly - two syllables, I just called out the "u" specifically.

    I can pronounce, I just can't type :)
  • Which part of the dog did you get?
  • I don't know... I read through your post twice, and for some reason I fail to see any direct connection between Tahrmina's story and the subsequent discussion of the pronunciation of "eunuch". Is Daniel also a foreigner?

    In any case, I can relate them from my experience. Not being originally from the USA, I'm not a stranger to cultural and linguistic shock. I distinctly remember when someone finally decided to point out to me that pronouncing "focus" as in "fokyus" might sound the logical thing to do, but it didn't really make it right.

    Also, I had an experience somewhat similar to Tahrmina's. When I came as an exchange student at 17, I was surprised by the comments I found in many food wrappers that said "this product doesn't contain preservatives". You see... in my native Spain, "preservative" is just another word for "condom". That led me to believe for a while thar in america, there were many food products that would have birth control substances in them!
  • I had a similar problem in high school. When I read analogy, I read it as analog + y or analog-ee. I've said the word hundreds of times up until then correctly but whenever I read it, I used the technical reference instead. I probably did the same thing with Eunuch/Enoch but wasn't corrected while reading something out loud in class.
  • JCAB, no, Daniel's not a foreigner, he's my son :)

    If you listen to Tahrmina's story, she talks about a collection of dogs all barking at a high pitch. The obvious interpretation of this is that they're barking at a high pitch because they're missing some of the important parts that would cause them to bark at a lower pitch.

    And thus the discussion of eunuchs.
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