October 13, 2010

Pronunciation wars

An old John Prine song goes "There's a hole in Daddy's arm where all the money goes." Substitute hole in arm with store for farm and that would be me. Several times a month it seems, I go there, shell out money, and go home with a couple hundred pounds of critter food. Each time it occurs to me that the animals on our farm need to get a damn job...

The Spousal Unit has her own problems with that store and she is engaged in a protracted war with it. It is a war over pronunciation and pronunciation wars, like wars of religion, ask and give no quarter.

She take particular umbrage over their pronunciation of the word "caprine" as in pertaining to goats. They pronounce it capreen like marine rather than caprine like alpine. Although she is trained in anthropology and linguistics, she does not celebrate this as an example of social diversity but rather seems to see it as a grave moral flaw. She does not tire of pointing out that we don't pronounce the word canine as caneen or feline as feleen.

When she asks for a brand of goat food with the word caprine in it, she receives blank stares when pronounced her way and eager assistance when pronounced their way. Each such incident only further provokes her wrath. Her goal seems to be to wear them down like water on a rock until the proper pronunciation is recognized.

This could be yet another long war. And before you misunderestimate it, don't forget that the Hatfield-McCoy feud (in which I may have had a distant cousin on the Hatfield side) is sometimes said to have begun over a dispute about a pig. It's hard to tell where a war over goats could go.

THE NEXT STEP. Proposed bills to address climate change are dead. Here's a look at what may be next.

YOU'VE HEARD OF PEAK OIL. What about peak water?



1 comment:

hollowdweller said...

The money in farming in the US, really even at the big time level, is selling things TO the farmer, not in the selling of farm products.

Farming is of course as labor intensive and dangerous as coal mining, but since the US farmers are too stubborn and conservative to ever form unions on they toil for a pittance with no benefits or retirement with only the romance of the job as a fringe benefit.