Elementary students sitting at the long table are arguing about the pronunciation of phở while they squeeze the salsa from its condiment package and sprinkle faux cheese on their nacho Lunchables. My sons are phở -natics, so I know phở rhymes with "duh", but not with Homer Simpson's "D'oh!"
Artist Marc Trujillo has captured the creepiness of a nacho Lunchable, but I won't reproduce an image of his small oil painting. Please check it out.
Still more pronunciation anxiety arrives via the Wait! I Have a Blog?! post called "Natural Buoyancy". I am transported back to the early Seventies, steering a very small boat around a very small lake. We learned to turn the boat "hard alee" around a buoy. In Nebraska-speak, that is pronounced "heartily around a boo-WHee". I still love the sound of the commands, "Prepare to come about; ready about; hard alee!"
Last warning given by a helmsman before tacking and turning the bow into the wind, notifying the crew that the boom and sail will cross the boat.
Bwoy,oh ,bwoy, what a big can of worms. Buoy does not rhyme with "La Choy" or "soy", but does rhyme with chop "suey"! According to the Merriam Webster online dictionary, buoy rhymes with chewy, gluey, phooey, and screwy.
Oy vey! Oy rhymes with koi, poi, bok choy, hoi polloi, annoy, borzoi, and Troy, my auto mechanic.
Buoyancy is boy-antsy but like you've just consumed a 25¢ coffee from a paper cup dispensed by a machine in the basement near the stairwell to the art history lecture hall while you are in summer school as a sophomore and considering changing your major.
My grandpuppy, Wiley, presents a new pronunciation problem. His widdle doggie self esteem is in the pits since he did not advance to the finals in a doggie beauty pageant. I so wish I was closer to give a doggy morale boost by saying, "Wiley, good bwooy!"
"Eureka!" comes from the ancient Greeks meaning "I have found it!". The story goes that Archimedes was soaking in the tub so long his fingers and toes were getting wrinkly. All of a sudden he understood the theory of buoyancy. Wiley never gets sufficiently relaxed in the bath to discover theories.
BOO-ee is the preferred pronunciation for the legendary Alamo defender and knife namesake, Jim Bowie. But then there's David Bowie: Although his name is often pronounced as BOW-ee (-ow as in now) the pronunciation that he uses and we recommend is BOH-ee (-oh as in no). He is married to the Somali-born supermodel Iman (pronounced ee-MAN).
So goodnight for now. I'm exhausted from carrying this buoy through the slough.
© 2012 Nancy L. Ruder