Friday, April 23, 2010

Spelling Bee

My 5-year old asked me the other day how spell a word. "What word? I asked. He pounded his fist on the table.

We had fun thinking of other "words" that couldn't be spelled, like the sound of two hands clapping.

But without further ado, here's how to pronounce a volcano:


  1. Wouldn't the sound of two hands clapping be a "clap"? And the fist of the table be "bang" or "thud"?

    This list of "cross-linguistic onomatopoeias" is interesting....

    France Inter (culture and news radio, state-run, very good) did a bit on the mangling of the volcano pronunciation in an audio-montage the other day. French, English, American. We're all stymied by that fucker.

    I'm not working today as a result of the volcano, btw. My day was held open just in case my English colleagues didn't make it back in time for their classes today. They did, and my day remained free of classes.

    Thank you, Fahrvergnügen, or whatever your name is!

  2. BTW, I see this is a clip from al-Jazeera. Why do you hate America? ;)

  3. Yeah, actually I tried to spell "bang" and "thud", but he insisted that he didn't want to know how to spell a word--he wanted to know how to spell the sound. Then I tried to explain what onomatopoeia is, only it turns out that I can't for the life of me spit that word out right. So there I am stuttering on about "ah-dah-mah-dah-pee-duh", even after my wife corrected me. Next thing I know, my son's saying it perfectly and I *still* couldn't get it right, and then my other son asked why were talking about "automatic pee" while eating breakfast, and by then the conversation dissolved in laughter, i.e., non-vocabulary-based communication.


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