An Amusing Error

In checking the spelling of "ghetto" for my previous post, I searched for "getto" (good thing I checked) and came up with this Urban Dictionary entry:

The more Getto verions [sic] of "Ghetto" for those who are too poor to afford the silent "H"


Texan99 said...

A charming aspect of English is that our words come from so many different languages, which gives us lots of contradictory pronunciation systems. Hard and soft "g"-sounds get me every time! If the word comes from the Latin/French direction, you can be sure it's g-as-in-got if it's followed by a, o, or u but g-as-in-genuine if it's followed by i or e. So if you want a hard g sound followed by i or e, you've got to put an h in there, or sometimes a u, as in "sanguine." Same for c. If the word comes from the German side, that doesn't work, as in the hard g in "get." I never know what to do with a word with Greek roots like hegemony. A Google search tells me a Brit uses a hard g, but an American uses a soft one.

Every time I type "zucchini" I have to stop and think about it. The Italian rule is to add an h to make the c (or g) hard. So for "ghetto," think "spaghetti," which would be spah-jetty if you left out the h. Zuccini would be zoo-chee-nee. And then do you double the c or the n? I have to remember that Italian uses "ini" as a dimunitive, not "inni."

I have no idea how Latin is supposed to be pronounced. I gather Church Latin is one thing and classical Latin another.

Grim said...

Well, rather, Church Latin is one thing and academic Latin is another. The rules for pronouncing "classical" Latin were rewritten by German scholars, which is why "Veni, vedi, vici" is pronouced "Wenny, weedy, wichi" in the schoolhouse. It's not that we have some real reason to believe that Caesar spoke in that way.