More on Magid

minnow at minnow at
Sat May 10 17:24:54 EDT 2003

Melissa very properly Pounced:

>On Sat, 10 May 2003 12:23:09 +0100, minnow at wrote:
>>But how any other nationality or whatever chooses to pronounce a word isn't
>>what counts.  Surely what is needed is how the author of the work we're
>>talking about intended it to be pronounced.
>Did you hear me *say* that we all ought to pronounce it the Islamic way?  :)

Er,no, this machine doesn't do voices...  :-)  But I don't think I was
suggesting you had, or would, or whatever.  I'm sorry if it looked that
way: such was not my intention.  Just a vague feeling that if someone has a
name they pronounce in a particular way, then it's polite to try to
remember that's how they say it, and similarly for a word someone has
invented.  'phlosque' is pronounced 'flosk' by those who know about it,
because that's how the man who invented it pronounces it, and to argue with
him about it would be rude.  (Well, because that's how the man who
represents the committee who invented it pronounces it, anyhow.  And
arguing with him about it would be a complete waste of time.)

>I just thought it was interesting that the word (which I assume DWJ invented
>for her book, drawing on other sources) actually exists in some other
>context.  I looked up the pronunciation guide because I was sort of hoping
>it would have the soft G, but no luck.  Those sorts of coincidences interest

Yes.  It's probably rather irritating for an author who goes to the trouble
of inventing a good name for a character and then finds out, too late, when
it's in print, that their invention already exists and means something
inappropriate, too.

Aileron springs to mind ever so slightly.

>And along these lines, when a book is translated into other languages but
>leaves certain proper nouns intact,

Like Throgmorten.  I am told the Danes agitated over that, and I have
wondered ever since whether it means something *frightful* in Danish!

>readers often apply the pronunciation
>rules of their own language if no other guide is given.  If they never have
>the opportunity to hear what the author intended, it's no fault to them if
>they get it "wrong."

Hey, did you hear me say anyone got it "wrong"?   (Let me guess: your
machine plays CDs but not posts?)

>And as you will soon learn, Minnow, I am a
>Jeenyus and Allways Right.  :)

Is that one of them there new signs on account of the stars have been and
gone and moved on a bit since the original Zodiac was set up?  Like the one
they put in after Saggitarius or something?  (See also the Tough Guide
entry on Prophecy, section 6, for extra suits in a deck of cards.)

>(This reminds me of the time I was listening to Patricia McKillip on a panel
>at the local SF symposium and somebody asked her the immortal question: just
>how DO you pronounce Raederle anyway?  She said that she had always
>pronounced it Red-earl, but she'd been told she was wrong.)

There's a fine Urban Legend thingy to the effect that someone once went
along to a lecture being given on one of Isaac Asimov's works, and sat
patiently through a long exposition of interpretation.  At the end he asked
a couple of questions and was ker-ushed by the lecturer for his absolute
ignorance of the basics on the subject.  So he waited, and very quietly
went up right at the end as the chap was about to leave and said words to
the effect "you know, I don't agree with your interpretation at all".  To
which the chap asked "and who the hell are you anyway?" and on getting the
answer "I'm Isaac Asimov" said "so what the hell would you know about this

This particular anecdote carries no stamp whatever to certify its accuracy.
It may have happened to some other bloke or in some other way.  Asimov
just seems to accumulate stories about him -- and it has that ring of
academic lecturers knowing more than the unfortunate author.  If anyone has
some authenticated version of this I'd be interested to know, so I can get
it reasonably accurate for future use.  I hesitate to say "right", since my
version^W interpretation is as good as anyone else's, obviously, and not
"wrong" at all.  (That's called pre-emptive return fire, I think...)


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