Monday, May 7, 2018

How to Pronounce War Words -- May 7, 2018

Washington Evening Star, 14-April-1918
I found it interesting that "questionnaire" was a war word, and that the English equivalent was "questionary."


(Compiled from the latest revisions of the New Standard, the Century, Webster's New International and Sir James Murray's New English Dictionary; from recent rulings of leading English lexicographers. and from information supplied by officers of the French commission, and by executive and departmental chiefs.)

Ally (a-lie). Accent on second -- not on first -- syllable. Widely mispronounced.

Aeroplane (ay-er-a-plane). Accent on first syllable. Not air-a-plane.

Accouter (a-koo-ter). Accent on second syllable. .

Caisson  (kay-sen). Accent on first syllable.

Caponiers (kap-a-neers). Accent on third syllable.

Camouflage (kah-moo-flazh, both a's as in "father"). Accent on last syllable.

Cantonment (kan-t'n-m'nt). Accent on first syllable, preference of Century Dictionary, of President Wilson and Secretary Baker, and of majority of New Standard's board on disputed pronunciations; or (kan-toon-ment) atfcent on second syllable, preference of New Standard and of many military men. Kan-tone-ment is wrong.

Communique (kah-moo-nee-kay, first a as In "father," second as in "ate"). Accent on last syllable.

Khaki (kah-ki, a as in "father"). Accent on first syllable.

Morale (mowe-rahl. a as in "father ). Accent on second syllable.

Lese majeste (leez maj-es-ty). Accent on "maj." Poilu (pwah-luj. Accent on first syl lable. a as in "father."

Questionnaire ( kes-yun-nalr). Accent on third syllable. The Standard alone records qwes-chun-nair. accent on third syllable, which Dr. Vizetellv, managing editor of the Standard, de clares an error Questionnaire is the French form of the English "questionary."

Ukase (you-kace). Accent on second syllable.

War Names in Current Usage.

Aisne (ane).

Amiens (ah-mi-ahm. a's as in "father"). Accent on third syllable; or, ay-mi-ens. accent on first syllable.

Arras (ahr-rahs, both a's as in "fa ther"). Accent on second syllable.

Avignon (ah-vee-nyon, a as In "fa ther," o as in "nor"). Accent on last syllable.

Avre (ah-v'r). Accent on first syllable.

Beauvais (bowe-vay). Accent on second syllable.

Belfort (bell-fore). Accent on second syllable.

Budapest (boo-dah-pest. a as in "fa ther"). Accent on first syllable.

Calais (kal-is). Accent on first syl lable); or. (French) kah-lay. a as in "father." accent on second syllable.

Cambrai (kahn-bray). Accent on second salable.

Cherourg (sher-boor). Accent on second syllable.

Dieppe (dee-ep). Accent on second syllable.

Dinant (dee-nahn). Accent on second syllable.

Foch. general (fawsh).

Halle (ah-lay). Accent on second syllable.

Limoges (lee-mozhe). Accent on second syllable.

Malines (mah-leen. a as in "father").  Accent on second syllable.

Meaux (moe).

Moreuil  (mow-rool). Accent on second syllable.

Nieuwport (noov-port). Accent on first syllable.

Montdidier (mawn-dee-dee-ay). Accent on last syllable.

St. Quentin (sahn kahn-tahn, a's as in "father"). Accent on last syllable.

Noyon (nwah-yawn, first a as in "father," second as in "raw"). Accent on second syllable.

Oise (wahz, a as in "father"). P

etrograd (pay-tro-grodd). Accent on first syllable.

Picardy (pick-er-dy). Accent on first syllable.

Poiters (pwah-tee-ay. first a as in "father"). Accent on last syllable.

Rampeux (ram-poo). Accent on second syllable.

Rouen (roo-ahn). Accent on second syllable.

Trouville (troo-veel). Accent on second syllable.

Ypres (ee-per). Accent on first syllable; or eep'f.

Recently Coined War Terms.

Aerodrome -- Course where airplanes are tried out.

Aircraft arrows -- Spiked weapons dropped from airplanes.

Barrage fire -- A concentrated shell flre along a given line.

* Boche -- Nickname applied to a German. Pronounced "bowesh."

Curtain of fire -- A rain of shell-fire to check advance of enemy's reinforcements.

Enceinte -- A principle fortification line. Pronounced ahn-sahnt (accent on last syllable).

Firing step -- A shelf , or sill in a trench, from which a soldier directs his aim at the enemy.

Listening post -- A post at which soldiers are stationed with apparatus for listening for mining operations, etc., of the enemy.

Smoke screen -- Blanket of thick black smoke ejected mechanically by ship (when attacked by U-boat) so that its exact location behind the cloud cannot be determined by pursuing "sub."

* An abbreviation of "caboche," a French word, meaning "head," but by extension, popularly, thickhead.


nick kibre said...

Funny that most of those pronunciations are so different than how the words would be pronounced today. Probably contemporary *actual* pronunciations were closer to how we say them, despite what "leading English lexicographers" thought they should sound like!

People had considerably less democratic ideas about language in those days.

I can't even figure out what "ay-er-a-plane" is supposed to sound like.

Joe Thompson said...

Hi Nick. I think you are right. These "leading English lexicographers" were probably not anywhere near the front to hear how the words were pronounced. I always thought "aeroplane" was somewhere between "arrow plane" and "airplane." I thought "camouflage" and "questionnaire" would have already been known. I have to check the diagrams in google books.

nick kibre said...

This is interesting:

"Aeroplane" seems to be the original word, growing quickly in popularity right from 1903. "Airplane" seems to come into use during WWI, and overtakes "aeroplane" about 1920.

It could be that talking about fighter pilots introduced new trendy form of the word, or maybe people had always *said* airplane, and war correspondence allowed a more accurate colloquial spelling to be accepted.

Joe Thompson said...

That is an interesting chart. I am surprised that "aeroplane" was still hanging in there around 2000. I'll bet you are right, that people pronounced it as "airplane" and the spelling caught up later.