« Loanwords | Main | Slut's spaghetti »

February 15, 2014

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Marc Leavitt

Hi Susan:

The foreign food word is always problematic, and I'm afraid it's a universal problem. My ex-wife (who was french) used to pronounce pizza, "pease-ah. It drove me mad. By the same token, when I hear a Brit say pasta to rhyme with "sat," I have the same reaction.

On the other hand, pronouncing the word in the original way, often draws snarky comments about the speaker's alleged snobbery.

Another problem with the food words is the lack of agreement with the verb due to an understandable ignorance of the root language; "raviolis" always jars.

Virtual Linguist

Thanks, Mark. You make good points. I don't mind 'raviolis' and such anglicisms, I must say. It shows that the word has been fully assimilated into English - sautéed potatoes, for instance.

Jemmy Hope

How about "paninis"?

Virtual Linguist

True, Jemmy, thanks. One Italian bread roll is a panino, but we would never say that, would we, hence the loss of the sense that panini is already a plural?

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