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Thread: Did You Get the Name-Change Memo?

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    Did You Get the Name-Change Memo?

    Every once in a while, I'll come across the name of something that has changed, but nobody was thoughtful enough to inform me. Here are some examples:

    1) While I wasn't paying attention, they changed the pronuncation of the word "Celtic" from "sell-tick" to "kell-tick." Unfortunately, they also forgot to tell that basketball team from Boston.

    2) The bicycles at my local gym have an "around the world" mode where the resistance varies as you cross various features representative of six continents; North America, South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Oceania. Somehow, I missed an entire continent's name-change from Australia to Oceania.

    3) The term "BC" when used to represent dates before the year "1" in the Gregorian calendar has been replaced with "BCE". Did anyone consult Pope Gregory on the change? Somehow, I doubt he would have approved.

    Anybody have more?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Extravoice View Post
    Somehow, I missed an entire continent's name-change from Australia to Oceania.
    Oceania is considerably more than Australia, some definitions even exclude Australia.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Extravoice View Post
    1) While I wasn't paying attention, they changed the pronuncation of the word "Celtic" from "sell-tick" to "kell-tick." Unfortunately, they also forgot to tell that basketball team from Boston.
    Don't feel bad, they also forgot to inform Celtic F.C. from Glasgow Scotland.

    Quote Originally Posted by Extravoice View Post
    3) The term "BC" when used to represent dates before the year "1" in the Gregorian calendar has been replaced with "BCE". Did anyone consult Pope Gregory on the change? Somehow, I doubt he would have approved.
    Since the most likely time of Christ's birth, provided he wasn't entirely fictional, was in 4 BCE, calling the dates BC doesn't really make sense.
    And why care about approval from a dead pope?
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    Certain ethnic groups have changed their preferred designations (some more than once) while I had my back turned. That's fine by me, but it can be a bit embarrassing if and when you miss one of those changes.

    The most recent one I know of was awhile back now, though: Oriental to Asian. That one had me scratching my head a bit, since I had no idea that Oriental was considered objectionable.

    Regarding "BC" vs. "BCE", I believe that change was made to be a bit more culturally neutral. I suppose it is a bit silly to refer to some old Chinese dynasty as being "before Christ".

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    Quote Originally Posted by Donnie B. View Post
    The most recent one I know of was awhile back now, though: Oriental to Asian.
    I refuse to play along with that one, partially because the meaning is a lie because some of the Orient isn't on Asia and most of Asia isn't in the Orient, and partially because the supposed "offense" is phony.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Donnie B. View Post
    Regarding "BC" vs. "BCE", I believe that change was made to be a bit more culturally neutral. I suppose it is a bit silly to refer to some old Chinese dynasty as being "before Christ".
    Okay, but since we're still (mis)counting from the same thing, why are we pretending? It's always really bothered me.

    As to "kell-tic"/"sell-tic," the word has always been "kell-tic." It's just that some people have been mispronouncing it for quite some time. If I remember properly, the word was Greek originally, that it was "Keltoi."
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gillianren View Post
    Okay, but since we're still (mis)counting from the same thing, why are we pretending? It's always really bothered me.

    As to "kell-tic"/"sell-tic," the word has always been "kell-tic." It's just that some people have been mispronouncing it for quite some time. If I remember properly, the word was Greek originally, that it was "Keltoi."
    I'd bet the whole mispronunciation of "Celtic" is almost solely due to the basketball team.

    For reasons that aren't clear to me, the kappa in many Greek words get rendered as a "c" when used as a root in English, such as "cephalo-" which in Greek is κεφαλο-.

    As to "Asian," there are a couple of problems. It's terribly imprecise, and it means different things in different places. In the US, an "Asian" is usually someone from east Asia (China, Japan, etc.) whereas in the UK, I believe it's meant to be someone from south Asia (India, Pakistan, etc.).

    Nick

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gillianren View Post
    As to "kell-tic"/"sell-tic," the word has always been "kell-tic." It's just that some people have been mispronouncing it for quite some time. If I remember properly, the word was Greek originally, that it was "Keltoi."
    In Latin, it started with a C, but the word didn't exist in English until the 18th century, when a British anthropologist imported from Latin. So the only ways to pronounce it that make sense would be the English way and the Latin way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Theodorakis View Post
    I'd bet the whole mispronunciation of "Celtic" is almost solely due to the basketball team.

    For reasons that aren't clear to me, the kappa in many Greek words get rendered as a "c" when used as a root in English, such as "cephalo-" which in Greek is κεφαλο-.
    Greek words were often imported via Latin, which was then subject to palatalization.

    Restroom? What has become of toilet room or washroom? "Restroom" sounds like something you find at the undertaker's.

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    ad 1) The mispronunciation actually did start with a sports team. They mispronounced it on purpose because they wanted to be "different". Then other sports teams followed suit based on their success.
    (I read up on it because a sports bar around here insisted on pronouncing it sell-tic on a burger name, when I had always heard kell-tic before (and it's spelled with a k in German and scandinavian languages).

    ad 2) I'm not sure, but some oceanians seem to be sensitive about that...

    ad 3) It's now not "Before Christ" but "Before Common Era". Political correctness got to that one.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Theodorakis View Post
    I'd bet the whole mispronunciation of "Celtic" is almost solely due to the basketball team.
    But why was the basketball team's name pronounced that way? I can think of a few possibilities:
    -- It may have been an affectation, as jokergirl suggested.
    -- It may have been pronounced that way commonly already, in which case the general mispronunciation isn't due to the basketball team (at least not originally).
    -- It may have been an unfamiliar word in the USofA when the Boston team chose it, and people started pronouncing it based on analogy with words like "cell" and "celebrate". There seems to be a general rule in English that initial 'cel's are pronounced like 'sell' by default. That is, the team-namer may have had "Kell-tic" in mind, but when people read the name they automatically pronounced it "Sell-tic", and it stuck.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jokergirl View Post
    They mispronounced it on purpose because they wanted to be "different". Then other sports teams followed suit based on their success.
    (I read up on it because a sports bar around here insisted on pronouncing it sell-tic on a burger name, when I had always heard kell-tic before (and it's spelled with a k in German and scandinavian languages).
    Hmm, couldn't find anything on that. Would have to be a team from the second half of the 20th century. Could you provide a citation?

    Quote Originally Posted by jokergirl View Post
    ad 3) It's now not "Before Christ" but "Before Common Era". Political correctness got to that one.
    As a panagnostic, I see it more as sand being blown over the trail behind us.

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    As far as I could find, the first sports team to call themselves Celtic with an S was not the basketball team but a Scottish football (soccer) team founded 1887: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Celtic_...on_and_history

    Walfrid's own suggestion of the name 'Celtic' (pronounced Seltik), was intended to reflect the club's Irish and Scottish roots, and was adopted at the same meeting.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Extravoice View Post
    2) The bicycles at my local gym have an "around the world" mode where the resistance varies as you cross various features representative of six continents; North America, South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Oceania. Somehow, I missed an entire continent's name-change from Australia to Oceania.
    Down here the six continents are [in alphabetical order]: Africa, America, Antarctica, Asia, Europe and Oceania. If you split America people will laugh.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Argos View Post
    Down here the six continents are [in alphabetical order]: Africa, America, Antarctica, Asia, Europe and Oceania. If you split America people will laugh.
    Why?

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    Because they are taught to consider it sigle continent. Donīt blame on me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Argos View Post
    Because they are taught to consider it sigle continent. Donīt blame on me.
    Ok.
    But...
    Why?

    What are they taught about Europe and Asia?

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    Thatīs a very good question.

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    That seems odd to me. There is a pretty obvious point where they (Americas) could be (and actually are) split, yet what is it that makes Europe and Asia Different continents?

    We learned in school that there was a push tom combine them into Eurasia, but it seems to have never really taken hold.
    Last edited by Tog; 2009-Jan-26 at 01:44 PM. Reason: Typo and to clarify
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    Quote Originally Posted by Argos View Post
    Thatīs a very good question.
    Actually, while mid laugh, it occurred to me that a lot of U.S. Citizens probably fail to realize that Mexico and Canada are part of North America.

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    Media buzzwords can also act as a plague. The next time I hear somebody talking about a "nocturn" when they mean something is open in the evening hours by exception, I WILL scream. It's like every other commercial has been mentioning a "nocturn" in the past year.

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    It's the same slip you see in other Latin C words, Caesar, (pronounced something like sea-zar in the english speaking world) became the word Kaiser(German)/Kejser(Danish) (meaning emperor) in the Germanic languages.

    I've read somewhere that it's now believed the original Latin pronunciation was as K rather than S.

    Apparently there's a lot of clues to pronunciation in the way little boys misspell words when they write on walls
    Last edited by HenrikOlsen; 2009-Jan-26 at 02:03 PM. Reason: "world" changed to "words", thanks Nicolas
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    Quote Originally Posted by ParaDoctor View Post
    Greek words were often imported via Latin, which was then subject to palatalization.
    Check out the link:

    "Until the mid-20th century, Celtic was usually pronounced with /s/ in English except by academics"

    That pretty much rules out Nick's account.

    EDIT: Just saw Henrik's post. Does nobody follow links?

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    Apparently there's a lot of clues to pronunciation in the way little boys misspell world when they write on walls
    I'm trying to make a decent and clear sentence that points out you misspelled the word "words" in the phrase "misspell words", but as you see the result is terrible.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HenrikOlsen View Post
    Apparently there's a lot of clues to pronunciation in the way little boys misspell world when they write on walls
    Example - famous astronomer E.E. Barnard pronounced his last name with stress on the first syllable, while somewhat less-famous astronomer/photographer/surveyor F.A.P. Barnard stressed the second. According to Don Osterbrock, a key clue was noting how these names were rhymed and scanned in surviving bits of doggerel from bored students. Hence BARnard's Star, BarNARD College.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HenrikOlsen View Post
    I've read somewhere that it's now believed the original Latin pronunciation was as K rather than S.
    The way that modern italians pronouce the 'c' is indicative of that: The 'ch', which seems to be a softened version of the original K.

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    Is there any word in English that starts with a c followed by e or i where the c sounds like a k? No! Case closed. I'm sticking with selltick.

    Now, about those Neanderthals....
    Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ngc3314 View Post
    Example - famous astronomer E.E. Barnard pronounced his last name with stress on the first syllable, while somewhat less-famous astronomer/photographer/surveyor F.A.P. Barnard stressed the second. According to Don Osterbrock, a key clue was noting how these names were rhymed and scanned in surviving bits of doggerel from bored students. Hence BARnard's Star, BarNARD College.
    To continue the astronomy theme, Halley's comet is often mispronounced, no doubt because of the 50's rock band Bill Haley and the Comets (of "Rock Around the Clock" fame").

    Nick

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    Quote Originally Posted by HenrikOlsen View Post
    It's the same slip you see in other Latin C words, Caesar, (pronounced something like sea-zar in the english speaking world) became the word Kaiser(German)/Kejser(Danish) (meaning emperor) in the Germanic languages.
    But that has an "A" after it, not an "E".

    I've always wondered why a consonant would be pronounced one way when followed by an open vowel and a completely different, unrelated way when followed by a constricted vowel. How did anybody ever come up with that? I note that the only consonants that do this pretty consistently across multiple languages are C and G, which were one letter at one time in Latin history, so the decision to do that apparently happened a long time ago.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cougar View Post
    Now, about those Neanderthals....
    The German word for "valley" is now "tal" anyway. It hasn't been "thal" in many years. (German doesn't now, and didn't back then, have the English "th" sound in the language at all, so an H after a T was just silent anyway, which is why they got rid of most of them.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Argos View Post
    Thatīs a very good question.
    I had a conversation with someone who considered America to be one continent. Her argument was that the North/South America division was invalid because it cut right through a major cultural region.

    I think that might have been a post-hoc rationalization, though. She didn't like the opinion of some folks in the USA that the division between South and North America is the Mexico/US border. She didn't want to talk about the divisions among Africa, Asia, and Europe, either.

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