Friday, July 21, 2006

post the eighty-seventh

Lately it seems like most of my posts have been stories from work related to poor English usage. In that tradition, I present this post.

An actual and not made up conversation I overheard from two guys at work:

GUY 1: I would describe that with a word like "luscious" or "voluptuous."
GUY 2: "Voluptuous?"
GUY 1: Yeah, "voluptuous."
GUY 2: Don't you mean "volumptuous?"
GUY 1: Um...maybe.
GUY 2: I'm pretty sure you mean "volumptuous."
GUY 1: Oh, okay. I always mess up words like that.

In case you were curious, a Google search for "volumptuous" turns up 21,000 hits, although it asks you first if you were meant "voluptuous," which turns up 5,170,000 hits.


dimmi said...

That's 21,000 too many.

Tolkien Boy said...

Ah...phoneme shift at work. How encouraging to know that the process continues.

Squirrel Boy said...

Phoneme shift? I don't understand what you mean by that.

I'm pretty sure I've heard similar errors, where a nasal was inserted into a syllable coda. Of course, now I can't think of any examples. I wonder how widespread the phenomenon is.

Melyngoch said...

Postvocalic anticipatory assimilation, friends.

Petra said...

Analogy! Instead of, "That girl's voloptuous figure is simply scrumptious," imagine what time you can save by simply saying, "That girl sure is volumptuous."

(Or, for A.A. Melyngoch's benefit, you could always just say, "Check out those heavers.")

Muse said...

uh-oh. I've always seen it as volumptuous.

Compulsive Indecision said...

So, Tolkien Boy . . . When you say 'phoneme shift at work' (to which our other 'boy' friend says "What??"), are you referring solely to the phenomenon generally, or are you referencing Optimistic's story specifically?