Sunday, November 25, 2007

Cunning Linguist


Sometimes it a wonder to me that we can even communicate in this country. It is as though we have dialects that separate us linguistically as badly as the Chinese.

We’ve all heard the song, “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off”, you say Tomato and I say Tom-otto. I recently met with some Almond Growers from California and they kept calling almonds “Amm-ands.” WTF?

I was reminded of a time when I worked in an up-scale bakery. There was a woman from Texas who came in and wanted a Pecan pie, but addressed it as a Pee-Can pie. I corrected her and told her it was pronounced “P’con” pie. She asked how I knew my pronunciation was correct, to which I said, “Madame, a P’con is a delectable nut and a Pee-Can is that which is kept under one’s bed in homes that do not have plumbing.”

She looked at me, cocked her head to the side and blinked a couple times and then said, “I think I change my order to the P’con pie please.”

14 Comments:

Blogger Hahn at Home said...

Dang...I was expectin' sumthin' completely different.

7:50 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

I'm sitting here repeatedly saying aloud, "Pee-can, P'con."
Conclusion? We (myself and those I know) actually say, "Pee-can." And I never thought of it as something under the bed.
I'd drive you crazy.

8:00 AM  
Anonymous walter richards said...

I was actually watching a show the other day on Pecan Pie making. They said how you pronounce "pecan" is less a regional thing, than how your parents pronounced it. I don't know about that, because how your parents pronounce it probably depends on what region they came from.

So, looking at the dictionary to see how Websters says it should be pronounced ... there's 3 ways listed.

My family says "Pee-Kahn".

8:23 AM  
Blogger Lachlan said...

Your retort was priceless.

I've always pronounced it "peh-cahn", closer to your "p'con" than "pee-can".

8:45 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Lori, I live to deceive and disappoint. I bet Syd will rip me a new one over this topic and title as well.

Beth, Darlin, you wouldn't drive me crazy, but your new hair color might.

Walt, I do the opposite of what my family did, hence the 3,000 mile distance.

Lach! Good to hear from you. Ask Bayou how she pronounces it, being she is from pecan country. I wish I could help you and Bayou move. The adventure begins.

8:54 AM  
Blogger Jaggy said...

Thanks, Mr. Guy... you got the song stuck in my head. Now I'm going to have to dance it out of there. Just cruel... ;)

9:17 AM  
Blogger LeLo in NoPo said...

I used to live in that part of Northern California where they grew almonds, and everyone there pronounces it that way. It took me a while to get used to, but oh well.

And then I moved to Oregon where they call hazelnuts, filberts. Figure me that one, Guy.

9:56 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Jaggy, might I suggest tap?

Lelo, OK here goes:The Filbert is a cousin of the hazelnut.

Filberts, hazelnuts and cobnuts all belong to the family Corylus... Generally speaking the name "filbert" is applied to the oblong nuts of two varieties of hazel native to Europe, Corylus avellana pontica and C. maxima; "cobnut" to
another native European variety C. avellana grandis which produces a large round nut; and "hazelnut" to the American varieties C. americana and C. cornuta, which bear small roundish nuts.

The name filbert was used because the nut is found in Turkey, Greece, and Italy - all Mediterranean countries and all tied to Christianity. The Filbert bush blooms in February on St. Filbert's day and the name "Filbert" was a local term for the plant. The name was extended to the nut. Over 90% of the world crop of filberts/hazelnuts is grown in these countries and exported throughout the world.

The Filbert is a smaller nut and many bakers in other countries grind them up to use as a powder ingredient for breads and pastries when the almond prices are high.

The Oregon Hazelnut is much larger and the finest variety is called a Barcelona. Nut roasters prefer the Hazelnut because it looks much better in a roasted mixture. We usually only have Hazelnuts, although some times we carry Filberts. I could easily carry both.

You asked!

10:07 AM  
Blogger LeLo in NoPo said...

Wow. I'm impressed. Thank you!

10:22 AM  
Blogger Jaggy said...

They're filberts. One of my best friends has 500 acres of them. Technically "hazelnuts" and marketed as such, but when you ask him what he grows, "filberts!" "Hazelnut" sounds so hoity-toity to me. I like them on ice cream or crushed into pancakes.

Tapping? HA! I have a hard enough time not stepping on my own feet, but now you want me to do it with metal plates attached?! No, thanks, I'll stick to waltzing. :)

10:40 AM  
Blogger Rich said...

Guy, you don't even want to know how an ignorant Virginia redneck pronounces salmon. ;-)

11:37 AM  
Blogger Mike S said...

Damn!! Now I got the munchies again!

2:12 PM  
Blogger Lachlan said...

I'll be sure to ask, though it may garner me a black eye. :)

And no worries about the move- we hired movers!

I think she pronounces it closer to my way than the lady in your post.

4:22 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Lelo, happy to share.

Jaggy, Tap is 4 beats, tap is five.

Rich, come on, spell it out for us.

Mike, because of the pie or the title?

Lach, have her read the article and she can save the punch for me.

5:52 AM  

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