Monday, February 10, 2014

Betty's Web . . . And Feb-RU-ary, Or Is It Feb-U-ary?

I'm beginning my nest-to-the-last full day at Betty's RV Park.  What a great time it's been - and is.  Last evening I attended my last Sunday Night Pot Luck; the tradition is that each Sunday after Happy Hour, which occurs daily, rain or shine, we have a potluck  dinner.

Pot Lucks and Green Shit Sauce . . .

There's usually one, or more, Cajun specialities - usually done by Betty, Marvin or another Acadian who may be in residence.  Last night we enjoyed Marvin's fabulous Chicken Jambalaya with rice and about five varieties of Louisiana Hot Sauce.  Many of these RV-ers (who yearly fall into "Betty's
Web" . . . staying here for the whole Winter until after Mardi Gras) have become more than a little enamored of Louisiana pepper sauces; some have even created their own versions to share.  Last evening we "delighted" ourselves with Dan and Merlene's (full-timers from San Diego) Green Shit Sauce.  I overheard Merlene and Betty talking about a Green Shit Sauce-making party for this coming Friday out on the patio.

Besides the Sunday Cajun food attraction, there's always a plethora of delicious offerings from one and all; that makes just about 18 - 20 choices!  Need I mention that hors d'oeuvres are presented every single evening, along with some very interesting (i.e. dangerous) concoctions of libations!  Since I don't partake of the alcoholic beverages, I'll have to take friends' word for it - they're mighty powerful!
Here are Marvin and Betty "arguing" about whether the recipe for tonight's jambalaya originally
came from Betty or Marvin!  Theirs is an ongoing debate when it comes to anything Cajun!

Difficult to take photos of a large group in a small room.  Betty's just changed the Christmas
holiday decorations for Mardi Gras 

Just a few of the dessert choices - on the left a famous Cajun recipe for Bread Pudding (topped with meringue and that delectably rich sauce with the spoon resting in it).  Then there's the spice cake with cream cheese frosting, brownies (can't see in photo) and my Mexican Wedding cookies and Oatmeal/Chocolate chip/walnut cookies in the left rear.
Marvin and Betty watching over the group as we lined up with our bowls for Chicken Jambalaya

On Another Subject . . . Grammar . . .
And Pronunciation . . .

How do you pronounce FEB-RU-ARY?   Check it out; as often as not, the word will be pronounced FEB-U-ARY.  I decided to do a little research to find out why so many English-speakers pronounce it as in the second example.

Here's the scoop:  English and American dictionaries still consider the correct pronunciation, FEBRUARY; however, Merriam Webster in an addendum states that the pronunciation, for many, has morphed to FEB-U-ARY by a process called dissimulation.  Dissimulation is where one of two similar sounds in a word is changed or dropped to avoid the repetition of that sound.  More simply, as Kate Burridge points out in Weeds in the Garden of Words (2005), the standard pronunciation (February) "takes considerable effort, and in normal rapid speech we're likely to drop the first 'r.'"  She also says that the pronunciation of JANUARY probably contributed to the simplified pronunciation of February.

I happen to love the study of English grammar; maybe it's because of all those fascinating college subjects I had to forego to fit in all those medical science classes and labs!   Now I keep an ongoing list of interesting facts and tidbits peculiar to our American English.

Some other often-mispronounced words:  

*archipelago - AR-KI-PEL-A-GO - not ARCH_PEL_A_GO
*arctic - ARK-TIK - not AR-TIK
*barbed wire - BARBD - not BOBD
*cache - KASH - not CAS-SHAY
*candidate - KAN-DI-DATE - not KAN-I-DATE
*clothes - KLOTHZ - not KLOZ
*et cetera - ET-CET-ER-A - not EX-CET-ER-A
*forte - FORT - not FOR-TAY
*Do you have some favorites to add to the list?

There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of words in our American language that have come down through the ages from many mother tongues, that, for a variety of reasons, lose (or have lost) their original pronunciation, definition or intent.  I'm a grammar nerd; a lot of which came about when I began studying foreign languages!  


  1. HAhaaaa ongoing argument about the recipe.. love it..

    My 10th grade English teacher was the one I really learned the most from. She was a stickler for pronouncing words correctly… insisted upon it and was part of our grade… February and Library were two… I've always said Febru and Libra

    not Febu or Liberry .. and lord help you if you put a 'b' in baPtist… and yes fort not fortay .. never liked that word … because when you say … so and so is just not their forte … fort just doesn't sound right… therefore, I say thang… just not my thang… yep.. I like that much better ;)

    my main gripe is conjugation of verbs… I seen it and such … sounds so unpleasant… and people who honestly do not know the difference between the spelling of lose and loose… amazes me BUT then I'm fairly easy to amaze...

  2. Carolyn beat me to it with "Liberry" or even worse, "Libarry". Back in 1992 we were doing a State Wide initiative in Arkansas to change the Arkansas Constitution and Bert Reynolds, along with a few other famous people, did TV ads for us. At the end of his Bert says, "Just go visit your local Arkansas Liberry". We (Arkansas Librarians) just about died. Funny thing, no one complained because many of the folks in Arkansas have heard it called Liberry for many years. --Dave (

    1. Interesting! I don't mind breaks in grammar if they're done for a purpose - but old Bert probably isn't one of those!

  3. When I was teaching school, we taught Feb U ary. AND when I was in Jr. High, now Middle School, I worked as an assistant in the Library. The librarian pronounced it Liberry. Even most of the students knew better. Fun memories....

  4. Oh, another one that gets to me is coupon..... pronounced coup on not cue pon.

  5. When we get into French used in English a grammarian could have a field day. Are you aware that the Entrée is the lead in to the dinner. It is not the main course. I found that one out the hard way . . . sharing cooking responsibilities, for a party at my hime, with a real live French Chef, Yves Larguenaut. Boy was he upset when I thought his giant prawns were the main course!

  6. "I'm beginning my nest-to-the-last full day at Betty's RV Park"

    Interesting choice of words in a "Grammer Essay". We both thought you were nesting there!

  7. Yes, I saw that after it was published. Drats!