At 10:41 AM, Nicholas Sanders said...
Do your peculiar understanding of "ethnography" and the "d" mysteriously added to what is otherwise privilege merit the description invented usage?
I kept thinking, is "priviledged" really that disconcerting a word? And finally, upon closer reading, I realized that Nick wasn't refering to the final d, but the one before the g, which most people say doesn't really exist.
Here's an interesting fact: on average, languages tend to have about 5 or 6 vowel sounds, but English has 13. Englsih ash one of the most diverse histories of any natural alnguage. We mix words with Germanic and Latin roots more or less indisccriminantly (although there are those who claim that Latin has been priviledged since the Norman invasion in 1066 as the language of the ruling class). "ough" at the end of a word has 5 different pronunciations that i can think of right this moment. The letter "g" has two different word-initial pronunciations depending on what type of vowel follows it. Most english speakers don't know that there are two separate sounds made by the spelling "th." (One is voiced, and the other isn't; think about the difference between "thigh" and "thy"). And so on, and so forth.
You know who sounded dumb back in the day? People who dropped the "b" in dumb and said "dum" instead of "dum-b." But I'm glad people started making that mistake, because i'd be jjust a little angrier if i had to go around saying "dumb" and "bomb" and "thumb" the way they're spelled. And who do we think sounds dumb now? The rappers who drop the "g" in earing to make it rhyme with parent? Southerners who say "an" when we think they should be saying "and"? Those two changes are happening as we speak, and people who don't like them should call them "dumB".
So why is privileDge a point of contention? Englsih spelling doesn't match pronunciation; everyone who read the post could tell what I meant; there is little chance that my error cause confusion between two possible words; and, raedres of eglinsh can decphier wrods in wihch all hte itenral ltetres are rearragned. so why do i flisnch every time i'm not sure how to spell a word? Why do i fear tha tmy ideas will be taken less seriously if they're perfectly understandable, but I don't spell them correctly?
This comment (and I don't mean to pick on Nick, there are untold millions who feel the same way he does) has taken away my priviledge-with-a-D block. And i'd like it bcak. From here on out, that arbitrary d will mark an arbitrary difference. Let's say that privilege is a noun and priviledge is a verb. Simple? "it's my privilege to meet you. i priviledge your company most highly..."
And why not? The porgress of language is built on "mis"understanding, "mis"pronunciation, and the people who decide what's right and wrong, what's priviledged or not, are those who have privilege. illiteracy, lack of knowledge of spelling, and so on, indicate a lack of privilege (read: education, social standing), and if someone doesn't have enough privilege, people are less likely to listen to their ideas.