May 8, 2010

"A nice" or "an ice"?

Think you can hear the difference?

I hope so, because I need people to hear the difference between "Ann Althouse" and "an Althouse." I feel so indeterminate sometimes.

30 comments:

george said...

Unfortunately, many times the "l" sound is difficult to hear, which, depending on how you you pronounce your "A", might lead to bigger problems than feeling indeterminate ;o)

Speaking of which, I wonder what the original meaning of "Althouse" was?

george said...

BTW, youse can drop one of those you's in my previous post. Cripes!

El Pollo Real said...

The Germans would definitely call you das Althaus.

How cruelly neutral.

mRed said...

Inflection is an important part. An old theater trick used to teach pronunciation, diction and inflection was;

"What's up the road ahead?"

versus

"What's up the road? A head?"

I am a font of useless knowledge.

Paul Zrimsek said...

An, you're the genuine article.

MadisonMan said...

I don't want to hear the word ice on a day like today. It isn't nice.

Fred4Pres said...

Given you promote Althouse, the Ann vs an is a given.

As for the meaning of your name, it is old house. Where that derives (some reference to nobility perhaps) from I am not sure. I like altbier, which is old beer, or rather old ale style beer in Germany (lagers are new beers developed in the 1800s).

So there you go.

J said...

But Ann Althouse IS an Althouse so, indeterminance notwithstanding, there isn't a difference in the way there there is between "an ice" and "a nice".

Scott said...

Too big to paste: Monty Python: Interview With Anne Elk

As my whimsy leads me.. said...

For some words the "N" sound permanently migrated. Napron has the same root at napkin, but "a napron" eventually became "an apron."

I hate to say it, but "Althouse" sounds a lot like "outhouse" to me. Did kids ever tease you with that? I thought that long before I encountered your blog. There's a church music composer named Jay Althouse, and that's where the association started for me. I think you pronounce the A flatter than I've heard it for other Althouses.

The name of some of my forebears, Harover, evolved from Harrower. All the Harovers and Harrovers in the country are probably related to me, because the change has been traced by a distant cousin to my home town on the Ohio River, where they landed after the American Revolution. Many of them pronounce it with the "a" of "hard," but my father always pronounced it as Hairover. He even had a story that William the Conqueror named our distant ancestor because he saw him out chopping wood with his shirt off, and said "This man be a Hairover."

My dad made up a lot of good stories. William the Conqueror didn't even speak English, but it was good for a laugh. And we are a pretty hairy bunch.

Toy

AllenS said...

There was a light blanket of snow on the windshields this morning. That's not nice, but ice.

edutcher said...

You are not merely an Althouse; to many, you are The Althouse.

Not unlike our first Yorkie, Treasure, formally known as B. Treasure Dog (don't ask), although vets' nurses somehow thought we meant The Treasure Dog - distinction without difference for The Blonde.

As my whimsy leads me.. said...

...

I hate to say it, but "Althouse" sounds a lot like "outhouse" to me.

I believe the Al in her name is pronounced, "all", as opposed to the first name of the global warming charlatan, Gore; as "Allthouse".

At least, that's the way she sounds when she introduces Bloggingheads.

ricpic said...

An Althouse a day
Keeps the boredom away,
Have you read
Ann Althouse today?

Charlie Martin said...

So is this blog post an indefinite article?

PatCA said...

Like the line in Up in the Air:

Stewardess: Would you like a can, sir?

Ryan: Would I like cancer?

EDH said...

"A nice" or "an ice"?

My understanding is that this phonetic distinction cause a great deal of confusion on the Titanic.

Largo said...

@As my whimsy leads me

r.e. "An Out..."

I had the habit of voicing Ann's name in just this way at the start (though the phonetic association was with the blog, not her). Not flattering in any case, but entirely unintentional.

(Though it doesn't help that I have a gutter mind for such things).

Ralph L said...

I'd worry more about people reading your twitter address as "annal thouse."

Ann Althouse said...

Get your heads out of the toilet.

Althouse doesn't sound at all like "outhouse." It's pronounced like salt-house without the "s."

And an "annal" is a written record covering one year.

I guess people who don't know how to spell can have some extra chances to laugh, but it's laughing like Butt-Head.

Largo said...

Aiya,

I certainly wasn't laughing Ann, except perhaps at myself. I had no idea how the name was pronounced, but it might as well have been a graphemic association as a phonetic one, like I often get with the wv words.

My head might be in the toilet for my propensity for some thoughts to come to mind, but it was never, for me, a reflection on you, or your blogging, which I value very much.

I'm sorry, and hope you will forgive what needs forgiving.

Bryan C. Hann,
a.k.a. Largo (the slow one)

Meade said...

"Uhhhhhh...Uh huh huh huh"

edutcher said...

Ann Althouse said...

Get your heads out of the toilet.

Althouse doesn't sound at all like "outhouse." It's pronounced like salt-house without the "s.


Now, now; if people read it "Al (as in Gore) - t - house", as opposed to "All - t - house", it will sound like, "outhouse".

You probably need a little clickable audio of you pronouncing your name as you prefer it, similar to what Linus Torvalds had so people would pronounce "Linux" correctly.

I've always had the same trouble with my last name. Some pronunciations are funny, some obscene... (some obscenely funny).

HDHouse said...

An Althouse blogger
Ann Althouse, blogger

Ann Althouse said...

@edutcher English speaking people don't look at the "alt" combination and pronounce it like the name "Al." There are any number of common words like "salt," "alternative," "malt," "Baltic," "halt," "paltry," "Walt," etc. etc. You're "what if" is far-fetched. It doesn't happen.

And when you have to also turn around and drop the "l," well, why not change any name into any other word you want? It's just silly, in my opinion.

El Pollo Real said...

An ann meades an aid

Didn't Neil Young sing that? I wonder if he ever really hired one.

Ralph L said...

And an "annal" is a written record covering one year.
Well, I knew that, but what's a "thouse?"

As my whim, your comment reminded me of a funny(!) Faulkner short story in which a young lady, hiding in a privy from the Yankees, is rescued and falls for a dashing Confederate officer with the unfortunate name of Backhouse.

I've worked in the same room with my boss for nearly 15 years, and he still mispronounces my last name (and a lot of other words, too). He can't seem to avoid adding an "h" after "s", and around here we're outnumbered by distant cousins who have the "h."

Ralph L said...

Altitude
That's where I was getting Al-t-house.
Of course, it's from Latin, not German.

edutcher said...

Ann Althouse said...

@edutcher English speaking people don't look at the "alt" combination and pronounce it like the name "Al." There are any number of common words like "salt," "alternative," "malt," "Baltic," "halt," "paltry," "Walt," etc. etc. You're "what if" is far-fetched. It doesn't happen.

I'm not 'what-iffing', I'm just going with my experience, pitiful as it may be.

Until I heard you pronounce your name in a Bloggingheads, I wondered, like whimsy, whether it was "al" or "all" - there was a developer named Altimose in the news in the Philadelphia are back in the 60s and his name wasn't pronounced as "All-ti-mose", but "Al(as in Gore)-ti-mose".

JAL said...

Change your name to Meade.

(Didn't that help with your indetermination?)

wv conbo
Meade & Althouse is a conbo.

former law student said...

I keep parsing the professor's email address as Anna Lt House, or Anna Light House.

"Althouse" is Pennsylvania Dutch, originally coming from the Palatinate.