Wednesday, December 10, 2008

9-W

From William Safire's column in last weekend's Times' magazine:

What is the question to which 9-W is the answer? "Do you spell your name with a V, Mr. Wagner?"

Reminds me of an ex-boss who, after working with several Vinods and Vinays and Vasants, once asked me "why can't you Indians pronounce V and W correctly"?

Well, I want to know why Americans can't pronounce those conjunct consonants in Sanskrit correctly. Hah!

13 comments:

Rahul Siddharthan said...

I wouldn't expect Safire to know, but I thought of the IATA code for Jet Airways. Are there any other 9W possibilities?

km said...

Ha, the Jet Airways code. There's surely some Highway 9 West (NJ has 9 North and South..)

Puppy Manohar said...

Isn't 9-W some nonsense that appears on google news when a story has been updated?

km said...

Manohar: long time no see. I do recall seeing some cryptic characters on Google News, but never paid attention. I bet I am going to see 9W everywhere now.

Tabula Rasa said...

could also be any number of apartments in new york city.

the v and w thing bothers me as well. people pronouncing harvard as howard, and saying vow when they're astonished.

Rahul Siddharthan said...

It looks like Tamil speakers know there is a difference between v and w -- so they transliterate "wines" in the Tamil script as "oyins" because there is no "w" in the script, though there is a "v" and "vines" would make much more sense to me.

km said...

TR: And how about "Newark" :)

Rahul: I know it's a Indo-European language thing, but the example you quote is common to other South Indian languages too, right?

Rahul Siddharthan said...

km - perhaps: I can't read the other languages.

It was a stroke of genius to locate "New York" and "Newark" across the river from each other.

GhostOfTomJoad said...

Let's admit it, ve hawe a problem!

Puppy Manohar said...

Ah. I misread. It was actually "Update 9 - W.House, Democrats in tentative auto bailout deal"

Szerelem said...

What are conjunct consonants anyway?

km said...

Szer: Conjunct consonants are sounds like "ksha", "kra"

Lekhni said...

9W reminds me of Jet Airways too..

Btw, what's your take on this news?