Friday, June 18, 2010

I heard the Jubjub call my name …

Lewis Carroll compared the voice of the Jubjub to a pencil that squeaks on slate. This is a peculiarity of Carrollian English, the word being spelt as p-e-n-c-i-l but pronounced as « chalk » by many speakers.

Such are the byzantine quiddities of the English language, quiddities which are the very meat and drink of the grammarians and linguists who haunt the groves of academe. The Admirable Carroll was himself a mathematician but he haunted the same borogroves of academe and as such, he had many opportunities to regale his most deserving students with the Song of the Jubjub, a cringe-inducing specimen of avian mal canto which goes something like this, only worse.

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