LINGUIST List 3.291

Wed 25 Mar 1992

Disc: French, "Its" Gender

Editor for this issue: <>


  1. "E_Dean.Detrich", Re: 3.273 Raising Summary, French Pronunciation
  2. Alan Huffman, Re: Gougenheim
  3. Jacques Guy, Gougenheim and others
  4. John Cowan, Re: 3.283 King James
  5. (ohn Cowan, its gender

Message 1: Re: 3.273 Raising Summary, French Pronunciation

Date: Fri, 20 Mar 92 10:01 EST
From: "E_Dean.Detrich" <>
Subject: Re: 3.273 Raising Summary, French Pronunciation

> > Where can I find out how to pronounce the name of the French
> > linguist Gougenheim? ... Is there any dictionary which gives
> > pronunciations of verbs and of proper names...?

There is a very good pronunciation dictionary of French by Warnant
I believe. Unfortunately I cannot consult my copy at the moment as
our department is being moved to another building at the moment and
all my office books are in boxes. The author "pronounces" on pronun-
ciations for place and proper names without much explanantion. I do
not know if it is simply his intuition.
E. Dean DETRICH 22743mgrmsu.bitnet
Department of Romance and Classical Languages 22743MGRMSU.EDU
Michigan State University
East Lansing, Michigan 48824
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Message 2: Re: Gougenheim

Date: Sun, 22 Mar 92 00:18:12 ESRe: Gougenheim
Subject: Re: Gougenheim

Names like Gougenheim are perfectly common in France, especially in
Alsace. The name is pronounced in French essentially as it is in
German, except for the h; thus: /gugenaym/. In Alsace one may very well
hear the h pronounced as well.
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Message 3: Gougenheim and others

Date: Sun, 22 Mar 92 14:14:16 ESGougenheim and others
From: Jacques Guy <>
Subject: Gougenheim and others

I would pronounce it too as if it were spelt "Gougueneime" i.e.
IPA [gugnEm] or [gugnEm] ( = schwa, E = epsilon).

There was a jeweller in my home town (Nantes), by the name
of Diedisheim, which all pronounced as "Die'diseime" [djedizEm],
including my father who spoke German fluently. No-one would
have recognized their "Die'diseime" in his "Didizailleme"
had he chosen to be eccentric about it.

The famous sewing machines were pronounced "Singe`re".

What governs the pronunciation of "ge" in German -- and
English -- names, then? What made me pick on [g] for
"Gougenheim". I think the frequency of other French
family names with a pattern [gn] in the first or second
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Message 4: Re: 3.283 King James

Date: Mon, 23 Mar 92 14:08:08 ESRe: 3.283 King James
From: John Cowan <cowanuunet.UU.NET>
Subject: Re: 3.283 King James

Allan C. Wechsler <ACWYUKON.SCRC.Symbolics.COM> writes
> Lev. 25:5 That which groweth of its own accord of thy harvest thou shalt
> ^^^
> not reap, neither gather the grapes of thy vine undressed: for it is a
> year of rest unto the land.

I am willing to bet any reasonable sum that that "its" was not in the
Authorized Version as of 1611. As I pointed out in a private message to
the original author, the KJV is not copyright or otherwise textually
controlled, and modern reprints are invariably retouched in one or more
ways, whether intentionally or as a result of typesetter's errors.
I don't have machine-readable text at hand, but I recall seeing both "it"
and "his" as the possessive.

That said, I will take the opportunity to repeat my favorite KJV joke:
The original version set in >italics< those words (usually function words)
introduced by the translators but not present in the original. This
usage of course conflicts with the modern use of italics for emphasis,
producing this:

	And he said, Saddle me a horse. And they saddled >him<.

--		...!uunet!cbmvax!snark!cowan
		e'osai ko sarji la lojban
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Message 5: its gender

Date: Tue, 24 Mar 92 11:31:28 CSits gender
From: (ohn Cowan <>
Subject: its gender

To clarify the discussion of _its_:

Re: its -- this possessive form arises in the late 16th c.
First OED cite is 1598. It does not (according to the OED) appear
in the 1611 Bible. In the 1611 ed, Leviticus xxv.5 has
the uninflected possessive, "That which groweth of it own accord."
This form was changed to _its_ in the 1660 edition. _Its_ does not
appear in Shakespeare texts printed during his lifetime or before the
1623 folio, by which time it had become well established. It was also
frequently written _it's_, and many wrote it as such down through the
19th c. It is of course still frequently written as _it's_ though
that form of the possessive is considered an error, and is hunted out
by certain English teachers, who prefer to reserve it for the
contracted _it is_.

So there. (which I refuse to follow with the computer version of
the smiley face or frowny face; irony will out).


Dennis Baron
Dept. of English office: 217-244-0568
University of Illinois messages: 217-333-2392
608 S. Wright St fax: 217-333-4321
Urbana IL 61801
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