or, stuff that I dragged out of my head

Location: Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

An Eyeful, An Earful

Oh, for god's sake. Here's a sentence from a recent posting on The Consumerist:

Given the fact that most children’s first experience oggling the fascinating mystery of the opposing gender’s genitalia comes from pulling down a Barbie or Ken doll’s genitalia and examining the amorphous mass of plastic at the crotch, it probably shouldn’t be surprising that there’s a lot of busy-body parental groups who are willing to launch consumerist campaigns any time Barbie exhibits a glimmer of sexuality.

You see? This is what happens when we let our guard down.

I'm not talking about the dreadful clause "pulling down...genitalia", which should have been "pulling down...clothing". I'm talking about "oggling".

The word is "ogling", and although some more permissive dictionaries list a secondary pronunciation which sounds like "oggle", they're wrong. (Even if they weren't, the spelling used in the quoted sentence is still wrong.) The word has a long "o-". It's derived from an old word meaning "eye" which is the ancestor of the modern German word "auge", "eye". I know; it looks as if it might be pronounced "OGG-uh", suggestive of the (incorrect) short-"o" pronunciation in English, but in fact it's pronounced "OW-guh", and this vowel (along with its umlauted predecessor), if not quite "OH-", is closer to it than is "OG-".

Some people, heaven help us, even pronounce the word "oogle", may they be struck down from above.

The word "ogle" entered English in the late 17th century and it was pronounced "ogle" with a long "o" then and that's how it's pronounced now. I would sooner ban "ogle" entirely than allow "oggle" into the language, in spelling or in pronunciation, and I will brook no dissension on this issue. None!


Post a Comment

<< Home