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Question of the Day: Why do we pronounce the "x" in "quixotic?"



( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 1st, 2013 08:28 pm (UTC)
Apr. 2nd, 2013 12:22 am (UTC)
You're being too coy. Can you explain what you mean? I have a few guesses but it would be easier if you just told me. Then I could explain why I find your response unsatisfactory. (Or maybe my guesses are wrong and I will find your explanation satisfactory.)

(Sorry, I'm an old lady now and don't have much patience for communicating like we used when we were young. I prefer words these days, as boring as that is.)
Apr. 2nd, 2013 12:24 am (UTC)
Just that some people (THE BRITISH??) believe you pronounce the X in Quixote as well.

I mean they're crazy and wrong but at least they're consistent.

Anyway, it's not just the X, it's the hard Q sound too, right? The whole word is pronounced differently than Quixote.
Apr. 2nd, 2013 12:32 am (UTC)
See, I never would have known you were referring to anything British if you hadn't used your words! Having a conversation is nice.

So maybe it comes from that.

Also, fun fact I just remembered: the first time I ever encountered the word "quixotic" (that I remember) was as a "mood" that one could choose to accompany a LiveJournal post. Like how I brought that around?
Apr. 2nd, 2013 10:02 pm (UTC)
Another part of how we used to communicate was you being cranky to me all the time and me thinking it was charming.
Apr. 3rd, 2013 07:48 pm (UTC)
Aw, I wasn't even being cranky! It just came across that way because a) I hate using emoticons and b) I have a lifetime history of being cranky. But I wasn't cranktakerous, I swear! You should give me the benefit of the doubt from now on. (I'm assuming that it's not nearly as charming anymore.)
Apr. 3rd, 2013 09:49 pm (UTC)
Oh all right. I'm going to a therapist for being too grumpy, after all.
Apr. 2nd, 2013 06:16 pm (UTC)
Not inane; very..."ane"?
Because when there's an irregularity in a language, doing something new-but-standard within that language forces the word to follow regular rules and "straighten out" the irregularity to some degree.

For example, "fly" as a baseball verb ("to fly out") comes from the noun "fly (ball)", so it takes a regular past -- "flied (out)" instead of the root verb's irregular past "flew".

Similarly, though it's a pronunciation issue instead of grammar, "Quixote" is borrowed completely from Spanish, of course, so we generally use the Spanish pronunciation. "Quixotic", however, is an English (American English?) word, and as such is subject to our regular pronunciation patterns.
Apr. 3rd, 2013 07:49 pm (UTC)
Re: Not inane; very..."ane"?
Good answer! Schtune wins.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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