Tuesday, March 04, 2008

There's No "Y" In There

Okay, so the last post reminded me of a recurring discussion. I've talked about this with a number of people, and the result is never satisfying. So here I'm going to bring it up again.

The word "coupon" is pronounced "koo-pon," not "kyoo-pon."

I have discused this with intelligent people and with morons. It doesn't matter--there are people of all mental abilities who say "kyoopon." But they're wrong.

The best defense of the "kyoopon" violation is that there are other words with the letter "u" that are pronounced "yoo." This is undeniably true. Take "cute" or "pure." But that's not the whole structure, is it? Both of those words move straight from the consonant sound to the letter "u." The word "coupon" does not. There's an intervening "o." Thank the French for that.

Show me another "ou" word that also contains a "y" sound in that syllable. They don't exist. Here's one my brother's been throwing around for years: You don't eat "syoop" do you? No. You eat "soop." That's right--soup. "Through" is pronounced "throo," not "thryoo."

Here's a word that has "ou" and still has a "y" sound: "You." Because there's a friggin' "y" there. There's no "y" in "coupon."

It's KOO-pon.

And this post wins the prize for most extensive use of quotation marks for the mentioning of words.


Jerry said...

halle-fuckin'-lujah brother and amen!! I am soo freakin' sick of hearing people say this I want to smash my head in with a brick every time it is uttered.

Nik said...

See, when I hear the "koo" vs "kyoo" arguement (which I have many times), I don't hear the u issue... what I hear is a "Q". "Que"pon vs "Koo"pon. shrug

Ok, I'm off to finish my "WAR"sh now.


Jason said...

Yeah, "warsh" is another irritant. So are people who drink "melk."


Anskov said...

Jason: What about Houston? (Of course in New York the street is pronounced Hows-ton and not Hyoo-ston).

My pet peeve is when people pronounce realtor as ree-la-tor instead of reel-tor.

Jason said...


"Houston" is a serious monkey-wrench in my theory. I'm glad you mentioned that. I need to study some things.

And yes--reelator is pretty irritating. Like nookyoolar. My father was a realtor.

Here's another one: joolary.

The word "jewelry" is pronounced "joo-ul-ree." Not "joo-luh-ree."

I feel like a serious crab after all this. Hehe.

dchmielelewski said...

Sherbet (Sher-bet) anyone?

Oh, wait, the world insists that it is "Sher-bert".

Perhaps we can settle on "sorbet"?

Jason said...

Okay--my short search for the "Houston" problem has yielded some help. Here's from the "Think Baby Names" website:

"The boy's name Houston \ho(us)-ton\ is pronounced HEW-ston. It is of Irish, Gaelic and Old English origin, and its meaning is 'Hugh's town; settlement on the hill'."

So it seems that Houston started out as "Hughston," and even though the spelling changed, the pronunciation didn't in all cases. That's really interesting to me. I'm glad to have looked that up.

I can't remember where I read it, but supposedly most (if not all) of the places in England ending in "-ton" are the result of viking invaders naming the places they conquered. That's how my family contributed to the English language. By sacking and pillaging. Of course, you're the speardane, Matt, so your family was in on it, too.

Jason said...


"Sherbert" cracks me up for some reason. It's like the others, but rather than pissing me off it just makes me feel sorry for people--they can't even afford to pay attention to the words they read. Of course, who reads? They've probably never seen "sherbet" in print.

And the nice Homeland Security people would like to talk to you about your advocacy of French words. "Sorbet?" Next thing you know you'll be insisting on the French pronunciation of "croissant." (Which, to the best of my ability to discern, is something like "hhhhwosssoooohhh.")

dchmielewski said...

Perhaps I should give up on frozen confections and just go with Bill Cosby's favorite ....

Jell-O pudding pops. Where did those go, they were great ;-)