Why isn’t “one” pronounced “on,” as in awning, or “own” as in only?

Why “won”? Where did that w come from?

No one knows. You could look it up.

But my good friend and linguist Cornelis Tromp (be sure to pronounce it “tromp”), is publishing a paper explaining his theory, proven by experiment, like in science, to be true.

So I give you the scoop here. Or is it, I give you the straight poop here?

“One” used to be pronounced like, say, the on in onanist, that is, with the “oh” sound, like in own. The word onanist used to be pronounced with the on like in onion (uh), but folks who were close to onanists noticed that while they started out going “uh uh uh,” at the critical moment they would change over to “oh oh OH.” For more on onanists, see here.

Anyway, Tromp’s experiment: He would offer a plate of cookies to a baby. The baby would reach for the cookies saying “wuh wuh wuh” and Tromp would shout “ONLY ONE, ONLY ONE.” Then the baby, startled, would go “WAH WAH WAH.”

What have we learned? The baby starts out life knowing that a single cookie is pronounced “wun.”

As for the spelling change when going from pronounce to pronunciation, I will explain that in a subsequent post.

God or Blue M&Ms

I had some awesome oatmeal this morning.

Yesterday it was better. It was amazing.

Day before that, better yet. It was good.

So “awesome” has moved to the bottom of my superlative list, below amazing, incredible, and not bad.

What are my candidates these days for describing, say, God, if God should be standing before me? (I mean, me standing before Him.)

Back in the day, “awesome” was the default descriptor for the Almighty.

Now I might say:

  • WTF!
  • Bloody Hell!
  • Jesus Christ! (ironic)
  • F*** me!
  • Dude!
  • Literally, what is that?!?