Tuesday, February 17, 2004

From Fox News:

Retailers Think Spring
Hocking pastels, sandals in sub-zero temps may be smart business

Uh, shouldn't that be "hawking"? That's an informal word meaning "selling in the street" or just "selling". "Hock" is to pawn; e.g. you might hock the family silver if you need money. Another meaning for "hock", very informal, is that it's what you do with a loogie.

Now, I'll bet money that the person who wrote this head was from the Northeast; many people in the Northeast speak with an accent that doesn't distinguish the "ah" sound in "father" (low back unrounded vowel) from the "aw" sound in "naughty" (one step higher, slightly rounded). The standard example of this accent is that its speakers pronounce "cot", like a bed, and "caught", the past of "catch", the same. And they pronounce "hawk", with the "aw" sound, the same as "hock", with the "ah" sound.

That's where this little piece of confusion came from. Hey, gimme a break, this is virtually all I learned in two years of grad school. I get to show off occasionally.

No comments: