Thursday, January 22, 2009

Sweet Inspiration for Learning to Pronounce 'Scallop'

I don't watch reality TV. I've never seen American Idol or Survivor or Big Brother or Nanny 911 or that home makeover thing with the guy who looks like a leathery incarnation of a cartoon dog.

But I make one exception: Ace of Cakes on Food Network. I figure it doesn't count, because I'm not into the reality, I'm just into the sugar. If they existed, I would also watch King of BonBons, Queen of Pudding, and Jack of Blancmange.

And today, I was finally vindicated.

The gang on Ace of Cakes had to make a cake in the shape of a scallop shell. Duff, the owner, and several of his designers got into a tussle over how to pronounce scallop. Duff, a New Englander, pronounced it as though it rhymes with "trollop." Others argued for the pronunciation that rhymes with "gallop."

This has actually come up with my New England in-laws. They're in the "trollop" camp. A Floridian, I was always more inclined to use words like "vittles" and "gator meat." But, on the rare occasion when I was walking barefoot and straw-hatted in the vicinity of a seafood restaurant, gazing hungrily at a menu, we would use the "gallop" pronunciation.

I've been meaning to look that one up for a couple of years now. But it took three pounds of fondant and some stuff called "gum paste" to finally inspire me. And the answer is ....

Of course, both pronunciations are acceptable. But Webster's New World prefers the trollop pronunciation. That's right. Somehow, Floridians came out looking less literate than them there Boston types. How? I might could never know, y'all.

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nixtress said...

I freaking LOVE Ace of Cakes! They are here in Baltimore and I actually made a trip to fan-girl at their door in November. I giggled like a moron and took a few photos and wished that one of them would come out and say hello.

Also, I'm with you. Any royalty who has expertise in dessert? Wins.

June Casagrande said...

I'm perennially dazzled by their creations.

Did you see the one with the cake made to look like a manta-ray thing? Or the one with the cake that was a miniature set of the stage show "Avenue Q"? Or the one with the electric guitar cake for the boy's bar mitzvah? They were jaw-dropping. I'm in awe of their work, which is really sculpture in the medium of cake. Crazy-awesome stuff.

kidicarus222 said...

Did you just say your in-laws are in the trollop camp?

Better hope they don't read this blog.

June Casagrande said...

You know, you've gotten me in enough trouble already. The other day I referred to the CFO of the company where I freelance as a "sh*tweasel."

LL Blackwell said...

Dude, I would have cable if I could get the Food Network only. ::sigh::

So, this pronunciation thing happened to me just the other day, only with sherbet: I passed out a couple handouts to my kids and then asked them to put one on top, only I was struggling and the only thing that could get out of my mouth was "the sherbet one" (my co-teacher later corrected me: it was salmon).

All my kids (who are primarily English learners of various sorts) were like, "huh?" (Pardon my Valley Girl; I don't code-switch very well on a Friday night.) They wanted it pronounced "sher-bert." So we had to pause and dig out the old dictionary (Longman's) and look it up and see that it really only has one R and that the dictionary agrees with me.

But I am a bad English teacher: Readily available was another dictionary (Webster's, I think, not sure which edition) that might have had both pronunciations (I actually used to say "sher-bert," not sure why I changed) and we could have had a scintillating discussion about dictionaries and etymology and language changing.

Instead, I left it at tomayto, tomahto and said they could say it however they damn well pleased.

Language is certainly fascinating.

June Casagrande said...

I come from a family of sherbet eaters. There was always some in the house. There were the tubs of rainbow sherbet in the freezer, and I remember on many occasions my mom driving through Farm Store -- a drive-thru convenience store -- just to buy sherbet. (I remember they had champagne flavor, which was endlessly fascinating to my child-destined-for-alcoholism mind.)

And it wasn't until my mid-30s that I learned it's not "sher-BERT." I was floored.

By the way, my Webster's New World includes "sherbert" but says it occurs "erroneously." I guess that's a handy word to apply to the whole childhood.

You're NOT a bad teacher just because you didn't look it up twice. I'm very, very pro-laziness, so I can't stand by and listen to someone ridicule themselves for not doing something. Someday the world will see that not doing something is the greatest thing you can do. In fact, I'm off to do some of it right now ...

LL Blackwell said...

What I'd really like to know is what happened along the way to make it sherbeRt, cuz that's the way I've mostly heard it.

Since I read more than I spoke when I was younger, I have a tendency to pronounce things phonetically. I still remember the day I learned that chaos and "kay-oss" were the same word!

And really, I wish the state tests took less of my time, so I could deviate when I wanted to.

June Casagrande said...

One of the things I'm still trying to adjust to: "eww!" and "ooh!"

In my mind, they both -- the excited, happy "ooh!" and the grossed-out, judgmental "eww!" -- sound like they should be spelled "ooh!"

But, in the TV and film scripts I've read (and in closed captions), the negative one is "eww" and the positive one is "ooh."

Not sure why that irks me ...

Eben said...

The proper pronunciation of the word "SCALLOP" rhymes with "trollop". There IS NO other pronunciation. (That's a double "L" in there folks!)


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