2005-09-01

It's spelled "colonel", but it's pronounced "kernel"

But why?

Well, because it's French.

But the French word colonel, amazingly for a French word, is pronounced exactly as it's spelled, with no r sound whatever.

The story turns out to be that the Italian word colonello, from Latin columnellus, the leader of a (military) column, got borrowed into French twice. The first time, it became coronel in French, possibly on the notion that it was from Latin corona 'crown' rather than columna.

The form coronel spread to English and Spanish before being replaced in French itself by a second borrowing from Italian, this time more correctly as colonel. The spelling, but not the pronunciation, of this second form then entered English, leaving us with l in the spelling and r in the pronunciation.

Go figure.

9 comments:

Jolisa said...

thanks for this people have ben telling me im crazy for hating this word and its pronunciation

Rockerchic said...

omg i know!! THIS REALLY bugs me!! :)

Keith said...

Yeah I know, right? WTF

Mike Hawk said...

WTF?? deez niggas at work hve ben roastin my a$$ bout dis fo da longist
Thnxks yall!!

Raelyn Mae said...

another reason to hate the French!

Lee said...

The Chinese would have no problem with this.

Holly Bartel said...

Lee, LOL. Literally.

Hannah Fontana said...

It's a military thing. They like to screw things up.

Francesca Brancato said...

I hate this word. It bugs me so much.