Wednesday, February 4, 2009

WWW - How would you spell a snore?

My choice for this week's word is in no way random. I am suddenly focused on the word "snooze" for the very reason that I've been snoozing far too little lately. Don't get me wrong, it's nice to be busy, especially in January – a month that is notoriously slow for translators – but still, when the snooze button beckons...

Snooze

It's an odd word, isn't it? You hit the snooze button as you desperately clutch at those last few minutes of sleep before the day races away with you. You grab a snooze at your desk before that conference begins and then you snooze through the conference once it actually does begin.

It's a noun, a verb, and a button, but where did it come from? "Snooze." Just take a second to roll it around a bit. It seems a little out of place in the English language.

Where did it come from? The answer is – we don't know.

Disappointing, isn't it? But we do have a guess. Our best guess is that it echoes a snore. That's right, "snooze" is supposed to sound like a snore. This didn't sound entirely satisfactory to me, but that's when I thought - just how *would* you spell a snore? In English we say "ZZZzzz" and in French it's "RRRon," both of which are clearly wrong, though I think the French might be closer to accurate.

Wherever it came from, I like this word and I intend to grab a few more of them in the future.

2 comments:

DK said...

If I were to write it in IPA, I think I'd go for a velar plosive (or fricative) at the start of the sound, followed immediately by a pharyngeal fricative and then a series of nice very open back vowels. Possibly a glottal stop at the end for effect. Something like this for the ingressive portion? [għɒɒʔ]

Hm, maybe the "zzz's" look cooler...

AEGtranslations said...

You're making me think I need to retake Linguistics!

I don't know about looking cooler (anything with a glottal stop in it is pretty cool in my opinion), but the zzz's certainly look easier to pronounce...