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CockneyRebel
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10 Apr 2024, 6:29 pm

I prefer easy over EZ. EZ just doesn't look good in my eyes.


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ToughDiamond
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10 Apr 2024, 7:17 pm

naturalplastic wrote:
Zee fits the alphabet rhyme (Ay, bee, see, dee, ee, eff, gee, etc).

Zed does not.

You dont say "Ay, Bed, Sed, dead, eff, jed,...." do you?

So WTF is up with "zed"?

Ergo we Americans say it right!

So get with the program already...you Brits (the few of you who never watched Sesame Street). :lol:


Fiddlesticks, sir!

Language isn't so perfectly systematic and regular. Neither side chose its preference from such a logical consideration - it was a historical thing that made sense at the time, and once these conventions have started, they can be very hard to reverse.

ChatGPT wrote:
The pronunciation of the letter "Z" as "zed" can be traced back to the Old French letter "zede" or "zete." When the letter was adopted into Middle English, it was pronounced similarly to its French counterpart. Over time, this pronunciation evolved into what we hear today as "zed."

In contrast, the pronunciation of the letter "Z" as "zee" in American English is thought to have developed from the pronunciation used in the Dutch language. The Dutch word for the letter "Z" is "zet," which sounds similar to "zee." When English settlers arrived in North America, they brought their pronunciation habits with them, including the pronunciation of the letter "Z" as "zee."



naturalplastic
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10 Apr 2024, 7:58 pm

The person on Chat GP must have been on dust, and lost track of their own train of thought and contradicted themselves.

They explain how "zed" derives from Middle English which got it from French (presumably a legacy of the Norman Conquest). So that explains why Brits in Britain call it zed.

But then they went on to say how the "zee" pronunciation comes from Dutch. But then said that when ENGLISH settlers came over to to the American colonies they continued with their old pronunciation habits. Their habit being ...to call it "zed" (as he just explained in the previous paragraph). So why did we Americans change it to the Dutch way? And the Brits didnt? Makes no sense.

He must have meant that the DUTCH settlers of New Amsterdam colony maintained the Dutch way (saying it zee), and it spread to their English speaking neighbors in the then 13 colonies. Much the way that we Americans started calling the Christmas elf "Santa Clause" (derived from the Dutch "Sinterklaus").



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10 Apr 2024, 8:51 pm

^
I asked the follow-up question "but how did English settlers come to adopt the Dutch pronunciation?" This is what "he" said (by the way, "he" is an AI program):

During the colonial period, there was significant interaction between English settlers and speakers of other languages, including Dutch. Dutch settlers established colonies in what is now New York, New Jersey, and Delaware, among other areas. As a result, there was linguistic contact between English and Dutch speakers, leading to the exchange of words, phrases, and even pronunciation features.

It's important to note that language is not static and is constantly evolving, influenced by contact with other languages and cultures. In areas where there was significant interaction between English and Dutch speakers, it's likely that some linguistic features from Dutch, including the pronunciation of certain letters like "Z," were adopted by English speakers over time.

Additionally, English settlers in North America were part of a diverse population that included speakers of various languages and dialects. This linguistic diversity contributed to the development of American English as a distinct variety with its own unique features, including some influenced by Dutch pronunciation.


"He" also tells me that there wasn't a significant Dutch population in the UK during the colonial period.

Anyway, you get the general drift - apparently strange pronunciation is often due to borrowings from other languages, and isn't always a planned thing.

Fun fact: In Leicester, Belvoir Street is pronounced "Beaver Street." Nobody knows exactly why, but it's thought that people with the local dialect may have found it easier to say it that way.

Back on topic (kind of), one problem of "Zee" is the confusion it caused me when I heard the song "Oh, Lonesome Me" with the lyrics "I've thought of everything from A to Z" - as it was an American song, it was pronounced "ay to zee," and not knowing that Americans did the zee thing, I naturally thought he was singing "I've thought of everything from A to C." So I concluded that he needed to think a bit further than the first 3 letters of the alphabet, and that he hadn't tried hard enough and deserved to be lonesome. I can see why they've never rewritten the words for an English audience. Fixing the one problem creates several new problems.



NewTime
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11 Apr 2024, 8:10 am

I don't think Jay z will like it if you call him "Jay zed".



ToughDiamond
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11 Apr 2024, 9:51 am

^
I presume that's an American celebrity. Don't know him. But I have heard of a band called Zed Zed Top. They might find it amusing.



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11 Apr 2024, 9:54 am

I used to like zed beds me


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naturalplastic
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11 Apr 2024, 10:25 am

ToughDiamond wrote:
^
I presume that's an American celebrity. Don't know him. But I have heard of a band called Zed Zed Top. They might find it amusing.

Even Brits know Jay-Z.
And even old timers like us who are not into rap have at least of heard of him!

A long time major rapper (and producer), who also married Beyonce in 2008.



funeralxempire
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11 Apr 2024, 11:10 am

Jay-Zed is a Toyota engine, it comes in 1JZ and 2JZ versions. :nerdy:


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ToughDiamond
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11 Apr 2024, 11:41 am

naturalplastic wrote:
ToughDiamond wrote:
^
I presume that's an American celebrity. Don't know him. But I have heard of a band called Zed Zed Top. They might find it amusing.

Even Brits know Jay-Z.
And even old timers like us who are not into rap have at least of heard of him!

A long time major rapper (and producer), who also married Beyonce in 2008.

Well I know now, at least for the next few minutes. I'm very selective about what information I pay attention to and commit to memory. As far as I'm concerned rap barely exists. That one based on Bach's Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D major is a notable exception, though I keep forgetting the artist's name. The genre has potential, but according to the art appreciation centre in my brain, it rarely achieves it.



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11 Apr 2024, 6:08 pm

ToughDiamond wrote:

Fun fact: In Leicester, Belvoir Street is pronounced "Beaver Street." Nobody knows exactly why, but it's thought that people with the local dialect may have found it easier to say it that way.



Not unknown for French words (especially names) to be pronounced differently in English, eg "Beecham" for 'Beauchamp' or "Bewley" for 'Beaulieu'.


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ToughDiamond
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11 Apr 2024, 7:11 pm

DeepHour wrote:
ToughDiamond wrote:

Fun fact: In Leicester, Belvoir Street is pronounced "Beaver Street." Nobody knows exactly why, but it's thought that people with the local dialect may have found it easier to say it that way.

Not unknown for French words (especially names) to be pronounced differently in English, eg "Beecham" for 'Beauchamp' or "Bewley" for 'Beaulieu'.

There's Beauchief in Sheffield which the working class unashamedly pronounced "Byoocheef" while the more elite of the population got a bit closer to the French with either "Beesheef" or "Bohsheef," but it seems nobody achieved perfection, which would be "Bohshief." The name means "Beautiful leader," but apparently in some strange way, by "leader" they meant "landscape."

Going back to Z, we have this:
Image
If not for the UK pronunciation of "Z," that owl logo would have made no sense, and there'd have been less fun in the world. If nobody beats me to the punch with the correct explanation of the joke, I'll post it myself later.



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11 Apr 2024, 7:18 pm

"Wise Head"?

8) :nerdy:


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ToughDiamond
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11 Apr 2024, 8:09 pm

DeepHour wrote:
"Wise Head"?

8) :nerdy:

Well done, you got it in one 8)
Strangely enough, it was originally sold in Japan where the pun would have made no sense at all unless their English was a lot better than my Japanese. Apparently the owl in Japan is very much a symbol of wisdom and other fine things, though the English also saw owls as wise. So originally the owl symbol may have been simply to con people into thinking that the gum would make them wise and wonderful. It never fooled me of course. I just liked flavoured gum with lots of added sugar. Maybe the pun was a later UK add-on. I only found out because I was in the habit of scrutinising packaging, and there I discovered the words "wise head" in very tiny letters.

At every 4th purchase from the machine, 2 packs of gum would come out, so I'd lurk around taking note of the number of purchases and strike when I knew I'd get the bonus pack.



bee33
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11 Apr 2024, 8:28 pm

I don't think it exists anymore, but if your taxes were simple you could use form EZ to file your IRS taxes in the US. So EZ is an official government term! :)



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11 Apr 2024, 11:44 pm

In Canada people say zed too, but thanks to the appalling amount of American media I've seen, I've always known E-Z means easy.

Earthlings need to just get over it.