Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Guide to Bird Names

Kevin McGowan has written a very entertaining article on how to pronounce certain bird names.  If you are like me and are frequently being corrected by Charley Burwick (not to be confused with Bewick of wren/swan fame), this article is for you.  Who knew that Robin isn't pronounced row-bin outside of Christian County.
Below is an extract from his article Dr. Language Person's Guide to Bird Name Pronunciation, which is written with apologies to Dave Barry.

If you're a beginning birder, you might be afraid of embarrassing yourself in front of other, more experienced birders by choosing the wrong pronunciation. Well you should be; we birders are a pretty snotty lot, never afraid to snigger at a novice's mistakes. No, that's not true. Actually, we're very nice and helpful. But, never fear, Dr. Language Person is here to set you straight about these nagging doubts. I will give you the definitive pronunciations of the most commonly mispronounced birds, as well as some others that you never thought about mispronouncing, just to make you self-conscious so that you'll make more mistakes, HAH-HAH! No, wait. In keeping with the scholarly tone of this fine publication, I will give you the information as I see it, and then you can make your own decisions.
The rest of the fun is at this Cornell.edu website.

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