Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Two things language-y from Taughannock Falls


The setting: we were at Taughannock Falls on Saturday, hiking with relatives on a visit from out of town.

1. I've mentioned before how Nigel the GPS mispronounces names around here, but he's not the only one. There are some that trouble me, too, like Taughannock. So I looked it up and asked a friend who grew up here and it turns out it's pronounced "tuh-GANN-uck," with A as in Apple, but flatter and more nasal-y somehow. I don't feel confident enough in Ithaca to say it like a native yet, so for now I'm pronouncing it "tuh-GAWN-uck."

2. The other language moment that occurred at Taughannock Falls was when we came upon two ladies setting up for a wedding at the falls overlook. They were busily tying purple sashes onto white lawn chairs and setting them up in rows in a spot with a good view of the falls. While we were admiring the view, I casually asked one of them who was getting married.

She answered: "My daughter and her son."

Did your mind just do a double-take? Because mine sure did when I heard that. And while the dictates of politeness might have required a simple smile and a nod, I wasn't about to let that go. So I asked her to clarify - "wait, who?"

"MY daughter, and HER [gesturing over at the other lady setting up] son."

OOOOOOOOOkay. Big difference, lady.

I think everyone standing in earshot heaved a collective sigh of relief. It's not that I wanted to believe it was what it initially sounded like - in fact, as my mind looped back on the statement over and over again to salvage some acceptable meaning, it discovered the possibility that perhaps she meant it was a double wedding, at which both the daughter and her son were marrying individuals besides the other. But my mind rejected that as too unlikely so it was good to hear what she actually meant, when the proper emphasis was placed on the proper words. Why she didn't say it like that in the first place is beyond me.

3 comments:

Susanne said...

Ha! Glad you got that straightened out. :) Sounds like a lovely place for a wedding.

Bridget said...

It is lovely. In fact, I put up a picture just so you can see how lovely.

Susanne said...

Oh thanks! I'm glad I came back to see it. :)

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