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Lament of the dypthong

Posted by Barney on October 19, 2003

In Reply to: Lament of the dypthong posted by Lotg on October 19, 2003

: Yes yes, I know, I have know idea how to spell it. And because I can't spell it, I can't look it up. I've tried various possible spelling combinations, and also searched through Greek and Latin dictionaries, but to no avail.

: I realised my problem when I was lamenting the loss of the dypthong??? to a friend, after my 10 year-old stepdaughter asked me why I spelt encyclopaedia the way I did. I explained that when I went to school the 'a' & 'e' were joined in such words as this and Aesop, Vitae, etc. etc. And that these are dypthongs. I also explained that 'ae' (stuck together of course) is pronounced differently to 'a' or 'e' on their own, but we've lost all that over time.

: But it was then to my horror I realised, that while I grew up with the term I had no idea how to spell it. Nor did I know whether it was originally latin, greek or whatever?

: So can someone please set me straight on this?

: And I have to say, that while there are no longer practical reasons for such spelling, I'd really like them back. To me, words that use these 'dypthongs' look quite beautiful.

: I can see the arguments for making the spelling of words more practical, but I often wish we could retain some romanticism in the spelling of words too. That's no doubt why I still refuse to drop the 'u' in colour, labour, etc and keep my 'r' before the 'e' in centre and theatre. And I wonder how long it will be before we lose the 'b' in 'doubt'.

: I'm sure many current teachers would find my attachment to these now defunct or soon to be defunct words, tedious.

"1. diphthong
•n. a sound formed by the combination of two vowels in a single syllable, in which the sound begins as one vowel and moves towards another (as in coin). →a digraph representing the sound of a diphthong or single vowel (as in feat). →a ligature (such ..."