"The Slaver Weapon"

Discussion in 'Star Trek - Original Series' started by Ketrick, Feb 16, 2013.

  1. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    On the contrary -- people hearing a new word for the first time often mistake it for a similar, but non-identical, word they're already familiar with. Because that's how the brain works -- by association, by trying to map new input onto established patterns in its memory. In a universe where Kzinti existed as an established threat, people hearing "Xindi" for the first time would naturally be prone to think the speaker had said "Kzinti." They might not notice the difference at first, or they might notice it but be unsure if they'd heard correctly, or they might wonder if the speaker had misspoken.

    Heck, I once had a high-school science teacher who said "Aristophanes" (the playwright) when he meant "Eratosthenes" (the scientist). And an honors English teacher who pronounced "synecdoche" as "synectady." These were people who really should know better, and they still got the pronunciations confused, not just once, but as a matter of habit. It happens all the time.
     
  2. Marsden

    Marsden Commodore Commodore

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    And some people assume the written name is a silent K, like knight or know.
     
  3. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    Plus, X at the start of a word isn't always pronounced Z.

    xing (abbreviation for crossing, may be pronounced eks-ing)
    Xian (abbreviation for Christian)
    Xmas (abbreviation for Christmas, may be pronounced eks-mas)
     
  4. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Or, indeed, Xing (a proper name, pronounced with an "sh" or "hs" sound, and perhaps most intuitively transliterated as Ching)...

    Or Xhosa, where the first sound is a clicking, guttural type of "k". At least if it's the word for the Xhosa language, rather than the Petarian name for a Petarian transport...

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  5. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    When I was proofreading the galley pages for my upcoming Enterprise novel, I tried using the Adobe Reader's speech synthesizer to read the text aloud to help me compare it against my manuscript, and it decided to pronounce Xindi as "shin-dee," as if it were a Chinese or Nahuatl word. (The Xindi do not appear in the book, but are name-dropped.)


    Although neither of those is actually an X; it's really the Greek letter chi, corresponding to English "ch," and the initial letter of "Christ" in the Greek alphabet. (I've heard some religious types complain about "Xmas" as an abbreviation, believing that it was censoring Christ's name as part of the atheist "war on Christmas" or whatever, but actually it's just his initial in the very alphabet he himself would probably have written it in, given that Greek was the lingua franca of the Eastern Roman Empire at the time he would've lived.)
     
  6. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    Hmm. No.

    Etymologically, it's from the letter Chi, of course.

    But, when either word is rendered in the Latin Alphabet, which is what we use, the letter is most definitely X, capital ex. (ETA: That is to say, the symbol was latinized.)

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/xmas
     
  7. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^Well, sure, but I wanted to make the point about how the intent behind the abbreviation has been misinterpreted by some people.
     
  8. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    Oh, right. Yeah, in particular, it's not a swipe against Christ, at least not intentionally, as far as I know. It simply stands for the initial, in Greek.

    And pronouncing X like Chi would be a wholly different pronunciation from ex, in Ancient Greek approximately aspirated k. Which brings us back full circle to Kz, almost at least.