13 Comments

  1. It would be really cool if we could have a new Hanukkah comic every evening for the next seven days.
    P.S. Yes, I am aware that there probably isn’t enough material in the queue to do this, but I can dream…

  2. This one’s worth a guffaw. At least Hanukkah content in the comics is better than it is in the movies.

  3. Today’s Dictionary.com daily-word email has the subject “How Do You Spell Chanukah (Or Is It Hanukkah)?”

    I’ll see what they think in a minute, after I check out ‘How To Pronounce The Word “Niche” ‘

  4. Thanks, Olivier.

    The Dictionary.com link turned out to be a video. (With an ad that ran ahead of the main content!) They prefer an anglicised pronunciation, which they write as [nich] (we’ll get to other ways of notating it in a minute), but also say a more French-influenced pronunciation is also quite widely used, in both US and UK, and which they write as [neesh].

    My quip on that: your preference may depend on what kleek you belonged to in secondary school.

    Over on Lexico.com, their UK definition entry offers the same pronunciations, with the French-flavored one first. They write these as /niːʃ/ and /nɪtʃ/ , which are in modified IPA.
    Their US definition entry matches the Dictionary.com recommendation in putting the Anglicised (or I suppose Americanized) pronunciation first, which they give in two notations, /niCH/ and /nɪtʃ/ — the first they call “traditional respelling (as seen in the New Oxford American Dictionary)” and the second “using symbols of the IPA”. They also show the French-influenced pronunciation, and notate it as /nēSH/ and /niʃ/. (The IPAS there differs very slightly from the IPA given in the UK entry, /niːʃ/, which I think indicates a slightly elongated vowel.)

    (Lexico) Origin
    Early 17th century (in niche (sense 3 of the noun)): from French, literally ‘recess’, from nicher ‘make a nest’, based on Latin nidus ‘nest’. Clearly related to Olivier’s noun usage.

  5. Both vowels sound correct and “normal” to me. For some reason, I seem to prefer the [nEEsh] one for abstract usage (like what a person does) and the [nish] one for physical locations.

  6. Thanks, Darren — I was wondering whether to mention that third pronunciation.

    If you were stocking shelves and needed to say, “We can’t carry that, there is only a niche interest in fruit flavors for that kind of product,” which category of usage (and pronunciation) would that be?

    And not to forget, how does everybody spell Hanukkah? (Yes, we did this last year, but not all the same crowd.)

  7. “Yes, I am aware that there probably isn’t enough material in the queue to do this, but I can dream…”

    It would be a miracle if one day’s worth of material lasted eight.

  8. On Thursday, when the German news reported the lighting of the giant menorah next to the Brandenburg Gate, they used the transliteration “Chanukkah”, which looks weird to me.
    P.S. Bill once set up a huge grid of possible spellings, but that was before the Comicgeddon, so the results are lost. Would anyone be in favor of another poll?

  9. As long as you guys are having fun with the phonetic symbols, I am curious how a block of text written in IPA symbols might look using calligraphy. 🙂 And the funny thing is, the phonetic symbol system is just another foreign language to me. 🙂

    And, Mitch4, I thought the “J” bit was clever, and I like how they dropped Julio’s name in as sort of a punchline. I’m not sure the verse would have been quite as funny if they had named the kid right off at the start.

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