Billy Zoom's Jet Set

The language of music:


On the subject of pickups I have heard some pronounce it; Al-NEEK-oh. ...which sounds odd and incorrect to me.

('You've heard of TV Jones? Well meet Al Nico.')

If the term 'alnico' is a combination of the words; Aluminium, Nickel, and Copper, it should be pronounced; AL-neh-coe. Right?

.. at least that's how I've been saying it all these years.


I'm with you, Ed. That's the way I took it.

I'm sure we're wrong, though.


But it's ok to say al NEE ko, if you also say REEverb & GEEtar.


Thanks, BilLEE! (And I'm looking forward to seeing you Saturday night!)


I've never heard anyone, from anywhere, say GEEtar except as a (particularly obnoxious) redneck or hillbilly joke. (A joke which widely misses the mark, as neither rednecks nor hillbillies nor redneck hillbillies pronounce it that way.) GuiTAR is by far the most frequent pronunciation I know, universal even among those who've always said REverb.

In the meantime, I'm saving my NEEkles and dimes for elocution tutelage.


But in the 50's & 60's, the common pronunciation was reVERB. Then, nobody cared for reverb or Fender amps much in the 70's, but them when people started getting hip to them again, it was suddenly REEverb. It had already been reVERB for half my life. That's why it bugs me. Am I to start saying it wrong, just to fit in?


Ha! I'd say no, just be you.

Semantics. Go figure.


Am I to start saying it wrong, just to fit in?

Not at all. It just doesn't matter. We all know what we mean when we say it, hear it, or read it. All my life, it's been REverb - among everyone I know. Doesn't make it "right" - or wrong. Just familiar and comfortable.

Also, Fender amps were still cool among people I knew, right through the 70s.


Just to be helpful: here in Australia we say "twin reVERB." But as we get influences from both sides of the Atlantic pronunciations are quite fluid. However aluminium is definitely "al-you-min-i-um".

Re. Bordeaux - In French syllables are not stressed. Or rather they are all stressed equally. So it wouldn't be BORdeaux or BorDEAUX - it's just Bordeaux. I guess it simplifies something, which is just as well as French is complicated enough if you ask me!

And the pronunciation I will never understand is Van Gogh as "Van Go". And before some of you get too smug, it's not pronounced as "Van Goff" in the Netherlands either - it's sort of "Van Hochhh" (sounds of throat clearing). The G is pronounced more like an H in English. So the name Gullitt is pronounced more like Hullet (think bullet starting with an H).

Which means that the Dutch beer Grolsch is actually pronounced "Hrolz" in Dutch. I suspect that being such a low-lying land diseases of the respiratory system are rampant leading to the Dutch disguising coughs and throat-clearing as language.

I love that everywhere has it's own way of saying things. Sometimes it causes the odd problem though which we don't expect. Once in New York my wife asked for a chicken and basil sandwich at a deli. Thing is we say basil with the A said as in cat. So to get something to eat she had to change her pronunciation to "bayzil". As I say, here in Australia we are aware of the various other pronunciations around the English speaking world. But particularly in the US you are not aware of ours! I always have to repeat things in the US.

The UK has as many different pronunciations of words as the rest of the English speaking world. There is of course a huge shift in pronunciation from north to south, or actually across the line of the old Danelaw, where the Vikings influenced the language to the north while the French had more influence below the line. You can hear the Nordic vowels in the north.

If you're interested in just how far English can be tortured, have a listen to a black country accent, AKA Wolverhampton. It sounds to me like Brummy on steroids (Brummy is the way people from Birmingham in the UK speak). It's crazy!


If you really want to hear the English language slaughtered, just come to Indiana.


For 15 years, I was on the US endorser’s roster of Sonor drums. They’re made in Germany, for them whut ain’t aware (or don’t particularly care.)

“Sonor” is German for, “sound”. The German pronunciation is, “so-NOR”. In all my time since I’ve been aware of the Sonor company’s existence, very rarely have I ever heard it pronounced correctly, including never by me. Even other endorsers (in the US, anyway) that I’ve spoken with have either called them, “SO-ner”, like I do, or almost as commonly, “Sonar”. The only time I’ve ever heard their name pronounced correctly by drummers was in Germany.


If you really want to hear the English language slaughtered, just come to Indiana.

– wabash slim

Ha ha... and if you want to hear English AND French slaughtered, spend some time in New Orleans.

We also do a pretty good job of butchering Spanish words here in Austin. Often on purpose, I suspect.

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