for a strong, fast pick-me-up
If you love your State of Origin ( the Maroons versus the Blues) AND you love language – you may be interested to know why the Queensland team name (the Maroons) is pronounced so it rhymes with Thrones rather than Moon.
I’m a big State of Origin fan – and also as an international communication consultant, I often ponder language and pronunciation differences bewteen different countries – even countries that share English as a language – The UK, US, Canada,Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.
As a bit of a word nerd – I study this stuff. Also, I help top business execs improve their spelling.
You’d be amazed the number of top execs who scaled the corporate ladder thanks to their spoken “gift of the gab” skills – rather than their writing and spelling skills.
Anyway, if you were wondering OR if you ever need to explain this sort of thing to your kids (my son has asked this question) – here are some explanations.
There’s an old spelling rule and memory device – “when two vowels go walking – the first one does the talking”
That means the sound of the vowel combination is the sound of the actual name of the letter.
O is pronounced Oh.
OO are two vowels.
Therefore: marOHns – like Thrones.
Another way to make a vowel sound like it’s real name is to add an E to the end of a word like – thrOnE – as in Game of Thrones.
Let’s see this in action with other letters and words.
sEEk – two vowels – the sound of the letter E
grAtE – the E at the end – give the A it’s AY sound.
Now English is a confusing and inconsistent language – and there are many exceptions.
the problem with MarOON – is the two Os together – and many similarly spelled words have a sound like mOOn.
Explanation 2: From my “study” I found another explanation – to pronounce the name of the colour differently to make it different from VERB – to MarOON – to leave stranded.
Explanation 3: – from an ex-pat Brit trying to understand the baffling Australian language. I found this cheekily funny rather than offensive:
The Australians just started out pronouncing it wrong and that pronunciation has stuck. It happens a lot in Australian English. It has to be remembered that Australia was not colonised by scholars, so they pretty much made up a lot of stuff.
Anyway, there are some explanations to choose from.
Personally, I used the two vowels go walking explanation for my son.
I wish I could find other examples of two OOs together that make the OH sound.
If you can think of any examples – please share in the comments section below.
If you are a fellow “Word Nerd” – you may also be interested in why Americans say Zee rather than Zed.
I was inspired to ponder this after watching the movie World War Z.
I haven’t posted about this yet – I was too busy pondering why Maroon (in Australia) is pronounced like Throne.
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These days, lots of people and organisations need help with how to COPE with too much work, too much information, too many meetings, delivering difficult news, business writing, effective e-mail, e-mail overload, cross-cultural communication etc. I like to help people COPE.