30 June 2006

Silent K, Silent G

The English language is weird. I before E except after C. How did they come up with the plural of "hippopotamus" being "hippopotami?" The silent K in knife, knickers, and the like has confounded me since at the tender age of six, on a road trip with my grandparents, we were playing a game of I spy.

"I spy something that begins with the letter K," my grandfather said.

"Katie?" An obvious guess since that's my name. Should have known (ARGH! KNOWN!) from the start that grandpa would never give me something that easy. "Keys? Kite? Kitchen?" Really hard to come up with things that start with K in a Grand Marquis that is barrelling down the PA turnpike on the way to visit your uncle in Ohio. Grandpa let me go on for what felt like ages. Finally, when I had exhausted every "K" word I could think of, he triumphantly announced:


I can still hear my groaning. I was six, for pete's sake!! Come on. Knapsack? That's just mean.

Ever since, the whole silent K and silent G phenomenon before some words has bothered me. I realized that they only seem to happen before the letter N. What's N got to do with it? My daughter's name begins with N, why didn't we start it off with a K or a G? "Oh no, that's Knatalie with a K" we could snobbily tell people. Warp a perfectly good normal name into some bastard cousin of Madyson or Kayleigh or whatever the middle class is calling their children these days in an effort to be different. However, I do think it would be kind of funny, in an inside joke kind of way. I just don't think she'd find it funny on the first day of school every year having to explain to her teachers that her parents were a little nuts when she was born.

But I think we still might have to call her Gnat just for fun.


Lisa said...

I love this one. Hilarious. Poor GKNatalie :)

Lisa said...

Thanks for sharing your secrets with me!