A very cool but difficult word to pronounce.
According to the ONLINE ETYMOLOGY DICTIONARY**, the etymological “definition” of the indefinite article “a” is:
a form of an used before consonants, mid-12c., a weakened form of Old English an “one” (see an). The disappearance of the -n- before consonants was mostly complete by mid-14c. After c. 1600 the -n- also began to vanish before words beginning with a sounded -h-; it still is retained by many writers before unaccented syllables in h- or (e)u- but is now no longer normally spoken as such. The -n- also lingered (especially in southern England dialect) before -w- and -y- through 15c.
It also is used before nouns of singular number and a few plural nouns when few or great many is interposed.
For reasons unclear, I wondered all of a sudden how that much overworked and under-appreciated word “a” came about…
Okay, I have a little brain conditioning exercise in the form a fast-paced word association drill.
Below is a list of questions that you can easily solve. I want you to read down the list as quickly as possible, saying out loud the first answer that pops into you mind. The key to the success of this exercise is speed.
What is 5 plus 5?
What is 7 plus 3?
What is 12 minus 2?
What is 8 plus 2?
What is 50 minus 40?
What is 4 plus 6?
What is 6 plus 4?
What is 20 minus 10?
What is 10 minus 0?
What are aluminum cans made of?
That’s it. That’s all there is to it.
Now, let’s review our answers.
By a show of hands, how many of you were conditioned by the responses into saying aluminum cans are made of ten?
Ha ha! Gotcha…
How many of you said aluminum cans are made of tin thinking you wouldn’t be tricked into saying ten?
Ha ha! Got you, too…
So then, how many of you were able to overcome the mild brainwashing to provide the correct answer that aluminum cans are actually made of aluminum?
A sniffle a snort
A wheeze and a sneeze
A belch a burp and a moan.
A slurp a sigh
A hiss and a buzz
A babble a wow and a groan.
An utter a sputter
A mumble and a grumble
A barf a spit and a spew.
A cough a hack
A hum and a yawn
A sheesh then finally…a whew!
There are flues that can make smoke float up,
And there are flues that can make folks lie down.
But the Onomatopoeia Flu is the only flu
That can make you make really weird sounds.
From Poem Man
hear not what I say
like the howl, words fade away
only fear remains
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It’s a good thing…