May 25, 2004


Geoff Pullum has straightened out the whole Google hit nomenclature thing -- except for one key point. How do you pronounce whG and whG/Gp? (Not to speak of whA and whA/Gp...)

"Double yuu aitch gee" and "double yuu aitch gee per gee pee" are not going to make it.

We can safely leave this to Norma Loquendi and the Law of Least Effort, but my guess is that they'll decide on "whig" and "whig-up" -- or in IPA [hwɪg] and [ˈhwɪˌgʌp]. For for those like me who don't distinguish [hw] from [w], it'll just be [wɪ;g] and [ˈwɪˌgʌp]. Though these will work just fine, and are certainly much more SI-compliant, I have to confess that I don't like them as well as "ghits". I'll also confess that my reason for preferring the pronunciation [gɪts] was the same as Geoff's reason for avoiding it.

Posted by Mark Liberman at May 25, 2004 05:39 PM