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November 7, 2005

Volume 8, Issue 7

“We are, of course, once again face to face with the perennial question of Daventry and all the storm that its pronunciation raises in the teacups of the curious.”

- an excerpt from Broadcast English 2: Recommendations to Announcers Regarding the Pronunciation of Some English Place Names, Collected and Transcribed for the BBC Advisory Committee on Spoken English by A Lloyd Jones, published 1930.

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D: Gentry

Euphasia Dutch Wormblood turned to the other ladies present and as if by unspoken signal all fell silent and replaced their teacups quietly onto the bone china saucers. Crumpets and scones were placed with delicate care on plates and dessert forks emanated the slightest tinkle as they were lowered.

"Ladies of the British Occult Society of Onomatopoetic Matriarchs, our guest speaker today is indeed a distinguished one."

Lace handkerchiefs were dabbed at excited mouths and flustered feathered hats quivered with anticipation.

"Here to present his treatise on the correct pronunciation of Daventry, I present... Jim Parkinson's green-headed duck."


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The Eschatologist: Shooting an Elephant in Your Pajamas

Two geographers walk into a pub. They appear frustrated with one another. The bartender, an astute fellow, notices their quiet, breathless banter.

"Evenin', sirs. If you don't mind me askin', what's got the two of you gentlemen all worked up?"

"We're with the Royal Society," says the older geographer, "and we're caught in a fine pickle."

"Praps I can help you sirs. What's the problem?"

"We simply cannot agree on how to pronounce Daventry," groans the younger geographer.

"Ah! If you think that's difficult, try pronouncing Leeds," says the bartender.

"Frankly," they answer together, "we wouldn't know where to start."

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Ted: Askew

The man stepped into the city of Haven with one thing on his mind: Kill the Pope. He misunderstood the mush mouthed BBS announcer who declared the the Pope had passed on into heaven. When both feet landed on the ground just past the city limits sign, his world changed.

"Young man, you are not allowed here" stated the robed and haloed functionary who suddenly stood before him. "And why in Heaven do you have a pistol?"

The man looked at the white city with gleaming streets. "I've come to kill the Pope."

"Wrong place, son. Better head home now."

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