Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius
adamantius1 at verizon.net
Sun Jun 20 05:39:03 PDT 2010
On Jun 20, 2010, at 8:26 AM, Elise Fleming wrote:
> Eduardo wrote:
> >Yes I mean Sapa and Saba.
> >Spelled both ways.
> And Bear asked:
> >What is the language of origin for saba? Sapa is Latin and refers to a >more highly condensed defrutum.
> I'm wondering if the difference in spelling comes from someone having spoken "sapa" and the listener having heard "saba". The "p" is a voiceless consonant and the "b" is voiced. It can be difficult to hear the difference if a person doesn't know the original word. Once it has been "misspelled", especially in print, the misspelling can be proliferated.
I had assumed it was a minor difference in dialect pronunciation that made it into print somewhere.
For example, my wife's family speaks a Cantonese dialect that tends to soften or altogether drop what Westerners would render as D's or T's at the beginning of words, much like the dropped H's at the beginning of words in some English dialects. If you didn't know better, and heard someone refer to bean curd in this dialect as " 'ow fu", and asked what language that was, and were told, in truth, Cantonese, you might get the wrong impression of the phrase, how it is spelled in written Chinese, etc.
With that in mind, I wouldn't be at all surprised if your proposed explanation was what we're seeing here.
"Most men worry about their own bellies, and other people's souls, when we all ought to worry about our own souls, and other people's bellies."
-- Rabbi Israel Salanter
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