Re: Spelling inquiry: Cacheable? Cachable?

Subject: Re: Spelling inquiry: Cacheable? Cachable?
From: Joanna Sheldon <cjs10 -at- CORNELL -dot- EDU>
Date: Sun, 30 Apr 1995 18:42:14 -0400

Beverly Parks wrote, about cacheable vs. cachable:

>David Castro wrote-->
>> However, the silent "e" --as someone else pointed out-- affects the sound
>> of the preceeding letter combination...changes it from a hard ch to a
>> soft "sh" sound.

>Why is the sound of the ch determined by the e? What about
>"niche"? Most people pronounce that "nitch," though "neesh" is
>also correct.

>What about bachelor, machete, and machine? What's determining
>the sound of the ch in those words?

>Or chagrin and change?

English spelling/pronunciation is not what you might call predictable.
We've taken some words from Romance languages like French and Italian, and
the pronunciation of the ones that have been around longer, like "change,"
has strayed more from the original, having been dragged around by
Anglo-Saxons for more years than others, like "chagrin." "Niche" is a word
that's in transition. The original pronunciation is "neesh," and because
of its relatively recent importation that pronunciation is still heard; but
because of its freqent use in English it's beginning to take the more Anglo
sound -- "nitch."

As to cacheable and chachable -- English does TRY to have rules, and one of
them is that "ch" should be prounounced "tch" rather than "sh" before "a" --
unless the word in question is foreign, in which case the tendency described
above governs the case. But at any event the noun in question is "cache,"
so why drop the "e" when making it into an adjective?

-- JS


Dr. Joanna Sheldon
Technical Writer, Translator
(French, German, Italian)
cjs10 -at- cornell -dot- edu


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