Saturday, August 18, 2007


Three loosely related topics in this post:

A) Nancy Friedman at Away With Words has posted on a recent trend of bubbles popping up everywhere.

2) In a comment I mentioned favicons and she hadn't heard of them. Those are the little icons in the address bar that change on each webpage. They are often used as logos in toolbar button links. I've struggled with the pronunciation of these little visual gewgaws. Does the first syllable rhyme with save or with salve? Does the second syllable preserve the "long" 'I' of icon or does the third syllable get secondary stress so that the "I" is an unstressed schwa? Some possible pronunciations I imagine:

  1. [ˈfej.vɪ.kan]/[ˈfej.və.kan](similar)

  2. [ˈfej.ˌvaɪ.kan]

  3. [fej.ˈvaɪ.kan]

  4. [ˈfæ.vɪ.kan]/[ˈfæ.və.kan]

Number two is what I imagine most people say because it's the closest to the two words being combined: fave and icon. However it's an awkward rhythm because it puts two diphthongs together which draws a stress to both syllables but it's a little unsettling to have two near equal stresses right next to each other. It's packing a phrasal contour into one word. It feels awkward to me.

So if I didn't know what the etymology or meaning of the word was I would guess it was pronounced as #4. Perhaps this preference is by analogy: Rubicon opticon Farrakhan comicon decepticon...

Last)As I mentioned in my comment to Friedman's post I've been looking for a decent 'favicon' to associate with this blog. Just a little image that looks good in the address bar. For some reason one image keeps staring at me. But it has nothing to do with my usual topics and I don't know why I'd pick it.


  1. You are more than meets the eye.

  2. Very nice.

    So should I go with bad guys or the good guys logo?

    I tried to do the suttonhoo helmet for a logo but I couldn't get it to look good at such a small size. But it's worth working on.

    Do you remember that at DAA I had a picture of one hanging on the wall in the classroom?

  3. I'm deeply disturbed by the thought of having the middle syllabus sound like 'eye', but that appears to be the pronunciation recommended in on-line sources I've seen. The stress clash you allude to make that impossible for me. 1 is THE option.

  4. The best gift I ever received was the Optimus Prime figure -- Christmas when I was 10, I believe.

    Go with the good guys.

  5. No way. Decepticons are the coolest, and my best gift was like two or three Transformers for my fifth birthday.

    I do remember the helmet picture, it would be good. What about a thorn or ash or other Old English character?

  6. I'm going to keep working on the Sutton Hoo image.

    I agree that #1 is best. It has an easy rhythm and it preserves the "fave" segment--considering the etymology.


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