Weird Word Thought

While walking the dog this morning I had a weird thought.  As we were being passed by a man on a bicycle it set off a rememberance of the way some old-timers say the word motorcycle.  They pronounced it “motorsickle” (and no, this wasn’t just an Arlo Guthrie song; I suspect he got it from contact with these people), so that both bicycle and motorcycle sounded a lot alike.  While it seems odd to our ears, when you get down to it, what’s really odd is that both of these words have the same root (“cycle”), yet are pronounced differently now.  Perhaps those old-timers were actually more consistent than we are now.  But if you try saying either of the words using the pronounciation we currently use for the other, it just sounds weird to our ears (“bi-sycle” or “motor-sickle”).

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