Sunday, July 24, 2011
In fact, even knowing what to call words that sound different, mean different things, but are spelled the same, was something hard to find. I was developing a small list of such words, but didn't know what to call them. It wasn't until some years ago my daughter corralled a group of speech professors at SUNY's Geneseo college that the word 'homograph' emerged after academic debate for such a word category.
The list goes on, but doesn't get added to fast. Some homographs are a bit routinely realized, like tear and tear. Others are less obvious: invalid and invalid; resume and resume. But, as always claimed, reading obituaries can be instructive, and not just with something having to do with the departed's life.
Margalit Fox, a linguist herself, writes in the NYT an obituary about Bruce Sundlun a former governor of Rhode Island who is described as having flair, and is described with flair by Ms. Fox.
He was a multiply decorated war hero. He had multiple homes. He had multiple marriages and multiple divorces. His exploits...
And there it is. Another homograph. Quick, dig it up.