The Atlantic Wire, “Why We Hate the Word ‘Phablet’ So Much”

January 11, 2013

Rebecca Greenfield, “Why We Hate the Word ‘Phablet’ So Much” (The Atlantic Wire, Jan. 11, 2013)

English words generally use “ph” as eff for words from Greek origin, Ben Zimmer explained today in his Word Routes column. Now “phablet” obviously isn’t Greek, but the Greek words it conjures sound kind of gross, Stanford linguistics PhD candidate Lelia Glass told us; a lot of “ph” words followed by the letter “a” happen to be body parts — “like ‘phallus’ and ‘phalanges,’ which perhaps grosses people out,” Glass said.

Zimmer has a different theory. “Phablet” isn’t the first non-Greek word we’ve made up with a “ph” making an eff sound, but unlike other modern word innovations — like “phat” — it doesn’t have a sense of humor, or at least not a very good one.

Read the rest here.

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