21 March 2008

Sand castles raised during emersion will be razed during immersion

Immersion and emersion are antonyms of each other and at the same time, they have the same pronunciation. The above links are to the Free Dictionary, which uses the same pronunciation symbols for both words, whereas Merriam-Webster uses slightly different symbols for immersion and emersion, but when I played their pronunciations to my wife (a native English speaker), she couldn't hear a difference. She also made the valid point that even if there were a slight difference between their pronunciations, one wouldn't notice it during a normal, fast-paced conversation. Tim Pearce, on the other hand, told me in an e-mail that he pronounces them differently: immersion with a short "i" sound and emersion with a long "e" sound. Next time I see him, I have to ask him to pronounce them.

Tim also mentioned raise and raze, another pair of words that have the same pronunciation but opposite meanings.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Raise or raze ... depends how you prounce the "y".