Thursday, May 07, 2015

2461 Shigella Shake

The world of rock and roll offers up interesting takes on our language sometimes.  I was reminded of that the other day when I read of the emergence of a drug-resistant form of the bacteria that causes what’s erroneously called Montezuma's revenge.  Dude, ease up on Mexico, the disease is linked to traveling to foreign lands generally.  The bacterium is known scientifically by the name Shigella.

I'm not entirely sure how to pronounce it but Shih-GELL-ah seems right.  When you look at the way it's spelled, s-h-i-g-e-l-l-a-, it could easily be SHIH-guh-lah.  Which, you gotta admit, sounds like one of those Thousand Dances in the Land Wilson Pickett sang about.  Right up there with the watusi and the boogaloo. 

Not least because shigella causes various unpleasant symptoms, among them muscular cramps and spasms, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.  So going to a foreign land and dancing the fox trots is not out of the question. 

I've also learned from Lorde, teen phenom from down under, that the pronunciation of a word can shift if you need it to.  And I can appreciate that.  Tone and meter sometimes require screwing up the actual language.

Lorde does it in the song Team to the word "reveled."  Which she pronounces rah-VELLed.  Unless she's talking about hair shampooing being the cause for celebration.  Then again, it’s quite possible Reh-VELL is how they say REH-vel down under in the billabong, Mite.  G'day.

The worst rock and roll word screw up I've ever heard is in the old Rod Stewart song, "I was only joking."  Perhaps he was, when he sang about his song being sung for "prosperity" instead of "posterity." 

He was right I suppose.  He did make money on the song. 

Even though you couldn't dance to it. 

America, ya gotta love it. 

No comments: