How To Pronounce Basketball

It’s that time of the year aback basketball takes centermost stage. The NCAA Final Four is set, and the NBA is in the final advance against the playoffs. It’s the absolute time to booty on this catechism from Ken Westhassel, a loyal adviser from Medford, Massachusetts.

Pronunciation of Basketball  Definition of Basketball
Pronunciation of Basketball Definition of Basketball | How To Pronounce Basketball

I’ve been apprehensive why Brian O’Donovan’s Christmas Celtic Sojourn, or the singing accumulation Celtic Women, accent the “C” as a adamantine C, while our basketball team, the Celtics, say it with a bendable C. Why is this, and which is correct?

For years, English speakers arresting the chat Celtic with a bendable “C” in all contexts. It’s how bodies in the United Kingdom said the chat in the backward 19th aeon aback the acclaimed Glasgow soccer team, Celtic [soft ‘C’], was formed. It’s also how bodies about actuality said it in 1947, aback our now admired basketball aggregation debuted. This makes all the faculty in the world, said linguist, columnist and drillmaster James Harbeck.

“The word Celtics [with a bendable ‘C’] reflected the way that English approaches the letter ‘C’ before the letter ‘E,'” he said. 

In English, aback the letter “C” is followed by an “E,” it’s appealing abundant consistently said like an “S”: Think “cement,” “cellphone,” “race” and “dance.” As for why that is, we accept to go aback — way back, to the time of gladiators, agent contest and the acclaimed Roman orator Cicero, — or should I say, “Kikero”? 

“Classical Latin had ‘C’ consistently as ‘kuh,'” said Harbeck. “So, if you saw classical Latin and it had the words that we would recognize, ‘et cetera,’ they would say ‘et ketera.’”

How to Pronounce Basketball
How to Pronounce Basketball | How To Pronounce Basketball

Latin would, of course, anatomy the base for abundant added languages — like Italian, French and Spanish — accepted today as the Romance languages. Along the way, says Harbeck, the adamantine “C” began to abide a transformation. It’s absolutely appealing adamantine on the aperture to go from that “kuh” sound immediately into a beat like an “E” or an “I,” and so, the “C” began to boring soften.

“Over time, sounds at the aback of the mouth, like ‘kuh,’ will digest advanced sometimes aback you accept a beat afterwards them at the advanced of the mouth,” said Harbeck. “It tries to be a stop — ‘kuh’ — but again it says, ah, frick it. And it becomes ‘chuh.'”

This is absolutely what happened as Latin became Italian. The chat for “celebrate” in Italian, “cellebrare,” starts with a “ce” but is arresting CHEH-leh-bra-reh. And conceivably you’ve enjoyed a nice after-dinner limoncello (pronounced lee-mon-CHEH-loh) in the North End. French accent takes it one footfall further. 

“In French, it confused on and the ‘chuh’ became ‘suh,'” said Harbeck.

This is alike easier for the mouth. Think “c’est la vie” (pronounced SAY-lah-vee) or the painter, Paul Cezanne (pronounced SEH-zahn). Both alpha with “ce” and are pronounced with a full-on bendable “C” sound. And it’s the French that brought this accurate linguistic aberration to the English language.  

How to Pronounce Basketball
How to Pronounce Basketball | How To Pronounce Basketball

“One ability bethink that the French ran England for a little while,” said Harbeck. “They had this little action in 1066 [when] William the Conqueror came over.” 

Not alone did he invade and take over England, but for a while, he fabricated French the official accent of the land. This affiliate of English history would assuredly adapt the still-developing English accent that was actuality announced there in abundant ways, including the acceptance of a bendable “C” before the letter “E.”

But that French access did not extend to the assorted added languages announced about the British Isles, in places like Scotland, Ireland and Wales — languages of the Celts.

“In Irish and Scottish and Welch and so forth, the letter ‘C’ is consistently “kuh” and Celtic is ‘Celtic’ [with a adamantine ‘C’],” said Harbeck.

The aforementioned goes for Classical Latin. So, while the rules of the English accent advance “Celtic” should be said with a bendable ‘C’ — and for a long time, that was how English speakers said it — that has afflicted back the mid-20th century.

BASKETBALL pronunciation • How to pronounce BASKETBALL - YouTube
BASKETBALL pronunciation • How to pronounce BASKETBALL – YouTube | How To Pronounce Basketball

“We accept gotten to a accompaniment of alertness in English now area we try to accent words and names from added languages the way that they would accept us accent them,” said Harbeck. 

But sports is a branch belled for captivation fast to traditions. And so, while we’ve adapted our accentuation of the chat “Celtic” aback talking about music, or accent or culture, it should be no abruptness that the two places the bequest of Celtic with a bendable “C” live on is with a soccer aggregation in Scotland and a basketball aggregation actuality in the U.S.

So, in short, “we confused from ‘kuh’ through ‘chuh’ to ‘suh’ to get Celtic [with a bendable ‘C’],” said Harbeck. “But then, the Celts [with a adamantine ‘C’] said, ‘Hey, hey, hey, we never did that.’ Yo, yo, yo! So there you go. That is why [it is pronounced] the Celtics [with a soft ‘C’] but Celtic music [with a adamantine ‘C’].”

Our thanks to Medford’s Ken Westhassel for his catechism that led to this story. What’s yours? Email us at [email protected] and let us apperceive what has been activation your concern lately. Who knows, we ability aloof attending into it for you. 

How To Pronounce Basketball – How To Pronounce Basketball
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How to pronounce BASKETBALL in British English
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