Aardvark by Jean


Double-A in English ? That can’t be right.
What are we to do with this alpha-oversight ?
A whiff of the exotic, though who knows from which address ?
So how do we pronounce it ? I guess we’ll have to guess.
It looks a bit Old-Testament, like Balaam the Canaanite,
Though surely ancient Hebrews had a diff’rent way to write ?
Diff’rent letter-forms, and not-a vowel included –
Whoever chose the spellings in the Roman was deluded !
With a single-A long and a double-A short,
Spelling things in English shouldn’t be a tricky sport…
Our batteries are flat and our gearboxes stall –
We need to gain sobriety, but who can we call ?

Infact, the double A in Hebrew loaners are probably a relic of a slight ‘h’ sound between them, splitting them into two separate syllables. The Greeks, when translating the Bible, had little use for mid-word H’s, and eventually the sounds merged (though not the letters because as everyone knows spelling must remain fossilised). See also Aaron.

And yes, I am aware that Aardvaark is usually spelled with only three A’s, and I’ve decided I don’t give a toss. Maybe Afrikaans pronounces ‘aar’ and ‘ar’ differently, but nobody in English does. So if you are happy being silly in the front half, then I see no reason to get serious with the aarse-end.

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