sandial (sandial) wrote,
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Spelling & Pronunciation (Holiday Edition)

I was saying recently (on FB) that I spell the current Jewish holiday, "Chanukah," and I pronounce it with the initial guttural "ch" sound. The other spelling doesn't bother me terribly, but the pronunciation it leads to does. "Hanukkah," what's that, a holiday for Han Solo or the Han Chinese?

This was still fresh in my mind on Friday when the annual Chanukah ads showed up in the Times.

I don't know if this happens in other cities (probably not), but here in New York there's a tradition of the big department stores and a few high-end specialty retailers marking the Jewish holidays (besides Chanukah, that usually includes Rosh Hashanah [Jewish New Year] and Passover) with simple 1/9 page ads that are always printed on the first two or three interior pages of the paper.

So I took note of which spelling each ad used. What these choices might imply, I have no idea, but for the record, here are the results:

Hanukkah
Macy's
Tiffany
Barneys

Chanukah
Bloomingdales
Saks Fifth Avenue
David Yurman [jeweler]
Lord & Taylor
Brooks Brothers

Three of these used drawings of menorahs, one used a photo of a menorah. Tiffany used a photo of a silver dreydel. Saks had an abstract six-pointed star (made of twisted ribbons) that was not a Star of David. Brooks went with a dignified text-only design.

If anyone can come up with a correlation or pattern here, I'd like to hear it.

Chag sameach! [Now there's a weird spelling!]
Tags: chanukah, hanukkah, holidays, jewish, orthography, pronunciation, spelling
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