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cheese cheese lifestyle

Quesadilla

Peo­ple insist on invent­ing new pro­nun­ci­a­tions for this word, god knows why. I bet you could find entire regions in which the pre­dom­i­nant pro­nun­ci­a­tion of this word is kway-sa-dilya. "Can I get one kway-sa-dilya, and a side of ranch dress­ing, please?" To be sure, que­sadil­la is what lin­guists call a "loan" or "bor­rowed" word. In most cas­es, bor­row­ings are mod­i­fied so that they con­form to the pro­nun­ci­a­tion rules of the new lan­guage, but there's some­thing espe­cial­ly insult­ing about mis­pro­nounc­ing a word as seem­ing­ly wide­spread as que­sadil­la. I would feel way more sym­pa­thet­ic to some­one who stum­bles through "smoked trout nicoise sal­ad with hearts of romaine and dijon vini­a­grette" than a word that is on the god­dam Taco Bell menu. The tru­ly mys­te­ri­ous thing is that the peo­ple who mis­pro­nounce "que­sadil­la" are inevitably peo­ple who look like they prob­a­bly know the Taco Bell menu by heart. I can see why peo­ple are inclined to say "kweh-sa" or "kway-sa," because "qu" is "kwa" in words like "qui­et" or "ques­tion." And I can under­stand why peo­ple of French-Cana­di­an descent may be inclined to pro­nounce the "qu" as "ka" or "keh." I guess I can also under­stand say­ing "dil­la" as "dilya" or "dil­lah" rather than "diya," but I'm rel­a­tive­ly sure that these same peo­ple pro­nounce "tor­tilla" cor­rect­ly. But maybe they don't. Maybe they say "tortilya." When you string all of the mis­pro­nun­ci­a­tions togeth­er, and you get things like kway-sa-dilya, or kah-sa-dil­lah, it just makes you sad for the state of civ­i­liza­tion, for the future of lan­guage, for the like­li­hood that things that mat­ter will be fur­ther erod­ed by peo­ple who sim­ply don't pay atten­tion. On the oth­er hand, it's also a per­fect exam­ple of peo­ple vot­ing with their feet, or their mouths as the case may be. Which is inter­est­ing yet ter­ri­fy­ing, as always.

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