[Libs-Or] Pronounce "pbook".

Mark Kille markakille at gmail.com
Wed Jan 19 07:40:15 PST 2011

Okay, bringing back my undergraduate linguistics days...which were a
while ago, and the ten minutes of international phonetic alphabet
review I just did isn't really so much, so bear with me. :)

Going by typical English spelling usage, it would probably be
"pee-book," like "gee-mail." (I can already hear the kids giggling.)
If we take it as a word actually to be pronounced as spelled, a native
English speaker would probably come out with something like

Phonologically, technically /p/ is a bilabial voiceless consonant and
/b/ is a bilabial voiced consonant. It is possible for consonants to
have two simultaneous points of articulation, as in the single sound
"gb" found in several West African languages. But p and b have the
same point of articulation--both lips--and I can't find any reference
to a consonant being simultaneously voiced and voiceless. In practice
"pbook" would probably resolve as either "pook" or "book,"

I vote for "pb" being the bilabial percussive, otherwise known as the
sound of lips smacking. "Pbook" would then sound like "[smack]-ook."
Fun to say 10 times fast!

Mark Kille

On Wed, Jan 19, 2011 at 7:00 AM, Jim Knutson <tintin at exchangenet.net> wrote:
> Wouldn't ya know the invented new word would be unpronounceable. Strictly a
> print word, not a spoken word.
> Gonna have to change it if it's something we're going to ask patrons. "Are
> you looking for that as pbook or an e-book?"
> Unless we just start submitting notes to them. But they still say, "What is
> a pbook? It says right here 'Are you looking for a pbook?' What is a pbook?"
> (Reminds me of the "gub" gag in Woody Allen's Take the Money and Run.
> Arguing with Allen as bank robber who's submitted the teller a note, the
> teller and others are telling him, "No, it says right here, 'I have a gub.'
> What is a gub?"
> A pbook? Or is it a silent "p", as in pneumonia? What's the rule on "p
> before b"?
> RE:
> From: hleman at samhealth.org
> To: libs-or at listsmart.osl.state.or.us
> Sent: Wednesday, January 19, 2011 5:03 AM
> Subject: [Libs-Or] Interesting article by our own Buzzy Nielsen
> <snip>
> I found this sentence, for instance, quite interesting, "...print books
> (hereafter referred to as pbooks when it is important to distinguish them
> from electronic books, or ebooks)."
> <snip>
> Hope Leman, MLIS
> Research Information Technologist
> Center for Health Research and Quality
> Samaritan Health Services
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