Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Iced Tea

Fiorella drove behind a truck labeled "OVERSIZE LOAD" yesterday and her linguistic blood boiled. "OVERSIZE LOAD" is a command to beef up the load. What was meant was "OVERSIZED LOAD," a description of the load as being bigger than usual.

What is this fear of the past passive participle that seems rampant among signmakers these days? Remember how Fio raged on and on about the "HANDICAP PARKING," which should have been "HANDICAPPED PARKING," meaning special parking accommodations for people who are handicapped?

Then Fio started thinking about "ice tea," which is how she's always said it and spelled it. But technically, the beverage should be referred to as "iced tea"--tea that has been iced. In general parlance, the -ed was probably lost because of the elision of the -d, the voiced alveolar stop, in favor of the t-, the voiceless alveolar stop.

But in the future, Fio promises to try to remember to carefully enunciate "iced tea."

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