It’s Paddy not Patty!

March 17 is St. Patrick’s Day, commemorating the patron saint of Ireland. So, I was rather disappointed to receive this email today from CVS:

The “nickname” for Patrick is Paddy not Patty (St. Patricia?)!

The confusion is uniquely American, and I believe it stems from a pronunciation feature of American English. The “d”s in Paddy are pronounced with a “flap” sound (not a full /d/ as in British and Irish Englishes), which sounds very much like a /t/ — compare “ladder” and “latter”: they sound almost the same in American English. So, it’s not surprising that Paddy might be heard and subsequently misspelled as Patty.

But to turn St. Patrick into a beefburger just doesn’t seem right.

On Brits in America

With thanks to the Living the Scientific Life blog, here’s comedian Ricky Gervais with his Top Ten list of “Stupid Things Americans Say to Brits.”

It’s all in good fun! He missed my pet peeves:

1. I love your accent! (Thanks, it’s all natural.)

2. You’re from England? I went to London once. (Compare: Oh, you’re American? I went to Disneyland once.)