Friday, October 01, 2010

The Phoenix

The phoenix (Ancient Greek: Φοῖνιξ, phoínix, Persian: ققنوس, Arabic: العنقاء) is a mythical sacred firebird that can be found in the mythologies of the Persians, Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, Chinese, and (according to Sanchuniathon) Phoenicians.

A phoenix is a mythical bird that is a fire spirit with a colorful plumage and a tail of gold and scarlet (or purple, blue, and green according to some legends). It has a 500 to 1000 year life-cycle, near the end of which it builds itself a nest of twigs that then ignites; both nest and bird burn fiercely and are reduced to ashes, from which a new, young phoenix or phoenix egg arises, reborn anew to live again. The new phoenix is destined to live as long as its old self. In some stories, the new phoenix embalms the ashes of its old self in an egg made of myrrh and deposits it in the Egyptian city of Heliopolis (literally "sun-city" in Greek). It is said that the bird's cry is that of a beautiful song. In very few stories they are able to change into people.

For years I spelled this word PHEONIX .,., I was sure my way was correct !
I pronounced it Fee-on-ix ..
I argued with people that PHOENIX was wrong ,,, it just looks wrong ?
And it also sounds wrong ,, I mean ,, for goodness sake .,.,Fo-en-ix ??
Then that Car Sales place started putting up posters all over town ! 
I consoled myself that they would probably have it wrong ,, after all they were trying to sell the Kia ??
I rested my case.
But time has gone on some and I've done a little more research ....
Oh well ,,, Time, I guess, to finally correct my old school foolishness .,.,
( wonder what numpty English teacher taught me spelling ?  but who needs him now ,, Google spell check is King ! )
Buggar !!!  Oh, didn't I say ?  That's another one I always (used to ) spell wrongly !


Thomas said...

I don't know whether it's any help, but the Americans spell it 'phenix' (but pronounce it the same as the British, namely /FEE-nicks/). Also, in Danish it's 'føniks', and in Graeco-Latin words, 'oe' in English (and Latin) corresponds to Danish 'ø' (cf. English 'oestrogen', Danish 'østrogen').

The Scudder said...

Yeah, but the Yanks can't spell anything right Thomas ! In fact I'm surprised they don't actually spell it Fee-nix !

Phyl said...

Anyone would think you didn't have two dictionary writers in the family!
(And I did notice my respelling of buggar to bugger on msn to you went unnoticed for years till suddenly one day it changed as if by magic!) I had another friend who always spelled embarrassed 'embarassed' for years, eventually I wore her down too and she spells it right now :-)

Alistair said...

I thought you would just have spelled it 'phoenetically'......

The Scudder said...

What pheonomenal comments from y'all !!