A sample article from the archives of the B.A.S. Speaker
For short forms, pronunciation should govern spelling

from David B. Hadaway to Pro Audio Review

Dave Marx (letters, December 97 issue) asks where the "k" in "mike" comes from as an abbreviation for microphone. One answer is "mikros," Greek for "small." But the real answer is sometimes we need to respell to preserve the pronunciation. By the rules, "mic" is pronounced "mick" as in "Mickey Mouse." To preserve the long "i" it would have to be spelled "mice," but there's that pesky rodent again. Accepting "mic" leads to further abominations such as "mics," "miced," and "micing." The American Heritage Dictionary lists "mike" but not "mic."

[Pronunciation is indeed the key, as with "fridge" and "bike" and numerous other examples. "Mic" became the industry norm in part because American console mike inputs were often labeled "mic."-a legitimate abbreviation with a period-and when audio manufacturing went overseas, this quickly, albeit understandably, became the irritating and ubiquitous "mic" and the truly unbelievable "micing"!-DRM.]




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updated 11/11/04