Letter: Language can be tangled puzzle (Feb. 8, 2023)


February 8, 2023


Thanks to Roberta McKern for her always-interesting stories from our museum.

I had wondered for decades why “Lyma” Ohio, but “Leema” Peru. I found out, when I went to Peru in the 1990s. 

The Spanish conquistadores asked the locals what they called the nearby river.

“Rimac,” they responded.

Well, Spaniards use a rolled ‘r’ and didn’t catch the “r” that we Americans now use. So the Spaniards heard “Lima” because they also missed the glottal stop indicated by the ‘c’ at the end. A glottal stop is silent, by shutting off the throat for an instant, like ...

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