Pomegranate or the silent “e”

by Anna

Today I suddenly found myself holding a deep red pomegranate in my hands smiling like a cheerful gangster.

“What’s so funny about it?” I hear you say.

Well, for starters, I was standing in the middle of a hospital ward and secondly, I still don’t know how to pronounce it properly. I never had tried one before or had anything remotely to do with it so I never gave it much thought. My pronunciation sounds something like: “pom grenade“. You see the problem here? To be fair, it’s shape would suggest the resemblance, doesn’t it?

I suppose I ought to explain my cultural background of the German language where the German equivalent to the English “grenade” is in fact “Granate”. Can you see what I mean?

It can be utterly confusing, for someone who can’t even distinguish left from right appropriately, to figure out why to pronounce it more like “granite”, which is a different word all together. And due to my Germanic roots I know that “pom” comes from the French “pomme” for apple (because in Germany we eat Pommes (from French for “pomme de terre” (“potato”, or “earth apple”) which is in English “chips” (“Chips” is actually German for the English word “crisps” ), and interestingly the German word for “pomegranate” is accordingly “Granatapfel” which actually (as I only just realised this very minute) means “garnet apple”, not, as previously assumed “grenade apple”.Garnet” also interestingly comes from the old French “grenat” which gives it the same meaning as in German.  Now, I learnt today that it is named according to it’s colour, not shape. And it’s only the English who decide to make the “e” in “pome” audible.

Funnily, the French word for pomegranate is “grenade”, which brings me right back to the beginning!

Anyhow, I got myself in a right pickle now. I had no intention whatsoever to go into such a deep hole filled with all these odd wordings.

I was more inclined to emphasize on the fantastic gesture that a patient would arrange for you to have an oddly looking fruit to try because you don’t know it and also don’t know how to pronounce it. It definitely made my day!

And the morale of the story: try and mispronounce something from time to time – you might get it for free 😉