“Organ” As In…

Do you remember the scene in the Pirates of Penzance where they clarify the meaning of the word pronounced (with appropriate accent, of course):

When you said “orphan”, did you mean “orphan”, a person who has lost his parents, or “often”, frequently?

Accents are a pretty significant contributing factor to whether or not people can understand each other. Usually, it’s not a big deal, as context provides any necessary assistance.

However, when you are a grade 6 school boy taking a spelling test who clearly neglected to pay attention to the sentence provided using the word in context, accents become a huge stumbling block! I overheard this question from an American student after hearing the spelling word “organ” from the Australian teacher…

Do you mean “organ”, like an instrument that you play, or “Oregon”, like the state?


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