Why Is Colonel Pronounced As Kernel

Understanding the intricacies of the English language can be a…

Understanding the intricacies of the English language can be a pain in the neck, especially for non-native speakers. From the silent “e” to the anarchic spelling defying the grammar rules can make it challenging to grasp the language in its entirety.

What Does Colonel Mean?

In British English, colonel is a military title given to the highest-ranking leader of an infantry battalion, regiment, brigade, or division.

In American English, a colonel is a military title awarded to the highest-ranking officer in the army, air force, or marine force. A colonel ranks above a lieutenant colonel and below a brigadier or brigadier general.

white and black printer paper with different words scattered around
Photo by Glen Carrie on Unsplash

Why Is Colonel Pronounced As Kernel?

Pronouncing a word can be easier when you know the origin of the language for an unknown word. The development or evolution of a word over time plays a significant role in how we pronounce it. For the word “colonel,” both the origin and evolution are involved in its pronunciation.

The word “colonel” is pronounced as “kernel in the English language.” This may seem unusual, but there are reasons for it.

The word “colonel” is adapted in English with an Italian and a French influence. In many languages, when a word has two similar sounds, one of these sounds would be altered through time. This process of change is known as dissimilation.

But the question is, how do you spell colonel correctly while writing? Understanding the etymology of the word in terms of spelling and pronunciation will help you remember the word better.

Italian Influence on the Word ‘Colonel’

The first usage of the word was around the 15th century when the Italian Renaissance ruled Europe. The word has its origin in the Italian word “colonnello,” which means “column.” This was because the rank was given to the commander of a column of troops. In simpler words, the word “colonel” was connected with the word column in a similar way a “brigadier” is associated with a brigade.

French Influence on the Word ‘Colonel’

The word was then adopted by the French from the Italians, and this is when the pronunciation first started to change. The French changed the word ‘colonnello’ to ‘coronel’ when translating the term into their language. The language specialists deduced that the French wanted to introduce the “r” sound instead of the two “l” sounds. Therefore, the first “l” sound was changed to “r” in the word.

English Influence on the Word ‘Colonel’

Finally, when the English adopted the word, there were two variants of the word. The one of Italian origin had the letter “l” in it, while the French used the letter “r.” The English and the French always had a contentious yet diplomatic relationship, and they borrowed the word from the French first.

After the dissimilation of the French word “coronel” into English, some Italian treaties were translated into English. In these translations, the spelling “colonel” was used to represent the word’s Italian roots. However, by that time, the “r” pronunciation was widely accepted.

How Do You Spell Colonel the Right Way?

“Colonel” does not have an official way to be spelled in a different way. It should be pronounced in the same way as a kernel. And you may have to extend your English pronunciation to not trip up on the letter combinations. The colloquial pronunciation is just as correct.

There are many reasons why the word is spelled as “colonel” and not “coronel,” so they’re not as simple to answer. To spell “colonel” the right way, you need to consider its origin, evolution, and adaptation in the English language.

To Wrap Up

In a nutshell, the word “colonel” is derived from the Italian and French variations. Since the word is not spelled the way it is pronounced, people are often confused about it while writing. The etymology of the word is discussed in this article to help you understand its background and recall the correct spelling.

Frequently asked questions

What is a kernel in the military?

Colonel, the highest field-grade officer, ranks just below British general officers in most armies or below brigadier in the British forces. An officer of a regiment or brigade was traditionally the commanding officer.

Why do the British say Aluminium?

In fact, Sir Humphrey Davy coined the word aluminium in 1808, apparently by an indecisive British chemist. In his 1812 book Elements of Chemical Philosophy, he used the word “aluminum”, much like Americans today.

Where does the R sound come from in colonel?

Colonel is derived from Latin columella, “a little column.” At some point, a word called “l” became “r,” and the word became known as coronel in French. The coronel was the officer who led a “little column” of troops at the head of a regiment.

Are colonel and kernel the same?

A kernel is an edible portion of a seed, nut, or fruit that is inside a stone or shell. Kernels may also be understood as the essential part of something. The word Kernel is related to the Old English word cyrnel, which means seed, pipp,. A colonel is a senior officer in a military or air force.

What is the most difficult word to pronounce?

  • Colonel
  • Isthmus
  • Squirrel
  • Rural
  • Otorhinolaryngologist
  • Sixth
  • Penguin
  • Anemone

How do the British pronounce colonel?

How do you say the word Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis?

Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis Pronunciation Anomaly, it is pneumo*no*ultrami*croscopic.

Why is Arkansas pronounced Arkansaw?

Why do we pronounce them differently? The name Arkansas derives from the French plural of Native American tribes, whereas Kansas is the English spelling of the same one. Since the letter “s” in French words usually stays silent, we pronounce Bill Clinton’s home state “Arkansaw.”.

What is meant by kernel?

Kernels are the basis of a computer operating system (OS). As the core, all other parts of the OS have basic services. In the OS, the key layer is between the hardware and the OS; it facilitates process and memory management, file systems, device control, and networking.

Why do Brits say lieutenant with an F?

It took time for “locum” to become the French word “lieu”, which is commonly pronounced in French as it is spelled. The English might have heard the French pronounce the compound word lieutenant as a slurring between the first and second syllables.

Why is it pronounced kernel and not colonel?

Around the 17th century, the word appeared in military treaties across Europe. Consequently, both the written form (colonel) and the spoken form (“kernel”) were being used. Combining words in English worked well. Colonel was pronounced c-o-l-os-n-e-l but “kernel.”.

Why is salmon pronounced Samon?

The English language spelled salmon samoun some two centuries ago. As there was no L in the word, therefore it was pronounced as it appeared. Around that time, some Latin people had formed groups for words to reflect their Latin origins. Those words were Salmon.

How do I pronounce Nguyen?

A single syllable is N’win/Ng’win. In Vietnamese, Ng’win is located closest to the correct pronunciation. Two syllables: Noo-yen and Nego-yense.

Why do British pronounce clerk as Clark?

Clark and clerk were both spelled. Since clerk was pronounced with (är) rather than (*r) in the south of England, the vowels in the word did not become (ûr).

What position is a kernel?

Kernels are the central components of a system. The CPU is used to manage the computer and its hardware, particularly memory cycles.

Why Is Colonel Pronounced As Kernel

Pam is an expert grammarian with years of experience teaching English, writing and ESL Grammar courses at the university level. She is enamored with all things language and fascinated with how we use words to shape our world.

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