Abbreviations can cause confusion when it comes time to turn them back into standard words. For instance, barbecue is commonly “abbreviated” BBQ, a great boon to those paying for neon signs. Unfortunately, people grow accustomed to seeing a Q, and when it comes time to spell it out, the result is barbeque. This word, however, is not pronounced bar-buh-kew; it is pronounced bar-beck. If you disagree, I want you to start saying an-tih-kew for antique, ob-lih-kew for oblique, teck-nih-kew for technique, and sta-chew-es-kew for statuesque.
There is no Q in barbecue. The Q word pronounced kew is spelled queue. (I swear. If you want to add -ing, it’s queueing. Really. If anyone ever asks you to name an English word with five vowels in a row, you’ve got the answer.) Alert readers have realized by now that the first and last words in the title of this piece rhyme. Let that rhyme be a reminder of how not to spell barbecue.
This is article 22 in a continuing series. © 2010 Christine C. Janson