Wednesday, January 06, 2010


I'm listening to "The Human Spark" on PBS right now. Alan Alda is exploring primitive man. He keeps saying "Neandertal". I studied this stuff years and years ago in grade or high school, and back in those neolithic times, we called early man "Neanderthal". Every time Alan says "Neandertal", I get a tic.

Maybe he's right. I don't know. I do remember suffering great confusion when out of the blue the capital of China quit being Peking and started being Beijing. I'm guessing the people of China got ticked that the Westerners started calling Beijing something else because it was easier for them.

But I really, really doubt that there's a coalition of pissed off Neanderthals demanding political correctness.

Or everything I ever learned in school was wrong, wrong, wrong.


Gwen said...

I desperately want to know this as well! It was always NeandertHal, and then suddenly I heard expert-sounding people on TV saying it without the H. I am confounded.

But then, I also want to know if we've officially started saying "hoofs" and "roofs" instead of "hooves" and "rooves," as I learned in school. That's fine if we have, I just need to know for sure.

pj said...

Well, professor, you would have been my go-to person on this. Now who do we ask?