Saturday, December 29, 2007

Words that you don't know you know

I just heard from one of my cousins who I haven't heard from in a long time. It is great to hear from her as I've been wondering how she's doing. It will be great to reconnect.

What I found funny is that she now works for a non-profit called Altamaha River Keeper. Turns out the Altamaha is a river in Georgia. I was sure I'd never hear of Altamaha and was puzzling out how to say it - sounding it out and verbally trying to say it. al-ta-ma-ha as soon as I started trying to pronounce it, I started hearing whispers in the corner of my mind. Paying attention, I started hearing my grandmother talking telling me something. The sound came and went - the more I tried the harder it got - which I always find so strange. As soon as I stopped trying so hard I heard it: ottamaha ri-ver
They must be the same. I knew how to say it even though I had no clue I did.

What's weird is that I don't have any specific knowledge about that river. It was just a part of a story that my grandmother was telling about someone she knew. What was funny is that I though the word started with an O which is not a bad assumption as a lot of things there start with O. (Okefenokee Swamp and a lot of the other river names

What's also funny is the "l" in Alta disappeared, but the l in Atlanta remains - it's not ottanta.

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