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Word for the Wise November 06, 2006 Broadcast Topic: Sax and Sousa

Folks who march to a beat of their own ?and folks who prefer to blow their own horns ?may want to strike up the band in celebration today. Not only is today the birth anniversary of Antoin-Joseph (or Adolphe) Sax (that inventor of the saxophone was born on this date in eighteen-fourteen); it is also the birth anniversary of John Philip Sousa (the inventor of the sousaphone was born on this date in eighteen-fifty-four). (来源:英语麦当劳www.EnglishCN.com)

What better way to mark the occasion than with a look at a few terms bandied about when talking wind instruments? It抯 easy to see how the sousa- and saxo-phones came by those names; the name of the inventor was paired with the noun combining form 杙hone, meaning sound or voice. But that抯 not all those instruments have in common, etymologically speaking.

The saxophone combines the reed mouthpiece of a clarinet with a usually curved conical metal tube, while the sousaphone is a large circular tuba similar to the helicon. The word tuba entered English from Italian but comes ultimately from the Latin word for trumpet. Clarinet, meanwhile, entered English from French, but that French word is believed to have developed from the Italian clarinetto, a diminutive of the Italian word for trumpet. Can you name a third wind instrument with trumpet in its etymology? Try the trombone. Oh, and for those curious about how the trumpet came by that name? Etymologists believe it is imitative in origin.

 
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