Answer Man

A Lesson in Purr-nunciation

How you pronounce “jaguar”—the car or the animal—has a lot to do with where you’re from.

Photo Illustration: Jason Jones; Animal: istock; Car: Jaguar USA

What’s the correct pronunciation of “jaguar’’?

It depends on where you’re from. The “standard’’ pronunciation—the first listed in the Merriam-Webster dictionary—is jagwahr. That’s the way the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, which has eight of the big cats in its collection, pronounces it. Ditto for the folks who run Jacksonville’s pro football team, the Jaguars.

Then there are those who use jagwire, including many fans of the football team. Sounds like a Southern thing, right? Maybe not. Tyler McPeek, a linguistics instructor at the University of Florida, says, “I’m a Yankee in every way, and people in the North pronounce it jagwire.’’

But hello, Kitty. The British have another pronunciation, which shows up in TV commercials for the Jaguar luxury car. And it adds a syllable, so that we are urged to drive a jag-u-wer. “The Brits actually have a little bit of a giggle when they come over here and hear’’ jagwahr and jagwire, says Peter Wilson, a Brit and owner of Jaguar Orlando. Those two pronunciations are “completely wrong,’’ he says, laughing.

Another wrinkle: McPeek says the British—particularly Londoners—are “r droppers’’ so maybe what we’re really hearing is not jag-u-wer but jag-u-wuh.

It’s enough to render one catatonic.


Who painted the art on all those traffic control boxes near Mills Avenue and Colonial Drive?

What once were nine ugly silver utility cabinets are now brightly colored masterpieces, thanks to the artists selected by Mills 50 Main Street, a nonprofit group of businesses and residents that promotes the district. Mills 50 got permission from the city to beautify the boxes, then sent out a call for creators, says Joanne Grant, executive director of the group.

The subjects range from a cheerful image of a flower cart to a compelling vision of Medusa. The scenes dot various intersections in the district, which extends along Colonial between Summerlin and Bumby avenues, and along Mills between Concord and Nebraska streets.

Most of the boxes were painted the third weekend in May (some artists painted more than one box). Answer Man recalls that this was also the weekend The Rapture was supposed to happen. So let us praise the art gods that we’re still here to enjoy the talents of Lauren Galant, Michael Fajardo, Danny Rodriguez, Harry Glotfelty, Lee Vandergrift, Genevieve Bernard, and a group of exceptional-education students from Edgewater High School.

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