A friend has given me a tiny but exquisite saxifrage, a very kind and welcome gift.
But do I call it a SAXeeFRAYDGE or a SAXeeFRIDGE or a SAXeeFRARga?
SAXeeFRIDGE is the pronunciation on various Hear English Words websites, but my father says SAXeeFRAYDGE. Should I continue a family tradition at the risk of sounding, well, wrong?
TV gardening programmes avoid this problem by using the Latin genus name SAXeeFRARGA. Would it be safer to use that, or will SAXeeFRARGA make me sound pretentious?
Ah well. My comfort must be that, given my history of keeping alpine plants alive, it won't be a problem for long.
Photo of Saxifraga paniculata by Bernd Haynold
Sunday Rest: saxifrage. This word comes from the Latin saxifraga, from saxum, rock, and frangere, to break. This is probably not because the roots of the plant destroy the rocks they live on, but because they used to be used for treating kidney stones.
Mind you, I wouldn't be surprised if the two things are linked.
As a matter of fact my Collins dictionary agrees with my father: SAXeeFRAYDGE.