[PW] Stumper: Beautiful Sounding Word Award

Lesley K klesleyk at gmail.com
Wed May 19 15:21:27 PDT 2021

I think that the phenomenon you are looking for is "phonaesthetics".
Although it is a popular subject for informal polls, I doubt very much
there is any sort of award - none of the articles on the topic I skimmed
mentioned it at least - but all sorts of famous writers have chosen their
favorites:  Tolkien was famously fond of "cellar door", Joyce of
"cuspidor", etc.

More on phonaesthetics:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phonaesthetics

The "pavement" selection probably is a misremembering of the words of
Arnold Bennet - "Now it is indubitable that words differ in beauty of
sound. To my mind one of the most beautiful words in the English language
is "pavement." Enunciate it, study its sound, and see what you think."
(From the essay Literary Taste:  How To Form It (1909) -
https://www.gutenberg.org/files/3640/3640-h/3640-h.htm in case your patron
is interested in the context.)

On Wed, May 19, 2021 at 4:30 PM Emily Crowley <
Emily.Crowley at jeffcolibrary.org> wrote:

> Greetings,
> Is anyone aware of a group that selects one beautiful sounding word in the
> English language each year for an award?  A patron believes that there was
> such an award at one time and recalls that about 10 years ago the word
> "pavement" was the winner.  Apparently the meaning does not matter, the
> criteria is how it sounds.  I've found lists of the "most beautiful words
> in the English language" on many sites, but nothing that is awarded yearly
> based on the sound of the word alone.
> Thanks for your help!
> Emily
> Jefferson County, Colorado
> _______________________________________________
> Project Wombat - Project-wombat
> list at project-wombat.org
> http://www.project-wombat.org/

-- Lesley Knieriem
   Rogers Public Library
   Rogers AR

Nunc adeamus bibliothecam, non illam quidem multis instructam libris, sed
exquisitis. -- Erasmus

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