Correct   Sunday, February 22, 2004, 05:41 GMT
What is the correct way to pronounce this word? To rhyme with ''fork'' or ''dark''?
Jim   Monday, February 23, 2004, 01:16 GMT
To rhyme with "fork". This is what I heard on the radio. The word's coiner said that he had intended to have it rhyme with "quart". It makes sense when you consider other words with "ar" (not followed by "e", "i" or "y") after "w", "wh" or "qu". Consider "war", "ward", "wart".
Correct   Monday, February 23, 2004, 02:47 GMT
You say it should rhyme with ''quart''. That would mean it would be pronounced exactly the same as ''quart'' [k[w]o:[r]t]. That can't be true because it has a ''k'' at the end.
Jim   Monday, February 23, 2004, 04:17 GMT
You're right. I shouldn't have used the word "rhyme" in that context but "sound like".
Jim   Wednesday, February 25, 2004, 05:13 GMT
Here it is from the horse's mouth.

American physicist (1929- )

Gell-Mann worked out a method for grouping baryons into families, and theoretically predicted the existence of quarks.

♣ Etymology of quark

In 1963, when I assigned the name "quark" to the fundamental constituents of the nucleon, I had the sound first, without the spelling, which could have been "kwork." Then, in one of my occasional perusals of Finnegans Wake, by James Joyce, I came across the word "quark" in the phrase "Three quarks for Muster Mark." Since "quark" (meaning, for one thing, the cry of a gull) was clearly intended to rhyme with "Mark," as well as "bark" and other such words, I had to find an excuse to pronounce it as "kwork." But the book represents the dreams of a publican named Humphrey Chimpden Earwicker. Words in the text are typically drawn from several sources at once, like the "portmanteau words" in Through the Looking Glass. From time to time, phrases occur in the book that are partially determined by calls for drinks at the bar. I argued, therefore, that perhaps one of the multiple sources of the cry "Three quarks for Muster Mark" might be "Three quarts for Mister Mark," in which case the pronunciation "kwork" would not be totally unjustified. In any case, the number three fitted perfectly the way quarks occur in nature.

(M. Gell-Mann, The Quark and the Jaguar, W.H. Freeman, New York, 1994, p. 180-181.)


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