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January 19, 2007

Hit and Run, Redux
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 08:16 AM * 51 comments

You’ll recall this same accident discussed earlier in Making Light.

Now, from today’s The News and Sentinel:

Police Still Investigating November 16 Hit & Run

State police continue to seek the public’s help locating the driver of a vehicle that struck a pedestrian on Route 3 in Columbia on the evening of November 16, 2006. Paul Corriveau, 68, of Berlin, was very seriously injured, said Sgt. Bret Beausoleil, and police are still working to find members of his family.

Suspected in the accident is a 1993-98 Jeep Grand Cherokee, which would be missing a driver’s side mirror and have damage to the driver’s side front bumper. So close to the Vermont border, police are not positive that the vehicle involved was registered in New Hampshire, but they did confirm that 200 Jeep Cherokees were registered in Coös County.

“We’ve tried to actually take a look at the ones we’ve been able to locate,” Sgt. Beausoleil said, “But we haven’t had the luck we need yet.” Mr. Corriveau is conscious but unable to communicate, Sgt. Beausoleil said, and police are still looking for his next of kin. Although a woman was found to have lived with Mr. Corriveau for a time, she was unable to help police in their efforts. She did mention a son who may be living in the Concord area, Sgt. Beausoleil said, but she did not know his name.

Anyone with any information in this case is asked to notify state police at 603-846-3333.

Comments on Hit and Run, Redux:
#1 ::: Dave MB ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2007, 10:44 AM:

I don't want to distract from the serious purpose of this entry, but if linguistic trivia isn't on-topic for this blog then nothing is.

The article you quote wrote "Coos County" with a diaresis (a double dot, like an umlaut) over the second "o". Normally this means that a pair of vowels that might otherwise be a dipthong is split. You sometimes see a diaresis over the second "o" in "cooperate", and I remember from school Latin that there was one over the "e" in the Greek name "Danae", because "ae" is normally a dipthong in Latin but it isn't in that word.

The county's name rhymes with "goose", doesn't it? They've spelled it as if it were pronounced "coe-oss". But maybe it is? I'm in the next state over but I don't recall ever hearing the name.

#2 ::: Kelley Shimmin ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2007, 11:33 AM:

According to Wikipedia (which I realize is only as in the know as whoever writes in it), it is Coos County, pronounced /ˈko.ɑs/ with two syllables.

#3 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2007, 11:36 AM:

It's pronounced, as the diaresis would indicate, "Coe-oss." (There's a Coos County in Oregon, as well, but I have no idea how the folks there pronounce it. Different place anyhow.)

#4 ::: Silverfox ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2007, 11:50 AM:

In German you'd pronounce it co-oes ö standing for pronounciation as diphtong oe.

#5 ::: Dave MB ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2007, 11:51 AM:

Cool! So the diaresis wasn't a misprint or mistake. Thanks!

#6 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2007, 12:02 PM:

The one is Oregon rhymes with 'goose', AFAIK. (Although on thinking about it, I'm not sure I've ever heard it pronounced by anyone from that area.)

#7 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2007, 12:37 PM:

I'd say the pronunciation is more like Co-has, but that's just my New York ear trying to phoneticize a northern New England dialect. (I can't even do the local pronunciation of "sure.")

Meantime, if you are related to the gentleman, or know someone who is, the hospital would like to hear from you.

And if you know who was driving that car, or where the car might be, the police would like to hear from you.

The gentleman had absolutely frightening injuries.

#8 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2007, 01:33 PM:

In German you'd pronounce it co-oes ö standing for pronounciation as diphtong oe.

German does not indicate diphthong oe with 'ö'. 'Ö' is used to indicate a round mid front vowel (whereas 'o' indicates a round mid back vowel). A diphthong is, as the name implies, two vowels; /ö/ is a single vowel, albeit one that does not exist in English, and one that is frequently taught in American classes by instructing pupils to say /o/ and /e/ (as in bet) simultaneously.

#9 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2007, 01:44 PM:

Speaking of linguistic trivia...that's one of those words that gets reanalyzed to suit English. In English, a syllable cannot start with /fθ/ (where θ is the initial sound in English 'thing'). So the word gets pronounced /dip'θo(ng)/, which sounds like a very small bathing suit. In fact the 'di-' is the same one as in 'dihydrogen monoxide', and 'phthong' is the Greek word for vowel. So it should be /di'fθo(ng)/ or perhaps /di'fθong/ (with an /n/ and /g/ rather than /(ng)/ which is how I'm writing the ending sound of 'ending'.

I have discussed before how a similar phenomenon led me to misanalyze 'helicopter' for years. It's from 'helico-' "spiral" and 'pter' "wing."

#10 ::: kate ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2007, 01:49 PM:

Concord? Has this been stuck in places like the _Democrat_ and the _Union Leader_? (I dunno if Concord has a newspaper. I can't imagine it doesn't, I just don't know it.)

Because no offense meant to the _News and Sentinel_, but it is somewhat more... local than those other two.

#11 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2007, 02:29 PM:

The Concord Monitor is Concord's paper.

I have no idea where the state police have put notices. Perhaps in the Union Leader, perhaps in the Concord Monitor, perhaps in The Boston Globe. Perhaps not.

#12 ::: Connie H. ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2007, 02:41 PM:

Sounds like it would be a good subject for a Letter to the Editor for the Union-Leader....

#13 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2007, 02:58 PM:

Is Mr. Corriveau's condition improved, at all? It's been two months.

#14 ::: theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2007, 03:14 PM:

Xopher, maybe you can't start an English syllable with /fθ/, but you sure can start a chemical one; "phthalate" is a good example.

#15 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2007, 03:51 PM:

Right. And most English speakers would stumble over that. And 'naphthalene' is usually pronounced with a p before the θ.

#16 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2007, 04:11 PM:

And 'ophthalmologist' is usually pronounced 'opthamologist'.

#17 ::: Abby ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2007, 04:57 PM:

IME, the "phth" sound is not hard to make in English if you think of the syllable division as coming in the middle of it. So, for example,

diff-thong
diff-theria
off-tha-mologist (oddly, the f-th sound is easy for me, but the "al-mol" sound is hard)

But fthay-late is harder, since the "f" can't naturally be moved to an earlier syllable.

#18 ::: Wristle ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2007, 05:14 PM:

Seems to me that phthistic is a perfectly good English word, if a bit arcane. Richard FArine used in repeatedly in Been Down So Long, Looks Like Up To Me.

#19 ::: theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2007, 06:07 PM:

Except that it's usually pronounced "tisick"...

#20 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2007, 06:21 PM:

I have a running disagreement with my husband about whether to pronounce the second P in "apoptosis".

#21 ::: Steff Z ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2007, 06:46 PM:

"Archaeopteryx" and "helicopter" help the case for pronouncing the second 'p' in "apoptosis," since the second part of the compound word starts with a 'pt' in all of them. If the prefix weren't there, then you wouldn't pronounce the 'p' sound. But it is there. So there!

Whichever of you is saying "apo-tosis" also has to say "helico-ter" from now on.

I do hope they catch that driver soon. And not just for revenge; also to minimize future damage. I don't want someone who drives like that, driving around the same planet as I do.

#22 ::: jeffk ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2007, 07:13 PM:

In Oregon, the county named Coos does indeed rhyme with goose.

A number of years ago in Oregon, a friend of a coworker was hit and seriously injured by a black SUV while riding her bike, and I don't know that the driver or the SUV was ever tracked down. I was struck by the vehicle similarities between that case and this one.

#23 ::: rjh ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2007, 07:27 PM:

The pronunciation guide that I've found best for the various phth sounds is to say "off the wall" with normal pronunciation that slurs the words together.

These are usually from the Greek phi-theta, which often mutated into pi-tau over time. This mutation is common to all human languages. phi-theta is very fragile.

#24 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2007, 07:40 PM:

rjh #23: That's just so pi-thetic.

#25 ::: Lydia Nickerson ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2007, 11:04 PM:

One of my greatest fears is to be killed without ID on my person, and to be unidentifiable at the morgue. I always carry my driver's license, because I want the authorities to be able to notify someone who knows me so they can tell other people who know me. Alas, it has done Mr. Corriveau little good.

When I was younger, I used to wonder how it was that people found out about the deaths of their friends. I had thought that there needed to be some formal process. Friendship doesn't work like that, thank goodness; we need each other too badly. The most frightening thing about Mr. Corriveau's story is that it doesn't seem as if anyone is looking for him.

#26 ::: Lydia Nickerson ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2007, 11:08 PM:

Jim, what does "conscious but unable to communicate" mean? Is this polite for "vegetable" or does he have a better prognosis than that? After 2 months, he's still not able to communicate...that looks really pretty bad to my layman's eye.

#27 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2007, 11:20 PM:

I don't know exactly what "conscious but unable to communicate" means ... I suspect it means that he can open his eyes and look at you, but can't talk, write, point to words, or do a blink-code. Knocked back to three-year-old developmentally? Memory wiped? I'm not his current caregiver.

He was badly injured.

#28 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2007, 02:26 PM:

Lydia - I live by myself in a city where I don't have any family, so I worry about the same thing - in an emergency, would anyone be contacted? I put a Post-It on the back of my driver's license with my emergency contact info. The other thing that's been strongly recommended to me is to identify my emergency contacts in my mobile phone - I have them as both 'ICE Parents' and 'ICE Brother' as well as 'Emerg Contact 1' and 'Emerg Contact 2' ('ICE' is 'in case of emergency').

Jim, any thoughts?

#29 ::: Lydia Nickerson ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2007, 02:33 PM:

debcha #28

One of the many times I lost my PalmPilot (don't ask), the kind guy at the lost and found at the bus company called the person identified as "Mom" in the phone list, who called me, and I was able get it back only five days after I'd lost it. Somedays the universe is too kind.

Somedays, I think of getting my SSN tatooed on my butt.

#30 ::: RedMolly ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2007, 03:04 PM:

A story, perhaps apocryphal, from a friend who was an EMT in Santa Cruz: a thick-bearded, much-tattooed biker fellow was brought into the ER with a gunshot wound to the head. Among his tattoos was one that read, in florid Gothic script, "If found call [name] at [number]."

An attending nurse duly telephoned; the elderly woman who answered sighed heavily and said, "Sounds like you've got my son on your hands. I told him to put my number on his arm somewhere so they'd be able to let me know when someone finally killed him."

Not sure if the man survived or not...

#31 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2007, 03:20 PM:

After 9/11, I briefly toyed with the idea of getting tattooed on every force-separable part of my body, so that any part found could be identified as me.

Fortunately, I got over it fast.

#32 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2007, 03:22 PM:

I put neat, legible labels on either side of my motorcycle helmet reading, "In case of accident, DO NOT remove helmet" so that passersby don't accidentally paralyze me. I never gave too much thought to emergency contact info, though. I guess that comes from being a single guy living far from my family.

I have heard of people tucking emergency contact cards inside their helmets. Is this a reasonable idea/will anybody in authority look there?

For non-bike related issues, I rely on the assumption that my wallet is unlikely to get separated from my (injured) person.

Maybe I need to give this a little bit of thought.

Oh, and in re: tattooing such things - IMO almost as bad an idea as tattooing someone else's name on your body. That's just asking for it.

#33 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2007, 03:24 PM:

Xopher - Better than a tattoo: your DNA. It's already attached to every part of your body, force-separable or not.

#34 ::: y ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2007, 05:37 PM:

Whenever I hear someone mispronouncing pterodactyl, or that poor little psammead, I get into a pterrible psnit. Psmith would know how to deal with these phthoughtless pfellows.

#35 ::: janine ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2007, 06:03 PM:

Due to a misunderstanding, I was recently unfindable by friends for a couple of hours. They called everyone in our circle and were contemplating calling my dad when we got in contact.

As a single woman living alone, it is huge relief to know that, if I go missing, someone will come looking for me.

#36 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2007, 07:31 PM:

y #34: I must ptell Ptolemy about that.

#37 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2007, 08:10 PM:

Larry #33: when I realized that any occurrence that would destroy my DNA would also destroy any tattoos, I gave up that idea.

The trouble is that as far as I know there's no easily available exemplar for my DNA. I guess they could find epithelials and an occasional hair (not a head hair though) in my apartment.

#38 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2007, 08:16 PM:

Mike Ford used to talk about having every important info put on a laminated card in your wallet. If I did that, the font would have to be in negative size. I have a bright pink piece of paper folded in the bill section of my wallet so EMERGENCY INFORMATION can be seen first. Everything else is on the other side of the paper.

#39 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2007, 10:06 PM:

There are Medic Alert bracelets that have a phone number you can call, where the nice people have your whole medical history. A Medic Alert bracelet with the words "See Wallet Card" will also help. Oftentimes the police on scene will grab the wallet before we can get to it.

The ICE thing on your cell phone is a good idea -- can't hurt, might help. (I have it on mine.)

Tattoos on body parts: I'm told that civillians in Baghdad are having their names and phone numbers tattooed on their thighs.

FWIW, motorcycle and snowmobile helmets are always transported to the hospital in the same ambulance with the patient, and taken into the ED, at least around here.

Some people talk about having their DNR status tattooed on their chests.

Please, folks, consider putting a Vial of Life in your refrigerator. You're far more likely to be home when bad things happen than anywhere else.

#40 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2007, 11:30 PM:

rjh@23: just like a bit in Shaw's Misalliance, where Lena Szczepanowska uses "fish-church" to teach Brits how to pronounce the agglomeration that is so common that Cyrillic has a single character for it.

#41 ::: Older ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2007, 01:33 PM:

When my kids were small, we lived in a large city and they liked to roam, so every day I taped a dime (then the price of a phone call) to each kid's upper arm, and wrote our phone number below it in ballpoint ink. Fortunately, I never had occasion to discover if this sysem would work.

#42 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2007, 02:46 PM:

Older @41

I write my mobile phone number on the arm of each of my children before we go out into crowded situations. I've instructed them to show the arm to persons in authority (described on a case by case basis) if they get lost.

Like you, I've never had to discover whether this trick would work.

#43 ::: RedMolly ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2007, 03:15 PM:

Abi @ 42: My kids have been instructed, should they ever find themselves lost, to find a mom with kids to help them. Moms tend to be thicker on the ground than security guards or police officers; on the one occasion we've misplaced a child (at a book signing, natch) he immediately found a mom who took him up to the cash register and had us summoned over the loudspeaker.

(Also, my younger son is afraid of anyone in uniform and would probably hide in a corner rather than approach a police officer.)

#44 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2007, 03:50 PM:

RedMolly @43:

That is an excellent idea, actually, if they're in a country where the local mothers are likely to speak English. (So the UK, the US, and the Netherlands, but not France, where we often holiday).

When we go to a new country, I try to find a police officer (airports are good for this) and explain the local markers to the kids. So here in the UK they know to look for black and white checkerboard; in the US they look for the badge and shoulder patch, etc. Every police officer I have asked to model for this discussion has been polite and helpful.

When Worldcon came to Glasgow, I instructed then then 4 year old to find the person with the most ribbons on their badge and turn himself over to them. (The then 18 month old wasn't going anywhere on her own.)

#45 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2007, 07:39 PM:

Jim, I do indeed always (so far) get picked up by EMTs at home. There's a bright pink paper on the back of the door, next to my desk, in the drawer by my recliner, and with my meds as well as in my wallet. There's one in the visor of my blue-interior car, too.

#46 ::: glinda ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2007, 07:46 PM:

Jim @ #39:

Thank you for the Vial of Life recommendation. My only gripe, and I'm going to email them about it, is that there's only space to list 10 medications.

*wanders off to get a copy of my living will, a baggie, and some packaging tape*

#47 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2007, 04:01 AM:

Janine #35: Due to a misunderstanding, I was recently unfindable by friends for a couple of hours. They called everyone in our circle and were contemplating calling my dad when we got in contact.

Same thing recently happened to me. It's surprisingly, and kind of dirtily, reassuring.

#48 ::: Jonathan Cohen ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2007, 05:47 PM:

The way in which I first learned about Coös County was fom Robert Frost's poem, The Witch of Coös. Unfortunately, the name isn't in the verse, so we don't know how Frost would have pronounced it.

#49 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2007, 09:21 PM:

There is a company that advertises ID in bracelet and dogtag-style in bicycle magazines ... this is something similar. Ah, the company is Road ID - shoe tags for runners, bracelets, anklets, dogtags - and gift certificates for your running/biking friends and relatives. Laser engraved on steel for about $20. Smart idea, the gift card.

Googling for this, I found that a remarkable number of requests for the identity of incapacitated bicycles exist online. That strongly suggests doing something about it.

#50 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2007, 09:44 PM:

Runners too. I was in a bicycling/running gear store in Seattle this spring when a long-absent regular customer came in, and explained that he hadn't been in for a while because he suffered a brain hemorrhage while running. Alone. Without I.D.

#51 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2007, 11:06 PM:

Jonathan@#48 :The way in which I first learned about Coös County was from Robert Frost's poem, The Witch of Coös.

Oddly enough, that's where I first learned about it, as well, in an undergraduate Frost seminar. Little did I know at the time that eventually I would be living up here in North of Boston country.

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