Word of the Day: prosopopoeia

It’s Friday! I say this because you’ll might want to appreciate that fact because the following story is one that you may want to forget.

Today’s Word:


As in:

About a decade ago, it was announced that a Finnish academic plans to record the songs of Elvis Presly — in ancient Sumerian. Jukka Ammondt, who is well-known for his translation skills and penchant for translating Presly’s songs into “dead” languages, has already put a set of the songs of “The King” into Latin.

The trick this time, given that Sumerian died out around 2,000 BC, is figuring out how to pronounce the cuneiform words. It is rumored that Dick Clark is being asked to help with this endeavor, given that, likely, he is the only living being who possibly remembers the sound of this ancient Semitic language.

And, it seems that Ammondt has lined up a singer with significant lingual ability to croon the hits of the 50s in the language of the 2000s BC. This singer, in fact, may try to add prosopopoeia into his act, dressing as Elvis, and crooning, not only in Sumerian, but in Cantonese.

His name is Barry Cox. He’s an Englishman, one as white as Prince Charles. Cox speaks Cantonese, and has made quite a name for himself as a singer among the Chinese immigrants in England. The difficulty of Cantonese, with its distinct and challenging tones, and Cox’s brilliant mastery of this language, give him a distinct advantage over other would-be Sumerian singers. Cox’s popularity among the Cantonese speaking has left him the recipient of many awards, and quite a large fan base. Says one fan, “We think he’s gleat. Yeah, you know, he’s pletty fry — for a white guy.”


I told you you’d probably want to forget this one. But when it occurred to me, I laughed out loud, and I must say, that indicated to me that it had to be done. So I did it. It’s a long story to set up one punchline, but we sacrifice a lot for our respective arts, and this is no exception.

prosopopoeia: / pro-SOH-poh-POH-ee-ah / 1. A figure in which an absent, dead, or imaginary person is represented as speaking. Each of those adjectives describes Elvis.