February 27, 2008 Bonus Bonus Blog Post
Here's a Western word that gives many people fits:
Chaps or Shaps?
"My husband is a real fan of the Western Channel and your True Western Moments. Yesterday he watched one of your video blogs regarding Cowboys' Chaps and told me you said 'the correct pronounciation was CHaps instead of SHaps.' Is he correct, did you say this? Or did he misunderstand? I've always taken it to be pronounced SHaps and am now totally confused. This is going to be a 'na-na-na-boogie' moment for one of us. You can restore peace to our home by letting us know."
What happened was this: we were on a shoot at Pioneer Living History Museum, north of Phoenix, and I was in the corral doing a segment on the different variety of chaps. When I pronounced it as "shaps," a cowboy, in the background yelled out "Chaps," and it was funny, and we left it in the final bit.
Okay, let's see what a third party, say Marshall Trimble, might say on this subject:
"I would say it’s a matter of choice. As you know, chaps is the abbreviation of the Spanish word, chaparejos (chah-par-ray-hose). So, it could be 'shaps' “chaps' or even 'chops'. Here’s another comparison: Chaparral is pronounced shaparral, not chaparral. I’d say you were correct in your pronunciation. It’s by far the most familiar."
Yes, I would agree. 'Mericans (as opposed to Americans), and especially Texans (as opposed to Tejanos: Tey-hanos) have a tendency to butcher Spanish with no apologies: example it's Amarillo (Ahm-ah-rio in Spanish) but the Texicans say Am-ah-rillo—rhymes with pillow. Same for San Jacinto, which in spanish is San Ha-seento. Texicans steamroll the battle and the Ha to a hard Jah-seento.
So, I still tend to lean towards Shaps, in deference to the Spanish, but hard-edged cowboys probably prefer Chaps. Choose yer poison Pard.
"Next thing yer gonna tell us is it ain't Hoose-gow fer jail."
—Some smart cowboy
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