There are some words we’ve been hearing around the place.

What exactly is a shemozzle, and why is Peter Costello talking about it? How do you pronounce carillon, and why is Perth’s “Carillon City” spelt with only one i?

UWA linguist Daniel Midgley tries to resolve these and other matters of import on this episode of Talk the Talk.

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Show notes


Peter Costello originally twigged my interest in ‘shemozzle’.

It comes from Yiddish ‘schlemazel’

A bit about Yiddish.

Lots of English words come from Yiddish.

Kerfuffle isn’t Yiddish, though.

The devil is behind the brouhaha.

They teach Yiddish at UC Santa Cruz.


How do you say ‘carillon’? If you read IPA, it’s /kəˈrɪljən/ (The ‘j’ has a ‘y’ sound.)

It’s French.

But the spelling of ‘Carillon City’ does trip up locals from time to time.

Despite the pronunciation, ‘carillon’ has never had an extra ‘i’. At least, not in print to any great extent.