What’s a Sundae?

Sundae, meaning a dish of ice cream with topping, is from the Sanskrit sandhi, meaning “a putting together.” It’s a grammatical term for the effect the ends of two words have on each other. This is one of the things that makes Sanskrit hard—The beginnings and ends of words constantly change depending on the words they are next to. Apparently the person (note I didn’t say “guy;” who am I to assume it was a male) who invented the sundae knew Sanskrit, and had a poetic bent, calling the dish a putting together of ice cream and topping.

We don’t exactly have sandhi in English, but sometimes the beginnings and ends of words can have an effect on each other. So be careful how you pronounce what you say. Hence the third panel of this edition of Basic Instructions:

Correctly pronounced, the two s’s (esses?) between the words “brussels sprouts” lasts a hundredth of a second or so longer than in “brussel sprouts” and you can hear it if you listen carefully.

That’s a little bit like sandhi, eh?