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spelled whippen? or wippen?
#651387 03/23/03 03:43 PM
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I had the pleasure of browsing thru Larry Fines Piano Book at the bookstore today. I ran
across the word “whippen” spelled without an “h” in it ....I noticed Larry spells it as
”wippen”? ....is that the correct spelling? in my Reblitz book its spelled “whippen” if i'm not mistaken. I’ve always thought that the word was spelled with an “h” in it.... just wondered who has it right, Arthur or Larry?

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Re: spelled whippen? or wippen?
#651388 03/23/03 04:32 PM
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Jim,the recently adopted spelling change by the PTG is wippen,though some by force of habit still smile spell it whippen.


G.Fiore "aka-Curry". Tuner-Technician serving the central NJ, S.E. PA area. b214cm@aol.com Concert tuning, Regulation-voicing specialist.
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Re: spelled whippen? or wippen?
#651389 03/24/03 08:25 AM
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curry,
thanks for your answer on that, i wasn't aware the ptg had changed the spelling.. i think Larry's book is excellent and i plan on getting my copy this week.. i've had the piano servicing, tuning, and rebuilding book by Arthur Reblitz since 1984 when i first started tuning pianos..it was recommended to me, way back then, by my friend and piano tuning teacher Roger Nicols.. its been the most useful book i have ever owned, and now that Larry's book has come along, it will be a great addition to refer to it as well..i'm so glad i found this forum & appreciate all the great knowledge here..
thank you again smile

jm

Re: spelled whippen? or wippen?
#651390 03/24/03 09:13 AM
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Many words used in piano technology come from factory jargon. Many of the early piano builders in the USA were from Germany. "Wippen" (pronounced vippen) is a German verb which means "to rock". In some other languages, the part is referred to as a "rocker".

Names given to things or people often stick regardless of their propriety, such as the name "Indian" that Columbus gave the native inhabitants of the Caribbean islands he "discovered" in 1492. Today, everyone knows our Native Americans are not from India but we still call them by that name by force of habit.

Not knowing of the origin of the word "Wippen", Americans began to spell it with an "h". I used to think it was derived from the word, "Whip" which would mean it would properly have the letter "h" in it. Many people call them "Whips", including piano supply houses. I don't think I have seen "Wips" yet.

PTG has an official nomenclature publication and maintains a current list which is subject to change if the Membership wants it to. Recently, the discovery of the origin of the word prompted PTG to change the official spelling to "Wippen". However, as with many words in any dictionary, there are often alternate spellings. This means essentially that either spelling is correct and acceptable but "Wippen" is simply now the preferred spelling.


Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
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Re: spelled whippen? or wippen?
jm #2333876 10/04/14 01:14 AM
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For anyone finding this post in 2014 or later.

Mr. Bremmer is certainally correct.  You can download APPGLOSS.PDF from:

http://www.ecosystems.me/system/465452/

Provides Appendix B: Glossary (complete) from the publication
"Pianos Inside Out" - Copyright © 2013 by Mario Igrec.   This would appear to collaborate his statements.

Re: spelled whippen? or wippen?
jm #2334083 10/04/14 05:52 PM
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I prefer Whippen. It carries more of the SOUND of the german V than spelling it as Wippen. The lack of an h in english changes the etymology of the phonetics.


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According to NASA, 93% of the earth like planets possible in the known universe have yet to be formed.
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Re: spelled whippen? or wippen?
jm #2334085 10/04/14 06:03 PM
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Well.....neither wippen or whippen are in Webster's dictionary....lol! However... Whipping is in there and the "H" is silent! So that settles it. You can spell it any way you want, but it all sound the same.


Ken Zaleski
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Re: spelled whippen? or wippen?
jm #2334098 10/04/14 06:59 PM
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Saying "wipping" sounds different than saying "whipping". I make a distinction between saying "whi" and "wi" as in "whip" and "will".


In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible.
According to NASA, 93% of the earth like planets possible in the known universe have yet to be formed.
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Re: spelled whippen? or wippen?
jm #2334107 10/04/14 07:15 PM
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Tomato..Tom-ah-toe....lol. I know....we need Alex Trebek...he knows everything. thumb


Ken Zaleski
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Re: spelled whippen? or wippen?
jm #2334114 10/04/14 07:33 PM
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Re: spelled whippen? or wippen?
jm #2334125 10/04/14 07:55 PM
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Omg....ROFLMAO...that's funny


Ken Zaleski
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Re: spelled whippen? or wippen?
Miguel Rey #2334151 10/04/14 09:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Miguel Rey


In German, that would be "Kyool Vip," with a silent "y".


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but at least I'm slow.
Re: spelled whippen? or wippen?
Ed McMorrow, RPT #2334190 10/05/14 12:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
I prefer Whippen. It carries more of the SOUND of the german V than spelling it as Wippen. The lack of an h in english changes the etymology of the phonetics.


I actually agree with this. I don't usually debate Ed McMorrow about anything since his focus on Piano Technology is in a fundamentally different place than mine. That is not to say that I have found much of anything upon which to disagree with him. He has his focus and I have mine.

Nevertheless, as a person who speaks three languages fluently and have some working knowledge of three more, (which includes some knowledge of German), what I know is that a word in the English language is spelled as it is most commonly because of the frequency with which people use it and how they use it, including how they spell it. Dictionaries such as can be found online often list alternate spellings but usually do not stipulate that a less common spelling is inappropriate.

For example, on our recent trip to a town near the Mississippi River where we all went on a river boat cruise, the origin of the word, "highfalutin" came up. The way I just spelled it is the way a dictionary lists it. The dictionary also says the origin is unknown or not clear. However, I have long known that it comes from a colloquialism used during the time when people used the river boat for actual transportation.

The people on such a boat who could afford a first class ticket went to the upper decks where it was cooler and less crowded than the cheaper seats below. There were chimneys which could have themselves been perceived as "flutes" or the tops of them been known to be "fluted" as in the image below:

[Linked Image]

The people who could afford to travel on the upper decks were literally "high fluting" people. That term could have easily morphed its pronunciation to "high falutin' ". The dictionary just combines the two words and eliminates the apostrophe. But that means that the expression itself could be spelled, "high fluting", high flutin' ", high falutin' " or simply, "highfalutin" as the dictionary suggests is the most common spelling. No particular variant is really more correct than the other because of the origin of the word. It is most commonly a spoken more than written word. So is "whippen" and "wippen".

Upon a quick check with Google translate (which we all know can be useful or lead us astray, so any directly translated word using that tool can result in quite a laughable result), the fourth definition that I found for "wippen" a verb in German, is to "bob up and down". I found that to be the most appropriate translation in this context.

American English nomenclature developed largely from piano factory jargon in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. At that time, there were many German immigrants. Apparently, the verb, "wippen" is a less commonly used verb in German. However, if it was observed that the Repetition Assembly (as one could choose to call it but elicit the question, "The what?") by a German speaking factory worker "bobbed (or rocked) up and down", then the German verb, "wippen" could easily have been applied to that observation. Other workers who did not understand German, would have heard it and took the word into their vocabulary.

Across the decades, the origin of the word was most likely forgotten (as with "highfalutin") but as they say, "The name stuck". The "v" sound or the "w" in German, morphed into the "w" sound of English but perhaps as Ed so astutely suggests, with the slight distinction between "w" and "wh" (the latter which is pronounced more like, "hw").

I used to think that "whippen" implied a "whipping" motion until I heard of the German verb origin. Then, I thought that "whippen" was incorrect and the word should be spelled "wippen". But I must admit that I was always uncomfortable with that spelling. It just did not seem right. I have a nomenclature book with piano terms in 6 languages. It offers the word this way: "w(h)ippen". In other words, that publication had noted that the term was often spelled both ways but was not making a judgment about that.

Let's take an example from English: Do you make a pronunciation distinction between, "whether" and "weather"? "Which" and "witch". I do, although the distinction is slight. Do you pronounce the word, "what" as "wut" or as "hwut"?
I pronounce it both ways, depending on the formality of the circumstances. Same as for "why" as either "hwi" or simply, "wi" (as in, Wi-Fi). No one would ever say, "hwi-fi", lol.

I am not a linguistics expert but I know a lot about that subject because of experience. I know how distinctions in dialects occur and how one language morphs into another such as Latin into modern Italian and the ancient Anglo-Saxon tongue into modern English. Both of those examples have many variants. I give credit to Ed in this instance for his very astute observation. The "v" sound of the original German verb could have easily morphed into the "hw" sound. Therefore, the word does seem instinctively to me to be better pronounced as "hwippen" rather than "wippen".

So, the answer to your question is that you may choose to spell or pronounce it either way and you will be understood. Only the most pedantic of people would ever bat an eye over it. Neither one is really any more correct than the other. In light of Ed's observation however, I think I am going to go back to spelling it as "whippen" because I tend to pronounce it that way anyway, in spite of knowing that the word's origin was pronounced, "vippen". If I were to write an article for the PTG Journal, however which used that term, I would ask the editor which witch is currently en vogue. Whatever answer I got would be the correct answer, to be sure.







Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
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Re: spelled whippen? or wippen?
jm #2334220 10/05/14 04:38 AM
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While I find the proposed etymology amusing, I doubt that there is much veracity to it. German is my mother tongue, so I am in a position to back up this assertion.

In German, "wippen" is an infinitive, meaning "to rock" or "to bob up and down". Unlike what what Bill wrote, it is actually quite commonly used in German: what kids do on a see-saw, and what grandparents do with their grandchildren on their knees, is known exactly as "wippen".

So far, so good. But I doubt that this infinitive would somehow morph into a substantive for a piano part, and here's why:

Firstly:
The see-saw itself, and parts similar in function and shape (like a valve rocker in an engine, also called "Kipphebel" = rocking lever), are called a "Wippe". The plural of "(die) Wippe" is "(die) Wippen". So, if the piano part were called "Wippen" in the substantive-plural sense, then it would literally be translated as "see-saws" or "rocking levers". It doesn't seem plausible to call one part by a plural.

Secondly:
German verbs are conjugated. Something or someone does not "wippen". He/she/it "wippt". To call the piano action part "wippen" (in the verb-sense), would be the same as calling it a "to rock". That doesn't seem very plausible either.

Thirdly:
German piano technicians call this part "Hebeglied", literally translated as a "lifting member", or "lifting lever". And they have been calling it thus for a long time. As far as I can see, they do not see the part (in its function and movement) as "rocking" or "bobbing" or a "see-saw", but rather as a lifter. If anything, "Wippe" might be more appropriately used for the key, because it acts like a rocking lever.

These three trains of thought make the proposed German etymology very improbable, in my opinion. (It's a nice enough story, though. wink )


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Re: spelled whippen? or wippen?
jm #2334313 10/05/14 11:33 AM
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Thanks for that, Mark. You have to remember that American factory jargon developed however it did. Some workers were German, others were Italian or some other ethnicity. If the term, "whippen" does not have its origin in the German verb, "wippen", then you have to say it comes out of thin air which I doubt. I do not doubt at all that a German verb became used as a noun, changed pronunciation and with its origin forgotten, also changed its spelling. The French expression, "rendez-vous" is an example of that. Literally, you could think of it as "render yourself" or better, "be there" but the command form of the verb is used as a noun today in both French and English. A word becomes a word in English because it is what people say and write. There does not have to be any logic behind it. Google it.

Some British call the part a "rocker", others a "lever" and some wippen. The Steinway factory workers in the USA call it a "repetition". Hold one in your hand, look at it and say, "This is a repetition". Does that make any sense?

In France, some call it a "chevalet" wich is the word for a sawhorse. Others call it a "berceuse" which means, literally, "rocker" but in Québec, many technicians simply borrow the word from American English but call it a "ouipenne". In Spain, it is called a "báscula" which is the word for a balance scale but in Mexico, the word, "balancón" is used with the same meaning but the most common word is "palanca" which means "lever". In Italian, it is called a "cavaletto" which is the same meaning as the French, "chevalet" (sawhorse) but is also the word used for an easel or a tripod.


Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
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Re: spelled whippen? or wippen?
jm #3036518 10/17/20 06:37 AM
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This is quite interesting.

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Re: spelled whippen? or wippen?
Mark R. #3036558 10/17/20 08:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Mark R.
While I find the proposed etymology amusing, I doubt that there is much veracity to it. German is my mother tongue, so I am in a position to back up this assertion.

In German, "wippen" is an infinitive, meaning "to rock" or "to bob up and down". Unlike what what Bill wrote, it is actually quite commonly used in German: what kids do on a see-saw, and what grandparents do with their grandchildren on their knees, is known exactly as "wippen".

So far, so good. But I doubt that this infinitive would somehow morph into a substantive for a piano part, and here's why:

Firstly:
The see-saw itself, and parts similar in function and shape (like a valve rocker in an engine, also called "Kipphebel" = rocking lever), are called a "Wippe". The plural of "(die) Wippe" is "(die) Wippen". So, if the piano part were called "Wippen" in the substantive-plural sense, then it would literally be translated as "see-saws" or "rocking levers". It doesn't seem plausible to call one part by a plural.

Secondly:
German verbs are conjugated. Something or someone does not "wippen". He/she/it "wippt". To call the piano action part "wippen" (in the verb-sense), would be the same as calling it a "to rock". That doesn't seem very plausible either.

Thirdly:
German piano technicians call this part "Hebeglied", literally translated as a "lifting member", or "lifting lever". And they have been calling it thus for a long time. As far as I can see, they do not see the part (in its function and movement) as "rocking" or "bobbing" or a "see-saw", but rather as a lifter. If anything, "Wippe" might be more appropriately used for the key, because it acts like a rocking lever.

These three trains of thought make the proposed German etymology very improbable, in my opinion. (It's a nice enough story, though. wink )
I fully agree regarding the matter of the etymology of the word, Mark. Furthermore, the notion that the sound of "wh" in English has an equivalency with the German pronunciation of "w" is also highly spurious. To be honest, that sounds like the kind of mishearing of native sounds in German which derives from coming to the German language at a later age when the brain has already arranged its phonology around English.

Re: spelled whippen? or wippen?
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Of course this thread is from 2014.

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Re: spelled whippen? or wippen?
Ed McMorrow, RPT #3036663 10/17/20 12:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
Saying "wipping" sounds different than saying "whipping". I make a distinction between saying "whi" and "wi" as in "whip" and "will".

You can be my friend!

Those of my generation growing up here in the West of Scotland always pronounced a very distinct /wh/ sound. Whip, which, what, where, when, whales, whether, were NOT the same as wipp, witch, watt, wear, wenn, Wales, weather.

The /wh/ phoneme is exactly equivalent to what is produced in blowing out a candle. It is unvoiced, whereas /w/ is voiced. /wh/ has its own phonetic symbol /ʍ/. There is a related pronunciation /hw/ but it's not quite the same. You can hear actor DeForest Kelley as Dr McCoy in Star Trek 4 The Voyage Home pronounce the word "hwale" quite distinctly.

Nowadays in my area, I find that the high school pupils I teach, no longer much use /ʍ/ and instead have moved towards a more english pronunciation, the plain /w/. THis is called "The wine-whine merger".

When there were ever news reports about the extinction of whales and English newsreaders spoke of "The International Whaling Commission" they always pronounced it "wailing" and I envisaged a large boardroom table with everyone round it in floods of tears!

Re: spelled whippen? or wippen?
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Bill, that's very interesting about highfalutin. My Collins English Dictionary has three spelling options: hifalutin, highfalutin and highfaluting. It has a suggested 19th Century derivation from "flute" but doesn't make the maritime association.

Collins, now part of the large HarperCollins group, were originally a Scottish publisher. A friend of mine as a young woman had a job as a Proofreader with them, BUT, women were not allowed to be called Proofreaders and were paid less than male Proofreaders!


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