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Analyst vs annalist

  • Analyst and annalist are commonly confused words that are pronounced in the same way but are spelled differently and have different meanings, which makes them homophones. Homophones are a group of words with different spellings, the same pronunciations, and different meanings. Homophones exist because of our ever-changing English language and are a challenge for those who wish to learn to speak English. It can be difficult to learn how to spell different words that sound the same, and homophones are commonly misused words. Said aloud, the difference is less important, because the words are pronounced the same. The way the spelling and definitions differ can be confusing even to native English speakers when attempting to learn vocabulary correctly. Proper pronunciation of spoken English may help the listener distinguish between homophones and understand the correct spelling; the words affect-effect are a good example, but the word pairs to, too and two, bridle and bridal, creek and creak, hoard and horde, toed and towed, or horse and hoarse, are indistinguishable from each other and are easily confused and are commonly misused. Pronunciation is usually more ambiguous, as English pronunciation may vary according to dialect, and English spelling is constantly evolving. Pronunciation may change even though the spelling doesn’t, producing two words that are pronounced in the same manner but have different meanings such as night and knight. Phonological spelling and spelling rules do not always work, and most people avoid misspelling by studying vocabulary words from spelling lists, enhancing their literacy skills through spelling practice, and learning words in English by studying a dictionary of the English language. English words are also spelled according to their etymologies rather than their sound. For instance, the word threw is derived from the Old English word thrawan, and the word through came from the Old English word thurh. Homophones are confusing words and are commonly misspelled words because of the confusion that arises from words that are pronounced alike but have very different usage and etymology. A spell checker will rarely find this type of mistake in English vocabulary, so do not rely on spell check but instead, learn to spell. Even a participant in a spelling bee like the National Spelling Bee will ask for an example of a homophone in a sentence, so that she understands which word she is to spell by using context clues. Homophones are often used in wordplay like puns. We will examine the different meanings of the homophonic words analyst and annalist, the word origins of the terms, and some examples of their English usage in sentences.

     

    An analyst is someone who examines something in a thorough and and detailed manner; an analyst provides an analysis. An analyst may be a scientist, philosopher, reporter/commentator, etc. An analyst may analyze an unknown substance, a moral question, or a political situation, for example. Analyst is also used as an abbreviation of the word, psychoanalyst, who is someone who examines a patient’s mental health. The word analyst is derived from the French word, analyste, and originally came into use in English to describe a theoretical mathematician.

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    An annalist is someone who compiles annals, or records of what transpired during a year. Annalist is also derived from a French word, annaliste.

    Examples

    California will have a $31 billion budget surplus next year as revenues continue to climb despite the pandemic, according to a new forecast from the state’s independent Legislative Analyst’s Office. (Orange County Register)

    While fans wait with bated breath to see what the CFB playoff committee has to say about last Saturday’s events, ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit went ahead and released his own. (Sports Illustrated)

    It said he was “the annalist of the destinies of empires in the moral sense: what they do to human beings” (Egypt Today)

    Barry Seaman regaled a crowd in the Chapel with his delivery of the Half-Century annalist letter, and classmates reunited at traditional dinners. (Hamilton College News)


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