Why Is Colonel Pronounced Kernel?

The answer to the question “why is colonel pronounced kernel” takes us back to the older times. The word “colonel” has an unusual history. It comes from the Latin word “columna,” which means “column.” The word “colonel” first came into English in the mid-16th century, and at that time, it was pronounced “kernel.”

However, by the early 17th century, the pronunciation had shifted to “coronel.” This change is likely due to the influence of Spanish or you can say the Spanish pronunciation, which uses the word “coronel” to refer to a military leader.

Over time, the pronunciation of “colonel” shifted back to “kernel,” and this is now the standard pronunciation in both British and American English. While the origins of the word are somewhat mysterious, there is no doubt that its unique history contributes to its distinctive sound but yet both the words have the same sound.

Are Colonel and Kernel the Same?

Are Colonel and Kernel the Same?
Are Colonel and Kernel the Same?

There is a lot of confusion out there about whether colonel and kernel are the same things. Both are used to refer to a senior military officer and when you pronounce them, it feels like both are the same word, but there are some key differences between the two terms.

Colonel is actually a rank, while Kernel is more of a title. A Colonel is a commissioned officer in the armed forces, while a Kernel is an officer who has been appointed to lead a particular unit. In addition, Colonels outrank Kernels in the military hierarchy.

So while they may both be high-ranking officers, Colonel is a higher rank than Kernel.

Why Is Colonel Pronounced Kernel?

Why Is Colonel Pronounced Kernel?
Why Is Colonel Pronounced Kernel?

The word colonel is derived from the Old French word coronel, which meant commander of a regiment. The French word was eventually adopted into English, earlier both the French words had the same spelling but over time spelling was changed to colonel to reflect the pronunciation of the word in French.

Over time, the spelling of colonel was simplified to its current form, but the French pronunciation remained unchanged. As a result, colonel is one of the few English words that is still pronounced differently than it is spelled. While colonel is pronounced as “kernel,” the word is often mispronounced as “colonial” or “colonel.”

However, the correct pronunciation can be easily remembered by thinking of a colonel as a commander of a regiment, which is what the word originally meant.

How Did The French Word Colonel Related With The Italians?

The French word or you can say the French pronunciation “colonel” is derived from the Italian word colonello, which was used in the 16th century to refer to a military officer in charge of a column of soldiers.

The word colonel can trace its roots back to the Italian Renaissance or back to the Italian military manuals when it was used to describe a high-ranking military official. During this time, Italian military treatises were highly influential, and the Italian form of the word colonel became popular in other European countries.

Today, the word colonel is used in many different languages to refer to a senior military officer. However, it remains most commonly associated with the Italian military tradition.

Final Words

After investigating the origins of the word “colonel,” it is evident that there are multiple theories behind its pronunciation. However, the most likely explanation is that it was adapted from the French word “coronel.”

Over time, the spelling and pronunciation of words often change as they are passed down from one generation to the next. This is likely what happened with the word “colonel.” While some people continue to pronounce it “kernel,” the more common pronunciation today is “column.”

Regardless of how you choose to pronounce it and wondering about that strange spelling compared, the important thing is to be consistent with your own language so that others can understand you.