Pronunciation: The ‘a’ in the first and second syllable are pronounced like the ‘a’ in ‘cat’, ‘bat’, and ‘fat’. The ‘g’ and the final ‘e’ are silent, and the ‘i’ sounds like the ‘y’ in ‘yes’, ‘yellow’, and ‘young’. The word is pronounced ‘lan-yap’ with the stress on the second syllable.

‘lagniappe’ comes from the Spanish ‘la napa’ meaning ‘the gift’. The word was originally used to refer to a gift or something extra that a friendly shopkeeper added to a customer’s purchase. As time went on, the word acquired a broader meaning. It began to be used to refer to any unexpected gift or benefit. Lagniappe is not included in many dictionaries, and its use is mostly confined to what are known as the ‘Gulf states’ in the United States — Mississippi, Louisiana, etc. The well-known author Mark Twain wrote about this word in his book ‘Life on the Mississippi’

Since we had bought so many items, the shopkeeper included a DVD player as lagniappe.

Source: ‘Know Your English’ ( The Hindu) – September 11, 2007  



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