September 26, 2012 - Happy Birthday, George Gershwin

He was born Jacob Gershvin when he was born in Brooklyn, New York. (His dad had already changed the family name, from Gershowitz or Gershovich, to Gershvin, when he first immigrated from the Ukraine via Russia.) But we know him by his professional name, George Gershwin.

He was one of the most popular and influential American composers. He wrote for orchestras and operas, but he also wrote popular songs and worked as a song-plugger in Tin Pan Alley.

Listen to some of Gershwin's best: Rhapsody in Blue 

By the way—Did you notice that Gershwin's name has four consonants in a row? That's a bit unusual.

Try to think of at least five ordinary words that have four consonants in a row. I put my list at the bottom of this post. (It's only fair to count the letter “Y” as a vowel when it is found in the spot where a vowel would be, such as “myth.”) 

Can you think of any words that have MORE than four consonants in a row?

Also on this date:

JohnnyAppleseed's birthday 

Four Consonants in a Row:
  1. strength
  2. warmth
  3. angst
  4. eggplant
  5. ballplayer
More Than Four Consonants in a Row:
  1. catchphrase
  2. spendthrift
  3. backsplash
  4. nightclothes
  5. thousandths

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