The trouble with lichen

7 thoughts on “The trouble with lichen”

  1. Lichens are beautiful and fascinating. It troubles me greatly that the ones which adorn the stones at Stonehenge get trodden on unthinkingly a couple of times a year.

  2. My Chambers dictionary shows both pronunciations. I have always said LIKENS, but the LITCHENS pronunciation is not uncommon. I wonder whether there is a regional factor at work here. Any other views?

    1. You are right, Ian, though many obviously have a feeling of doubt about it – see this discussion: http://bit.ly/OkewfO. Notice that one contributor says, ‘As one who knows lichenologists in both the US and the UK, they use “lie-ken” exclusively.’ – certainly everyone on the Jim Al Kahlili programme programme said lie-kin. Funnily enough, when I read the Wyndham book as a kid I thought it was litchen, then, later, heard liekin and thought I’d shown my ignorance.

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