How to Pronounce Words Correctly

by Jul 8, 2011Linguistics5 comments

This is too good. You simply must read it.

The logical end to linguistic prescriptivism is a strange world.

HT: Mike Aubrey

Read More 

Did Evangelical Snowflakes Censor the Bible?

Did Evangelical Snowflakes Censor the Bible? recently published an interview with sociologist Samuel L. Perry titled, “When Evangelical Snowflakes Censor the Bible: The English Standard Version Goes PC.” And I got a reply to all this: Nuh-uh! Let me elaborate that answer, however, because “nuh-uh”...

THE INCREDI-NASB!!!! More Literal than a Speeding ESV!!!

THE INCREDI-NASB!!!! More Literal than a Speeding ESV!!!

In my other life, I am the editor of Faithlife’s Bible Study Magazine, and one of my first acts as editor was to give myself a column: “Word Nerd: Language and the Bible.” They said I could. I also turn all the columns—plus a few that aren’t in print—into YouTube...

Review: The Inclusive Language Debate by D.A. Carson

Review: The Inclusive Language Debate by D.A. Carson

The Inclusive Language Debate: A Plea for Realism, by D.A. Carson (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1998). Don Carson's prose is elegant, and his pace is perfect. He briskly moves the reader through a narrative of the conflict among evangelical Christians over so-called...

Mark Driscoll Makes It into the OED

Look who I discovered being cited in the august OED… I wish I knew more about the work of OED lexicographers, my heroes. I don't know, for example, how OED editors find/choose their citation sources. It's just that beyond Shakespeare and various editions of the Bible,...

Leave a comment.

  1. Crooks

    Usage determines pronounciation. If only usage could determine spelling and grammar, but just my usage.

  2. Dave Crooks

    I had to re-comment on this post after watching Wheel of Fortune last night. Someone solved a puzzle: “A shot of espresso” but pronounced it like “expresso.” Pat said “we discussed the possibility of this happening before the show and decided we would accept that pronunciation since it’s such a common misuse these days.” Mark, for some reason you’re always the first person to come to mind when I see or hear anything that has to do with usage determining things. And then on a commercial after the show a lady said “I’m literally going to lose my mind” and that pushed me over the edge (figuratively). I think that my biggest usage pet peeve is the misuse of “literally”, and when someone says “I could care less.”

  3. Mark L Ward Jr

    I think we do things like this all the time even in formal English. How do newscasters pronounce “Israel”? “IS-ree-uhl.” Clearly, however, the spelling would lead to “IS-rah-el.”

    If “Isreeuhl” is acceptable to formal speakers of English, I see no reason that “expresso” couldn’t be someday. As for now, however, Pat Sajak is almost certainly right to call it a “misuse,” because he is speaking from a privileged social height—a nationally beloved game show. People in his class don’t say “expresso.”

    One more example beside “Israel”: “I don’t know what you want” becomes in almost all except the most formal speech, “I dunno whatchoo want.” Listen to yourself next time you say something like that. We don’t even think about it. That pronunciation doesn’t match what we would normally expect from the spelling, but it’s not “wrong,” though it may be inappropriate in certain social situations.

  4. Dave Crooks

    I dunno whatchur talkin bout