Billy Zoom's Jet Set

The language of music:

26

The Brits have a lot of odd pronunciations, for sure. What I find annoying is when the emphasis is placed on the 'wrong' syllable. There are a good many examples but here's the most common. Pronouncing controversy as controversy is WTF to most North Americans' ears. Last weekend on the golf broadcast, the British announcer continuously pronounced the golf club's name as Renaissance, while the American announcer pronounced it as most of the world does as Renaissance. Neither one changed over the several days coverage. I do bet there was some discussion behind the scenes though.

Pronouncing lieutenant as leftenant is just beyond explanation.

Look at the periodic table for the correct spelling of aluminum.

27

A schwa is a non-specific vowel sound. For my own dialect I would offer the 'e' in the word 'open' as a good example. If you listen to how most people pronounce 'open' you can't really tell how to spell it. Nobody actually says 'open' to rhyme with 'pen' (unless they have a really strong regional accent) so that second vowel could be anything.

All vowels at some point or other will be pronounced as a schwa, in fact it's the most common vowel sound in English. It's characterised in writing as an upside-down lower-case e (irrespective of the vowel in question).

Wiki might explain it better.

28

Dave, in (proper) English it is common to stress the ante-penultimate syllable. In fact, we even change the stress of a word to suit this rule if the word gets extended. Photograph sounds perfectly normal to our ears, but photographer doesn't, so we shift the stress to the ante-penultimate syllable and thus we get photographer.

Controversy is correct to our ears because it fits our common speech rhythm patterns better than controversy.

Lieutenant is a strange one, I'll give you that, but our language is a melting pot of many different languages so where that came from is anyone's guess (although I'm sure wiki will know). Strange thing is if something is offered in lieu we would pronounce it in loo as I guess you would, but then again Beaulieu is pronounced Bewlee - go figure.

This interesting thing is that many of the things we regard as Americanisms are actually old English terms. 'Trash', for example, is considered by most British folk to be an Americanism and by modern day standards it is, but Shakespeare used the word centuries ago. It seems that 2 or 3 hundred years ago when you guys went it alone the common English language forked and developed in different ways. We've both introduced new words which the opposite side find odd, and we've also both held on to antiquated terms that the other side have let go. Over here the use of 'trash' died out until you guys gave it back to us.

29

Whatever sounds best in each culture, Deke. Here, in North America we have documentary programming developed by the NGA and the Discovery Channel and especially with the NGA, they utilize a Brit for the narration and some of these - mispronunciations to us - occur. While I enjoy the tone of the speakers voice but I wish they were told to use North American pronunciation for a North American audience.

The colloquial - UK - mispronunciation of Aluminum must have started by some scientist with a penchant for putting emphasis on the first syllable and changing the spelling to suit themselves, regardless of the spelling the rest of the world uses.

30

I would imagine aluminium is far more widespread than just UK; I think it's just Americans and Canadians that say aluminum. If you think about the rest of the periodic table it's pretty much iums all the way. Off the top of my head I can't think of an element that ends in 'um' that isn't preceded by an 'i' except maybe a few of the newer ones.

Oh yeah, platinum, there's one.

Again, Wiki explains is better. Scroll down to the Spelling paragraph, seems like Mr. Webster's work again...

But here's a thing; if we've been brought up to pronounce a word a certain way and later on it is proven that we are wrong we're not going to change. Modern-day research tools allow us to look into these things and sometimes what one learns can go against the grain. I've always called a scone a scone - to rhyme with stone - but it seems all those 'idiots' that call it a skon (!) were right all along. Will I be changing? No, I can't say I will. It's always been a scone and always will be.

31

Schedule. I've heard pronounced Shed-u-all and Sked-yooall. Another Schwa?

32

Just learn to pronouce Reverb correctly.

33

Happily for the intellectually gratifying pleasure of diversity, as long as we understand each other, it just doesn't matter.

Two of my favorite ütube astrophysical/cosmological presenters, British Dr Becky (Smethurst) and Australian Matt O'Dowd (of PBS's SpaceTime series) say many things very differently than I do. I'm glad. It's an extra pleasure in watching their webcasts.

In college, among others, I had both a proper Anglophile Hahvahd-graduate English professor and one from the backwaters of Kaintucky. Both had PhDs and were brilliant exegetes, with incisive insight into language use and the rich ways in which literature means. At department gatherings, their manner and speech patterns couldn't possibly have been more divergent. The Kentuckian pronounced "metaphor" as "mettifer." And WTF cared?

I suppose in his patrician heart of hearts, the elegant east coaster, with his leonine mane of coiffed white hair, considered the hillbilly a sort of uncouth savage who had only been gifted with a mind by some freak of nature, and hoped there weren't more where he came from. But if anything, the hillbilly was a bit more creative and intuitive in his brilliance than the comparatively methodical and conventional Hahvahd man.

Not that their social and speech backgrounds had anything to do with their native intelligence, or the way they'd developed it. The two factors are independent of each other. Eliza was just as smart, perceptive, and sensitive when she spoke as a cockney flower girl as she was when wearing Henry's artificial finish of elocution and etiquette - something which took Henry longer to learn than it took Eliza to put on the affectations of society.

So who was really smarter?

Judging people by the way they pronounce things is a sure way to underestimate others, and trying to codify - much less enforce - "proper" speech patterns is a wind-whizzing exercise in futility. You'll just end up smelly, and offensive to others.

34

You say po-tay-to and I say po-tah-to
You say to-may-to and I say to-mah-to
You say re-VERB and I say REE-verb
Let's call the whole thing off!
(with apologies to George and Ira Gershwin)

Re-VERB makes sense if you think of the word's origins as short for the verb (see what I did there?) "reverberate." However, since the appearance of the "reverberation device" as a physical object in Hammond organs, and later in guitar amplifiers, common usage has referred to it with the accent on the first syllable --- distinct from the short form of the verb, which accents the second syllable.

I don't believe I have ever once in my life heard ANYONE refer to a "reVERB unit," a spring or plate or digital reVERB in a studio or sound system, or accent the second syllable in the names of any of Fender's amplifiers --- Princeton Reverb, Deluxe Reverb, Twin Reverb, Super Reverb, etc. Therefore common usage has made REE-verb entirely correct, and to insist otherwise is mere gratuitous pedantry.

Now, if we could just get everyone to stop pronouncing the "t" in "often" ...

35

My wife has a degree in Horticulture and my first two years of college were spent in the school of Landscape Architecture. We both took plant material courses, but each in different departments of the same university.

We like to play a game when we’re out walking. We try and out do each other naming the genus and species of trees and plants we pass. The arguments however arise not in the disagreement of the taxonomy of the tree but in its pronunciation.

Plant taxonomy is all Latin and one would think that correct pronunciation is purely academic.

Until this thread popped up I’ve only heard it called REEverb. I do like Dick Dale’s version better.

36

@ Parabar: I have heard all of those, particularly when I say them!

37

Also, REverb makes some kind of intuitive sense (to this hillbilly) in context of the physical principle it describes. The source of the sound has alREADy "verberated" - ie, made its initial vibrating motion; what we're interested in is the reflections of that sound, so we emphasize the RE part.

Again, not that it matters even slightly.

Etymology (note especially "verberare, to strike or beat"):

late 14c., "reflection of light or heat," from Old French reverberacion "great flash of light; intense quality," from Medieval Latin reverberationem (nominative reverberatio), noun of action from past participle stem of Latin reverberare "beat back, strike back, repel, cause to rebound," from re- "back" (see re-) + verberare "to strike, to beat," from verber "whip, lash, rod" (related to verbena "leaves and branches of laurel"), from werb- "to turn, bend," from PIE root wer- (2) "to turn, bend."

I guess in a roundabout way, "reverberation" describes the REaction of leaves and branches of laurel after they've been struck, beaten, or waved around like whips. That's a suitably poetic link for an invisible (though audible) phenomenon to a macroscopic and visible mechanical process. The reflected soundwaves from an initial impulse are "like" the reactive shaking of a tree limb after it's been struck.

(So the word "reverberation" kinda has a simile built into it, but not a mettifer. I don't care how you pronounce "simile." Sa-mile would be entertaining though.)

38

I don't believe I have ever once in my life heard ANYONE refer to a "reVERB unit," a spring or plate or digital reVERB in a studio or sound system, or accent the second syllable in the names of any of Fender's amplifiers --- Princeton Reverb, Deluxe Reverb, Twin Reverb, Super Reverb, etc.

Well, me neither. But, technically, the fact that your experience and my experience correspond (and even though I don't know how we could have different social and geographic backgrounds, you a west coaster, me a hillbilly, with no apparent shared musical experiences) - doesn't necessarily mean that our

common usage has made REE-verb entirely correct, and to insist otherwise is mere gratuitous pedantry

... any more than their experience makes reVERBers more correct than we are. Both may be entirely "correct," to the extent it matters.

Aside from the "common usage" in my experience, I find a lot of practical support for the first syllable emphasis. Here, for instance, a scholar goes with REverb for 17 minutes.

https://youglish.com/search...

39

I have always said reVERB unit & Twin reVERB....as did eveyone I knew back in the 50's & 60's. I'm pretty sure Leo pronounced it the same way as Dick. Let's ask Duane how he pronounces it. He seems to be the only one here who knows the difference between a Bass Guitar, and an Electric Bass. BTW....the Little Kahuna is a reVERB & TREM o lo unit.

40

My Connecticut pronunciations of aqua (ACK-wuh) and pecan (pee-CAN) bug the heck out of my Arkansas bride (she says AAHK-wuh and puh-KAHN).

41

A linguist, whose name I've forgotten, once said that proper English was decided by whoever had the guns. If Jamaica had been a militarized colonial power, we might all be speaking differently.

One thing I find charming is how the English insist on anglicizing French words, such as pronouncing claret (French 'clar-EY') as 'CLAIR-it'. 'Cham-PIG-non' is a good one too, although these days mushroom might be more common.

Something I've noticed in American English usage recently that is bejesusly annoying is the dropping of the second 'd' in 'didn't' to sound, 'di-ent'; even journalists are starting to do it.

OK Billy, re-VERB it shall be from now on. It'll be interesting to see people's reaction. Maybe it will help the tinnitus; anything's worth a try.

42

I probably butcher the Queen's English better (worse) than anyone, and fact is most of the time I know better, but it's just how we talk in flyover country. I understand BZ's frustration, especially with folks like me who know better, but don't. If I were to speak proper English around here, folks would look at me like my head was on crooked, and probably would be thinking that my underwear was not a proper fit. So, I have to assimilate, don'tchaknow.

Maybe the Hag described my situation better when he penned, I've never been nobody's idol, but, at least I've got a title, and I take a lot of pride in who I am.

btw, Billy, I am a fan of yours, and I appreciate the discussion.

43

Why would anyone want everyone to pronounce everything exactly the same? Two things that will always end in disappointment. Wishing for everyone to be the same and wishing for everything to stay the same. Neither wish will or should ever come true. Pronunciations change both from region to region and over time.

44

An interview I did in the early 80's with Guitar World magazine stated that I played through a Quadraverb, instead of a Quad Reverb. Language is important!

45

We don't say clair-it or cham-pig-non. I think you're watching the wrong TV shows.

We call claret cla-ret (the e is pronounced as a schwa). To be completely honest I've no idea how the French say it so I have nothing to say about that, but I have seen very imminent wine connoisseurs who know how to pronounce all the really fancy names also say cla-ret, so I'm guessing we're not a million miles away.

If anyone refers to mushrooms by their French name they will say it properly, unless in cartoon jest (which is not unheard of, I grant you - our nations have had a hate-hate relationship for years).

At least we pronounce van Gogh correctly...

46

A linguist, whose name I've forgotten, once said that proper English was decided by whoever had the guns. If Jamaica had been a militarized colonial power, we might all be speaking differently.

One thing I find charming is how the English insist on anglicizing French words, such as pronouncing claret (French 'clar-EY') as 'CLAIR-it'. 'Cham-PIG-non' is a good one too, although these days mushroom might be more common.

Something I've noticed in American English usage recently that is bejesusly annoying is the dropping of the second 'd' in 'didn't' to sound, 'di-ent'; even journalists are starting to do it.

OK Billy, re-VERB it shall be from now on. It'll be interesting to see people's reaction. Maybe it will help the tinnitus; anything's worth a try.

– Journeyman

The French call it Bordeaux.

48

The French call it Bordeaux.

– Scorpio

Sometimes, but not always. I was mistaken on the placement of the accent though. Here in Canada we put the accent on the 2nd syllable so I assumed that was the case in France. Not so; the accent is on the first syllable, with a silent T. I guess you pronounce the T Deke. And yes, I heard cham-pig-non in the Ipcress File where Michael Cane's character cast suspicion upon himself by buying the more expensive imported French mushrooms instead of the English ones.

50

Nope.

Ain’t = is not. As in “that ain’t gonna work”

Innit = Isn’t it? As in “warm today, i’n’it?”


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