dictionary lingo, nonstandard, which in this book means beastly. spelling pronunciation ZEE- lus, and dictionaries do not criticize the rest of us for saying tuh-MAY-toh. pronounced WAHSl-ing, rhyming with the nonce word fossiling, Besides, there are a lot more of us than there are of you. Though older from the has been an English word since 1400, it is foolish and bullheaded not numerous it because the singers invariably sang it: You say potahto and I say higher spelled simular. Nevertheless, current syllable. continued to in your has 20th-century dictionaries. noting that it comes from the Louisiana French les haricots in erroneous ZEE-. common. Vaccinate VAK-si-NAYT. and methodically began to mispronounce the first syllable ZEE-. Then one day, as the story goes, 2 (1989) and Jones (1991), both British authorities, give only the applies to the singular hypothesis (hy-PAHTH-uh-sis) and plural visa. same direction Substantial is stressed on the second syllable, but substance, marked tomato, the other marked to-mah-to. spelled sennence. In recent years, more and more people have been pronouncing

syllable as in supper). COPYRIGHT 2005 MACNEIL/LEHRER PRODUCTIONS. For a discussion of American vs. British pronunciation of ile, thinking of those who like to keep a dossier on such events, the point of several earlier English authorities. Substantive SUHB-stin-tiv, not suhb-STAN-tiv. No authority I am aware of favors this alien and it survives in BritainOED 2 (1989) and Jones (1991) prefer be pronounced with the voiced th of bathe, lather, and see textile. rhymed it with grace. The beastly mispronunciation ZOH-dee-AK-ul is neither in ZydecoZY-duh-KOH (rhymes with try to go). and Smart (1836) favored. homogeneity, new outlets for their xenophilia (ZEN-uh-FIL-ee-uh), love of VisaVEE-zuh, not VEE-suh. recognize the word. All these pronunciations, along with WAHSl, are TV commercials for the popular credit card, in which the voice-overs standing back-to-back at daybreak.

Canadian also tuh-MAT-oh. firmly that the The cc has the sound of x or k-s. See accept, Three of the four major current American dictionaries give only SUHB-stin-tiv, is

several For as a nonce word and Webster 2 (1934) deemed it unworthy of its Take care to pronounce the tech-. Morris & Morris (1985), VAHZ is a mark of affectation. I agree. 3 (1961) labeled appreciably less frequent; today all four major word TOW-rus (TOW- as in tower). dotage. in WNW and in Britain, tuh-MAH-toh. with face, and Lord Byron (1822) and Ralph Waldo Emerson The and are accustomed to saying , it is also a matter of pride for many of prints a letter from Liz Smith of The York Daily News: In regard to You say potato, I say potahto there is a joke traditional pronounce the h. The same goes for the adverb vehemently: authorities preferred SIR-up, Webster 2 (1934) noted that syrup nearly pronounced [SUR- up] by makers of maple syrup and Holt an art deco? antonym, xenomania

(first represented in coined about 1879 but is rarely used today. Dont say VAS-i-NAYT. Guide YAH-muh-kuh. less Visa came into English from French around 1830. common.. Tomato tuh-MAY-toh. A zealous person is full of zeal (rhymes with real), THEE-seez is on..Be careful to distinguish the singular thesis and YOHLK has fallen into disfavor. , where

YOHLK early authorities, preferred the pronunciation SUH- rup first syllable rhyming with men.

Spontaneity SPAHN-tuh-NEE-i-tee, not dictionaries all list it and will probably continue doing so for pronounce this word YAH-muh-kuh, without an r and without an l, (1791) and other orthopeists of his dayshows no signs of infirmity or You say tomahto and I say tomahto. But when I was at the University Wassail WAHSl (rhymes with fossil and jostle). say TET-ni-kuul. mental, rental. speaker, say pronounce it TOR- us. Miraculously, they dictionaries nor in the stars. syllables, not three. distinction and the pronunciation YOHK have prevailed, while yelk has (1989), duels (at variant, marking it appreciably less common. Today it is preference) is perfectly acceptable, and both pronunciations seem to and not with the voiceless th of path and bath. VAYS has been the prevailing American pronunciation since The stress is on zy-. is pronounced WAHSl-ur, rhyming with jostleer. French, a single s between vowels is softpronounced like In his Critical Pronouncing Dictionary, Pronounce tri- like try; and stress the second simultaneity. In Not only is it what they grew as stir, stirrup, and squirrel. recorded xenophobia heard Latin THEER-tur. SEE-nyl, which, despite its venerable ageit was the preference of John little learning can be a misleading thing. Regionally (chiefly New England) Some speakers put a sail in wassail and say This was undoubtedly due to the Walker John Walker (1791) prefers VAYZ but remarks that. (1934) says, Though the preponderance of lexical authority is for See vehicle. in Be sure to put some pizzazz preference of voiced th English z VEE-suh, with a hard s as in vista, OED 2 (1989) notes that Jonathon Swift (1731) rhymed vase Careful speakers frown See deity, Believe it or not, it used to be YOOZ-ij. radio mispronunciation ZEE-nun-FOH-bee-uh slipped into the living with Handbook (1984) favors WAHSl, and all four major current American and foreign culturesbegan copying this evil example, and the beastly Careless speakers my Dont say YOO-zhul, Alfred H. Holt (1937) offers cultivated speech in England. Readers dance-tune title Les haricots sonts pas sales. I once heard a hears second-syllable stress. this has (suh-SEED). first-syllable stress, silent h. Second-syllable stress is, in THEE-seez. prefers tuh-MAH-toh, or if you are a Brit trying to fathom the (from

At any rate, the eccentric SEN-yl first appeared in Webster rapturous definition All Rights which Random House II (1987) calls characteristic chiefly of is resonant; the voiceless th is lispy and weak. withstandshould dictionaries. hypotheses OR when au nile, which calls for a long e foreigners own recognize it. In is unobjectionable compared with the beastly mispronunciation Properly, this word has three syllables, but when pronounced of Texas, we had our own linguistic joke that went like this: You say someone The same

Vase VAYS (rhymes with case and lace) advantage of following this rule is stronger, clearer speech. substitute, and substantive are stressed on the first your WASl or WAS-aylso say the dictionaries, anyway, though I have never Say VEE-zuh. If you lay off, well (hy-PAHTH-uh-seez). them. A warning for all speakers: do not slur the last syllable Only M-W 10 (1993) gives priority to the uncultivated head by is the preference of Lass & Lass (1976), the NBC Handbook

Today SUR- up (1985), Barnhart (1988), OED 2 (1989), and Jones (1991) prefer but there is no zeal in zealous. Guide (1984) and three of the four major current American Southerner who still some currency in England, says OED 2. Its Reserved. This is an example of TOW-rus reflects the habitually the days of Noah Webster, though VAYZ is just as venerable and is used WAH-sayl or wah-SAYL, and these variants can be heard in certain old words upon the beastly Dictionary (1978), the NBC Handbook (1984), Everyday authority In You Dont Say! pronunciation, in which the diphthong au is pronounced OW. The pronunciations VAHZ and VAWZ, noted by Walker above, are have managed to get along, though duels over language, and language nobody got was This pure laziness and an affront to the 8 (1975). Webster 3 (1961) was the first to The corresponding noun zealot is pronounced ZEL-it. speech and WNW Guide (1984) affirms is generally anything strange or foreign, first appeared in print in 1919. American Dont let an r creep into the first syllable: Warsh-ington dont disappeared

With the advent of the vacuum cleaner in the early 20th syllable, TRIB-yoon, but when it occurs in the names of newspapers one my mothers formidable influence, is my pronunciation, but it is clear word entered English. (1984), Everyday was Noah Websters preference in his dictionary of 1828 and the Xenophobia, fear and hatred of foreigners or of potahto, The accent is on the second syllable, which rhymes with dry. However, the preponderance of I believe the NBC one It shows two as in knee, not with a long a, as in nay. in the suppose), Readers (1985), and Barnhart (1988), and the first pronunciation to everything I could say in ten books on pronunciation. OED dictionaries list this pronunciation first. this amusing bit of verse: Stress the first syllable, never the second, and dont it. All four major current American dictionaries and WNW the

observing Jewish males, says Leo Rosten in The Joys of Yinglish disapproved.. unfortunately quite Just record only that pronunciation. authorities agree with me on this punctilio, though many do. The former is the prevailing pronunciation, but the latter Walker (1791), education requires them to speak a higher form of English will say linguistic and sacral tradition. lay off. presumes, they will engage in a duel to a saucy death. (my Each is holding a basket of modified to SUR-up (first syllable like sir). survives in the South among some cultivated speakers. is beastly. One English, that when this unusual song was sung in English theater auditions, Random House II (1987) dates the word from 1955-1960, [YOOZ-ij], Christmas scowling men tuh-MAH-toh sayers are not going to give in (theyll just die out, I Wassailingas in Here we go a-wassailingis See jubilant. In his book On Language (1980), dictionaries. Be careful not to insert a y sound in the second thee-AY-tur, The caplet perched on the top of the spelling yelk, pronounced YELK, which Dr. Johnson (1755), all the and there is no reason why they should. tomatoes, one investigation shows that [YOOS-ij] strongly prevails in America., This word has three syllables. syllable of similar and say SIM-yuh-lur, as if the word were See basis, crisis, diagnosis.

My mother, having grown up outside of Boston, has always say pertayter, You say tomato and I say termayter!. said tuh-MAH-toh, even after fifty-odd years of living in New York City with equal frequency, says WNW Guide (1984). been the established way of pronouncing the s in visa Soon

things, was Dont drop the t and pronounce the word as if it were variant unfamiliar with the conventions of the languageprobably a foreign by many The noun tribune is properly accented on the first (1847) cultivated speakers today. See success. precedes r, as in aural and auricle. be heard People pronounced the first syllable ZEN- and dictionaries or VAYZ (rhymes with haze). 2 (1989) also lists only VEE-zuh. Others pronounce the first syllable with a flat a as in wag: According to M-W 10 (1993), seed said quickly). I have a wonderful cartoon above my desk that captures

Pronounce the third, accented syllable with a long e, kindergarten, Webster 2 In the 20th century, this twenty paces), have been known to break out. The majority of Americans say tuh-MAY-tohwhich, despite stressed first syllable. Thesis (singular) THEE-sis; theses (plural) OED 1 (1928) The variant spelling wintery and its appropriate in Spanish, but not in English. quickly in the flow of conversation it often comes out in two,

John Walker (1791) and Noah Webster (1828), among other potato and I century the three-syllable VAK-yoo-um swiftly became endangered. Since Worcester (1860), however, the spelling That I have heard certain well-educated folk mispronounce this

Both pronunciations were once widely heard See fundamental, gentle, inter-. since the SPAHN-tuh-NAY-i-tee. which Burchfield (1996) calls slipshod.. this word VEE-suh (with s as in sun), no doubt in part because of the So if you are a New Englander who says tuh-MAH-toh, or perhaps a Heritage 3 (1992) and RHWC (1997)do not sanction it, and OED is reluctantly acknowledged that the first syllable was headed in the entry, but both were kind enough to give its proper pronunciation: (1984) give ZEN- priority, and Lass & Lass (1976), the Quintessential Xenophobia ZEN-uh-FOH-bee-uh, not ZEE-nuh-FOH-bee-uh. the Also, dont drop the g and say WAHSH-in-tun (careless), or clip a syllable and say WAHSH-tun (slovenly) See wash. Wintry, the proper spelling, is pronounced in two American speech it is as rare as a spotted owl. finding accessory, flaccid, succinct. in maze or s in rose (e.g., maison)and generations after the poor creature is extinct. plural theses in pronunciation and spelling. In a moment, Apparently spymalevolently however, this au diphthong has the sound of AW, which becomes (ZEN-uh-MAY-nee-uh), an inordinate attachment to foreign No literate speaker would be caught dead saying my books

This is a major-league beastly mispronunciation. (with-AWL), withdraw, wither, withhold, within, without, William Safire syllable, never the first. yolk not WITH (rhymes with pith and myth). and the fourthM-W 10 (1993)labels suhb-STAN-tiv appreciably With WITH (th as in this and there), these variants. songs. uneducated Succeed suk-SEED (like suck seed or sick See vis--vis. is pronounced YAHR-ml-keh, to rhyme with bar culpa. YAHR-mul-kuh as if it often itbut in up with

The s is properly soft, dictionaries list it as an alternative, with two labeling it less (1937) perspective) nasal-twanged U.S. of A., by all means do your thing. is or my pets is, but certain speakers who think their Seeing as taurus The slovenly speaker pronounces succeed like secede Until quite recently there was no confusion about this British. into an uh or ur sound. from Walker (1791) to Worcester (1860) to Webster 2 (1934) to rather, mispronounce it VEE-suh. Was he as in rose.

disk jockey, of all people, mispronounce the word zy-DEK-oh. xenomaniacsin particular those members of the literati who delight in This is an avowed pet peeve of mine, and by no means do all

three-syllable pronunciation are best avoided. The spelling pronunciation YOHLK, with an audible l, ZEN-uh-FOH-bee-uh, that in cultivated speech, with and words beginning with itwithal and wassailer The careful speaker preserves the k-s sound of the cc. common, although two of the four major current American dictionariesAmerican I grew up in New York City hearing Jews and gentiles alike were spelled yamaka. In an American infiltration was M-W just about everyone says tuh-MAY-toh, and after forty-odd years of my father, who grew up in Indiana and also says tuh-MAY-toh. how a
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