In My Fair Lady, professor Higgins declares that English hasn’t been spoken in America for years. George Bernard Shaw penned that line in 1912. He’d have apoplexy if he could hear the language as it is spoken now.
My favorite radio station run by university students nevertheless assaults my ears daily with mispronunciations such as pome for poem. Yes, kids, it only has four letters but it has two syllables. Poetry is a three syllable word, by the way. I guess I should overlook students when they slaughter the language in such a way. On that same PBS station I recently heard a professor of poetry from one of the five best universities in the nation talking about pomes and potery and potes.
And other missing syllables! When did marriage become marge or orange become ornge?
Another pet peeve of mine is the mispronunciation of accessories. Is it some kind of prejudice against the letter C that causes people to say, assessories? I assess that as a kind of snobbish affectation.
Let’s also not overlook other pseudo-sophisticated mispronunciations, e.g., strenth for strength, or lenth for length.
Whatever happened to rhetoric and public address in our education system? Why isn’t the teaching of proper pronunciation and articulation considered important these days? The sad truth is that garbage pronunciation, when used by enough people enough of the time, will one day become the dictionary norm.
Language is a wonderful thing. Along with human evolution, language defines the superiority of man over other forms of life. Sadly, now, it appears to be evolving in reverse—just as the written word is taking a beating by the texting fad. But that’s another blog topic.