Friday, May 08, 2009

Just Gettin' It Off Our Chest

One of the faithful periodically tries to start a conversation by telling us about her "pet peeves," and we listen politely because it is a call from God to suffer in solidarity with Christ.  But the truth is that we don't care about pet peeves, hers or anybody else's.  You might say that the custom of collecting, nurturing and enumerating minor grievances is our pet peeve.

But we have others.  And what is a blog for, if not airing the private prejudices and grievances of its creators?  So if, like us, you are yourself peeved by peeves, stop reading now.  Click somewhere else.  We recommend Sullivan or, just for a change, Anglo-Catholic Socialism.

If you're still reading, here they are, the ones that are bugging us today:

1.  "Process," with an accent on the ultima.  Guess what, people?  It's not a verb.  We generally take a pretty descriptivist position on language matters, but this is a case in which we are flatly prescriptivist.  In traditional English, one doesn't pro-CESS down an aisle, one pro-CEEDS down an aisle.  The OED identifies this neologism as "jocular," which tells you everything you need to know.  It's a joke -- a donnish, clerical joke.  And yet, through the magic of illiteracy, the punchline has been mistaken for the set-up.  It's as if people actually established a charitable fund to benefit the man from Nantucket.

2.  "Introit," one syllable, rhymes with Motor City.  This is a harder case, since we often approve of Anglicizing pronunciation when speaking English.  The best instance is circa, which would be keer-ka to Cicero and cheer--ka to the Pope, but which simply sounds effete unless pronounced sir-ka.  But this is not one of those instances.  Say in-TRO-it, or beware our wrath.  (Of course, since the LBW revised the liturgy, few of us need to say it at all anymore).

We're a little humiliated by airing all this.  It's almost as bad as blogging about last night's dreams.  But we had to get this off our chest.

1 comment:

Jim Krauser said...

Yes, Fr. A. I've long since given up the "motorized" pronounciation of introit, though my trusty Webster's New Collegiate (though probably several editions out of date by now) give both pronounciations, though the offending one is second.
I once heard Richard Westenberg speaking of some amusing variant pronunciations of certain canticles by some folks trained in the law (is that classical? Latin). He sent us howling when speaking of the Tee DEE-um (some settings of which are tedious) and the Benny-DIE-cee-tay and the Ayee-Vee Mah-RI-ah gray-shuh plee-na