14 thoughts on “Right Awful Anne Atkins – Agonising Aunt and Vicar’s Wife

  1. A bizarre kind of Gish Gallop. And trust this pseudo-intellectual to pronounce omicron in the most pretentious way possible.

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    1. It was actually the correct, or at least the hitherto conventional way. And the only other person I’ve heard deploying it on the air this week was the MP Sir Roger Gale. It’s o-micron, the short O, so distinguishing it from o-mega, the great or long O. In Greek they are different letters. The new OMMYcron pronunciation is about as logical as kilOMeter — but perhaps that’s why we’re getting it.

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      1. It’s o-micron, the short O, so distinguishing it from o-mega, the great or long O.

        I had never noticed that, but it is just there, plain as day. Many thanks.

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      2. Just wait till we get to “pi” which, when reeling off the Greek alphabet is actually pronounced “pee”, just like its English equivalent. Parakalo. 🙂

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      3. In relation to other Greek letters (like “pi”), we will presumably continue to mispronounce them – as in, we will use appropriate anglicised pronunciations of the letters – so if we get to “pi” we will pronounce it “pie” in the UK (not the “pi” sound from “pill” which is what it should be.
        From a Greek-speakers perspective, we’ve been mispronouncing beta, delta and others for ages, so why change now? 🙂
        Also – I gather the main reason that the Greek letter “Nu” was skipped was to avoid the “who’s on first” situation “Q: What’s this new variant called? A: the Nu variant. Yes, but what’s its name?” etc. (It’s pronounced Ni – as in the Knights that say Ni – similar to Greek pronunciation of “pi” noted earlier).

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      4. Interesting. I’m going to have lots of fun commenting on every maths and physics video I find on YouTube. Finally I’ve got something to tell them that they’re doing wrong.

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  2. But it’s panto time, folks! How many listeners, I wonder, on hearing AAA’s confident assertions that “Yes, He did” shouted back at the radio “Oh, no he didn’t!”.

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  3. Thanks for the illuminating comments on Greek letters; I did a bit of New Testament Greek at “O” level in school, but had forgotten that the alphabet permits a number of subtle but important distinctions. Perhaps someone could tell me whether I’m right to lament the current trend towards short ‘e’s in the opening of words like economical, and ecological? I’ve always thought these were œ words (ee-cological) rather an eh (echo) words. Is there any hope of recovering the correct pronunciation? I also despair over the creeping substitution of ‘train station’ for ‘railway station’ but appreciate that this is nothing to do with Greek letters! 🙁

    AAA seems to think that if you repeat something enough times, than it cannot be other than true. I was reminded of a Peter Pan audience repeatedly bawling ‘I DO believe in fairies!!’

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    1. It’s stress that makes me stressed. I was taught that in long English words, the standard is to stress the third last syllable. So we would have ma-JOR-i-ty, EM-pha-sis, al-OW-a-ble, and so on.

      And yet my son’s school has, for very good reasons, a pastoral leader. That is, they don’t have a PAST-or-al, leader, they have a past-OR-al leader.

      Am I alone in hearing previous fellatio, and if not, what are they teaching our children?

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  4. LIverpudlian, I share your pain. In primary school, I was taught that a double consonant is normally preceded by a long vowel, and a short consonant by a long vowel. But the influence of US films and TV has undermined this and so many other UK English usages.
    As for ecological and economical, the initial e comes from a diphthong in Greek (oikos, a house), and that’s a further argument for preserving the long vowel.

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    1. @Richard – Thank you. I don’t hold out much hope, but I accept that English usage has always changed, and will continue to do so; I just wish that changes weren’t so destructive of the general beauty and subtlety of the language. I’m one of those who regrets the disappearance of ‘Meteorological’ from BBC weather reports; it’s a brilliant word, for which the almost meaningless ‘Met Office’ is a poor substitute – and ‘Met’ is also the London police now, and an opera house in New York. Does the BBC think that people struggle with words like meteorological? It ought to be a champion of language, not a dumbing-down institution. We used to have a Cardio-Thoracic department in my local hospital – and everyone knew what it was for. It’s now renamed ‘The Heart and Chest’ hospital. But, I’m turning Rev Peter’s satirical site into a linguistic nerd-fest… enough! sorry!

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      1. “But, I’m turning Rev Peter’s satirical site into a linguistic nerd-fest… enough! sorry!”

        I’m enjoying all this. It’s a vast improvement on talking about religion.

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