1928 - Alderson High School - 1968


Herman King 09

The English language is a marvelous language. So comprehensive that Shakespeare couldn't have written in any other language. It remains the universal language even in today's multilingual multiculturalism. (Save for some scientific obscurantist' Latin). English borrows from other languages, and is chameleon-like, changing from time to time. Some words become obsolete but many more new ones are added. There is a "standard" English of course, what once was called the Queen's English. But nowadays the word "queen" has a different connotation. Television has made it difficult sticking to any standard. On TV, today's slang and bad pronunciation becomes tomorrow's "standard." This is noticeable as we grow older. I experience dissonance when I hear the word "gulf" pronounced "golf." I first heard it pronounced that way during the Persian Gulf War. A few newspersons, but especially meteorologists, made it sound like the PGA instead of the Bush administration had declared war on Saddam Hussein. Nowadays virtually everyone pronounces it that way. This is the result of too much TV watching. You become "educated" by the tube without realizing it. Remember, unlike reading, viewing is completely passive. That's why Ray Bradbury described it as "that medusa before which a billion people become zombies every night."
Another word that changed pronunciation first on TV was the word "because." Now even folks with Ph Ds say "becuz." Or just "cuz." I use to call a cousin "cuz" but never "cause."

One of the first pronunciation shape-shifters that jarred my ears was the venerable "don't worry.' Again starting on TV, (that curse of the technology age) it morphed into "not to worry." Which is longer and sounds more stilted to me. The last person I heard use the traditional "don't worry" on TV was Hillary Clinton, which made me rather fond of her (like the recognition of a familiar species). Perhaps a stable criterion of pronunciation will bring us together. (Believe me it isn't easy to like Hillary Clinton).