Date: Fri, 26 Jul 1996 09:17:30 -0400


Subject: Re: literary words- I rest my case?!

Wait a second.

Ellen Johnson writes:

I rest my case: and then cites my thoughts on how the pronunciation of

literary words are determined. Does "I rest my case" imply that I'm arguing

Southerners are uneducated?!! As per her earlier post:

I hope I'm mistaken about

the assumption that some here seem to have made that this is the incorrect

pronunciation bc it's Southern and it's an educated word and Southerners are

uneducated. Or something like that.

Are you saying I'm assuming a pronunciation is incorrect because its

Southern? Far from it... and I never came close to saying that. I'm

assuming its incorrect because the people who are confident about its

pronunciation, wherever they may be found, say it a certain way and no other.

Nearly every dictionary lists heinous as HAY nus but there are educated

speakers on both sides of the Atlantic who say HEE nus. Are we going to tell

students, or anyone who asks, that HEE nus is an acceptable pronunciation?

It depends on how general the innovation has become. Every spelling

pronunciation is not incorrect as you say, but some are perceived as

incorrect. What to recommend must be based on the rejection factor among

educated speakers. And if all educated speakers from a region line up one

way, then what I am saying is that has to be accepted as a standard

pronunciation. It looks like waft does have two acceptable pronunciations in

the US, and it does look like one is favored in the South to the exclusion of

the other.