‘How To Pronounce It’ by Alan S.C. Ross

On a lighter note, let us explore pronunciation. In his article for The Spectator, Mark Mason discusses the strange but interesting book, How To Pronounce It, written by Alan S.C. Ross in 1970. Here is a sample:

It took me quite a while to be sure that the book isn’t a spoof after all. ‘Gone’, we’re told, should rhyme with ‘born’, NOT with ‘on’. ‘Lather’ must be pronounced to rhyme with ‘gather’, and NOT (Ross’s capitals) with ‘father’. ‘This second, non-U pronunciation,’ he fumes, ‘is almost universal in the television advertisements for soap powders’.

The reason it’s so amusing in 2013, yet seemed so sensible in 1970, is that back then if you set something down in a book you set it in stone. Books were written by clever people who knew things, and what’s more had lots of initials to remind you that they knew things. They legislated on language for the rest of us, piteous little oiks that we were. There was right and there was wrong, and woe betide you if you didn’t know the difference. Today, on the other hand, social media is inventing new words faster than even an e-book could cope with, never mind a conventional one.

For the full article, visit bit.ly/16jgkwa.

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