Monday, December 14, 2009


I try not to be pedantic about language and pronunciation, but sometimes I can't help being irritated by a language variant, even though I know that this is the nature of language, to change.

For instance I shudder when I hear the word 'pronunciation' pronounced "pronounciation", even though I understand the perfectly natural regulatory impulses behind the innovation. The verb is 'pronounce' and it is not rational to pronounce the noun as though it were "pronunce". I have to admire the courage and rationality of the variant that grates to my ear even though I know it to be 'wrong' according to the accepted standards of the recent past. I have to fight my urge to 'correct' this pronunciation, because, it's very likely, given the widespread usage, that it won't be long - in geological time anyway - before 'pronounciation' is the new standard for NZ English.

There's one other little pet linguistic hate I have been nursing, and that's the way some people pronounce the name of that very fine New Zealand white wine sauvignon blanc as sav blanc. And then just sav. And now, increasingly, and affectionately, savvy. As in, "That new sparkling savvy's awesome!"

Aaaargh! But it's such a nice wine, and now there are sparkling varieties of sauvignon blanc, and the other day I shared a bottle of it with a friend, celebrating a joyous triumph, and it was a lovely day too, and the waitperson called the wine we ordered "savvy" and I thought, yeah. Gimme some savvy. Yum. Cheers!

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