Letters to the Editor

Letters: Much ado about diction

  • Print.

In Bryan A. Garner’s “How Do You Say It?” October, page 24, I don’t agree with a lot of the supposedly standard pronunciations. However, this “test” was particularly challenging for a person brought up in four countries who missed several years of grammar school teaching in English as the primary language and whose pronunciation was initially taught by English and Irish teachers in school and Midwestern U.S. parents at home. As a result, I really haven’t a clue. Particularly difficult is deciding which “syLabul” to emphasize.

Paula S. “Susie” Kent
North Stonington, Connecticut

Regarding the pronunciation of “coup de grace” and “concierge,” the final consonant in each case (“c” and “g,” respectively) is in fact pronounced in French, so those who omit them are mispronouncing the words in two languages. A similar mistake is often made when pronouncing “salade nicoise”—yes, the final “s” is pronounced. 

John E. Thompson,
Bethesda, Maryland

I’m surprised you don’t remember where the four-syllable pronunciation of the word interesting came from: Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In! On that seminal ’60s TV show, Arte Johnson’s German soldier character would rise out of the bushes at odd times and comment on the show by saying his catchphrase, “Verrry in-te-res-ting!” (Millennials, Google it. Very funny in its time.)

Rick Goldberg
West Sacramento, California

ON being CIVIL

Regarding “Civility Reboot,” October,  in our increasingly tribal culture, incivility is perhaps the norm. Campus speech codes are enforced by a full-blown diversity faculty. They earn their hefty salaries “censoring” incivility. The more incivility the better for these bureaucrats. They promote more incivility by running staged tribunals that deny “due process”—like the hearings of Brett Kavanaugh—to the accused.

Jack Toliver
Saint George, Utah


Give us feedback, share a story tip or update, or report an error.