sh*tting in your backyard
10+ Year Member
- Oct 22, 2006
October 6, 2021 at 2 PM Eastern/11 AM Pacific
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AT a recent meeting of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers in New York frequent use was made, necessarily, of the word "centimeter." Sometimes it was given a thoroughly Anglicized pronunciation and occasionally an equally good French pronunciation, but several times during the day one would hear a rather unpleasant variation, an unsuccessful attempt being made to pronounce the first syllable as in French while the last was given a distinctly English sound. Since the nasal sound and slight lisp and burr are difficult to the average American, why not adopt the Anglicized pronunciation as the standard for English speech?
ENGLISH PRONUNCIATION FOR THE METRIC SYSTEM
DOUBTLESS practically all scientific workers favor general use of the decimal or metric system of weights and measures. Obviously there are certain unavoidable difficulties, both psychological and economic, which must be overcome before this end can be attained. It seems inconsistent, then, for users of the system to add unnecessarily, even in small degree, to the popular prejudice against the change.
Just such an unnecessary minor difficulty is produced by a common American practise in the pronunciation of metric names containing the prefix cent-. As a matter of history, it is true, these names came to us from the French; they could just as well, however, have been taken directly into English from the Latin and Greek. In most respects these words are already, by common consent, fully Anglicized; we never employ the French syllabic stress, nor do we use the French sound of the r or the i or the second e in centimeter. Why, then, should we ever say "sänt" (sahnt), approximating the sound in centime, for the straightforward English "sent" [Note: the "e" appears with an accent mark on top of it that looks like a parenthesis with the concave side upward...couldn't find the symbol for that letter in a modern-day ASCII table ] (as in center) ? Although this hybrid pronunciation is (for example) not recognized by the Funk and Wagnalls "New Standard Dictionary," it is certainly widely prevalent in this country, and it doubtless adds a little to the unthinking popular prejudice against the metric system as a "high-brow" foreign innovation. The same considerations apply to the word centigrade, which has come into English by the same route.
In various other English words, such as cental, centipede, and centenary, cent is regularly pronounced as in the case of the name of our monetary unit. The only excuse for a different practise for the metric system is the fact that these words were first used by the French. They are truly international words, however, and as a matter of practical convenience they should be naturalized in each language in which they are used. Any attempt at precise international uniformity for such words is obviously predestined to failure, except as this uniformity comes with the general adoption of an international auxiliary language such as Esperantoand even when this happens the usage of "national" languages will probably remain unchanged.
And while we are about it, in conformity with the definite trend of modern English usage, can we not all agree to drop the "me" from gram(me), and to write meter rather than metre?
Who says tamponade like lemonade?
according to Webster, it's tampon-aid.
i refuse to say sontimeters. I've heard older IM attendings even say it that way, as if afraid to not fit in with the crowd. I've even heard younger late 30's docs say sontimeters.
it makes you sound like you've got something in the rectum.
we new generation doctors must buck the trend, and pronounce words properly, and write legibly.
I have one:
absence seizures or ab-SON-ce seizures
That's, unfortunately, how I say "skeletal" in my head about 1/3 of the time only because I had a European college professor for a bio class, and I heard it a lot in England in class. I pronounce it normally when I speak.
yeah, it was a guy who studied in england. I was startled when he said it and I thought I was having a stroke.