Tue 4 Nov, 2003 08:40 pm
The Roosevelt family pronounce the "Roo" as "roe." But there is a whole group of people in the US who persist in pronouncing Roosevelt as though it rhymes with "Use-a-belt." Who are these people? Do they live under a rock? Did they all go to the same school? Have they never heard radio or TV or gone to the movies? Is the mistake passed down from parent to child? Anyone have a clue? How would you feel if a group of people insisted on mispronouncing your name?!
Being that my surname is pronounced at least 3 different ways by family members themselves it's hard to complain when anyone else uses one of the alternate pronounciations.
Probably a regional thing, at least in the beginning.
MERRIAM-WEBSTER'S . . .
Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Biographical section, gives both pronunciations as being correct. No mention of the origination of either choice. Could "rose" be Dutch and "rooze" be British? It's a thought? Or, what other language would the "rooze" possibly come from? [/color]
I know a married couple who each pronounce their last name differently... A third pronunciation is used by the husband's first wife and her children...
As to Roosevelt, I think it's regional.
Well yes, "oo" in Dutch is pronounced the same as "o" English.
But really, I'm only using the pronunciation of Roosevelt as an example of something else: wrong words and phrases are repeated over and over again until a whole generation grows up believing they're correct. Example: "normalcy," a word invented in a political speech in the '20's by a politicians who meant "normality." It was repeated as a joke -- as a joke -- for years and then was believed by many to be a correct word for normality.
As for Roosevelt, I just remember noticing even in childhood that Roosevelt's name was mispronounced by people I thought of as prissy. I assumed they thought they knew better than the Roosevelts how to pronounce the name!
Example: "normalcy," a word invented in a political speech in the '20's by a politicians who meant "normality." It was repeated as a joke -- as a joke -- for years and then was believed by many to be a correct word for normality.
I suspect this related story is a bit of fabrication along the lines of an urban legend. The word "normalcy" appears in the 1913 version of Webster's dictionary as: "\Nor"mal*cy\, n. The quality, state, or fact of being normal; as, the point of normalcy. [R.]" and as a synonym for "normality".
Who decides on the correct way to pronounce a name? My parents pronounce my irl first name differently than I do.
When I recently did the Michigan/Wisconsin roadtrip - I think each hotel desk clerk came up with a different way to pronounce my last name. Given that it's one syllable, it's sometimes hard to fathom the differences people come up with.
A couple of names that cause a lot of consternation in terms of pronunciation where I went to university are Weber and Wiebe.
I can remember about 25 years ago, when many of us were introduced to the name Nguyen for the first time.
I've learned that it's best just to ask people how they'd like their name pronounced. I'll bet there's more than one Roosevelt family that prefers a Roooooseveldt pronunciation.
Walter Hinteler wrote:
Although Merriam-Webster gives as first date of notion 1857, the associations with President Warren G. Harding's "The Return to Normalcy" (1920, if I'm correct) created its notoriety .
Fair enough. Is a word "invented" when it is first used or when it gains notoriety?
Well I for one am not going to start referring to my booze as bose.
And what about Leonard Bernstein? I think he prefers steen, but ebbry fule no it styne.
So who's to say? Received pronunciation is by its nature exclusive. "We, the insiders, know what's best, what's proper, because we set the rules."
Isn't that so?
Yes, my understanding (and you can fire my 9th grade English teacher) was that Harding was the perp. I didn't know it predated Harding. I do know that it was regarded by many as a sign of the dissolution of America, its language, its culture...!!