Language Purity

Via Ginger, a link to a list of the 100 most mispronounced words.
It’s difficult to creatively and constructively add to her points, but I am going to make one of my own, and in as clear language as possible.
Language is a tool, not a straitjacket. If everyone in America decided to pronounce “ask” as “ax”, that would be the pronunciation. There is no “right” way to pronounce words, in the end, only what is used most commonly and universally understood.
I had an English teacher who bemoaned the idea of people mispronouncing the word ask. But its a fallacious concept. If a pronunciation of a word is universally understood, be it a regional dialect or otherwise, then it is valid.
If I pronounce the word “Car” as “can”, that’s a mispronunciation. If I am in New York (or, yes Ginger, New Jersey) and pronounce it “cah”, then that is a regional variant and it is valid.
I haven’t read it yet, but I’d love to pick up the McWhorter book on language which addresses things like dialects and regionalisms and the like.
I like languages far beyond my limited facility with them.

One thought on “Language Purity”

  1. Jvstin’s infamous mispronouced word:
    Debris ( was pronounced DE-Bris )

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