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Thread: "a" and "an"

  1. #41
    Dejah
    Guest

    Re: N response & N no particular order

    Okay, I don't know where some of these people are getting their version of English...but in the dictionary, forte when meaning something in which a person excels, is pronounced 'for-tay'. A FORT is a fortifying structure, a place where military resides etc....

    Dejah



  2. #42
    Gary Kessler
    Guest

    Re: N response & N no particular order

    Don't know what dictionary you're using, Dejah, but Webster's 11th, the choice of U.S. publishing, lists "fort" as the first (therefore preferred) pronunciation of the word "forte," meaning "one's strong point."

  3. #43
    Dejah
    Guest

    Re: N response & N no particular order

    ACTUALLY Gary, I'm using Webster's dictionary (online version which works as well as the printed copy, thank you very much..LOL) and it says the following as for usage:

    Usage Note: The word forte, coming from French fort, should properly
    be pronounced with one syllable, like the English word fort. Common
    usage, however, prefers the two-syllable pronunciation, (frt a), which
    has been influenced possibly by the music term forte borrowed from
    Italian. In a recent survey a strong majority of the Usage Panel, 74
    percent, preferred the two-syllable pronunciation. The result is a delicate
    situation; speakers who are aware of the origin of the word may wish to
    continue to pronounce it as one syllable but at an increasing risk of
    puzzling their listeners.

    Again, I say try using it with the single syllable (fort) to someone who is half intelligent and they're going to politely laugh at you behind their hand....

    Dejah

  4. #44
    Gary Kessler
    Guest

    Re: N response & N no particular order

    Happily, most of the people I encounter in my university environment are fully intelligent (rather than half)--and use such pronunciations as this to determine who gets invited to the dean's Christmas party. I got my invitation last year when I was heard to pronounce neither and either with a long i rather than a long e. Showing I couldn't be bought, I not only declined the invitation, but also kept the "fully intelligent" people pronunciations. As I've said elsewhere, I was largely educated outside the States--in places where they still speak English.

  5. #45
    Gary Kessler
    Guest

    Re: N response & N no particular order

    P.S., the usage note on forte in the most recent, 11th edition, Webster's says that usage writers "denigrate" the "fortay" pronunciation as miscontruing the origin as Italian (when it's derived from French), and recommend the "fort" pronunciation. Of course it goes on to say that someone's going to disagree no matter which one you use. That said, when push came to shove, Webster's listed the "fort" pronunciation in the preferred spot. (I'm ignoring the fact that Oxford prefers "fortay," because that doesn't support my argument and I doubt that anyone's going to look it up there and call me on that one.)

    Heck, I've been spending the last four days trying to decide how I pronounce homage and looking around for all those articles for homage that I've never used.

  6. #46
    Dejah
    Guest

    Re: N response & N no particular order

    Gary,

    Speaking of homage (as you may note, I'm giving in to you on the forte issue...sometimes a girl's got to let the guy win...LOL) the original issue was 'a' or 'an' before homage (with a silent 'h' of course). Every where I've seen it, it wasn't preceded by either (with a long i..LOL) but instead, stood alone as follows:

    They paid homage to his masterpiece.

    Dejah

  7. #47
    Gary Kessler
    Guest

    Re: N response & N no particular order

    Preaching to the choir, Dejah. If you scroll on up there near the top, you'll see that the "no article at all" was my initial response.

    Oh, and don't tell Ed P., but I'm really a 16-year-old Valley girl.

  8. #48
    Dejah
    Guest

    Re: N response & N no particular order

    For some strange reason, I almost believe that Gary 'Like, gag me with a spoon!!' LOLOLOL

    (And I DID see your previous response...just wanted to validate it, you know??? LOL

    Dejah

  9. #49
    Steve Varnum
    Guest

    Re: N response & N no particular order

    A little different slant on the pronunciation of homage. It appears that some people pronounce the word as ohmahzh. In other words, long "o" followed by mah (as in mama)followed by zh. The word is French and I believe they use the French pronunciation. However, I have looked in several dictionaries and all of them pronounce it as "homij" or "omij." (According to Merriam-Webster -- the "gold standard" in my opinion -- both with and without a silent "h" is acceptable.)

    Anyone else ever hear that pronunciation?

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