Monday, June 12, 2006

Healthy Suspicion

Just a little question in lieu of a full-fledged post:

When did the pronunciation of diabetes change?

All my life, I had thought people were afflicted with something pronounced "die-uh-bee-tees".

Now, commercials tell me, there are new products available to treat "die-uh-bee-tiss".

All I want to know is "why"? Unlike other words, such as "Uranus" that have had their pronunciations shifted intentionally, I can deduce no reason for this seemingly artificial change. Have there always been two pronunciations? Is it a regional thing?

I don't know why, but every time a certain radio commercial promises relief from "die-uh-be-tiss", I cringe.


vacuous said...

I think "die-uh-bee-tiss" has always been correct, but that people pronounced it otherwise to conform to spelling.

By the way, how do you pronounce "often?" Pronunciation of the "t" is a new thing, originating in the same phenomenon of trying to conform to spelling.

Children: ask your parents before applying same principle to "dough," "chthonic," or "cwm."

La Misma said...

I haven't noticed the diabetes thing, but one that really bugs me is "in relationship" instead of "in a relationship." It's as if a fiat was suddenly issued from some central bureau -- suddenly every person I talked to was saying "in relationship." Where did they get this? It just happened.

A similar thing happened to "processes." All my life I've pronounced this "PRAH-cess-cez" with the accent on the first syllable. Suddenly, but espcially in academia, everyone was saying "prah-cess-eeze" in what feels like a bogus attempt to make the word seem more complicated than it is. Academia is full of bullshit moves like this.

beckett said...

well, websters lists tees as primary, but also lists tiss.

I am not com-fort-able saying ofTen.

In relationship? That's new to me. It just begs the question of...

But that's another matter/

vacuous said...

I must admit that "prah-cess-eeze" sounds pretty natural to me, although I agree that it's incorrect. I think it sounds natural because a) I've heard it said this way quite a bit, and b) it sounds similar to the way you pluralize "-ex" words such as "index" and "vortex." However, now that I think about it, a better comparison is with another "-ess" word such as "success." "suhk-cess-eeze" sounds awful, so I guess I'm convinced.

Rog said...

For all your grammar hounds, I learned in my class that "consider to be...." is incorrect. So when you say, "I consider him to be an upstanding citizen", it should really be "I consider him an upstanding citizen."

Maybe I'm just dumb, but this was news to me.

beckett said...

And: "There are myriad colors in the rainbow." is better than "...a myriad of colors..."