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All progress is precarious

12
Jul
2013
 

By Miranda

I'm having a whinge. I simply hate the way the word PROGRESS has changed its pronunciation over the last few decades. And PROCESS.
What do I mean? Well, it's not unrelated to the OFFENCE/DEFENCE thing (ignoring the difference between the British English DEFENCE and the North American English DEFENSE spelling, which is a minor irritant to both groups of English users) in which, gradually, the stress on the second syllable of DEFENCE, and this seems to have emerged from sporting arenas, has changed to a stress on the first syllable, so that we get a DEE-fence to match the OFF-fence.

In the case of PROCESS and, in particular, in the case of the noun meaning a 'way of doing things', we used to say PROH-sess. Of course for the verb, meaning to 'go or walk in a procession', we said, and still say, proh-SESS. However, the trend today seems to be losing the lovely long OH vowel sound in the first syllable and changing it to a shorter vowel rhyming (loosely) with the sound of 'hot' or 'pot'. Hate it.

Then there's PROGRESS. I blame PROGNOSIS, myself. Although we don't seem to have any difficulty with saying 'nohsis' for the word of Greek origin, GNOSIS, and can manage GNOSTIC as 'nostic', the moment we put a prefix in, especially PRO, we get a word in which the G seems unable to remain silent. Thus, prog-NOH-sis for the prognosis you are given by medical staff.

Work in Progress

Image: blacktagdiaries.blogspot.com.au

All understandable, language moves on, etc.

What I don't understand is why it had to move on to PROGRESS. I mean, we have INGRESS and REGRESS which we still say, respectively, as IN-gress and REE-gress, not ING-ress or REGG-ress, so why, oh why, must PROGRESS be said as PROGG-ress.

Have you noticed any other changes in the way a once familiar word is pronounced?

Miranda

48 Responses to

All progress is precarious

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said:
July 19, 2013 at 6:46 AM

Henry2, I must politely disagree with your definition of nauseous. I believe one who feels sick is nauseous.

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said:
July 19, 2013 at 7:09 AM

Keight8, I think that confusion on "inflammable" came from the fact that the stem word is the verb "inflame"..where "in-" isn't a negative prefix, but means to change sth, or give sth a new quality...like increase, inject, infuse, incite, inspire etc. I think nowadays 'non-flammable' is widely used for the negative.

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said:
July 19, 2013 at 12:24 PM

Henry2, I agree with Jaffa. If i feel sick myself, I feel nauseous but if someone else annoys me I feel nauseated.

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codlike said:
January 19, 2014 at 10:23 PM

GET A LIFE

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luddite said:
January 25, 2014 at 7:23 PM

To keight8, I prefer to identify said chain as " MuckDonalds."

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Rhino60 said:
June 28, 2014 at 5:49 PM

My mother-in-law is one of those who insists on adding syllables, saying 'balloo-wen' and 'fillum' instead of 'balloon' and 'film'. She then compounds my annoyance by REMOVING a syllable when she says that something is 'rooned', instead of 'ruined'. There is a miniscule possibilty I don't like it because it's SHE who says it (I don't like her very much!) - but it annoys the excrement out of me.

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jafa said:
June 28, 2014 at 5:58 PM

Who's a grumpy puss... :))) Your m.i.l gave birth to your lovely wife... You should cherish her... :)))

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June 28, 2014 at 6:29 PM

Gee Rhino, you're here, there and everywhere....

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keight said:
June 28, 2014 at 7:54 PM

I agree with you, Rhino, That "fillum" is extremely annoying - only topped by "Arks" instead of "Ask".

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June 28, 2014 at 10:59 PM

Aw I don't want to be such a language-purist - simply a mode of speaking, isn't it? Anyone who is making slip-ups, if that's what they are, isn't doing it out of cockiness - they think they are doing it right. Individuality lives! Meeting up with a few moonlighting friends here!

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keight said:
June 28, 2014 at 11:14 PM

Yes, Pammy, I agree that you can't say to someone who says "fillum" or "Aks" that they are saying it wrong but it can still privately grate on the nerves.

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penguin58 said:
June 29, 2014 at 1:15 AM

Good morning all,l see Duck Petroleum has thrown down the gauntlet,we will pick it up and slap him on both sides of his face with it very soon:))))LOL

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keight said:
June 29, 2014 at 2:02 AM

Penguin, are you on the wrong page?

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keight said:
June 29, 2014 at 2:20 AM

With all respect, of course. Just wondering if you might be refering to another blog topic.

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penguin58 said:
June 29, 2014 at 2:38 AM

Hi Keight,when my computer turns on,it starts where l left off,so l didn`t see the new topic.Pedro threw down a gauntlet about his name and l will give him a new one:))Now l will read the new topic.

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Rhino60 said:
June 29, 2014 at 5:54 PM

LOL Jafa - you haven't met her...although you did use the term 'grumpy puss' - maybe you HAVE...

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Rhino60 said:
June 29, 2014 at 5:56 PM

I have more moves than a tin of worms, Jelly...

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mop5ie said:
July 03, 2014 at 6:51 PM

Hello bloggers What about the ABC weather announcer saying: arftnoon, satdee,sundee,mundee,toosdee,wensdee,fursdee, and finally froydee? I arks you's lot "speeka da english please"