Red Ink in the Blood
I taught English literature and composition for 33 years. I hated grading papers, but it was my duty. I was paid to correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation and to teach students how to avoid getting my red ink on their papers by writing it right the first time.
On Facebook I see many errors made, and I see many rants from people angry about the mistakes of others. Making others wrong is an ego ploy to make you feel right and therefore superior to the others. I resist getting into the rants, and I resist correcting spelling and other errors in people’s posts.
In the last two weeks, however, I have heard two people mispronounce the word “homage.” Instead of saying “OM-idge” they said “oh-MAZH” rhyming with the French word “fromage.” One of these speakers holds a PhD in English.
So, I have given my ego permission to write this post, just to let out my irritation at the mispronunciation of “homage.” I know English is one of the most adaptive and adoptive of languages, changing usage readily and receiving words from other languages with open arms, unlike the previously mentioned French. If enough ignorant people keep saying “oh-MAZH” on television and radio, very soon it will be accepted as the standard pronunciation. Why does that bother me?
Power and Control. In my learning and practice of Centering (Contemplative) Prayer, I have seen how my need for power and control have added to my suffering and prevented me from being my true, loving self. Here it is again. Now that I am retired, I have no students that I can teach the proper pronunciation of “homage.” I have lost the teacher’s power, and I certainly have no control of Facebook. I feel helpless to hold back the tide of mispronunciation that threatens the English-speaking world.
There. That feels better.
Keep Calm, and Love Thy Neighbor.