Sunday, 24 January 2010

"Let's Call the Whole Thing Off"

Somebody recently asked me what was the correct way to pronounce a particular letter in classical greek. There was a difference of academic opinion on the letter in question.

My response was that I don't much get concerned about the correct pronunciation of classical greek, latin or hebrew. The intent and meaning behind it should really be the paramount focus and concern. If I had more time to spend on research I may hold a different view - but I don't!

In terms of esoteric working, it only becomes a real problem when there is such an extreme difference in pronunciation that other participants in your working don't recognise what you are intoning or saying. That's pretty rare.To make a illustrative comparison, a Geordie will still understand a Liverpudlian accent in 99% of cases and vice versa.

Somewhat surprisingly the discussion reminded me of my Gran. Let me elaborate. My sister and I went to different schools. She went to a state school while I went to private school. There was family havoc when we were both learning latin because we were both taught a number of different pronunciations to each other. As can be expected, on one occasion this caused a very loud and angry episode of sibling rivalry over whose was the correct one. Only when my 80-year old Gran stepped in singing the song "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off" did we get back to finishing our homework! Its still a favourite song of mine:

You say "either" and I say "either"
You say "neither" I say "neither"
"Either" "either", "neither" "neither"
Let's call the whole thing off
You say "potato," I say "patattah"
You say "tomato", I say "creole tomata"
Oh, let's call the whole thing off
Oh, if we call the whole thing off
Then we must part and oh
If we ever part, that would break my heart
So, I say "ursta" you say "oyster"
I'm not gonna stop eatin' urstas just cause you say oyster,
Oh, let's call the whole thing off
Oh, I say "pajamas", you say "pajamas"
Sugar, what's the problem?
Oh, for we know we need each other so
We'd better call the calling off off
So let's call it off, oh let's call it off
Oh, let's call it off, baby let's call it off
Sugar why don't we call it off,
I'm talking baby why call it off
Call it off¡­
Let's call the whole thing off

(PS Its much more fun if you sing it loud with a partner of the opposite sex!)

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