World Words, Recommended Pronunciations

World Words, Recommended Pronunciations

World Words, Recommended Pronunciations

World Words, Recommended Pronunciations

Excerpt

This pronouncing dictionary is designed to assist speakers of the Columbia Broadcasting System. They have the problems of correct usage that every American has, with this difference -- that as radio speakers they meet their problems in public while millions are listening in. Naturally no group has greater desire to be right.

The recurring question "Which is correct?" is best met by the doctrine of "levels of usage." Ask not only which is correct, but correct for what purpose. To the styles appropriate for the pulpit, the Supreme Court, after-dinner speaking, conversation, familiar speech, and so on, we must add the styles appropriate to radio. Radio is peculiar: though the subject matter may be serious and formal, the radio audience hears it in the familiar surroundings of home. The platform and pulpit styles become incongruous; the listeners wish the broadcaster to be natural and friendly, but well spoken and easily understood. Agreeable pronunciation is one part of an agreeable oral style. It is probably not the most important part, but it is the most easily questioned and often the most difficult to maintain before a wide audience in a nation where there are regional types of speech.

Included here with the names that the War has made prominent are certain common English words whose alternative pronunciations cause domestic conflict of a different order. The debates as to which pronunciation is "correct" can be settled only by future generations, for in 1944 these words actually have two or more pronunciations and each of them is held by millions of Americans to be "correct." It is not the province of CBS to regulate the English language, but it is desirable to avoid the awkwardness that conflicting pronunciations on one program may cause. A choice therefore has been made in the light, we hope, of common sense, guided by the fact that CBS is a national American network. Without seeking to impair any citizen's right to be his own professor of English, we look for what is national, contemporary, and reputable.

The English Pronunciation of Foreign Names

Just as the names of the older countries and the principal regions of Europe have English variants -- as Germany, Italy, and Spain for . . .

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