Ding Dong Merrily on high - need pronunciation help

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Southern Comfort
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Re: Ding Dong Merrily on high - need pronunciation help

Post by Southern Comfort » Wed Dec 17, 2008 7:11 pm

quaeritor wrote:There is a slight difference there in that "deity" is an English word (albeit derived from Latin) and given only the pronunciation dee-ity in Chambers (and in the rather small school-level Oxford which is all I have to hand), - so "day-ity" is simply wrong


I'm afraid this is down to the fact that Catholicism wasn't really a mainstream British religion until the days of Basil Hume, and the compilers of Chambers and OED simply didn't know how Catholics pronounced it. They do (or should do) now, since there was an extensive correspondence on precisely this point (the two divergent pronunciations) in the columns of The Times, no less, in the mid-1970s. The fact that quaeritor even knew that "day-ity" was an alternative simply proves that it was out there in Catholic circles and s/he had encountered it, thus providing further evidence that this is in fact the correct pronunciation for Catholics.

(Who said I couldn't be just as obsessive as quaeritor?!)
Last edited by Southern Comfort on Wed Dec 17, 2008 7:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Ding Dong Merrily on high - need pronunciation help

Post by Southern Comfort » Wed Dec 17, 2008 7:17 pm

JW wrote:Sorry to prolong this agony,


Don't be sorry - it's good fun!

JW wrote:what about the A in "O and A and A and O" in the last verse of 'Unto Us is Born a Son'. Is it 'Ay' or 'Ah'? Possibly it depends whether you say Aymen or Ahmen at the end of a prayer - is there anything laid down on this?


I've never heard any congregation sing anything other than Eh and Oh. It's English, I think, with the Latin coming in at cum cantibus in choro.

JW wrote:And while I'm on a roll, I've always wondered whether to sing "For his mercies I endure" or "For his mercies eh endure" in the chorus of 'Let us with a Gladsome Mind'

Please enlighten me!


Once again, I think I've never heard any congregation sing anything other than eh, presumably because the other pronunciation gives rise to mirth.....

But then, most congregations sing "with thy saints for I" in Soul of my Saviour to rhyme with "come to thee on high" in the preceding line. Hmmm.

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Re: Ding Dong Merrily on high - need pronunciation help

Post by musicus » Thu Dec 18, 2008 8:18 am

Hmm. That very useful site, http://www.askoxford.com , gives two meanings for 'aye': the first (meaning 'yes') may be pronounced 'I' or 'A'; the second, meaning 'always', may be pronounced 'A' or 'I' :roll: No further on there then.

BTW, as SC says, this is fun, so let's continue. All hymns, songs and carols are fair game, but do try to support your strongly-held opinions with evidence, where possible.
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Re: Ding Dong Merrily on high - need pronunciation help

Post by Ros Wood » Thu Dec 18, 2008 8:43 am

Interestingly, having been brought up C of E and then singing in an ecumenical chapel choir before converting to Catholicism, I have never heard Deity pronounced anything other than Day-ity.

I also noticed a tendancy though to call various canticles by an anglicised title (including tedium) although often in an abbreviated form (e.g. mag and nunc). If the latin was actually sung then the correct pronunciation was always used - in fact I've heard far more Latin pronunciation horrors from catholic parish choirs than I ever have from C of E/college choirs.

Also, remember that C of E choirs have traditionally had children in them and schoolboy humour will have encouraged the use of things like "tedium" and "Agnes Dayi".

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Re: Ding Dong Merrily on high - need pronunciation help

Post by Reginald » Thu Dec 18, 2008 10:47 am

On Ros's point

fac me cruce custodiri or 'pass my prunes and custard deary'

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Re: Ding Dong Merrily on high - need pronunciation help

Post by JW » Thu Dec 18, 2008 5:59 pm

A further thought on Latin pronunciation. I spent 2 years in Northern Spain and they have their own (Arab influenced) pronunciation. G's in the middle of a word and J's are aspirated with the kind of h aspiration you use to clear your throat)..., and C's are pronounced 'th' so the start of the Gloria is pronounced

Gloria in exthelsis Deo

and the Gratias agimus tibi is pronounced

Grathias ahhimus tibi

I actually preferred it to the Roman church Latin once I got used to it! Have a listen to this Adeste Fideles, especially the 'Rehhem Anhhelorum' http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=H73gPQ4Yimw and their Ave Maria 'grathia' plena here http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=O29Z7IVtwfc&feature=related
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Re: Ding Dong Merrily on high - need pronunciation help

Post by contrabordun » Fri Dec 19, 2008 9:58 am

Southern Comfort wrote:I'm afraid this is down to the fact that Catholicism wasn't really a mainstream British religion until the days of Basil Hume, and the compilers of Chambers and OED simply didn't know how Catholics pronounced it.


I should have thought that the OED would have had a few references going back before 1540!
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Re: Ding Dong Merrily on high - need pronunciation help

Post by HallamPhil » Fri Dec 19, 2008 1:25 pm

Earlier I wrote "I don't suppose that there is anything laid down other than what the pronunciation of those vowels in the Greek words Alpha and Omega actually is and therefore Ah and O (as in God). " Having pursued this with a higher authority outside this forum I now realise that the O in Omega is pronounced as Oh.

I think I agree with SC that what would probably come out of a congregation is A (as in hay) and O (as in Oh) and that's fine by me.

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Re: Ding Dong Merrily on high - need pronunciation help

Post by mcb » Fri Dec 19, 2008 10:08 pm

Southern Comfort wrote:
quaeritor wrote:"deity" is ... given only the pronunciation dee-ity in Chambers

I'm afraid this is down to the fact that Catholicism wasn't really a mainstream British religion until the days of Basil Hume, and the compilers of Chambers and OED simply didn't know how Catholics pronounced it.

This year's Chambers (for which I was pronunciation editor) gives both dee-ity and day-ity. (At least I hope it does; my copy is on the shelf at work. The file I sent them for typesetting has them both in.) Actually, my records say the previous edition did as well. Are you looking at a very old copy, Quaeritor?

In any event, I don't think it's a question of denominational differences. There's a general shift which appears to be taking place, away from 'ee' to 'ay' in lots of Latinate words. According to a survey not so long ago 80% of respondents prefer day-ity over dee-ity, and they certainly aren't all RCs.

There's a well-informed discussion of deity here.

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Re: Ding Dong Merrily on high - need pronunciation help

Post by Southern Comfort » Sat Dec 20, 2008 8:09 am

mcb wrote:There's a well-informed discussion of deity here.


Very interesting: so deity has now changed as a result of spontaneity, etc.

And now, back to Wolcum Yule......

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Re: Ding Dong Merrily on high - need pronunciation help

Post by quaeritor » Mon Dec 22, 2008 11:37 pm

mcb wrote:This year's Chambers (for which I was pronunciation editor) gives both dee-ity and day-ity. (At least I hope it does; my copy is on the shelf at work. The file I sent them for typesetting has them both in.) Actually, my records say the previous edition did as well. Are you looking at a very old copy, Quaeritor?


. . . but it's my new one [sob] - a present from my wife's aunt - and printed in only . . er . . 1978. Where do the years go?

Seriously, though, it's pretty hard when you try to show off a bit of pseudo-erudition by quoting a learned tome to be shot down in flames by the actual editor of the said tome luring unexpectedly in the byways of an unrelated forum! I'll take that as a "gotcher".

More seriously, does what was an error become correct by the simple force of frequent usage? Does this mean I have to abandon my crusade against "CONtribute" and "DIStribute" instead of "conTRIBute and "disTRIBute" just because they are so prevalent on the BBC and among public figures, including notably the current Prime Minister?

Whatever happened to dogmatism?

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Re: Ding Dong Merrily on high - need pronunciation help

Post by quaeritor » Tue Dec 23, 2008 12:05 am

quaeritor wrote: . . luring unexpectedly . .


that should of course have been "lurking"

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Re: Ding Dong Merrily on high - need pronunciation help

Post by Southern Comfort » Tue Dec 23, 2008 8:00 am

quaeritor wrote:More seriously, does what was an error become correct by the simple force of frequent usage? Does this mean I have to abandon my crusade against "CONtribute" and "DIStribute" instead of "conTRIBute and "disTRIBute" just because they are so prevalent on the BBC and among public figures, including notably the current Prime Minister?


No, keep going. Campaign against "conTROVersy" when it should be "CONtroVERsy", "forMIDable" when it should be "FORmidable", "priMARily" when it should be "PRImarily", and all the other regular mutilations of our language which are born of nothing more than ignorance. Even the famed John Humphrys (have you read his book Lost for Words?)is not totally without fault on the air.

I'm sure mcb will tell us that the pattern of shifting the stress off the first syllable to the second, evident in all the above examples, is now part of the development of the language (in which case, please explain quaeritor's examples, where the stress has shifted off the second syllable to the first!), but when you've been brought up to speak correctly it certainly doesn't look like a development, more like a disintegration.... <rant off!>

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Re: Ding Dong Merrily on high - need pronunciation help

Post by alan29 » Tue Dec 23, 2008 9:57 am

Southern Comfort wrote:
quaeritor wrote:More seriously, does what was an error become correct by the simple force of frequent usage? Does this mean I have to abandon my crusade against "CONtribute" and "DIStribute" instead of "conTRIBute and "disTRIBute" just because they are so prevalent on the BBC and among public figures, including notably the current Prime Minister?


No, keep going. Campaign against "conTROVersy" when it should be "CONtroVERsy", "forMIDable" when it should be "FORmidable", "priMARily" when it should be "PRImarily", and all the other regular mutilations of our language which are born of nothing more than ignorance. Even the famed John Humphrys (have you read his book Lost for Words?)is not totally without fault on the air.

I'm sure mcb will tell us that the pattern of shifting the stress off the first syllable to the second, evident in all the above examples, is now part of the development of the language (in which case, please explain quaeritor's examples, where the stress has shifted off the second syllable to the first!), but when you've been brought up to speak correctly it certainly doesn't look like a development, more like a disintegration.... <rant off!>


Isn't it more a case of their falling into line with the general rule that penultimate syllables are stressed in English?
Lesser and fewer is my bete noir. "Less people" indeed!!!!!!!
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Re: Ding Dong Merrily on high - need pronunciation help

Post by nazard » Tue Dec 23, 2008 6:00 pm

No - in English stresses are all over the place, stresses are on the penultimate syllable in Welsh.

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