Watch your language: Pronouncing on “erry-you-dite”.

For me, easily the most annoying mispronunciation in vogue is…(I hope my phonetic rendition* is recognizable) …”erry-you-dite”.

That’s “erudite” to you. (I trust.)

Actually it’s been around for some time, but it seems to have been in high overuse since William F. Buckley died. A backhanded tribute, if ever there was one
Did you notice those obituaries: vapid tribute after vapid tribute –q.v. my piece yesterday on Mr. Bush’s half-baked boiler-plate– seemed to cram “erry-you-dite” into the first or at least the second paragraph.
(One could hardly come up with a neater demonstration of one’s lack of erudition.)

And I wonder if you agree with me. I think I detect in this particular mispronunciation a certain deliberateness, a sort of logo-vanity, a putting-on-of-airs, as if the mispronouncer says to him/herself: “I do like the sound of that extra ‘y’. It makes me sound so much more…erry-you-dite.”

[Etymological footnote: even the etymology –“e-rude-ite”– means “to remove rudeness”, in the sense of teaching polish. Remember, people used to go those Finishing/Polishing Schools? I think Bill Buckley went to one.]

[A further footnote re “Rendition” (see above*): how apt my unconscious use in the circumstances? “Rendition” is much in use these days as a euphemism for torture. Which, incidentally, we are told that waterboarding is not: in the erudite words of Judge Mukasey, it is merely “repugnant”.]


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