A Pet Peeve About The Mispronunciation of Sine Die

expressoSine Die is a Latin term that literally means without day. Anyone that speaks Spanish can easily suss out the meaning thanks to the Latin roots. In Spanish it is sin dias.  It is a term used for the last day of a term of a an assembly. It means there are no other scheduled days in session in which to meet.

It is often used in politics but can also be used at a corporate board meeting and in other situations. For example if a company is sold, liquidated, or merges with another company, their last meeting would be sine die since they would never meet again in an official capacity. The board at Blackberry (Research in Motion) may get a chance to use that term in the near future.

In politics, legislatures use it for terms or mandates that are coming to an end. There is no assigned day for a future meeting or hearing for that same group although special sessions can be called. Today is such a day for the Georgia Legislature.

I happened to come across a Tweet from Todd Rehm that calls himself a pundit and even created a blog called Georgia Pundit where he also explained what Sine die means and offered a phonetic pronunciation. I will take a screenshot of his post below.

From GA Pundit:

Screen Shot 2015-04-01 at 11.47.53 AM

 

 

 

 

 

It is certainly possible Mr. Rehm is simply bad at phonetics. It is also possible that he understands the correct pronunciation but most in the Georgia legislature have butchered the pronunciation for such a long time that this erroneous pronunciation has simply caught on. Perhaps he figures why bother trying to correct that long-established tradition or perhaps he doesn’t know any better. Most lawyers that I have met are horrible at pronouncing Latin phrases so that is certainly a possibility. If Mr. Rehm is correct and that is the most oft-used pronunciation at the Georgia Capitol, that is extremely disappointing.

I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that an Anglicized pronunciation similar to the one he phonetically spelled out has become widely used. But even this version differs from “Dye” that seems to have caught on in Georgia for some reason. Georgia seems to have a peculiarly and uniquely mangled version all it’s own.

Here is a popular Anglicized form but even this is not what I have heard in Georgia for some reason.  saɪni ˈdaɪiː

For anyone that has studied Latin, si-nā-ˈdē-ˌā sounds far more natural.This is also widely used and the one I would prefer catch on in Georgia among the assembly. 

Am I being overly pedantic? Almost assuredly. It may be a silly pet peeve, but as a self-proclaimed lexicomane I must at least try and stem the tide of ignorance even if is is a losing battle. Every time I heard George W. Bush say NEW-KYU-LER it felt like fingernails on a chalkboard and I am sure I wasn’t alone.

It is about getting it right, doing as well as you can and trying not to pass along ignorance to someone else. Perhaps if the legislators start to correct simple errors like mispronouncing words, it might translate into correcting bigger errors in laws?

To all my other lexicomaniacs © out there, keep fighting the good fight.  As Virgil once said durate et vosmet rebus servate secundis which means carry on and preserve yourselves for better times.

We may not ever prevail against the vast army of stubbornly proud ignoramuses out there but it is our duty to at least try. So nil desperandum! (never despair)

Sincerely,

the Ghost of Henry Sweet

 

40 Other Pet Peeves to guard against

  1. Library is pronounced “lie-brair-ee,” not “lie-bear-ee.” [No, it’s not libarian either]
  2. Nuclear is pronounced “nook-lee-er,” not “nUke-U-ler.” [Ode to Bush]
  3. February is pronounced “Feb-roo-air-ee,” not “Feb-U-aire-ee.” [Frequently misspelled, as well]
  4. Orange is pronounced “or-anj,” not “are-anj.” [Orange you glad you know this?]
  5. Prostate is pronounced “praw-state,” not “praw-straight.” [Unless you are lying down]
  6. Height is pronounced “hite,” not “hite with a ‘th’.” [That “e-i” or “width” must confuse us]
  7. Probably is pronounced “praw-bab-lee,” not “prob-lee.” [Or some say “praw-lee”]
  8. Ask is pronounced “ask,” not ” ax.” [Please tell me before you ax me.]
  9. Pronunciation is pronounced “pro-nun-see-a-tion,” not ” pro-noun-see-a-tion.” [But pronounce]
  10. Athlete is pronounced “ath-lete,” not “ath-ah-leet.” [Despite the ath-ah-leets foot commercials]
  11. Strategy is pronounced “strat-uh-gee,” not “stra-ji-dee.” [Though we never say “stra-ji-jick”]
  12. Aluminum is pronounced “uh-loo-mi-num,” not “al-U-min-um.” [Brits have their own version]
  13. Et cetera (etc.) is pronounced “et-set-er-ah,” not “ek- set-er-ah.” [Not “ek-spe-shul-lee” either]
  14. Supposedly is pronounced “suh-po-zed-lee,” not “su-pose-ub-lee.” [Or “su-pose-eh-blee”]
  15. Difference is pronounced “di-fer-ence,” not “dif-rence.” [Often misspelled due to this error]
  16. Mischievous is pronounced “mis-chuh-vus,” not “mis-chee-vee-us.” [You’ll look this one up]
  17. Mayonnaise is pronounced “may-un-naze,” not “man-aise.” [“Ketchup-catsup” is another matter]
  18. Miniature is pronounced “mi-ne-uh-ture,” not “min-ah-ture.” [Who drives an Austin “min-uh”?]
  19. Definite is pronounced “de-fuh-nit,” not ” def-ah-nut.” [For define, it’s “di-fine” not “dah-fine”]
  20. Often is pronounced “off-ten,” not “off-en.” [Probably just sloppy pronunciation]
  21. Internet is pronounced “In-ter-net,” not “In-nur-net.” [Not “in-ner-rest-ing either]
  22. Groceries is pronounced “grow-sir-ees,” not “grow-sure-ees.” [It’s not “grow-sure” either]
  23. Similar is pronounced “sim-ah-ler,” not “sim-U-lar.” [But Websters says “sim-ler” is fine]
  24. Escape is pronounced “es-cape,” not “ex-cape.” [It’s not “ex-pres-so” either]
  25. Lose is pronounced “luze,” not “loose.” [Think “choose,” not “moose”]
  26. Temperature is pronounced “tem-per-ah-ture,” not “tem-prah-chur.” [Cute when kids say it]
  27. Jewelry is pronounced “jewl-ree” or “jew-ul-ree,” not “jew-ler-ree.” [More syllables won’t get you more carats]
  28. Sandwich is pronounced “sand-which,” not “sam-which.” [Or “sam-mitch” either]
  29. Realtor is pronounced “real-tor,” not “real-ah-tor.” [Similarly, it’s “di-late,” not “di-ah-late”]
  30. Asterisk is pronounced “ass-tur-risk,” not “ass-trik.” [It’s not called a star, by the way]
  31. Federal is pronounced “fed-ur-ul,” not “fed-rul.” [Use all syllables to ensure all federal holidays]
  32. Candidate is pronounced “can-di-date,” not “can-uh-date.” [It’s not “can-nuh-date” or “can-di-dit”]
  33. Hierarchy is pronounced “hi-ur-ar-kee,” not “hi-ar-kee.” [It’s not “arch-type”; it’s “ar-ki-type”]
  34. Niche is pronounced “nich” or “neesh,” not “neech.” [This one drives some people crazy]
  35. Sherbet is pronounced “sher-bet,” not “sher-bert.” [I’m sure, Burt]
  36. Prescription is pronounced “pre-scrip-tion,” not “per-scrip-tion.” [and prerogative, not “per”]
  37. Arctic is pronounced “ark-tik,” not “ar-tik.” [Not “ant-ar-tik-ah either]
  38. Cabinet is pronounced “cab-uh-net,” not “cab-net.” [Likewise, it’s “cor-uh-net,” not “cor-net”]
  39. Triathlon is pronounced “tri-ath-lon,” not “tri-ath-uh-lon.” [Not “bi-ath-uh-lon” either]
  40. Forte is pronounced “fort,” not “for-tay.” [But Porsche does have a slight “uh” at the end]

 

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3 Comments

  1. Brian Powley May 10, 2017 Reply
  2. Nat March 27, 2017 Reply
  3. Neesh not Neech April 1, 2015 Reply

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