Thursday, April 09, 2015

2441 Ex-asperating

Allow me a pet peeve if you will. It's the word, or I suppose more accurately the phrase, "et cetera."  You know.  The thing we abbreviate e-t-c-period.

Et cetera is Latin for "and the rest," and is what we say when there are more examples of things we could use to illustrate a point but really don't want to go to the effort to do so, or there are too many to do so, or we know full well our readers or listeners are going to get bored if we do so, et cetera.

My peeve? It is not pronounced "ex cetera."  Unless of course you are talking about a boring list of my ex-wives.

Now I know there are regional variations of certain words.  And I particularly know that one's upbringing contributes to how we pronounce things.  But the other night I was completely appalled by a woman who was the keynote speaker to a large group using said inexcusable rendition of et cetera.

Maybe it was because the woman in question took great pains to inform the audience members how she had 3 --- count 'em 3 --- Masters degrees and a PhD as well.  At what point, I wondered, in that vast vaunted amount of education did she not see or hear the correct pronunciation of et cetera?

I suspect it was her putting on airs about her educational achievement that put me on edge.  I like to think I'm a pretty easygoing guy languagewise.  Language is a living thing and stuffy grammarians often desiccate the world around them with their dry, sterile, and intolerant pontifications.  For shizzle.

But if you spend a lot of time bragging about your education, you better be sure you're prepared to use it with wisdom, knowledge, competence, et cetera.

America, ya gotta love it.

No comments: