James E. Clapp jeclapp at WANS.NET
Sat May 1 19:28:48 UTC 1999

Mark_Mandel at DRAGONSYS.COM wrote:

> I have a feeling that psFr /o'maZ/ originated in cinema or literary
> criticism, referring rather specifically to a work or a bit in the
> style of someone or alluding to someone's work, with respectful
> rather than satirical intent. Anyone else?

Me, I guess.  I've always heard and said "homij" or "omij" for all
senses of _homage_ *except* as a count noun referring to a work
designed to pay respect to another or employing another's techniques
out of admiration:  "The third movement is an o'maZ to Mozart."

I assumed that this was French, but looking it up now I am chagrined
to see that the modern French word has a double m (_hommage_).  So
this pronunciation would seem to be genuine pseudo-French.

But Mark might be onto something:  This specialized meaning and its
pronunciation might have come, for example, from the Cahiers du Cinema
crowd.  It would make sense for American followers to adopt the
specialized meaning and distinctive pronunciation and apply them to
the English form of the word.  One would then have (1) "Woody Allen
pays homage (homij or omij) to Ingmar Bergman in several of his
films," but (2) "Woody Allen's 'Interiors' is an homage (o'maZ) to
Bergman."  If this etymological theory is correct, then it would still
be fair to call the pronunciation /o'maZ/ pseudo-French if it were
used in sentence (1), but a little unfair in sentence (2), where a
French-originated concept is given its genuine French pronunciation.

Another word that I pronounce differently in different senses is
_why_.  In my dialect, in all senses except as an interjection the
word begins with an h sound; as an interjection it does not:  "Hwye
didn't you kiss her?  Wye, it never occurred to me!"  Anyone else?

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