Vegan prescriptivism

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Fri Jun 29 20:54:37 UTC 2001

>>Webster's Third: no listing
>>RHUD (1994): /vEdZ at n/; ("esp. Brit.") /vig at n/
>>AHD4: /vig at n/; /vEdZ at n/
>>M-W (Web): /vig at n/; /veig at n/; /vEdZ at n/; /vEdZ&n/
>>Cambridge (Web): /vig at n/
>>Macquarie (Web): /vig at n/
>I wonder if the pronunciation has stabilized since '94.  (I assume
>the hard "g" was originally a spelling pronunciation, since all its
>cognates are /dZ/.)  If so, RHUD might have been accurate back in
>'94, but if the rest of us are right, the standard US pronunciation
>(at least in the Northeast, California, and the Midwest, and
>especially among vegans themselves) is now /vig at n/.  Is there a
>region where /vEdZ at n/ predominates?

Apparently it was /vig at n/ from its invention (UK, 1944), although it is
said to be a contraction of "vegetarian". OED (plebeian edition) shows
/vig at n/, "US" /vEdZ at n/. I suppose an independent vegan movement arose in
the US with a divergent pronunciation. Probably in recent years there has
been internationalization and standardization. It's quite possible that I
haven't heard the word spoken in the last ten years, but 20+ years ago I
heard it regularly, always or nearly always /vEdZ at n/ IIRC.

I phoned the local vegetarian restaurant (Pittsburgh) and a young person
there said it's either /vig at n/ or /veig at n/, NOT /vEdZ at n/ (at least not
among the vegans).

I like /vig at n/ or /veig at n/ myself; I always disliked /vEdZ at n/. I like
spelling pronunciations in doubtful cases generally. So I'm almost a vegan
myself, I guess ... aside from the occasional craving for the flesh of
innocent creatures ... maybe I'll try the local vegan cuisine ... beer is
vegan, isn't it? ... and who knows what's in a sausage? I suppose I can
give it the benefit of the doubt ....

-- Doug Wilson

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