forte (was: Re: Accents in Am. English)

Beverly Flanigan flanigan at OAK.CATS.OHIOU.EDU
Fri Jun 16 18:20:17 UTC 2000

At 09:13 PM 6/14/00 -0400, you wrote:
>I'd recommend using the accent marks in words like cafe, protege, soufle, and
>fiance where it indicates that the final 'e' is to be pronounced as in French
>(IPA /e/), and it otherwise looks like a silent e.  But in cases  like the
>first 'e' of elite where nearly everyone in the USA uses epsilon, or schwa
>there's no point in using the accent mark (I would have said absolutely
>everyone, but two days ago I heard a colleague pronouncing it /'e lit/-- it
>took me a minute or two to figure out what he meant).  Similarly 'resume'
>needs an accent on the final 'e', but none on the first 'e' because the first
>is epsilon, the second /e/ for nearly everyone-- again I have encountered the
>rare pronunciation of the first vowel as /e/-- but it sounds bizarre.
>Curriculum vitae, by the way should be pronounced to rhyme with 'mighty' if
>the normal rules of anglicization of Latin were to be followed, but I think
>most people use the 'restored Latin' pronunciation /'vi tei/.   But no one
>says /ku rIk u lum/... consistency is not our forte (which you almost have to
>pronounce /for te/ or everyone will THINK you're  ignorant.
>Dale Coye
>The College of NJ

Quite right.  I said /fort/ once and was "corrected" most
condescendingly.  So now I never use the word.

Beverly Olson Flanigan         Department of Linguistics
Ohio University                     Athens, OH  45701
Ph.: (740) 593-4568              Fax: (740) 593-2967

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