gannets, Gannetts

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Sat May 1 13:32:09 UTC 2010

CNN is reporting on the first oil-soaked seabirds in the gulf. Both
journalists who uttered the word _gannets_ pronounced it /g@ 'nEts/.

That's how you pronounce the name of the Gannett [sic] newspapers.

Perhaps as a result of self-intimidation, a guest ornithologist then avoided
saying "gannet" at all, even as she enumerated threatened species by name.
(Thinks: "Uh oh, maybe /'gAE nIt/, which I've been saying for years, marks
me as undereducated. This must not happen on TV! Better be careful!")

Admittedly, _gannet_ isn't a word that most people say even once in a
lifetime, but I see nothing in the orthography to suggest /g@ 'net/.

Of course, the anchor was possibly reading from a misspelled script, but the
dude on the scene evidently was not.

Presumably, he'd heard experts in the Gulf pronouncing _gannet_ correctly
and decided they were undereducated.

Full disclosure:  I originally pronounced _Gannett_ as /'gAE nIt/. I was

"If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."

The American Dialect Society -

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