Thursday, December 20, 2007

Transplanted Northerner Has His Say

This letter to the editor was in today's paper.

Colloquial pronunciations annoying

Hey, Savannah! If you are going to study DeRenne, how about studying how to pronounce it correctly? It is a French word. It is not pronounced "Du-ran" or "Da-ran" it is pronounced Day-Ren-Nay (three syllables). While you're at it Whitemarsh is not pronounced WHIT-Marsh but WHITE-marsh, there is a silent e in the word making the "I" long, not short.

Yes, I know that is how you say it around here, but it makes y'all sound ignorant, not quaint or cute.

James Martin

This guy is an idiot. DeRenne is a family name and Whitemarsh is one word. Maybe to an outsider, pronouncing these words the way we do might make us seem ignorant, but his pronunciations make him sound like an uptight, transplanted yankee with nothing better to do than complain.


Ty said...

Not to mention that he's the one that's ignorant about their pronunciations.

It's pronounced "Da-REN" in French, too, 2 syllables.

Words like Whitemarsh and Whitefield are 17th and 18th Century compounds which were always pronounced "wit."

Do your homework before you move to someone else's home and start telling them how to pronounce things.

Ryan said...

Whoa, as an English major I didn't even know that. However, I did know that I wanted to ruin this guy's life after reading this.

Patrick said...

Whitefield Avenue is named after George Whitefield, an Anglican minister who came to Savannah in the 1700s to help found Methodism in the colonies. His name was always pronounced "wit," so this guy has no idea what he's talking about.

I will say though that our city needs more Irish-Catholic names. We are known for being an Irish city but most of our streets bear cracker names. Eisenhower wasn't Catholic. Neither was Truman. And neither went to BC. Imagine Dotson Drive or Harry Deal Parkway. Sounds much better.

HANK said...

You're right Ty.

Also; notice how we pronounce Habersham, Gwinnett, and Houston.

HAB-er-shem. GWIN-nett. HOW-ston

I can't remember where, but I read an article about how Savannahians have kept the original pronunciations of local names.

HANK said...

The pronunciations I gave are in contrast to those more common to other parts of the country/ state.

Hab-er-SHAM. Gwin-nit. HU-ston.

Chris said...

Patrick, an idea to increase BMBS awareness: when something like this comes up and our guys have 114 answers to an ignorant SMN letter, let's respond as BMBS to it. Sounds retarded, but it would get the blog great attention, and, above all else, we're right. You could get folk-hero status from it around here.

MacKenzie said...

The Library has this thing called the De Renne Society (presumably named after Eudora De Renne) and we have always pronounced it DUH-ren.