A missile is not a missal

In short, a missile is a weapon. A missal is a liturgical book for the celebration of Mass. When will US President Biden learn the difference, or any of the other US politicians? (I’m not holding my breath).

Hola a todos. Because of the US and its inherent sloppiness with the English language and US English, there are two pronunciations of the word missile. Most of the EU speakers say missile correctly. They say mis-sile; the sile being pronounced like the word “tile” except with an s instead of a t). But some in the EU learned missile incorrectly somehow — from the US? — and instead say missal, which is a liturgical book. Here’s a quote about it, ” A missal is a liturgical book containing instructions and texts necessary for the celebration of Mass throughout the liturgical year.”

Some people in the US say missile correctly, but most use the wrong word when they’re referring to missiles — “a missile is a guided airborne ranged weapon capable of self-propelled flight usually by a jet engine or rocket motor” — particularly when the subject is missiles for Ukraine. DW-TV in Berlin is notoriously bad in this regard. The network appears to have no standard pronunciation for anything, including words in Deutsch. Whatever happened to network standards and pronunciations? So on the same set, someone will be saying missile correctly and another person will be saying missal, which again, is a book. So they’re sending books to Ukraine are they? No, they’re not talking about books. But DW is not the only network where one hears about supposed books being sent to Ukraine. France 24 is just as bad. You’ll hear about missals on their network. Books, huh? From the Catholic church? With the English language, words are pronounced any old way and it seems that US’ans who go to work in the EU, don’t have an ear for other world languages and they never pick up any EU English language pronunciations or accents. They stand there with their microphone in a city of the EU sounding like Ms (illiterate) Hick or Mr Hick from the US, having just gotten off the tractor in their corn field. How can one live in the EU for any length of time and not pick up a British Queen’s English accent especially when working for an English language network when most of the people there speak British Queen’s English?

Explaining this to a friend, he asked: How many people would know that, meaning the difference between missile and missal? Apparently very few. But working with language every day, one would expect higher standards from news headquarters and journalism. But these days, most people don’t seem to care how they pronounce words regardless of the language. And US’ans in particularly are the most disrespectful of other world language and even find it funny when they can’t pronounce something correctly as spoken in the language. What’s funny about it? One is merely showing one’s ignorance and stupidity. I remember when Whoopie Goldberg mangled the name of the español language network Univisión — it’s not an English word — when introducing her guest from the network. Whoopie thought it was funny. Her guest was probably cringing inside thinking, “She’s unprepared. She can’t even pronounce the name of my network.”

When I was in Orchestra Choruses both in the District of Columbia and in San Francisco, the Chorus Director always brought in a language coach if we were singing in a language other than English to assure that our pronunciation and diction was authentic/perfect to that of the language we were singing in. Why isn’t that standard applied to other areas? I remember when Robert Shaw’s Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus (ASOC) was invited to perform in Deutschland with the Berlin Philharmoniker, the music reviewer said that the Deutsch/German from the ASOC was better than that of most German Choruses. (Yes, some Choruses get sloppy when singing in their own native language.) That’s because Shaw brought in a language coach for the Chorus to properly speak the text of Brahms’s EDR (Ein Deutsches Requiem). No Chorus with any credibility wants to get a review that says, “Their Russian sucked” or “Their German was terrible.” Or whatever the language. And when Norman Scribner’s Choral Arts Society of Washington was invited to join the BBC Symphony Chorus for a performance at the BBC Proms in London, Norman made sure that his Chorus sounded exactly like the BBC Symphony Chorus. Perfect intonation, excellent diction and Queen’s English. They did not use US English. So one heard no twangy US r’s or US vowel sounds. The Choral Arts Society Chorus sounded very British.

So when may we expect people to learn the difference in pronunciation between missile and missal? Probably never, being realistic about it.

Then there are the idiots who say E-ron (Iran) correctly but then change that to E-rain-ian (Iranian) when referring to its people. It’s correctly pronounced E-ron-ian, just like the country of E-ron. Why do they mindlessly change the vowel sound — from “ron” to “rain” — for when referring to its people? [Shaking head in disgust]. Insanity.