Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
Mon, March 25

Column: So ... why isn't Scotland pronounced 'Skittland'?

Frankly, I like to feed on feedback, and last week's treatise on the perils and pitfalls of proper pronunciation produced a nice little treasure trove.

First, I'd like to pass along Prescott Valley reader Kay Demski's delightful response to the column in which she writes that sloppy pronunciation "is a pet peeve of mine, which oftentimes explodes into anger! I applaud you for 'nuclear' - a pronunciation that will quickly wipe any happiness right out of my day!" And "I will admit that Mogollon Rim really tripped me up when I moved here from the East. But I wonder why it is not pronounced 'Mo GO yon'? " However, "I was truly disappointed when I did not see Prescott in your column! Coming from 'back East" I will never understand why someone reading the word Prescott comes up with Preskitt. One does not say Skitt Hamilton, Skitt Towels, or Skittland, but please correct me if I mispronounce!"

Yes indeed, Kay, I get downright skittish with "Preskitt" myself ... and referring to Scotland as "Skittland" would make a Scotsman turn over in his grave were he not still alive. Yes, Preskitt is the most ridiculous pronunciation I've come across in all my born days. There's even a book written with that silly spelling in its title and a comparison with "biscuit" for help in the pronunciation. But let's face it, people; it's pronounced PRES-kut or, failing that, PRES-kot. At least that's what I'm sticking with, because to me that "Preskitt" abomination is nonsensical.

Well, it's time to apologize for getting so heated up in that last graf and to move on to another reader, Stan Shamitz, a resident of Folsom, California, who has been visiting Prescott for the last couple of months. He writes that "you missed my most annoying mispronunciation, which is 'forte' pronounced as the musical term 'forté'. It is mispronounced so often that the dictionary now lists it as an acceptable mispronunciation. " For elaboration, I'd like to quote from the book referenced in last week's column titled "There Is No Zoo in Zoology" authored by Charles Harrington Elster: "forte (music) FOR-tay. Do not say for-TAY. The musical term forte, which comes from Italian, is pronounced FOR-tay, like the Italian. The accent should be on the first syllable. The pronunciation for-TAY (for either the musical term or for the meaning 'strong point') is wrong."

And lastly, there was this website comment from Parker Anderson, a Prescott historian and thespian who's a Blue Rose Heritage and Culture Center member, that was tacked onto last week's column on the Courier web site: "My pet peeve is the word 'superfluous'. I have never heard it, not one time, pronounced correctly in my life. It is superFLUous, but everyone, and I mean everyone, says superFULous. That is just not so ... check your dictionary. One other time I discoursed on this pet peeve, and had someone angrily tell me that I was the one who was wrong. No, I'm not. Check your dictionary."


Prescott's Lillian Pollock just took the leap from octogenarianism to nonagerianism, and I must say that she took it in stride. Lillian, who looks to be at least 30 years younger than 90, participates in the NBA league at Plaza Bowl, where she carries a solid 152 average on her Fun 3 team, which is also staffed with George Hoffman and Bruce Hilgendorf.

On Aug. 31, all the competing teams had fun along with the Fun 3 rollers by sharing a birthday cake topped by nine candles (the fire marshal might've nixed 90!), and Lillian did some celebrating of her own by leading the women keglers for the day with a 163 average that included a 191 line. It was a Pollock wallop of the first order!

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