Sunday, October 21, 2012

A Vote for the Second Syllable

Is it as jarring to your ears as mine when you hear the word electoral pronounced e-lec-tor'-al rather than the standard e-lec'-tor-al? I don't recall commentators during the last election season choosing to accent the third syllable of the word.

I wondered if it were simply another case of "You say to-may-to and I say to-mah-to." But it isn't so.  I checked the American Heritage, the Oxford, and the Macmillan websites and they agree that the accent in electoral should be on the second syllable, not the third.

Those who know me know that things like this can drive me nuts. In case you're muttering that I should "get a life," you have to know that my feet are planted firmly in the old school when it comes to language and grammar.

My guess is that the misguided commentators who say "e-lec-tor'-al" are influenced by the sound of the word "electors," the people who comprise the electoral college. 

Of course, during this electoral season, there is so much more to be concerned about. So, I'll wait like the rest of America to see how the electors in the electoral college elect the next president.