Tuesday, December 3, 2013

"Axe and It Shall Be Given"

Looks like someecards and plenty of others have it wrong. Who knew.

From NPR...
The most common stereotype of black vernacular is the pronunciation of the word "ask" as "ax." "Ax" has gotten a bad rap for years. Pronounce "ask" as "ax," and immediately many will assume that you're poor, black and uneducated. New York City's first African-American schools chancellor, Dr. Richard R. Green, put it on his list of "speech demons." He insisted that "ax" be eradicated from students' vocabulary. 
Jesse Sheidlower, the president of the American Dialect Society, says "ax" has been used for a thousand years. "It is not a new thing; it is not a mistake," he says. "It is a regular feature of English." 
Sheidlower says you can trace "ax" back to the eighth century. The pronunciation derives from the Old English verb "acsian." Chaucer used "ax." It's in the first complete English translation of the Bible (the Coverdale Bible): " 'Axe and it shall be given.'

1 comment:

Anita said...

Who knew? :)

Seriously, I have a very good friend who is well educated and says "ax." I would like to ask her is she realizes that she is not saying "ask." I don't know how to do it without causing embarrassment to both of us.

By the way, I always thought it was spelled "acks." :) Now I know better.


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