Sunday, November 18, 2012


Recently I watched a documentary about the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 and I vividly recalled how we were gathered around our television set as President Kennedy addressed the nation.

In his address, President Kennedy used the word "clandestine". He pronounced it CLAN--DUH--STINE instead of CLAN--DES--TUN. Although I was a teenager, I thought I knew the correct pronunciation. I could not believe that MY President had mispronounced a word. Mother said, "He was probably just reading from cue cards and stumbled over it."

I was torn--of course, I wanted to be right--but I didn't want my President to be wrong!

I rushed to our one lone dictionary and it gave only my pronunciation, not his. The next day I went to the library and I checked three different dictionaries! All gave my pronunciation.

After that, every time I would hear the word clandestine, I would recall the President's pronunciation.

After watching the documentary, Les said I should I check all the internet possibilities. I learned that the President's pronunciation is British! (listen by clicking the link below).

I said to Les, "He studied at the London School Of Economics; he probably picked it up there."

Les said, drily, "Just like Madonna and Gwyneth sounding British!"


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I must admit, I don't use--or hear--clandestine frequently. ML