Thursday, May 21, 2009

A House Divided

Kelly and I have waged a long-simmering dispute that Elliot could bring to a boil.

At issue: how to properly pronounce "often." I'm a soft T man: "OFF-en." Saying it with a hard T — "off-TEN" — seems a bit harsh and possibly vulgar. (Like something you might hear at a roadhouse burlesque in Winnipeg.) And yet, this is Kelly's way.

Both pronunciations are included in our family's dictionary of record (Webster's New World, natch). My argument: The soft T version is listed first; therefore, it's preferred. Kelly doesn't buy this.

My concern is for the child. How is Elliot going to react to growing up in a culturally divided household? And more importantly, which side will he choose?

Kelly says we aren't allowed to pressure him. But that doesn't stop me from trying to say soft T often as much as possible during his formative years.

Unfortunately, Kelly got a jump on me after our latest argument: "Elliot, your father is off-TEN a nincompoop."