Don’t PANIC! It’s just a punctuation mark…

Driving around listening to SiriusXM the other day, I had to laugh.  The DJ, like everyone else, said, in one flowing tone, “…and we have up next PanicattheDisco…”

My brother once brought this up:  You shouldn’t say it like that.  Clearly, the band put the exclamation point there for a reason.  This is a blog you have to read aloud.  For example, say this:  “PANIC!  at the disco.”  That’s how the band, I assume, wanted their name to be pronounced.  Now, I could just be a grammarian, but when I see a strong punctuation mark like that, I assume that it’s only natural to give that word that precedes it its due emphasis.

Of course, my brother did an over-exaggerated show of this example, but when I heard the DJ say it all smooth like one word, it gave me pause.  I’m not even a huge fan of the band (they are good; don’t hate me) but I wondered how often people–even huge fans of huge bands–take language for granted.

The hardest language to learn in English.  American English.  I’d bet Mandarin Chinese is a close tie–but with all our homonyms and homilies and cliches…we are a difficult language to learn, if we didn’t learn it from birth.

Consider this:  Years after Live debuted their smash success album Throwing Copper, the band was receiving another award and quietly, a band member stepped up to the microphone and said, after his due thanks, “Oh, and our band’s name rhymes with “give.”

What made the first person say it wrong?  Why did all of the world follow suit without a second thought?  “…and that was Live (pronounced like “give”) with I, Alone…” you’d hear no DJ say, ever.

It’s pretty funny to imagine that Aerosmith might have wanted to be called “A-Row-smith” or that Pearl Jam might have wanted to be called “P. Earl Jam,” but “even soooo” (get it?)

And one more thing, do you think Trent Reznor shudders every time a fan around the world refers to his magnificent one-man act as “NIN” (rhyming with “pin”), instead of “Nine Inch Nails”?

Moreover, do you think there will be audiophiles such as myself with a penchant for grammar, humor, and the English language that muse on random topics such as these for your amusement?

I hope so.
Be well and rock on,

 

Rachael

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