Thursday, April 16, 2009

Language Rant 4

Verse vs. Versus

Judging by the usage heard around the playing fields and backyards of my town, I'm guessing there are a lot of kids out there who think they've seen "Monsters Verse Aliens". There is an entire generation, it seems, that thinks that that tiny abbreviation for the Latin versus (against) is actually supposed to be pronounced like the genre that has even fewer readers than short fiction: verse. You can see how this starts. "OK, it's them versus us". "Right. Them verse us." That second "us" can seem like an extra syllable after a while--if you're seven.

I tried to fix this problem many years ago, but there's a limited amount of Latin pedantry a pack of seven- or eight-year olds wants to hear when they're watching their little sister pick up one of the goal markers and turn it into a house for her stuffed animal. They'd really rather get playing. And so I failed.

Is it too late? Or is this latest DreamWorks movie a chance for linguistic improvement at the multi-plex?

No comments:

Post a Comment