December 22, 2012

Pat Sajak condemned as a pronunciation Nazi.

When "seven swans a-swimmin'" for "seven swans a-swimming" costs Navy Intel Specialist Renee Durette $4,000.

The "a-" beginning makes it seem as though you should be doing Southern American dialect, but "The 12 Days of Christmas" is set in an English aristocratic milieu (with lords and ladies).

More importantly, "Wheel of Fortune" is all about letters, so obviously they've got to be pedantic about getting all the letters.

Anyway... one more reason to be sick of that song. Or do you like it? Here it is by Bela Fleck and the Flecktones.


edutcher said...

Like the prof I had in pre-Calc, "There is no multiple choice in math".

Same here, as Ann said, it's all about the letters.

Anonymous said...

The left went after Pat with daggers when he tried a talk show in the late 1980s. All because he wasn't a lefty--he's a confirmed righty.

He's been benignly hosting Wheel before that and since and has kept out of their view. But every so often they want to reinforce how "awful" he is. Two minutes of hate.

Enjoy the decline, bitches!

traditionalguy said...

What's a French hen. It sounds very stylish.

KCFleming said...

Ed Grimley adored Pat Sajak.

"Oh! And to get to meet Pat Sajak! Like I suppose you could do better than that, no way!"

No video link, because of the NBC video nazis.

Insufficiently Sensitive said...

That leading a- survives in the South, along with a lot of other quirks of 17th-18th century English. It weren't just the aristocrats a-sayin' it.

Curious George said...

Ha, the song was on the radio the other day and I commented "worst Christmas song ever." My son agreed. The only good version is by Straight No Chaser because it funny, and they're awesome.

Ann Althouse said...

The worst Christmas song is "Little Drummer Boy."

You don't have a gift, fine, but don't play that fucking drum for the baby.

purplepenquin said...


That has always been one of my favorite carols. It taught me, at an earlier age, that performing a service is as worthwhile as giving material goods...if not more so.

That aside, the first link in the post is bad. And by "bad", I mean it doesn't go anywhere, I am casting no opinion about the behavior of said link.

ricpic said...


Wince said...

Sajak: "Ve have vays of making you spell."

...but don't play that fucking drum for the baby.

David & Bing

Every child must be made aware
Every child must be made to care
Care enough for his fellow man
To give all the love that he can

Bing: And he smiled at me pa-rum-pum-pum-pum
David: Can it be
Bing: Me and my drum
David & Bing: Can it be

mikesixes said...

The lady put the G on the board. The game is about spelling, not pronunciation. What would Sajak do about a word like Worcester? She was robbed!

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

The leading a- is associated always with a verb in the gerundive (=ing) form. It is a type of intensifier (like the assorted variations of "fuck"), but one intensifying the continuing action implied by the gerund in the first place.

Petunia said...

Does Pat Sajak set off the buzzer when a contestant gets the puzzle wrong? The buzzer went off before he said anything about not being able to accept the answer.

Bender said...

You don't have a gift, fine, but don't play that fucking drum for the baby

So when a little kid gives his parents some crappy crayon or fingerpainted picture, instead of putting it on the refrigerator, I'm guessing you think they ought to wipe their asses with it and flush it down the toilet?

You do realize -- I take that back, apparently you do not -- that the drumming is supposed to symbolize an expression of love?? That such an expression of love is a far greater gift to give to the creator of the universe who has little need for really cool and expensive gifts like i-pads and diamond rings than all of the "riches" of the world if given without love, that the act of the Magi in prostrating themselves was the greater gift than the gold, frankincense, and myrrh, which were themselves important only for their symbolic meaning?

Chip S. said...

It's natural to lapse into sing-song when saying a stupid phrase like that, used only in that dumb song.
So if "a-swimmin' " is good enough for Bing Crosby, it's good enough for anyone.

And as mikesixes said, she already guessed the "g". The rule is being applied as if she actually didn't know how to spell the word.

I predict they'll backtrack on this one, and give the money to both women.

purplepenquin said...

Does Pat Sajak set off the buzzer when a contestant gets the puzzle wrong?

Most likely there is a judge(s) offstage that, well...judges unacceptable answers.

Saw it first-hand when working on Jeopardy. Also have a childhood recollection of watching a game show where the host would look off stage and ask "Judges?" quite often. Is that Jeopardy as well, or something else?

Mary Beth said...

Ann Althouse said...

The worst Christmas song is "Little Drummer Boy."

You don't have a gift, fine, but don't play that fucking drum for the baby.

12/22/12 9:50 AM

I agree with this with one exception, the Bing Crosby/David Bowie version.

Unknown said...

18thC and 19thC English milords, especially the huntin' and shootin' enthusiasts, frequently dropped their final g's, as evidenced in the novels of Trolloppe, Disraeli and Surtees, and in the Flashman novels.

The Boston Pops have a hilarious version of the Twelve Days, with parodies and pastiches of classical and popular music for each day: for example, for the 7th day what sounds like a first-year composition student's attempt to steal themes from Swan Lake and Saint-Saens' The Swan and run them in counterpoint

lge said...

How about the redneck version? Here's Jeff Foxworthy's "Redneck 12 Days of Christmas."

("Four big-mud tires,
three shotgun shells,
two hunting dogs,
and some parts to a Mustang GT.")