THE “P” IS SILENT
Posted by Andrew Roman on February 5, 2010
Some of its letters in certain situations can present significant challenges.
For instance, many of us are familiar with “silent e” (as in cape, vane and globe), but there are others that can be more perplexing, more troublesome.
One such example is the harrowing and sinister “silent p.”
They’re very tricky.
If your psychic has pneumonia, you know what I’m talking about.
I learned early in life how problematic they were watching everyone’s favorite Cuban band leader, Ricky Ricardo, stumble over the word “psychiatrist.”
I never forgot that.
Of course, the dreaded “silent p” is even more of a nuisance when it appears in the middle of a word.
Just ask the President of the United States.
The Harvard Law School alum, world-renowned orator, community organizer and civil rights attorney, must have been in the canteen the day they went over the “silent p” portion of his Language Arts workbook.
During yesterday’s National Prayer Breakfast, the President was lauding the efforts of relief workers in Haiti, and offered specific high praise for a Navy Corpsman. The silent “p” proved too much for the magne cum laude as he twice pronounced the word corpsman with the “p”.
As in “corpse, man.”
Messiahs are capable of many things, but to expect grammatical perfection is probably a bit much.
It’s that anti-Capitalist, anti-free market, pro-Marixst streak in him that is probably behind this gaffe. The word “corpsman” looks a lot like “corporation.”
We know he knows how to pronounce that word. Besides, teleprompters can’t whisper back.
Putting all in context, it’s not like he mispronounced the word “nuclear” or anything.