Sunday, December 27, 2015

The Great Vowel Movement.......

In a puerile way, I have always been interested in the term "vowel movement" - not just because it rhymes with bowel movement - but that's part of it. Yes, a lot of s**t comes out of people's mouths, mine included, and people seem to use grunts, groans and "duhs" more than they do words to "enunciate" their feelings or views of the world, these days, sigh!

As a person more interested in words, than, let's say, punctuation, (the Oxford comma be damned) I was "gob-smacked" at dinner the other night, when our guest exclaimed in the delight of a Eureka moment, "Of course, didn't you know, we are in the middle of the great vowel movement."

Apparently, the movement started in the 11th century, but really picked up speed with Chaucer and literally "took off" with the arrival of the printing press - machines do make most things go a little faster :) I can't remember the original comment that triggered the digression, but it must have been related to a New Zealand friend of ours, who had just visited us in Toronto. Maggie was worried that she might go home with a Canadian accent - there are worse things. Diptheria comes to mind :)



Anyway, the door opened to a discussion of vowels, always better than bowels at the dinner table. It wasn't so much the topic, as the odd looks on the faces of the next generation, that provided the entertainment. If this is something that has been going on for over a thousand years, do we really have to worry about it in our/their lifetime. In a world dictated by Kardashians and other puerile (there's that word again) examples of what makes life important, our 20 somethings simply could not relate to the excitement of a change in the pronunciation of a few vowels.

The eye rolling was priceless. Brenda's elevated and animated description of the subtle change from "i" to "e" in some words was classic. And I could reaffirmed my belief, that the microcosm, rather than the macrocosm, is what enriches lives.

The pictures? Not really related, but then when would I ever have had the opportunity to use them in a post. They were the stamps from sister's Christmas card to me this year and both musicians are/were bards in their time and yes, would that we could all just freeze the moment, as their pictures have done, and never change. Then again a few paltry years measured again the evolution of a thousand or more is rarely enough to change anything.....or is it?

Have a great day!!

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