Pronunciation of "Amen"
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Pronunciation of "Amen"
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Pat Durkin
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Posted: Sat Jul 30, 2005 10:58 pm    Post subject: Re: Pronunciation of "Amen" Reply with quote

"the Omrud" <usenet.omrud@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:MPG.1d55b2d9df726395989d87@news.ntlworld.com...
Quote:
Pat Durkin spake thusly:

You and RF have covered most of the differences that I perceived between
Catholics and Protestants. (I don't really think Anglicans can be
called
Protestants, can they?)

They surely can.

Ok. Just wondering. The Henry VIII story indicated such opposition to

Lutheranism, and I thought that Elizabeth followed suit, up to a point. You
know, prohibiting importation of bibles or unauthorized translations of
such.
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Maria Conlon
Guest





Posted: Sun Jul 31, 2005 12:00 am    Post subject: Re: Pronunciation of "Amen" Reply with quote

Areff wrote:

Quote:
What's the deal with the pronunciation of "amen", at least in AmE?

When I was growing up, and I was raised Catholic, my understanding was
that Catholics said "ay-men" /eI'mEn/, Protestants said "ah-men", and
Jews said "oh-main" /oU'meIn/, rhyming with lo mein. Let's focus on
the ay-men vs. ah-men thing.

Is there indeed a Catholic/Protestant split of this sort? [...]

Not that I can see. Having been both (starting out as Protestant and
converting to Catholicism when I married), I can say that "ay-men"
was/is used by both. Singing "amen" is the exception. Then it's
generally "ah-men."

All this could be regional, I suppose.

Maria Conlon
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g2



Joined: 20 Jul 2005
Posts: 187

Posted: Sun Jul 31, 2005 12:17 am    Post subject: Re: Pronunciation of "Amen" Reply with quote

On Sat, 30 Jul 2005 13:44:30 GMT, Joe Fineman
<joe_f@verizon.net> wrote:

Quote:
Areff <me@privacy.net> writes:

What's the deal with the pronunciation of "amen", at least in AmE?

As an atheistic upper-middle-class Jewish American with a year's
residence in Scotland (1958-9), I have almost always heard the "ah"
pronunciation, except when people were making fun of revivalists.
Scottish students, when burlesquing a hymn, followed the "ah" up with
"so" or, worse, "souls".

However, I was chastened by reading in Gowers's MEU the following
quotation from D. M. Low (1960):

_Ahmen_ is probably a comparatively modern Anglican innovation of
about a hundred years' standing. Roman Catholics, one is glad to
note, on the whole retain the English _amen_ [long a].

As a long-standing opponent of deAnglicization, I have since switched
over to aymen.

RJ's suspicion that Anglican AHMEN is Latin-envy did not seem
just, but with a Roman Catholic mother I naturally grew up
with AYMEN and (and unlike Areff said nothing about it) was
sometimes startled to find my bray differed from that of
fellow Anglicans who stood close by me. I have become used to
the difference and now understand (from David TO's choir
explanation) that the CofE switched because of the music. A
long gargle will convince all that AH is a voicing superior to
AY. Does your doctor say 'say AY', Joe?
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Jess Askin
Guest





Posted: Sun Jul 31, 2005 12:20 am    Post subject: Re: Pronunciation of "Amen" Reply with quote

"Pat Durkin" <durkinpa@nothome.com> wrote in message
news:AkOGe.2115$iM7.1677@newssvr21.news.prodigy.com...
Quote:

"the Omrud" <usenet.omrud@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:MPG.1d55b2d9df726395989d87@news.ntlworld.com...
Pat Durkin spake thusly:

You and RF have covered most of the differences that I perceived
between
Catholics and Protestants. (I don't really think Anglicans can be
called
Protestants, can they?)

They surely can.

Ok. Just wondering. The Henry VIII story indicated such opposition to
Lutheranism, and I thought that Elizabeth followed suit, up to a point.
You
know, prohibiting importation of bibles or unauthorized translations of
such.

"The illustrious house of Hanover, and Protestant succession, to them I do
allegiance swear whilst they maintain possession" says the Vicar of Bray.
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Areff
Guest





Posted: Sun Jul 31, 2005 1:14 am    Post subject: Re: Pronunciation of "Amen" Reply with quote

Pat Durkin wrote:
Quote:
I associate Methodism and Presbyterianism with Protestantism. However, I
wonder if someone will clear up the matter (maybe it is only in the US) of
Anglican vs Episcopalian.

Episcopalians are Prots. The sole exception are those Episcopalians who
are affiliated with The Church of St. Mary the Virgin in New York's
theatre district. Check it out:
http://www.stmvirgin.org/

That place is more Romishly Papistic than all the Roman Catholic churches
in the US put together.
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credoquaabsurdum
Guest





Posted: Sun Jul 31, 2005 2:14 am    Post subject: Re: Pronunciation of "Amen" Reply with quote

The word "Amen" is a Greek loanword. In that language (and you can
easily check this out in Merriam-Webster or Oxford -- it would take
about fifteen seconds) the word is listed as being pronounced as
"ah-MEEN."

What these dictionaries won't tell you is that our best guess on the
original pronunciation of Greek is based on a system of educated
guesses that Erasmus began the work of putting together hundreds of
years ago. However, "amen" has of course survived in a big way in the
worship of the Greek Orthodox Church, and "ah-MEEM" is how you will
hear it pronounced during the various liturgies of that church.

The basis of this discussion, given the above evidence, is which of the
two Anglicized pronunciations presented creolizes the word less.
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Alan Jones
Guest





Posted: Sun Jul 31, 2005 2:43 am    Post subject: Re: Pronunciation of "Amen" Reply with quote

"Areff" <me@privacy.net> wrote in message
news:dcevbo$93q$1@news.wss.yale.edu...
Quote:
What's the deal with the pronunciation of "amen", at least in AmE?

When I was growing up, and I was raised Catholic, my understanding was
that Catholics said "ay-men" /eI'mEn/, Protestants said "ah-men", and Jews
said "oh-main" /oU'meIn/, rhyming with lo mein. Let's focus on the ay-men
vs. ah-men thing.

Is there indeed a Catholic/Protestant split of this sort? Seems too
simple, and, moreover, whenever one hears AmE "amen" in a non-religious
context (e.g. "Amen to that!"), it's always "ay-men", and there must be
lots of Prots saying "ay-men to that", and none saying "ah-men to that".

I can definitely think of contexts (e.g. religious settings attended by a
mixture of known Catholics and Prots) where it was definitely the case
that the Catholics all said "ay-men" and the Prots all said "ah-men".
However, there may have been other factors at work (geography, social
class, sect of Protestantism, regional or ethnic variety of Catholicism).

I can well believe that many American Protestants must say "ay-men". But
are there numerous American Catholics who say "ah-men" in religious
contexts, and they've just been under my radar all this time?

Any word on this from the Otherpondians?

Speaking as an English choirmaster (currently for a C of E church, but I was
brought up Methodist and have played for services in RC, Baptist and
Congregationlist churches) I associate Ay-men with RC worshippers at the end
of spoken prayers, though some RC individuals or even congregations do use
Ah-men. All the other denominations agree on spoken Ah-men. After hymns or
anything else sung, it's Ah-men for everyone, Catholic or Protestant - I've
never heard a sung Ay-men.

Is the RC Ay-men a survival from the traditional English pronunciation of
Latin, I wonder? (I mean, the sort that makes us say "Te Deum" as
tee-dee-um rather than tay day-oom.)

Alan Jones
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Murray Arnow
Guest





Posted: Sun Jul 31, 2005 3:03 am    Post subject: Re: Pronunciation of "Amen" Reply with quote

rbaniste1 wrote:
Quote:

RJ's suspicion that Anglican AHMEN is Latin-envy did not seem
just, but with a Roman Catholic mother I naturally grew up
with AYMEN and (and unlike Areff said nothing about it) was
sometimes startled to find my bray differed from that of
fellow Anglicans who stood close by me....



Latin got nothin' to do with it. The Hebes were saying "awmayn" long before
the heathen learned to mispronounce the word.
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g2



Joined: 20 Jul 2005
Posts: 187

Posted: Sun Jul 31, 2005 4:21 am    Post subject: Re: Pronunciation of "Amen" Reply with quote

On Sat, 30 Jul 2005 21:03:00 GMT, arnow@iname.com (Murray
Arnow) wrote:

Quote:
rbaniste1 wrote:

RJ's suspicion that Anglican AHMEN is Latin-envy did not seem
just, but with a Roman Catholic mother I naturally grew up
with AYMEN and (and unlike Areff said nothing about it) was
sometimes startled to find my bray differed from that of
fellow Anglicans who stood close by me....

Latin got nothin' to do with it. The Hebes were saying "awmayn" long before
the heathen learned to mispronounce the word.

L'il Ole Urdum says Erasmus just fiddled with a Hebrew word
borrowed by Greek, which is true. Now it's borrowed by English
and is thoroughly English.

I am sure God is not offended however we prononounce it. In
any case, who is to say how Aramaic or Hebrew was pronounced
way back then?

May one say 'back in the day', a horrid interviewerese
expression I hear now and rhen, there? I think it is American.
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Matthew Huntbach
Guest





Posted: Sun Jul 31, 2005 4:47 am    Post subject: Re: Pronunciation of "Amen" Reply with quote

Alan Jones wrote:

Quote:
Is the RC Ay-men a survival from the traditional English pronunciation of
Latin, I wonder? (I mean, the sort that makes us say "Te Deum" as
tee-dee-um rather than tay day-oom.)

I always thought of that as an Anglican thing. RC pronunciation of "Te
Deum" would be "ta day-oom". Where RC pronunciation of Latin retains a
distinct RC-ness is where it pronounces it in an Italian way, so 'c'
before 'e' and 'i' is prounced as English "ch" for example.

Matthew Huntbach
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Matthew Huntbach
Guest





Posted: Sun Jul 31, 2005 4:58 am    Post subject: Re: Pronunciation of "Amen" Reply with quote

Pat Durkin wrote:
Quote:
"the Omrud" <usenet.omrud@gmail.com> wrote:
Pat Durkin spake thusly:

You and RF have covered most of the differences that I perceived between
Catholics and Protestants. (I don't really think Anglicans can be
called Protestants, can they?)

They surely can.

Ok. Just wondering. The Henry VIII story indicated such opposition to
Lutheranism, and I thought that Elizabeth followed suit, up to a point. You
know, prohibiting importation of bibles or unauthorized translations of
such.

Henry VIII started as an ardent supporter of the Pope and an opponent
of Lutheranism. But once the break with Rome had been made, even if he
had intended it to be merely a matter of authority, it was siezed on by
Protestant-minded reformers in England to introduce thoroughly
Protestant reforms. For example, invocations of the Mary or the saints
was banned - rosaries and statues of Mary were burnt by the public
hangman - is this a thing Catholics would do? The communion service was
changed so that the host was eaten as soon as it was consecrated to
avoid any sort of veneration of the consecrated elements. Prayers for
the dead were banned, as they assume the Popish concept of purgatory.
It seems that Henry was kept in the dark over some of this, and court
services were kept up in a Catholic-like way. As soon as he died, the
Church of England went through a thoroughly Calvinist period during the
reign of Edward VI. The 39 Articles of the Church of England, which are
still its official statement of doctrine, speak of the "blasphenous
fable of the mass".

The idea that the Church of England is not a "Protestant" Church was an
invention of the 19th century Anglo-Catholics.

Matthew Huntbach
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Pat Durkin
Guest





Posted: Sun Jul 31, 2005 5:30 am    Post subject: Re: Pronunciation of "Amen" Reply with quote

"Matthew Huntbach" <mhuntbach@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:1122764287.391041.143430@g14g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
Quote:

Pat Durkin wrote:
"the Omrud" <usenet.omrud@gmail.com> wrote:
Pat Durkin spake thusly:

You and RF have covered most of the differences that I perceived
between
Catholics and Protestants. (I don't really think Anglicans can be
called Protestants, can they?)

They surely can.

Ok. Just wondering. The Henry VIII story indicated such opposition to
Lutheranism, and I thought that Elizabeth followed suit, up to a point.
You
know, prohibiting importation of bibles or unauthorized translations of
such.

Henry VIII started as an ardent supporter of the Pope and an opponent
of Lutheranism. But once the break with Rome had been made, even if he
had intended it to be merely a matter of authority, it was siezed on by
Protestant-minded reformers in England to introduce thoroughly
Protestant reforms. For example, invocations of the Mary or the saints
was banned - rosaries and statues of Mary were burnt by the public
hangman - is this a thing Catholics would do? The communion service was
changed so that the host was eaten as soon as it was consecrated to
avoid any sort of veneration of the consecrated elements. Prayers for
the dead were banned, as they assume the Popish concept of purgatory.

Wow, these were all new concepts to me.

Quote:
It seems that Henry was kept in the dark over some of this, and court
services were kept up in a Catholic-like way. As soon as he died, the
Church of England went through a thoroughly Calvinist period during the
reign of Edward VI. The 39 Articles of the Church of England, which are
still its official statement of doctrine, speak of the "blasphenous
fable of the mass".

Yes, but there is High Church and Low Church, right? And one of them uses
more Latin that the RCs do nowadays. Popery, indeed!
Quote:

The idea that the Church of England is not a "Protestant" Church was an
invention of the 19th century Anglo-Catholics.

Well, you have half-way admitted to the non-Protestantism of Anglicans. It
doesn't bother me much, you know.

I associate Methodism and Presbyterianism with Protestantism. However, I
wonder if someone will clear up the matter (maybe it is only in the US) of
Anglican vs Episcopalian.
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credoquaabsurdum
Guest





Posted: Sun Jul 31, 2005 6:06 am    Post subject: Re: Pronunciation of "Amen" Reply with quote

rbaniste1@shaw.ca wrote:

Quote:
L'il Ole Urdum says Erasmus just fiddled with a Hebrew word
borrowed by Greek, which is true. Now it's borrowed by English
and is thoroughly English.

I am sure God is not offended however we prononounce it. In
any case, who is to say how Aramaic or Hebrew was pronounced
way back then?

No, that's not what I said. However, it is obvious that in your youth
you were repeatedly kicked about the head by the kine down on the farm,
severely impairing those basic mental facilities that were God's
original gift to you.

Therefore, I must make allowances.

Now assume the position: down on your knees with your mouth open and
your tongue out. Now don't open your eyes...just listen for it...here
it comes...


I asserted in my earlier post that "amen" was a Greek loanword. If you
look it up in the Compact Oxford, you see that its Greek root is
attributed there to a Hebrew word that means "truth, certainly."

The first of my many allowances.

http://www.askoxford.com/results/?view=dev_dict&field-12668446=amen&branch=13842570&textsearchtype=exact&sortorder=score%2Cname

In Merriam Webster's Collegiate, 11th edition, there is no mention of
the Hebrew root. In Merriam-Webster's On-Line, there is.

The second of my many allowances.

http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary (You'll have to look it up all by
your lonesome on that service.)

Now, I happen to disagree with both etymological opinions. I have no
problem with the word going back to Latin, and on to Greek, but I'm not
sure that it comes from a common Hebrew root. This is why.

I am sitting in my study in Athens, Greece, and I have before me a book
entitled _Lexico Tis Koinis Neoellinikis_ (EU conventions for Latinized
spelling here) published by the Institute of Modern Greek Studies at
the University of Salonika. By and large, this book is considered to be
to the Greek language what the OED is to the English language. Granted,
you'll have to take my word for it, unless you want to hit a university
and expose your woeful lack of breeding to your betters.

"Amen" means "oh, might it be so."

Of course, the book does not say that. The actual entry is:

amin: epif. efxetiko. yia kati pou efxetai o omilitis no yinei sto
mellon.

(Amen: adjective of hope, for something which the speaker wishes might
happen in the future.)

I'm sure that someone in this group knows enough basic modern Greek to
tentatively verify that translation. If you plug it into a translator,
well, you'll need the original spelling. I can't help you there, but I
can lead you to the dictionary's main site.

http://ins.phil.auth.gr/lexikaonline.htm (Allowance three, to reach the
total number of fingers you still have, rbaniste1@shaw.ca)

"Amen," in Greek, has no connotations of emphatic agreement with
someone else. It is not an ancient cognate of "uh-huh" or "hell, yes."
It is, quite simple, a wish. The wish had religious overtones
then...and no one in their right mind believes that the word is in
common usage outside of religious or semi-religious usages.

I therefore believe that the Hebrew root indicated in both Oxford and
MW was put in there by scholars desperately hoping to appear
politically correct and give the Hebrew language its proper due in the
evolution of the English language. I may be wrong on this, but it seems
logical.

Since my Oxford Online access is down, I cannot verify Oxford's full
etymological record on this. I've already asked Merriam-Webster, Inc.
about it.

As to how the word is pronounced in a Greek Orthodox church, well,
rbaniste1@shaw.ca, you can watch _My Big Fat Greek Wedding_ and listen
closely. The pause button on your DVD remote has those two vertical
bars on it, that is, if your woman hasn't managed to rub it off in her
search for the gratification that you can't give her.

----

Now check my earlier post for what I actually said about Erasmus. Try
subvocalizing as you read. If you want to follow along with one of
those three fingers, well, it's all good. What are doing with the other
hand? What the...with two fingers and no thumb? STOP THAT! You'll go
blind!

----

Unlike some in this group, I am all for Anglicizing foreign words and
not putting on bullshit accents to approximate the "proper"
pronunciation of a word. Then again, time and circumstances have forced
me to master a second language in some depth, so my views on
multilingual posers are a bit harsh. But in looking at "amen," and
wondering how to properly pronounce something that has significantly
changed from its original form, it is curious that in this discussion,
quite a number of people have attempted to claim pride of place for
either the one or the other of fully Anglicized pronunciations, neither
of which approximate the original one.

The only other alternative to these two pronunciations, brought up by a
single poster, is how Muslims pronounce it in their worship. That
pronunciation is far more historically accurate than what English
speakers use (even if you believe that "amen" is ultimately Hebrew, in
point of fact). I thought it was curious, and decided to speak up.

And now, rbaniste1@shaw.ca, I'm done. You may feel free to swallow and
go wash your face now.
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Bob Cunningham
Guest





Posted: Sun Jul 31, 2005 6:23 am    Post subject: Re: Pronunciation of "Amen" Reply with quote

On Sat, 30 Jul 2005 18:49:42 +0000 (UTC), Areff
<me@privacy.net> said:

[...]

Quote:
Chances are Joe's doctor says "say AH", but Sparky's doctor says "say AW",
from what I understand.

"Ah" or "aw", same sound. But I would write "Say Ah"
because I understand that to be the conventional spelling.
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Robert Bannister
Guest





Posted: Sun Jul 31, 2005 6:25 am    Post subject: Re: Pronunciation of "Amen" Reply with quote

Pat Durkin wrote:

Quote:
"Matthew Huntbach" <mhuntbach@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:1122764287.391041.143430@g14g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...

Pat Durkin wrote:

"the Omrud" <usenet.omrud@gmail.com> wrote:

Pat Durkin spake thusly:

You and RF have covered most of the differences that I perceived

between

Catholics and Protestants. (I don't really think Anglicans can be
called Protestants, can they?)

They surely can.

Ok. Just wondering. The Henry VIII story indicated such opposition to
Lutheranism, and I thought that Elizabeth followed suit, up to a point.

You

know, prohibiting importation of bibles or unauthorized translations of
such.

Henry VIII started as an ardent supporter of the Pope and an opponent
of Lutheranism. But once the break with Rome had been made, even if he
had intended it to be merely a matter of authority, it was siezed on by
Protestant-minded reformers in England to introduce thoroughly
Protestant reforms. For example, invocations of the Mary or the saints
was banned - rosaries and statues of Mary were burnt by the public
hangman - is this a thing Catholics would do? The communion service was
changed so that the host was eaten as soon as it was consecrated to
avoid any sort of veneration of the consecrated elements. Prayers for
the dead were banned, as they assume the Popish concept of purgatory.


Wow, these were all new concepts to me.


It seems that Henry was kept in the dark over some of this, and court
services were kept up in a Catholic-like way. As soon as he died, the
Church of England went through a thoroughly Calvinist period during the
reign of Edward VI. The 39 Articles of the Church of England, which are
still its official statement of doctrine, speak of the "blasphenous
fable of the mass".


Yes, but there is High Church and Low Church, right? And one of them uses
more Latin that the RCs do nowadays. Popery, indeed!

But not back then. As far as I can make out, the Church of England
really came into being under Elizabeth. There had been so many deaths
and burnings under previous governments, that an attempt was made to
create a religion that would have some appeal to all. In fact, it was
rejected by most, so more harsh measures were adopted to enforce it.

The entire history of the CofE is bound up with the attempts by the RC
superpowers of the times (Spain, France, Austria) to take over or
destroy England, history covering the reigns of Henry VIII (maybe even
before) to James II. None of the bloodshed and religious changes (and
the fear of RCs even today among some people) make sense without bearing
this in mind.

--
Rob Bannister
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