10 August 2011

Are you a jenny-alogist?

In searching through early volumes of The American Genealogist for a certain Hugh Cole, I ran across this small article placed at the end of the article I was reading. It made me smile. A lot.

"Jenny-alogy vs Jeanie-alogy
The sacred word is often mouthed in our hearing, even by erudite precisionists, as if the first syllable were rhymed with hygiene.  A pedantic etymologist may rightly object that the first syllable is derived from the Greek word γένος (genos), the first vowel being epsilon, invariably short, having a long equivalent which is eta (ή), invariably long. This mispronunciation may derive from the fact that there seems to be in English a rule that a short vowel followed by a single consonant and e is lengthened, e.g. lane, gene, thine, shone, dune, as against man, went, thin, along, dun. To explain an error, however, is not to condone it, and the error has not even been canonized by Webster's Collegiate, 7th edition, as a permitted,  though not preferred alternative. The word is commonly misspelled by the careless as geneology by mistaken analogy with biology, physiology and the like. The vowel before -log- is controlled by the preceding syllable, not the following. That is why it is genealogy, not geneology."
                                                                                                --G. E. McC.  (1)

Is it important, or not? 

Do you feel strange, in a world-shifting-sort-of-way, when you use a new technology to produce an old technology result? Isn't genealogy a lot like that? Digital images vs. hand copying documents, never mind photocopies and scans... some times I get a slightly woozy feeling that brings me to a complete halt. I have to center for a while until I can shake off the feeling and get back to work.

You too?

(1)The American Genealogist. New Haven, CT: D. L. Jacobus, c1937-. (Online database. AmericanAncestors.org. New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2009.) Vol. 50 p. 145

I also give credit to Google Translate for the help in getting Greek letters in this piece, but I don't know how to cite that exactly.... so..... thanks Google!