Monday, October 24, 2022


The newscaster, reading from the teleprompter, pronounced the new 'rona vaccine as with a short "i" and a schwa "a"..."BIH-vuh-lent"...rather than "bye-VAY-lent".

Understandable on a cold read, really, since "ambivalent" is a word that would be more frequently encountered than "bivalence" in either its chemical or genetic sense when getting a BA as opposed to a BS. One extrapolates pronunciations of unfamiliar words from what one knows.

But now every time this year's flu shot is referenced, my mind's ear hears it called "kwa-DRIHV-uh-lent" even when the speaker more correctly says "kwa-drih-VAY-lent".

Ambivalent, of course, is when you feel two ways about something. Quadrivalent is when you're really up in the air with your opinion on a topic. "On the one hand, on the other, on the gripping hand*, but then also..."