It was an anniversary that got me going this week. I was invited to attend a six-month anniversary of a person’s event. Not to spoil the event I waited until an appropriate time to let them know that the only way they could celebrate an anniversary was to wait for one year, and then every year after that because the word anniversary comes from Latin: annus (year) and versus (turning) literally ‘turning of the year’. Anyone remember when Queen Elizabeth commented that her (1992) had been an annus horribilis (horrible year)? So, one could celebrate the 3 month, 6 month, or whatever time event celebration, but you cannot celebrate an anniversary on anything but an annual (there it is again) basis.
I discovered a series of words, which sound much the same, and, at least two of them, are often mis-used. The words are insure, ensure and assure. Sure are a lot of sures! The two that are most often misused are insure and ensure.
Insure: is strictly tied to insurance, the instrument intended to protect against, or compensate loss. Example: You might have renewed your car insurance, but you still have to put the sticker on your license plate.
Ensure: (not the dietary supplement) means to make certain, or in some cases to guarantee. Example: I will ensure you make it home safely from the party.
Assure: this third cousin means to remove doubt. Example: I assure you that the Ensure will make you feel better.
Another word I discovered being misused is travesty. A number of folks believe this word means tragedy, and use them interchangeably. We know what a tragedy is – something disastrous. calamitous, catastrophic. Travesty means an imitation, a mockery, example: This trial is a travesty (a grotesque likeness, an imitation, a mockery) of real justice.
This week I have several BC place names that are mispronounced, so here’s how you say:
Nanaimo –large city on the east coast of Vancouver Island. Pronounced na-nye-moe, stress on the second syllable.
Maillardville – this community is located on the north side of the Fraser River, in Coquitlam, has it’s roots in the French community which developed with the settlement of Quebecois lumber workers who were recruited to work the sawmills. The community was named after Father Edmond Maillard. It is pronounced mu-lard-ville with the stress on the second syllable. It is frequently mispronounced and mis-spelled as Mallard-ville, however it has nothing to do with male ducks, and may ruffle the feathers of a few remaining residents of Maillardville.
Kootenay – pronounced koot-nee is a large region of Southeast BC named from the Kootenay River and very large Kootenay Lake. Often referred to as the kootenays. The name is taken from the first nations people, the Kootenai or Kutenai of the area. The word is pronounced with two syllables koot-nee.
Sicamous – pronounced sik-a-moose stress on the third syllable. It’s another aboriginal name for the resort town also known as the Houseboat Capital of Canada. It is located where Mara Lake empties into Shuswap Lake. According to Wikipedia, the indigenous people living in the area were called the Schickamoos and the place known in the late eighteen hundreds as Schickamoos Narrows which meant “meeting place of Indians.”
So until next week, a wee bit more Latin, carpe diem! Seize the day!