Saturday, September 22, 2007

You say Pace and I say Pace

Language Hat asked readers this morning how they pronounced the preposition 'pace' ('-- PAY-see or PAH-che -- and has already had 60 comments, including minority votes for PAH-ke and (I think) pace-to-rhyme-with-space. I don't think I have ever uttered the word.

2 comments:

Jenny Davidson said...

I may have uttered it, I hope not though; but I would say PAH-che for sure...

Makes me think of a line I pondered many a time as a child, it must have come up in some fairly old-fashioned children's book and I found it mystifying and intriguing: "Tace is Latin for a candle"...

http://www.fromoldbooks.org/Grose-VulgarTongue/t/tace.html

Language said...

God bless Google Books. I've never understood that tace/candle thing, and I just came across this en(heh)lightening comment from Notes and Queries, Aug. 20, 1881:

TACE, LATIN FOR A CANDLE [...] "Tace is Latin for a cat," as I have heard in the north of England when a hint for silence was desirable. Cat, candle, or anything else would do, for tace is, of course, the important word. I have read the notes in the First Series of "N. & Q.," but I cannot help thinking that the endeavour to get more out of the proverb is expecting more of pussy than her skin.     P. P.

(Tace, of course, is TAY-see.)