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  • John A. Gable
    ... From: John A. Gable To: throosev@lehman.com ; Luke Hornblower ; Buz@cox.net ; Janet Smargie ; erenehan@yahoo.com ; normparsons@mymailstation.com ;
    Message 1 of 3 , Mar 29, 2002
       
      ----- Original Message -----
      Sent: Friday, March 29, 2002 3:44 PM
      Subject: Fw:

       Notes
          Ed Renehan in Rhode Island  protested to WJAR News (NBC) that in their reports on the homecoming of the USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT  (CVN-71) this week the station consistently mispronounced the name as "rewsavelt,"   "rews" as in noose, loose.  Gene Valicenti of WJAR responded to Ed as follows:  "I've heard it both ways. In fact Webster's New World Dictionary says both pronunciations are acceptable (p.  1235 of the 2nd college edition, special school printing,  'roos'ze, ' by some). However it does list your preference first. "
             So the pronounciation of Roosevelt is a matter of preference or opinion, is it ? Since when ? 
              I think it would be enlightening for the public (not to mention the people who work at WJAR), and good for the ship, if WJAR interviewed Ed Renehan on the subject, made an interesting story of this. If you agree that this is a good idea, why not contact by e-mail Gene Valicenti at
       
                        John Gable
      ----- Original Message -----
      Sent: Friday, March 29, 2002 3:26 PM

      To Gene Valicenti, WJAR-News Channel 10
      Subject: How to Pronounce the Name of Roosevelt
       
           The attempt of Webster's New World Dictionary, and of WJAR-News, to instruct the Roosevelt family on the CORRECT pronunciation of their name reminds me of the time in 1903, during Theodore Roosevelt's presidential administration, when one Richard E. Mayne, Chairman of the Dept. on Reading and Speech Culture, New York State Teachers Association, wrote a letter to the New York SUN protesting that the President mispronounced his name as "rose-uh-vel;t" when it should be "rews-uh-velt," the way "the majority of us pronounce it."   Mayne concluded, chiding the President:  "What is there to justify him in his endeavor to perpetuate a practice against which are set the principles of usage."
       
            Theodore Roosevelt's "Uncle Rob,"  former Congressman Robert B. Roosevelt, responded to Mayne in a letter to the SUN,  May 8, 1903, which reads in part:
             "...It is a rather dangerous proceeding to assume that a man does not know how to pronounce his own name, and the writer who attempts not only to criticize but to dictate may find himself in that unhappy position in which 'angels fear to tread,'  even if he be a  'chairman of reading and speech culture.'  A little culture and even less reading would teach most men and might teach a chairman that there is no analogy or usage of pronunciation according to spelling in the English language......  As there are readers of your paper who are justifiably anxious to know the proper pronunciation of the President's name, I will explain that it is Dutch.....In English when we try to distinguish the long from the short  'o' we get into trouble. In Dutch they do not. The double  'o' is simply a long 'o.' The word 'Roos' means rose and is pronounced identically the same way under all circumstances and in all combinations. So the first syllable of the President's name is 'Rose,'  pure and simple. But the following 'e' ...is slightly aspirated. An English analogy is the word 'the'....So the name is  'Rose-(uh)-velt,'  in spite of whatever mistaken analogies misdirected chairmen may strive to find to the contrary."
       
              Further, we have Theodore Roosevelt's own testimony. TR wrote to the Rev. William W. Moir,  October  10,  1898:  "As for my name, it is pronounced as if it was spelled  'Rosavelt.'  That is in three syllables. The first syllable as if it was 'Rose.'  "
       
              Since the USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT  (CVN-71) is named after President Theodore Roosevelt, the above material should make it abundantly clear that it is NEVER CORRECT to call that ship "rews-a-velt."   Webster's New World Dictionary, like Richard E. Mayne, appears to base its judgment on popular usage. But surely this is a form of mob rule or perhaps mass hysteria.  Just because thousands of people use the word "ain't" in conversation does that mean that announcers on WJAR will or would use that word on television ? 
       
             There remains the question of whether the Hyde Park Roosevelts, or any others with the name of Roosevelt, pronounce Roosevelt differently than TR and the Oyster Bay Roosevelts. The answer is a resounding NO.  Eleanor Roosevelt was TR's niece who married her fifth cousin once removed, Franklin D. Roosevelt. Did they pronounce their last names differently,or did Eleanor switch her pronunciation of the name when she married FDR. Of course not, as any descendant of ER and FDR will tell you. The myth that some Roosevelts pronounce their name one way, and others another way, is just that-- a myth !    True, many Americans persist in pronouncing the name as if it were English, coming up with "rewsavelt,"  but the name is Dutch and they are dead wrong.
       
            Isn't this worth a short note or story on the air to make up for your constant errors in pronouncing the name of a great ship named after a great man ?  Why doesn't WJAR interview Edward Renehan, the noted author who wrote a book on the Roosevelt family ? He lives right there in Rhode Island.
       
             Best wishes from Oyster Bay, Long Island,
       
                                                     John  Allen  Gable,  Ph.D.
                           Executive Director, Theodore Roosevelt Association
      P.S.  I once lived in Rhode Island, and I received my Ph.D. from Brown University. Ed Renehan is a member of the Executive Committee of the Theodore Roosevelt Association.
    • navhist1
      All, Another thing that bothers me, though I don t think we ll have much chance of changing it is when individuals in the media, and even, as much as I regret
      Message 2 of 3 , Mar 31, 2002
        All,
        Another thing that bothers me, though I don't think we'll have much
        chance of changing it is when individuals in the media, and even, as
        much as I regret to say, the Navy, call the ship the USS Teddy
        Roosevelt. As anyone who has served on it knows, it is called either
        the THEODORE ROOSEVELT, the "TR" or simply by those who love it, "The
        Big Stick." Calling it "Teddy" seems to imply the individual
        speaking is familier with the ship, but all it demonstrates is their
        lack of familiarity.
        Jerry Hendrix

        --- In tr-m@y..., "John A. Gable" <TRA_Gable@s...> wrote:
        >
        > ----- Original Message -----
        > From: John A. Gable
        > To: throosev@l... ; Luke Hornblower ; Buz@c... ; Janet Smargie ;
        erenehan@y... ; normparsons@m... ; tr-m@y... ; wfdailey@f... ; Philip
        Wogart ; Margot_Roosevelt@t... ; david@r... ; RoginaJ@c... ;
        csabbot@a...
        > Sent: Friday, March 29, 2002 3:44 PM
        > Subject: Fw:
        >
        >
        > Notes
        > Ed Renehan in Rhode Island protested to WJAR News (NBC) that
        in their reports on the homecoming of the USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT
        (CVN-71) this week the station consistently mispronounced the name
        as "rewsavelt," "rews" as in noose, loose. Gene Valicenti of WJAR
        responded to Ed as follows: "I've heard it both ways. In fact
        Webster's New World Dictionary says both pronunciations are
        acceptable (p. 1235 of the 2nd college edition, special school
        printing, 'roos'ze, ' by some). However it does list your preference
        first. "
        > So the pronounciation of Roosevelt is a matter of preference
        or opinion, is it ? Since when ?
        > I think it would be enlightening for the public (not to
        mention the people who work at WJAR), and good for the ship, if WJAR
        interviewed Ed Renehan on the subject, made an interesting story of
        this. If you agree that this is a good idea, why not contact by e-
        mail Gene Valicenti at
        > Wjarnews@n...
        >
        > John Gable
        > ----- Original Message -----
        > From: John A. Gable
        > To: Wjarnews@n...
        > Cc: erenehan@y... ; Philroose@a... ; Tony Roosevelt ; Tweed
        Roosevelt ; trooseve@l...
        > Sent: Friday, March 29, 2002 3:26 PM
        >
        >
        > To Gene Valicenti, WJAR-News Channel 10
        > Subject: How to Pronounce the Name of Roosevelt
        >
        > The attempt of Webster's New World Dictionary, and of WJAR-
        News, to instruct the Roosevelt family on the CORRECT pronunciation
        of their name reminds me of the time in 1903, during Theodore
        Roosevelt's presidential administration, when one Richard E. Mayne,
        Chairman of the Dept. on Reading and Speech Culture, New York State
        Teachers Association, wrote a letter to the New York SUN protesting
        that the President mispronounced his name as "rose-uh-vel;t" when it
        should be "rews-uh-velt," the way "the majority of us pronounce
        it." Mayne concluded, chiding the President: "What is there to
        justify him in his endeavor to perpetuate a practice against which
        are set the principles of usage."
        >
        > Theodore Roosevelt's "Uncle Rob," former Congressman Robert
        B. Roosevelt, responded to Mayne in a letter to the SUN, May 8,
        1903, which reads in part:
        > "...It is a rather dangerous proceeding to assume that a man
        does not know how to pronounce his own name, and the writer who
        attempts not only to criticize but to dictate may find himself in
        that unhappy position in which 'angels fear to tread,' even if he be
        a 'chairman of reading and speech culture.' A little culture and
        even less reading would teach most men and might teach a chairman
        that there is no analogy or usage of pronunciation according to
        spelling in the English language...... As there are readers of your
        paper who are justifiably anxious to know the proper pronunciation of
        the President's name, I will explain that it is Dutch.....In English
        when we try to distinguish the long from the short 'o' we get into
        trouble. In Dutch they do not. The double 'o' is simply a long 'o.'
        The word 'Roos' means rose and is pronounced identically the same way
        under all circumstances and in all combinations. So the first
        syllable of the President's name is 'Rose,' pure and simple. But the
        following 'e' ...is slightly aspirated. An English analogy is the
        word 'the'....So the name is 'Rose-(uh)-velt,' in spite of whatever
        mistaken analogies misdirected chairmen may strive to find to the
        contrary."
        >
        > Further, we have Theodore Roosevelt's own testimony. TR
        wrote to the Rev. William W. Moir, October 10, 1898: "As for my
        name, it is pronounced as if it was spelled 'Rosavelt.' That is in
        three syllables. The first syllable as if it was 'Rose.' "
        >
        > Since the USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT (CVN-71) is named after
        President Theodore Roosevelt, the above material should make it
        abundantly clear that it is NEVER CORRECT to call that ship "rews-a-
        velt." Webster's New World Dictionary, like Richard E. Mayne,
        appears to base its judgment on popular usage. But surely this is a
        form of mob rule or perhaps mass hysteria. Just because thousands of
        people use the word "ain't" in conversation does that mean that
        announcers on WJAR will or would use that word on television ?
        >
        > There remains the question of whether the Hyde Park
        Roosevelts, or any others with the name of Roosevelt, pronounce
        Roosevelt differently than TR and the Oyster Bay Roosevelts. The
        answer is a resounding NO. Eleanor Roosevelt was TR's niece who
        married her fifth cousin once removed, Franklin D. Roosevelt. Did
        they pronounce their last names differently,or did Eleanor switch her
        pronunciation of the name when she married FDR. Of course not, as any
        descendant of ER and FDR will tell you. The myth that some Roosevelts
        pronounce their name one way, and others another way, is just that--
        a myth ! True, many Americans persist in pronouncing the name as
        if it were English, coming up with "rewsavelt," but the name is
        Dutch and they are dead wrong.
        >
        > Isn't this worth a short note or story on the air to make up
        for your constant errors in pronouncing the name of a great ship
        named after a great man ? Why doesn't WJAR interview Edward Renehan,
        the noted author who wrote a book on the Roosevelt family ? He lives
        right there in Rhode Island.
        >
        > Best wishes from Oyster Bay, Long Island,
        >
        > John Allen Gable,
        Ph.D.
        > Executive Director, Theodore Roosevelt
        Association
        > P.S. I once lived in Rhode Island, and I received my Ph.D. from
        Brown University. Ed Renehan is a member of the Executive Committee
        of the Theodore Roosevelt Association.
      • John A. Gable
        ... From: Bruce Holley To: TRA_Gable@sprynet.com Sent: Monday, April 01, 2002 12:09 PM Dear John, I just read about the problem you people up north are
        Message 3 of 3 , Apr 1, 2002
           
          ----- Original Message -----
          Sent: Monday, April 01, 2002 12:09 PM

          Dear John,
           
          I just read about the problem you people "up north" are having concerning the proper pronunciation of TR's last name. We Southerners have always pronounced it rewsavelt. However due to what some people refer to as an accent (God does talk like we do) it always comes out as rosavelt. Problem solved.
           
          Ya'll have a wonderful day.
           
          Best regards,
           
          Bruce Holley
           
           
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