Sunday, May 29, 2005

"The Ultimate Authority In The Universe"

As a serious Star Wars fan, silly arguments come up all the time. One of the longest standing arguments between me and fellow Star Wars enthusiast is the proper pronunciation of the name of Darth Vader's flagship the Executor. My friend insists that it should be pronounced {ope}g{sm}z{ope}kj{shtu}t{schwa}(r). I argued that this is stupid and drains all the fear and intensity of the ships name. I stood by my pronunciation of the name as {ope}ks{schwa}kj{shtu}t{schwa}(r). Still, I was reluctant to force the issue. The word "executor" is no longer used in English to mean "one who carries out an execution" so I wasn't quite sure if I was right. Still, I was convinced that the flagship of the Imperial fleet shouldn't have such a lame "legal" sounding name. It didn't seem right, but for years I doubted myself.

Enter the fact master, Danny, who had the bright idea to consult the Ultimate Authority on all matters pertaining to the English Language:The Oxford English Dictionary. Here's what he found.

({ope}k{sm}s-, {ope}g{sm}z{ope}kj{shtu}t{schwa}(r) in sense 3; {sm}{ope}ks{schwa}kj{shtu}t{schwa}(r) in sense 1)

1. One who executes or carries out (a purpose, design, command, work, etc.); one who carries into action, or puts into practice (some quality); a conductor or manager (of affairs); an administrator or enforcer of (a law, vengeance, etc.); an agent, doer, performer, executer; in Scots Law, one who serves a writ or executes a warrant. Now rare exc. in legal uses.


{dag}2. = EXECUTIONER. Obs.


3. A person appointed by a testator to execute or carry into effect his will after his decease. literary executor: one who is entrusted with the care of the papers and unpublished works of a literary man.

So, on first glance I was partially vindicated. In the pronunciations, both of our pronunciations was accepted. "Beatiful," I thought, "I can continue to pronounce it my old way and defend myself with the oldest dictionary in the world." Further reading of the entry though led me to conclude that the likely definition that the Empire would use to name their ship would likely be the first definition, not the second as it makes no sense to relate the ship to either a legal will or unpublished literary works. I think it can be agreed that the first sense is the one that the Imperial flagship takes its title from.

If that is the case, read the pronunciation guide again. Done? Good. Now it says that my unnamed friend's pronunciation applies to sense 3. However, my pronunciation can be applied to sense 1 or 3. So, if I'm reading this correctly, and we also agree that the first sense is the one that applies to the title of the dreaded Imperial flagship Executor, then I am 100% vindicated. My pronunciation is not wrong. I was right, and not only that, I can with good reason suggest that my pronunciation is the correct and acceptable one and not my frusterating friend.

It's sweet to be right once in a while.

6 Comments:

At 2:14 PM, Blogger Ewan said...

I've always said the more lethal sounding pronounciation. The alternative sounds stupid and sissy-Star-Trek sounding.

 
At 3:32 PM, Blogger Anders said...

Now you can be lethal and right!

 
At 7:44 PM, Blogger cait said...

You're such a dork.

 
At 1:31 AM, Blogger Dean Ziegler said...

Oh man, Ive had this same conversation.

 
At 5:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Nada enriquece mas el ego del hombre que el corregir los errores de los demas" Anthony de Mello.

Oh Anders, you did an exahustive investigation to prove somehow that you were not wrong, and you did it, and so...
It's incredible how pleased you can feel about it!
It makes you look like an ingeneous little boy boasting because he knows he is not wrong, when the others probably do.
Your fear became your pride.

 
At 5:53 PM, Blogger Anders said...

Seriously, who is "anonymous"? Because I can't read that quote.

 

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