forte

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forte

Post by Archived Topic » Sun Dec 05, 2004 4:22 pm

I know someone asked this question in 1998, but the answer
was incorrect, they said the word was from Italian so
for-tae would be correct, but the word came to english
from the French, from Latin fortis meaning strong.
I was taught for-tae ,but I hear it as fort more often.
What is correct, if there is a corrct!!!!
Submitted by Gary Wallington (Akolele - Australia)
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forte

Post by Archived Reply » Sun Dec 05, 2004 4:37 pm

Gary, I never realized that there was any controversy and have always heard it and pronounced it as ‘FOR tay,’ the same way that the musical instruction is pronounced. However, you learn something new every day. At the risk of being accused of promoting a U.S., imperialist, chauvinist pig conspiracy, I’ll quote from “Garner’s Modern American Usage”:

FORTE: (= a person’s strong point) has long thought to be preferably pronounced with one syllable, like ‘fort.’ That’s because the word is originally French (in which ‘fort’ means ‘strong,’ corruptly made with a feminine ‘-e’ suffix) and is so pronounced. But most speakers of American English use the two-syllable version (FOR tay), probably under the influence of the Italian ‘forte,’ a two-syllable word referring to a musical notation to play loudly. Though it might have been nice to keep the two word separate in pronunciation, that hasn’t happened—and the two-syllable version can no longer be condemned. What can be condemned is the pretentious pronunciation ‘for TAY’ and the occasional use of an acute accent on the ‘-e.’
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I also like Merriam-Webster’s take, which points out that even the supposedly ‘purer’ French version is not quite right.”

FORTE: In ‘forte’ we have a word derived from French that in its "strong point" sense has no entirely satisfactory pronunciation. Usage writers have denigrated 'for-"tA and 'for-tE because they reflect the influence of the Italian-derived ‘forte’ [2 syllables]. Their recommended pronunciation 'fort, however, does not exactly reflect French either: the French would write the word ‘le fort’ and would rhyme it with English ‘for.’ So you can take your choice, knowing that someone somewhere will dislike whichever variant you choose. All are standard, however. In British English 'fo-"tA and 'fot predominate; 'for-"tA and for-'tA are probably the most frequent pronunciations in American English.
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Ken G – November 17, 2004
Reply from Ken Greenwald (Fort Collins, CO - U.S.A.)
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Post by Archived Reply » Sun Dec 05, 2004 4:51 pm

Gary .. not sure just where Akolele is in Aus .. I did look in my atlas .. but I can say that I have always heard the word pronounced as "fortay" in relation to it meaning what someone does particularly well .. however in Aus, and maybe in other countries, we have a series of strong pain killers that are designated by the word "forte" being added .. as in "Panadein-forte" .. in this case it is pronounced as "fort" .. does that make it clearer ??
WoZ of Aus 19/11/04
Reply from Wizard of Oz (Newcastle - Australia)
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Post by Archived Reply » Sun Dec 05, 2004 5:05 pm

Thank you Ken and WoZ
That makes it as clear as mud, so I'll stick with for-tA,
no matter what the news readers say.
WoZ
Akolele might not be on your atlas, it is not a town or village just 3 streets on the side of Wallaga Lake, my back yard goes right down to the lake. It's about 9 km north of Bermagui.
http://www.sapphirecoast.com.au/bermagui.htm
Reply from Gary Wallington (Akolele - Australia)
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Post by Archived Reply » Sun Dec 05, 2004 5:20 pm

.. got it mate .. my cousins lived down that way .. Steve and Gab were at Dalmeny and Bill had a retaurant in Narooma .. must be hard to take living thast close to the lake and never knowing if you are going to get flooded .. yeah right you poor bastard .. *grin* .. and BTW if you heard a newsreader say "fort" you can rely on it being incorrect ..
WoZ of Aus 20/11/04
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Post by Ken Greenwald » Wed Jan 12, 2005 5:39 am

Also see posting 'mispronunciation of French.'
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