My eldest son and I got in a heated debate over how to pronounce a word that doesn’t even exist in the English language and we need you to put an end to it.
The word is “sketen” as misspelled by one of Michael’s friends who was trying to write about skeletons. I feel that the proper pronunciation should be “skee-ten” and Andrew feels it should be pronounced “skeh-ten,” which of course, is wrong.
After mocking us for having such an inane argument, Heather suggested that we each write out our explanations and let the readers decide. If I’m right, I’ll once again be vindicated, and further entrench myself as the omnipotent dad who has no equal beneath this roof. But, should I be wrong? Well, then, he’s grounded.
In true debate format, I’m allowing him to type out his explanation first and then I’ll counter with the correct one.
It would be pronounced “Ske-ten” and not “Skee-ten” because there is only one e before and one e after the t. In order to be pronounced “Skee-ten” you would need two “e”s before the t. Plus, if the first e is given the long e sound, the second e is silent. If the second e was silent, then the t and n sound would be right night to eachother which would not work; a vowel is needed between the two in order for it to work. Therefore, the word is pronounced “ske-ten” and not “Skee-ten”.
It would be pronounced “Skee-ten”.
Because I said so.
Quite honestly, from a parental standpoint, that argument alone should be strong enough to land me a victory. But, in the spirit of competition, I suppose I’ll needlessly bolster my argument with three additional points.
#1: While I appreciate his completely unsubstantiated drivel, it should be noted that he spelled the word “next” as “night” in his answer. And we’re supposed to take grammar advice from this kid? Furthermore, he also mashed “eachother” into one word when it’s clearly supposed to be two. With his grammatical credibility now shot to hell after some healthy mudslinging, I shall move on to my next valid, albeit unnecessary point.
#2: For it to be pronounced “skeh-ten” there would need to be two T’s, as in “sketten.” But with one E flanking each side of the consonant in a two-syllable word, the first E’s pronunciation would be a long E, as pronounced in the following sentence: “Today’s futile argument was brought to you by the letter E.”
Let me ask you this. Would you pronounce “cede” as “said?” Should the word “athlete” really be pronounced “ath-let?” How about “deter” being pronounced “detter?” And when Andrew finally sees the light and agrees that I’m correct, will we have “met-ted” or “meet-ed” out our differences?
Furthermore, have you ever witnessed a “metteor” shower? Have your energy levels ever “pettered” out? And finally, if you run a 5K, have you run 5,000 “mee-ters” or 5,000 “metters?”
Clearly, Andrew is on the ropes and desperately reaching for the white towel. But I’m not done. This is the nerdy grammatical equivalent of the octagon and I have been trained to embrace the ways of the Cobra Kai Dojo. No mercy.
It’s time to sweep the leg.
#3: I almost feel guilty saving the best for last but please allow me to quote a passage from eHow Mom’s explanation of Long Vowel Rules:
If the “e” is followed by one consonant, followed by another vowel, it makes a long vowel sound (example: evil, deplete), but the “e” will not typically be long if there are two or more consonants between the “e” and the other vowel (examples: elder, enter).
No longer is it just my wanton opinion blowing my kids’ minds. Thanks to eHow’s legion of other parental know-it-all’s, my opinion is now a supported fact.
I think what Andrew can take away from all this is that parents are always right. Even when we’re wrong, we’re right. While it’s something he won’t grasp until he’s in a position to upstage and mentally trample his own kids someday, the simple explanation for our bewildering breadth of knowledge can summed up by one of two reasons:
1) Because I said so;
and 2) Magic.
Take your pick, son, because I believe this debate is as good as over.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Go ahead, pick a side.
Am I right?
Or are you willing to condemn this poor grammatically-challenged-when-it-comes-to-pronouncing-fake-words child to a grounding?
His fate and my credibility are now in your hands.
There has been a lot of discussion below that because it was the child’s intent to spell ‘skeleten’ that my son should win the debate. Considering this wasn’t even a smidgeon of his argument, I have come to the conclusion that you’re all nuts.
But, always one to respect loopholes, I am willing to accept a tie. He gets a point because of the word’s intent, even though he won’t have a clue why, and I get a point because of grammar rules, structure, and usage.
Now, referring to the rules of contest between father and son, I’m happy to report that ties go to the parent. I’m certain this will be fully supported by other moms and dads reading this. Otherwise, this country is in a lot of trouble.