Just when I thought I’d developed a thicker skin regarding linguistic innovation!
I was listening to classical music on my local NPR station the other morning when the DJ launched into some public service announcements.
The first time she said [av] for avenue I wasn’t sure I’d heard correctly, but then she mentioned another address that included the word avenue. Again she said [av]. And then, leaving no doubt whatever, she pronounced a third address as “Central [av].”
Say it isn’t so!
I need the help of you readers on this one. Googling won’t help me figure out if this is a trend or merely a local aberration. Please let me know if you have heard anyone pronounce the abbreviated form of Avenue as anything other than [ăv’ə-nū’] or [ăv’ə-nyū’]
For the record, avenue, abbreviated Ave. or Av., came into the language as a military term meaning “a way of approach.” Now it refers to a wide street lined with trees or, in some cases, a street having a planted median.
In British usage an avenue is the roadway leading from the gate to the front of a country house, like the lovely tree-shaded approach to Manderly in the movie Rebecca.
I suppose I shouldn’t be too astonished. The word versus, abbreviated vs. or v. is now universally pronounced [vee].