The Changing Pronunciation of “Leisure”
When I was about ten years old, my aunt gave me a subscription to a Disney comic. I remember one issue in which Donald Duck and his nephews had a treasure map.
Overheard saying that he was “in search of buried treasure,” Donald tried to deceive the villain who’d heard him by claiming that what he’d really said was “in search of hurried leisure.”
That was in the Fifties.
By the time the “leisure suit” craze struck in the Seventies, not many Americans were pronouncing “leisure” to rhyme with “measure.”
Come to think of it, I don’t know of anyone who pronounces “buried” to rhyme with “hurried.”
Here are the current American pronunciations of these words:
leisure [lē’zhər] –although some folks still say [lĕzh’ər]
What pronunciation changes have you noticed since your were a child?
Here are some quotations from newspapers that illustrate the use of this word:
… travel company sells weeklong, small group trips to Costa Rica, Morocco and Nicaragua. The journeys are part leisure, part service: itineraries include between two and three days of charity work, in collaboration with a local … (www.nytimes.com)
A Tuscan vacation gives travelers a chance for an urban adventure with visits to the art museums of Florence, the architecture of Pisa and the traditions of Siena. Tuscany also is a destination for a leisurely trip that meanders through the countryside, stops at wineries for tastings or takes a leisure break in a spa town.
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