Suppose that a certain family of the great tribe of Joneses should suddenly decide to leave the time-honored pronunciation of its name and pronounce it in two syllables as if it were spelled Jonese'. Would it have the right to do so? Of course it would. But would its decision be wise? Emphatically, no. Why? Because generations of usage have established the old pronunciation, and a change would savor of affectation, of the grotesque, of a desire to be different merely for the sake of being different—an evil always to be shunned.
Take, analogously, the case of our denominational name "Adventist." The standard pronunciation of the term "Adventist" places the accent on the first syllable. Exhaustive research fails to find any authority for putting the accent on the second syllable. Is it wise, then, that any of us should attempt to change the accented pronunciation of the name? Would not such an attempt bring us into disrepute with thinking people, who are always conservative, and so cast reproach upon our teachings?
Moreover, what point lies in our changing the pronunciation of a common adjective merely for purposes of denominational use, especially when we are only one of a number of organizations employing the same designation? If, even by common denominational consent, we should adopt the pronunciation Advent'ist, we should find ourselves saying ad'ventist when using the word in its common signification, Advent'ist when referring to our own organization, and Ad'ventist when referring to other bodies believing in the doctrines of the near advent of Christ. How absurd!
But there is still a better reason for our clinging to the established form, Ad'ventist. It is this: For many years there has been a tendency among careless, slack users of English to slip the accent toward the end of certain words, whereas good taste has preferred to soften the sound of such words by keeping the accent near the beginning; e. g., careful speakers say indis'putable, not indisput'able; irrev' ocable, not irrevoc'able, exquisite, not exquis'ite; mis'chievous, not mischiev- ous; and Ad'ventist, not Advent'ist.
Brethren, let us "prove all things" and "hold fast that which is good," even in matters of pronunciation.
Takoma Park, D. C.