Who moved my diphthong?

I am one of those annoying people who believe that the æ diphthong is the key to words like encyclopædia and archæological, and especially Archæopteryx. They just lose their Attenboroughian grandeur when spelled with an ‘e’ alone.

Now I don’t want to seem alarmist, but I think that æ is heading the way of the passenger pigeon: towards rapid extinction, despite still being incredibly useful to the English-speaking portion of the human race.

And I also think that Fairfax is not doing much to help. They slashed the guts out of their journalistic and editorial staff, and now they’re also cutting costs by cutting diphthongs. Hence such headlines as Pedophile-charge priest cleared by church inquiry. Pædophile is an inherently nasty word: there’s nothing grand about it. But it’s infinitely worse when you take out the gliding vowel.

First published at tumblr Proof (v.)

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