Regardling “beg the question” being more accepted, I guess I mainly hear it (or the lack of it) on television or radio programs. I’ve retired from my job, the handful of people I interact with socially by phone or through zoom don’t use the phrase, and casual conversation in the grocery store with strangers offers little reason for someone to either raise or to beg any question. I guess it’s so noticeable to me because I learned the logic fallacy meaning of it back in the 1970s when in college, and had literally never heard the phrase before that, and never heard anyone use it at all for many years thereafter. Suddenly people were saying it all over NPR, PBS, and many other media outlets. I had wondered why that phrase became so frequent as a substitute for “raise the question” or something similar. Then just in the past couple of years I thought it was dying out as a phrase before I heard it again just recently. Thanks to you all for letting me know it’s become common usage now. Maybe people like it because they like to think there are questions just begging to be answered! And they are not wrong.
How was it pronounced before?
I’m only familiar with ‘process-eez.’ If the alternative is ‘process-ez’ I can see how people would tend to prefer the ‘ease’ rhyming one, because ‘process-ez’ can sound like hissing.
I hate “processeez”. It has invaded and mercilessly displaced the gentle, peace-loving word “processes” just so some dope can attempt to sound smarter. Is it just me who obsesseez over people making messeez of words? Causes a lot of stresseez.
I can identify with disliking usages that seem to be nothing but affectations designed to signal something Wonderful about the user.
However, I’m not sold on the idea that that’s what’s going on with “process-eez.” Note that every example you gave of the “ess” (or “ez”) usage differs from “processes” in the stressing of the syllables–all your examples have the stress immediately before the last syllable, which in all those cases is typically pronounced “ess” (or “ez”.) (Namely: obsesses, messes, and stresses.)
But with “processes” the stress is two syllables before the last, not immediately before the last.
Can you find counterexamples in which the stress comes two syllables away from the end of the word, instead of right before it—and yet the standard pronunciation of the last syllable is “ess”?
I’m positing that the “eez” ending isn’t a ‘look at how fancy I am’ affectation, but instead follows logically from unofficial ‘laws’ of pronunciation of English.
----It just occurred to me that the word “pro-CESS,” meaning “to move in a procession,” would be pronounced by most with the “ess” ending rather than with the “eez” ending. As in “the handler of the Trump Baby balloon processes down the boulevard in time with the band playing You’re No Good, and we see the crowd cheering.”
This leads me to think that the pattern of stressed syllables does have something to do with the “eez” ending.
It has nothing to do with “sounding smarter”. As already noted, none of your examples are valid parallels to “processes”. The pronunciation is entirely about facilitating comprehension of the spoken word.
Reprocesses (haha). Recesses - I don’t think I’ve ever heard someone say “recesseez,” but of course that doesn’t come up much. Your open-mindedness is heroic, but I think processeez is the result of confusing it with words like index --> indices. Also, I think (at least I hope) the same people wouldn’t say it with the verb form, e.g. “This system processeez the input file and computes the totals.”
It’s not confusion, but there may be a certain parallelism there. “Index” as a noun formally should take the plural “indices”. But “index” can be a verb, and its third person present form is “indexes”, as in “she indexes the changes to the company’s revenues”. It’s not extraordinary that the plural of “process” the noun should be pronounced differently than the third person present of the verb.
Yes, recesses is a good counterexample–thanks. And you could be right about the “index/indices” example having influence, here.
Still, I will reserve my teeth-grinding for more obviously pretentious usages.
I always figured the “processeez” pronunciation was mostly or entirely Americans picking up the more UK or Commonwealth English pronunciation. Why? Mostly for pretention.
I could also imagine it more innocently invading the American IT community from the Indian offshoring industry and the many immigrants to the US from the subcontinent who are in IT. Who mostly speak a decidedly UK-flavored brand of English.
IT being so ubiquitous in Corporate America, it would not take long for “processeez” to flow to the middle and upper-middle manager ranks. As a form of techno-speak. AKA “I’m no Luddite manager; I’m signaling my IT hipness and ‘web savvy’ despite being a 50 yo divisional sales manager.”
And then there is the whole Canadian version of that: processeez (pr-OH-cess-eeze). That does not aggravate me at all, but lets me know they are from north of the border.
I think I have heard that pronounced both “récesses” and “recésses”, although the latter is usually a verb. Never -eez, though.
Thought of another one: Congresses. Haven’t heard anyone refer to congresseez yet…
The second one would mirror the treatment of the verb “proCESSes” (as discussed above a bit.)
Yes, blabbermeister, Congresses is another good example. Making LSLGuy’s conjecture pretty plausible:
That all sounds quite likely to be true.
Not to completely disrupt the -eez discussion, but one just occurred to me – has anyone noticed a sudden spike in young mothers and aunts referring to children as “littles?” That absolutely makes my teeth itch for some reason.
Not yet, but it’s still early days. Sheesh!
At least “younglings” from one of the Star Wars movies didn’t catch on. Probably something to do with the fact the term was introduced by somebody reporting that Empire goons had executed all the little Jedis-in-training.
“Kiddos” was bad enough, but now “doggos” is a thing. Makes me stabbo.
I believe the accepted informal term is “rug-rats”.
Or “ankle biters”