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October 31, 2006 | 4 Comments

Brother Garrison,
I am fortunate to live in NYC where I catch your show on Saturday evening AND on Sunday morning -- during Mass times on both days, I might add. I shuddered multiple times this weekend as you sang "Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus" -- and not for the reason you might think. I enjoyed your vocalizing and I swung with the beat, singing along with you until your mispronunciation of the Latin phrase,"... in nomine Domini" (that you repeatedly mispronounced as "in nomini Domine". Now pronunciation of Latin vowels and dipthongs differs in secular and church traditions, but your pronunciation was not consistent with either, and the "prayer" you sang IS liturgical. Oh, well! You're an English major. I love you anyway, Bro!

Sister Mary L.
New York, NY

Thank you, Sister. Odd, but I could FEEL that mistake as I sang it. It just felt wrong. It must've been some residual Latin buried deep in my cortex, from my teachers Helen Hunt and Helen Fleischman and Margaret Forbes. I confess my mistake and I am truly sorry for it. Send me your address and I'll ship you a copy of the new translation of the "Aeneid" and a ticket to the New York show.


4 Comments


As long as we're talking pronunciation: funny word - dipthong. It's actually diphthong,


With all due respect to the good Sister, I feel that when a man like "GK" has been performing his own radio programme for 30 years, written numerous books, essays, poems, songs, et al, he is entitled to make a mistake or two & we shouldn't be so quick with the "stone throwing".

As for the "mispronunciation of the Latin" that the good Sister mentions, I'd like to mention that Latin isn't a sacred, untouchable spoken language. Outside of church purposes it really serves a limited function beyond torturing high school students and amusing prescription scribbling doctors. By this time, Latin is just as subject to pronunciation experimentation as any other language. People have been fooling around with pronunciation, definitions and spellings since the birth of language began as a few grunts and scribbles on cave walls.

I applauded you GK for always remaining humble even whilst a few stones are cast your way.

By the way Mr. Keillor, my husband, who is originally from a Spanish speaking South American country, said that although he didn't quite "get" the movie, he did very much enjoy the sound of "tu voz". He finds the sound of your voice to be very comforting, even if he struggles to fully comprehend the idiosyncrasies of mid-western English. He said, "His voice feels like my grandfather is holding me on his knee, arms around me, sharing the mysterious histories of his past life, that time before it was necessary to impart wisdom to a small boy on your knee, because we always think that we will remain a small boy. One day we wake up and see a grandchild on our knee and realise that time is running out. People should climb up on Garrison's knee, rest their head on his chest and just listen to the rhythm of life."


"Watch Your Knuckles" cracks me up! Thank you, Garrison. You have no idea how elated I am to have heard from you personally. Please, please send me your gift -- but no apologies needed. I just knew you would want to know that you had chanted an oral misspelling last weekend. Your carefulness and delight in language is so obvious that I could not let this slip by. (Contrary to Catherine's pained belief that I was throwing stones at you, I find such pleasure in your linguistic nuances that I knew you would want to know that an adulating fan caught this one).

One of my fondest memories of you is a chance meeting in Chelsea in NYC decades ago when I was sharing a hamburger with a friend who was hurting deeply and needed to talk. His eyes sweeping the rest of the dining room at Danielle's almost continuously, he smirked at me suddenly and said, "Your best friend is over there. He came all the way from what's-that-place in Minnesota to see you". I didn't get it until I peeked over my shoulder and saw you looking my way. Must have been your intuitive search for the eyes in the back of my head.

When I rose to put on my coat, you rose, too, and welcomed me as I tried to pass your table without being intrusive. You let me embrace you and thank you for all the whimsy and laughter and healing you brought each weekend to my aging/dying mom and dad. I told you that -- at the worst of times, when tears were hard to hold back -- I would turn on your show and in seconds, we'd all be laughing, the lumps in our throats dissolving, Dad dancing his great soft-shoe or toe-tapping as he lighted up another pipe, Mom squeezing my hand and pointing my gaze to Dad to signal how relieved she was to see him clowning again.

They had a memorable message of their own to all of us a week before she died: "Let us not look ahead to all that we can no longer have and be sorrowful. Let us instead look back at all that we have had and be grateful". It was the way they lived. You would have loved them!

I'll watch my mailbox eagerly and gratefully, Brother. May every laugh you ever have heard be another pair of hands lifting you up, sustaining your deep and kind spirit. Thank you. Thank you.


Greetings to all:

As a second-year grad. student in Classical Studies, I was about to write in something along the lines of the good Sister. Of course, again, being a classics major, I have much less experience with Ecclesiastical Latin than with the "classical" pronunciation (e.g. v's pronounced as w's), but I noticed the mistake immediately and I've indeed heard others make it as well. I, in fact, had to correct a choral instructor of mine at the university level who had us mispronouncing "in nomine Domini" and he argued with me. Anyway, GK, love your show. I've been listening for nearly 11 years now. Keep it up!

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