Thursday, January 6, 2011

An SLP versus A SLP

It's an historic moment... well not really. For me at least. But using "a" versus "an" is a question and a bit of a pet peeve of mine. I haven't 'looked up' the correct usage, but I'm gonna say how it is on my own authority. Because you know me... the all knowing and all and such and whatnot and that. Read at your own risk...

The only reason that "an" exists is that there are words that start with a similar sound to "a." If you were to say "I want a apple" at a conversational speed, it would sound like "I want apple." It sounds like you aren't using the article "a." As far as I know, no one denies that this is the reason for the existence of "an." That extra letter N helps us understand that a speaker is using the article "a"
Picture from theblogofrecord.com
Now lets move to SLP. It starts with an S. Why does it sound better with an "an"? Well, because S doesn't start with S. S starts with "eh" Two parts: "eh" and "s". S So you could say "I'm a speech therapist," or you could say "I'm an SLP." Personally, I wouldn't say or write "I'm a SLP." Even when I do say it, I tend to put a little pause (glottal stop) between a and SLP. Another example might be university. You wouldn't say an university. It's a university. Because university starts with the y sound, which is a consonant.

Picture from askaurinal.com
Spanish has similar rules. If you use o (or in English) before a word that starts with o, you change it to u. Agua is feminine, but the water is "el agua" because if you were to say "la agua," it would sound like one word.

In the modern world, language takes oral and written forms. An SLP sounds better, while a SLP may be said to look better. The written form is a reflection of the oral form, and in my opinion, should follow changes in the oral form.
Picture from skiptucker.blogspot.com
As far as "An history", this clearly breaks the "Use 'an' only before vowels" rule. I'm not sure how it gets justified, and I don't really care. As far as I'm concerned, it's "a history," and others can do what they want. At the end of the day, the purpose of language is almost always communication, and either form communicates the information.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

http://blog.apastyle.org/apastyle/2012/04/using-a-or-an-with-acronyms-and-abbreviations.html

Unknown said...

You might be more credible if you used proper grammar in your writing. "Gonna" is not even a word.

Anonymous said...

You might be more credible if you used proper grammar in your writing. "Gonna" is not even a word.