In excelsis in excess?

Is it possible to try too hard? Sure. People do it every year around Christmas. One of the ways they do it is by trying too hard to pronounce in excelsis right and ending up saying (or singing) it wrong – making too many sounds. Sometimes the highest and best is not the most. Here’s my latest article for The Week:

How do you pronounce ‘in excelsis’?


5 responses to “In excelsis in excess?

  1. Have noticed that the church Latin pronunciation differs somewhat from country to country. In Germany they pronounce it ek-tsel-sis.

  2. There’s another factor to consider. The “s” sound in English is rapidly evolving into “sh.” I don’t think a day passes when I don’t hear “groshery” (for “grocery”), “nurshery” (for “nursery”), and the like. President G W Bush and Michelle Obama are prominent examples of the change.

  3. Thank you, Mr. Harbeck. I grew up in choirs pronouncing it your way. Now I sing in choirs and no one has *any idea* of how to pronounce it. They don’t even know where to begin. They have to figure it out (wrongly) each time it comes up. I will try referring them to your column next year.

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