Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Thursday, February 24, 2005

A Topic of Enormous Concern for Submariners

Over at Ron Martini's Submarine BBS, the age-old debate is raging on the correct pronunciation of the word "submariner". While each side (sub-MARE-in-er and sub-mar-EEN-er) can bring several good arguments to bear in support of their chosen pronunciation, the truth of the matter is, with all due respect to my colleagues from the various Commonwealth countries, that the correct pronunciation is "sub-mar-EEN-er"; sub-MARE-in-er sounds like something that is "less than a mariner" which of course submariners are not. No self-respecting American submariner, except maybe some recalcitrant boomer sailors, would pronounce the word in the British way, and any that did so would probably wear underwear into the "Horse and Cow" and refuse to do the Dance of the Flaming A**hole. (Yes, it's a real dance; I've seen it done, and it's not pretty.) So let it be written, so let it be done...

Going deep...

16 Comments:

Anonymous former Navet said...

Bubblehead, Only those recalcitrant Boomer sailors that did patrols out of HolyLock Scotland would pronounce it the Brit way. Us other recalcitrant boomer sailors used the proper pronunciation, unless of course the Admiralty was present. ;-)

Former "boomer" NavET

2/24/2005 9:17 PM

 
Blogger ninme said...

But the British/Commonwealth way is the only one that makes sense. You don't call people on boats boaters or ships shippers, you call them sailors. Why, because they sail sails? Of course not. Nor would you call someone on a submarine a sumareener. Now, you WOULD call any of those people a mariner (as in: The Rime of the Ancient Mariner), so if you're below the mare, mer, mara (depending on your latin cognate), you're therefore a subMARiner. See?

2/24/2005 9:46 PM

 
Blogger ninme said...

(I know I have no standing to comment on this, but I think impartiality can come in very handy when one is unqualified.)

2/24/2005 9:47 PM

 
Blogger bothenook said...

ah yes, the good ol' DOTFAH. if i may pass on some really hard won experience, do not climb on the bar in the H and C ballroom and perform said dance when excessively drunk. not only do you fall off, hurt yourself on the deck, but there is still a bit of flaming combustable dangling that can cause sever trauma. i shant elaborate.

2/24/2005 9:54 PM

 
Blogger WillyShake said...

This post made me curious, so I consulted the OED (Oxford English Dictionary), which is a sacred text for English Majors. Now--as expected--they give the British pronunciation that you mention and no alternative.

But I also found a couple of geeky factoids that I thought you (like me) would enjoy:

1. Of all people, Thomas Jefferson had great hopes for submarine technology! In an 1807 letter dated 16 Aug. [found in Writings (1853) V. 165,} he wrote, "I have ever looked to the submarine boat as most to be depended on for attaching them [that is, for attaching "torpedoes" to the cable of a ship].

2. Did you know that there was an American football tactic called the "submarine charge"? It was "a charge performed by a defensive lineman in which he ducks below the block of an offensive lineman." The OED cites examples in print dated 1938 and 1952. Of course, this term has fallen out of usage.

Good post!
--Will

2/25/2005 6:02 AM

 
Blogger Alex Nunez said...

Thanks for clarifying this. I always suspected that submarEENer was the correct usage, but was never 100% sure. My granddad was submariner, and the least I can do is say the word correctly.

2/25/2005 8:46 AM

 
Anonymous subbasket said...

I thought most people who worked on subs didn't like to be called Submariners. Okay this is what "Bubbles" has told me so I have only one submariner who doesn't like to be called that. So what does it matter how it is spelled if the guys do not like to be called "Submariners". I think "Bubbles" should buy me another basket if he isn't telling me the truth.

2/25/2005 9:21 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to say that I disagree with you on this one bubble head. We are sailors and MARiners. SubmarEEner sounds like we are sub Jar Heads or below the MARINES.

Just my take on it....

NavET on overseas shore duty.

2/25/2005 10:12 AM

 
Blogger Bubblehead said...

NavET on overseas shore duty makes an interesting point, and we should consider carefully his... no, I can't go on. Sorry, you're wrong. It's sub-mar-EEN-er; the only way anyone would consider us to be below the Marines is if they think how we are submerged when we easily sink any amphibs transporting them during war games. I think the evidence that most strongly supports my theory comes from WillyShake, who mentions above that the OED lists only the sub-MARE-in-er option; if our British brethern pronounce it that way, it must be wrong. They'd probably add a couple of extra "u"'s to the word anyway if they could. Also, off topic, for the purposes of this blog, the word "creek", meaning small stream, is pronounced "crick". Don't believe me? Ask any Nebraskan you happen to know...

2/25/2005 1:51 PM

 
Blogger Eagle1 said...

Probably wrong for a former "target" driver to suggest how it ought to be pronounced...

2/25/2005 4:36 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to chime in - regarding the sub jarhead species - the lowest form of Marine life is a squid - that should cover all the Navy.
Da Gunny :)

6/27/2005 8:28 AM

 
Blogger Jonathan Rowe said...

ur are wrong.

7/20/2009 5:08 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

SubmaREENers is something that has been used in more modern times, back when my dad was in subs in the 50's and 60's they pronounced it subMARiners.

8/11/2011 10:14 PM

 
Blogger Derek Cantrell said...

As a STS2(SS) - {Submarine Sonar Technician Second Class, Submarine Qualified for you land lovers}, WE pronounce it sub-MARE-in-er, but are also called Bubbleheads. We are sailors but rarely admit this term because "Targets", "Suface Pukes" or "Actual Navy" are not undersea warriors like we are. We are not squids, refer to "Actual Navy" for a better understanding.

Who cares how the Brits pronounce it, our language has evolved from British English.

3/25/2013 6:28 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://www.macmillandictionary.com/us/pronunciation/american/submariner you can even here it pronounced the 'British' way, and for all you old farts with anchors, come up with something better to argue whilst doing things "like a chief"

6/18/2013 9:31 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My guess is someone pronounced it improperly years ago, and rather than admit an error they just become aggressively proud of their ignorance. The whole argument of "we CHOSE to change the pronunciation out of pride" is pretty lame. It reminds me of Pee-Wee Herman saying "I meant to do that" after he crashed his bike.

9/10/2013 8:07 PM

 

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