Debate over new Covid variant Omicron’s pronunciation begins  

WION Web Team
London Published: Dec 01, 2021, 02:42 PM(IST)

(Representative Image) Photograph:( Agencies )

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Even as the world is tensed over the emergence of a new Covid variant Omicron, a debate seems to have begun over its pronunciation. The development comes as the BBC pronounced it as 'OM-mi-cron'. It gave heavy emphasis on the first syllable in pronouncing the Greek word. It is the 15th letter in the Greek alphabet

Even as the world is tensed over the emergence of a new Covid variant Omicron, a debate seems to have begun over its pronunciation.   

The development comes as the BBC pronounced it as 'OM-mi-cron'. It gave heavy emphasis on the first syllable in pronouncing the Greek word. It is the 15th letter in the Greek alphabet.  

Also Read | Omicron threat: WHO warns against knee-jerk reaction, blanket measures

On Sunday, a well-known historian and classicist Mary Beard criticised the corporation's choice of emphasis on Twitter.   

Beard said, “I am NOT a technical ancient linguist. But I do find it a bit odd that the BBC News is saying omicron with the stress on the first syllable."  

In a letter, a Telegraph reader said that 'clearly' no-one at the BBC seems to have studied Greek at school. He said that the word should be pronounced 'oh-my-cron' "with the emphasis on the second syllable".  

Also Read: Europe had Omicron cases before South Africa even identified it

In response, BBC's news channel editor Jess Brammar joked on Twitter by saying, "Guilty as charged, I did not do Greek at school.”  

According to the language experts, it may be more accurate to pronounce Omicron as the BBC has chosen to do.  

A scientist from Oxford and native Greek speaker, Professor Aris Katzourakis, told the Telegraph that people should try to say "oh-me-cron, with the emphasis on the o".  

(With inputs from agencies) 

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