Tuesday, November 21, 2017


A week or two ago I was listening to someone speak and heard mentioned that all the civilizational ills that currently befall us can be traced back to World War I. Everything – modernism, socialism, communism, totalitarianism, post-modernism, you name it. If it’s having a detrimental effect on society today, you can rest assured it found its birth in the Great War of 1914-1918.

Interesting, I thought. This I’ll have to check out.

So I’ve been casually reading up on the First World War. Not a big burning desire, just want to fill some gaps, especially after learning how big those gaps of knowledge are. Among the numerous potholes of null information I’ve manifested is the city of Ypres. I’ve heard of it in passing, and how it played a role in WWI. No – I’ve read it. I’ve never heard the word “Ypres” spoken, so I had absolutely no idea how to say it.

Not to go into too much detail (since I don’t know even “much” detail), the Belgian city of Ypres was the sight of two major battles. German forces decided to outflank French fortresses aligned north-south against their border by sweeping over them through Belgium, violating the smaller county’s neutrality. This brought Belgium’s ally, Britain, into the conflict. The German war machine stopped at Ypres, surrounding it on three sides. The British and French forces held the city (the “Ypres salient”) and attacked the German lines just beyond, over and over and over again, during the course of two battles. The use of poison gas sparked the beginning of the Second Battle of Ypres.

But, that’s not what I want to write about now.

What I want to ponder is, how does one pronounce “Ypres”?

Well, at work the other day (and thus having no access to Youtube, or speakers for that matter), I did a bit of googling. And I found out that the word is somewhat open to interpretation.

In a Monty Python sketch, we’re assured it’s pronounced


Yep. Eep.

British troops back then were a little wittier. They called the city


Ha. Y-prs. I like that; fits with my sense of humor.

In actuality, it’s pronounced halfway between




Almost as if you’re going to go full “EEP-PRAY” but stop short as soon as you starting on the “AY” part.

Those of you, unlike me, who’ve taken French will have this down. Us other troglodytes may find it a bit harder.

I’m firmly in the EEP-PRuh camp, at least in my head, when I’m reading my World War I book.

Carry on.

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