Bless'd vs. Bless-ed
  • We have been having "wars" about the pronunciation of blessed, which does effect chant greatly making 1 syllable or 2. I have been trying to search if there are actual rules about when its one or the other but I cant find anything conclusive- just different opinions. Anyone have a better idea?
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,397
    Here is one view
    Blessed Pronunciation
    It depends on the context, really. For example, if you were saying, “This ancient relic has been blessed by a group of monks.” You would pronounce it as blest.
    However, when my grandmother used to curse things in anger, she would say stuff like, “Curse this blessed thing; it doesn’t work!” In that case, you would pronounce it as bless-id.
    The reason for the two different pronunciations is that one is an adjective (bless-id, meaning holy), and the other is the past tense verb form of the word bless (blest).
  • MarkB
    Posts: 1,032
    I believe the convention is that when used as a verb, one syllable: "The Lord blessed them." When used as a noun or an adjective, two syllables: "The bless-ed in heaven" or "Bless-ed is he who comes in the name of the Lord."

    But even with that, I think the pronunciation of the word in the Magnificat is ambiguous: "From this day, all generations shall call me blessed." One syllable or two? If it is an adjective, two syllables. If it is a verb form ("...shall call me [as having been] blessed"), then one syllable. If you go by the Latin text, it would appear to be an adjective instead of a verb form. Plus, you have the convention of using two syllables in the title "Bless-ed Virgin Mary". Nevertheless, I've heard the single-syllable pronunciation used in the Magnificat often enough.
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 5,164
    From the Byrd Magnificat: "For be-hold, from hence-forth all gen-er-a-ti-ons shall call me bless-ed. For he that is migh-ty hath mag-ni-fi-ed me, and ho-ly is his name."

    John Ireland Magnificat: "For be-hold, from hence-forth all gen-er-a-tions shall call me bless-ed."
    Thanked by 1Liam
  • PaxMelodious
    Posts: 430
    Isn't the difference verb (one syllable) vs adjective (two syllables, or blest as an archaic form)?
  • The English language is so complicated. I feel bad for anyone who has to learn it as a second language.
  • francis
    Posts: 10,701
    I feel bad for the somebodies (us) who live with it day in and day out… singing the psalms in English is rather banal.
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,765
    There’s a reason why I mark hymn texts as either “blest” or “bless-èd” (but never “blessed”)… removes all ambiguity.
  • Felicia
    Posts: 112
    At least one can differentiate between whether it is used as a verb or as an adjective. In my regular day job I catalog a lot of books and documents printed in England from (roughly) the Restoration to the Industrial Revolution. There, I often encounter both "a sermon preach'd" and "a sermon preached." On occasion I run into "preach't", but that spelling seems to be limited to the 17th century, whereas the other two spellings are from the 18th century. Of course, since the 18th century the form spelled "preached" but pronounced like "preach't" has become the common one.
  • francis
    Posts: 10,701
    You would be very blest to some day be called blessed.