Tuesday, January 25, 2011

* My Pet Peeve : Podium vs. Lectern

" . . .   arose and, gripping the sides of the podium   . . ."

This incorrect usage from Mr. Moretti's Yale Daily News article (link below) is my pet peeve. Senators, Presidents, Clergy even Scholars use"podium" when they mean "lectern".

A podium is a raised platform on which a person stands (pod = foot). If the person in your article was "gripping the sides of the podium" he would be on his KNEES.

A LECTERN is a raised device behind which one delivers a speech or lecture and upon which one places the notes for that speech, or simply "grips" its sides.

Even the renowned author and prodigious scholar, Stacy Schiff, uses this word incorrectly. On page 177 of her charming biography Vera {Mrs. Vladimir Nabokov} she states: "Nabokov and his assistant [Vera] both felt he should be on the syllabus and not behind the podium, a sense that set them apart from the Cornell colleagues".

Since English is fluid, I predict that "podium" will transmogrify itself over the next fifty years (we are currently watching the process before our very eyes), and Presidents, Senators and Scientists will deliver speeches from behind the podium, only they won't be on their knees.

Note :
When I Googled
"podium" under "Images" only images of lecterns came up, not a single podium. The transmogrification has already OCCURRED on Google!

Posted by The Anti-Yale on January 25, 2011 at 5:24 a.m.

By Marcus Moretti
Guest Columnist
Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Marcus Moretti is a sophomore in Berkeley College.


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