How is the word `Renaissance’ pronounced?

The `e’ in the first syllable is like the `i’ in `bit’, `sit’, and `hit’; the `ai’ is like the `ay’ in `day’, `bay’, and `say’. The `a’ is pronounced like the `o’ in `lot’, `got’, and `hot’, and the final `ce’ is like the `ce’ in `dance’, `France’, and `chance’. The `ss’ sounds like the `s’ in `sit’, and the main stress is on the second syllable `nai’. This is one way of pronouncing the word.

The period between the 14th and 16th centuries is usually referred to as the `Renaissance’. The word means `rebirth’, and during this period, people in Europe began to take an active interest in art, literature, and science.

Renaissance is now used to talk about a rebirth of interest in some activity. For example, if you say that letter writing is experiencing a renaissance, what you mean is that people are taking an interest in it; letter writing is becoming popular again. Someone who shows a great a deal of interest in the arts and sciences and has a wide range of interests in other things is called a `Renaissance man’. He/she is someone who does a lot of different things very well.

* Ramanan is a writer, director, painter, and musician — a real Renaissance man

Source: ‘Know Your English’ (The Hindu) – September 18, 2006.

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