Adrienne LaFrance has a post for the Atlantic that focuses on the term “read” in “read receipts” (a phrase I had been unfamiliar with; it means “the little notification that pops up for the sender of a text message once the recipient of that message has opened [and ostensibly read] the text”):
How do you pronounce the term? Do you say it in the past-tense, so it sounds like “red”? Or in the present tense, so it sounds like “reed”?
This was the subject of a brief but dizzying newsroom back-and-forth on Monday among colleagues who insisted that one or the other was definitely, absolutely, without question the right way. Our dialogue never reached the proportions of the Great Dark Chocolate Debate of last week, but we still never reached a consensus. (I asked folks on Facebook and Twitter for their opinions and received similarly passionate yet inconclusive responses.)
Team “red” had a compelling case: A read receipt is a receipt that’s generated once the text message has been read. Therefore, past tense. But there was solid logic on team “reed,” too: Just think of it like a “repair receipt,” or “pay stub,” or “mailing receipt,” none of which are in the past tense even though they indicate an activity that’s already taken place.
Apparently “the question has been floating around since at least 2010,” and having belatedly become aware of it, my curiosity has been aroused. Arguments from logic are utterly uninteresting to me, since language is not logical; the only relevant question is how the term was traditionally pronounced in the relevant speech community, before the n00bs came along and ruined everything. So if you are aware of such a community and such a tradition, by all means share your knowledge. (Thanks, Paul!)