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more about the name

When Leah wrote about Zion's name I told her it was a great exposition except for one thing: I don't think Brian is quite the right rhyme. In my pronunciation at least Brian has kind of a short i sound at the end—in—which I don't here in Zion. But I couldn't think of a better rhyme right away.

Well, that must have been because it was just too obvious. As we say it, Zion rhymes with lion.

Which makes perfect sense. As people chat with us about the name, folks who are aware of the term in its Christian connotation ask us if we're pronouncing the second syllable as on, because that's how they hear it in church. But it seems to me that you only hear it that way in churches where it doesn't come up very much in discussion, because zi-on is a rather un-English sounding set of phonemes. In the sorts of congregations where the term is bandied about more freely, I understand, it's said just like we're saying our little guy's name. That's what happens when a word comes into English from another language: when it's used frequently, its sounds change to match how English-speakers pronounce things. If we were speaking Hebrew we could say Tsiyon, but in English we have another model for "consonant-i-o-n", and that's lion.

And also, our naming him that doesn't have anything at all to do with the National Park, not that we don't think it's a pretty cool place for a visit.

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