Legal Quandary

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Question of the Day!

How do you pronounce voir dire?

Is it:

a. vwahr deer
b. vor deer
c. vor dire
d. voy dire

I'm an vwahr deer girl myself. That's how my three years of high school French would lead me to pronounce it, and how all my law profs said it. Imagine my surprise this past week when I heard several of my colleagues use pronunciations "b" and "c." One tried blaming it on being a Baylor grad, implying it was a Southern thing. Which doesn't quite work, since another one of the "vor dire-ers" is a Harvard grad.

Note that Black's lists the first three as acceptable pronunciations with no indicatation as to whether "a" requires a pretentious accent. I personally choose to omit it.


I go with "C," although in law school a professor told us to make it rhyme with "car tire."

How do you say "venire"? I say ven-ear but apparently a lot of other people say ven-ire.

Tomato, tomatoh...
I've always heard it as "A" since it is a Latin term or French (which evolved from Latin anyway).

I've never heard it pronounced differently unless it was some person who never stepped foot into a law school. Psuedo-hickisms can transform lots of words.
I go with A, but being in the south, several people pronounce it vwahr dire. The "dire" part takes about 5 full seconds to say with the southern twang :)
Not from the South, but I'm also going with A. Mostly because I see that as a French phrase, and I took way too many years of French.
I believe it is a as well... as a midwestern- practicing attorney. However, I have heard it all of the above ways as well as a fifth way... vwoy deer-e.
Extremely late entry on this one...

I pronounce it like a).

Here's another question for you. This question stems from a recent episode of Eli Stone (I think it's on ABC. He's an attorney that has visions, decent show, catch it Thursday nights). One of the associate attorneys on the show said "Motion in Limine" which should be relatively easy to pronounce. I pronounce it Limb-en-eee, but the actress on the show pronounced it "limb-en-ay". What are your takes on this?
I'm going with the pronunciation used by the judge in my courtroom. Period.
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