is "ignorance" a heteronym?

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yme

Member
English - USA
I say "ignorance" using two different pronunciations with each having a different definition. But, I can't confirm that this is correct with a cursory google. please consider:

---
(1) common usage:
pronunciation: [ig-nor-ance]
def: "does not know one does not know"
ex:
"Ignorance is bliss".
"Ignorance of local customs offends some Chinese people."
---
(2) very uncommon usage:
pronunciation: [ig-NOR-ance]
def: "to know, but to choose to ignore"
ex:
"The ignorance of traffic laws by cyclists causes many traffic accidents in my neighborhood."
"Even though he knew what I held dear, his ignorance of my needs caused us to break-up."
---

If I really, really, want to emphasize something, I would use def#2 because it makes the reader/listener pause, and think about my atypical usage of "ignorance".
But, am I wrong? Does usage#2 not exist?

thanks.
 
Last edited:
  • Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    Welcome to the forum, Yme. :)

    There is only one pronunciation; the emphasis is on the first syllable: IGnorance.

    I have never heard of the second meaning you cite. In what dictionary did you find it?
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    I've never seen or heard it used that way. I'd always say 'ignoring'. There is a very rare word 'ignoration', which I've only seen in the philosophical phrase 'ignoration of the elench'.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    Very creative! I have never seen ignorance used to mean the (deliberate) act of ignoring - all the dictionaries describe it as a state not an action. I don't know if there is a word for that, other than the gerund (?)
     

    e2efour

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Welcome to the English forum, yme!

    This pronunciation (2) of ignorance is new to me.
    The way to make the difference clear is to say "the ignoring of local customs".
     

    JustKate

    Senior Member
    I've never heard the "ig-NOR-ance" pronunciation either. And as far as I know, there's only one definition, and that's the first one. To convey the sense of "choosing to ignore," I'd have to modify ignorance, e.g., willful ignorance.
     

    Cenzontle

    Senior Member
    English, U.S.
    The unabridged Webster's Third New International Dictionary gives only the pronunciation with stress on "ig-",
    and only the definition of "state of being ignorant".
    I looked in Roget's Thesaurus for a noun corresponding to the verb "ignore".
    In section 531, "Inattention", I found several words. "Disregard" (the noun) is the one I like best.
     

    yme

    Member
    English - USA
    Welcome to the forum, Yme. :)

    There is only one pronunciation; the emphasis is on the first syllable: IGnorance.

    I have never heard of the second meaning you cite. In what dictionary did you find it?
    I am unaware of any dictionary that has the rare pronunciation of "ignorance" that I am introducing. But, I can explain why I think that pronunciation should exist:

    "Ignorance" is derived from "to ignore". Now, try applying the standard pronunciation of "ignorance" to "to ignore". They are disjoint. Applying the pronunciation of "to ignore" to "ignorance" is the sound that I am trying to describe.

    And, please think deeply about these usages:
    "He ignored my email." <-- he actively chose to disregard my email.
    "His ignorance of my invitation to lunch was very insulting." <-- he actively chose to disregard my invitation to lunch.

    See what I mean???
    I am writing a business document. I want to use that 2nd definition of "ignorance" so much, it hurts. It would be perfect. I want the reader to stop an think "what did that guy just say???" But, whats wrong is wrong... I can't risk being wrong.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    You're stuck with the gerund (or a rewrite) His ignoring (of) my invitation to lunch was very insulting.

    If you want the reader to stop and say ??? you could try ignoration :D:D
     

    JustKate

    Senior Member
    I am unaware of any dictionary that has the rare pronunciation of "ignorance" that I am introducing. But, I can explain why I think that pronunciation should exist:

    "Ignorance" is derived from "to ignore". Now, try applying the standard pronunciation of "ignorance" to "to ignore". They are disjoint. Applying the pronunciation of "to ignore" to "ignorance" is the sound that I am trying to describe.

    And, please think deeply about these usages:
    "He ignored my email." <-- he actively chose to disregard my email.
    "His ignorance of my invitation to lunch was very insulting." <-- he actively chose to disregard my invitation to lunch.

    See what I mean???
    I am writing a business document. I want to use that 2nd definition of "ignorance" so much, it hurts. It would be perfect. I want the reader to stop an think "what did that guy just say???" But, whats wrong is wrong... I can't risk being wrong.
    But you don't have to invent a word in order to convey exactly the meaning you want. "Willfully disregard" is perfect - it says exactly what you want to say - so why dwell on what might have been ;) regarding ig-NOR-ance?
     

    Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    I am unaware of any dictionary that has the rare pronunciation of "ignorance" that I am introducing...
    There are lots of English words I'd like to change, or change the pronunciation of. My wanting to change them does not make them correct. Perhaps more sadly, neither does yours. Sorry.
     

    yme

    Member
    English - USA
    You're stuck with the gerund (or a rewrite) His ignoring (of) my invitation to lunch was very insulting.

    If you want the reader to stop and say ??? you could try ignoration :D:D
    While "ignoration" is a good word, I am trying for the writing technique of using the second or third definition of common words, such as "discount". I am thinking about prices, but then... "In my opinion, George Bush's birth into a dynastic family discounts all of his financial and political achievements."
    or "mandarin". I am thinking about China, but then... "More than the NSA or CIA, it is the mandarins in the USA who want Snowden deported."
    etc.

    I'm going to keep slipping my "ignorance" into semi-formal business conversations. :)
    Based on what "to ignore" means, with some thought, the listener should be able to figure-out what I mean.
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    Not to mention that this change of emphasis is fairly common in English between the verb and noun forms:

    Prefer - preference
    Confer - conference
    Infer - inference
    Apply - application
    Pretend - pretense/pretence

    Inventing a new pronunciation for a word rarely succeeds in going viral. :) Rather than sounding ig-NOR-ant of norms you might just sound IG-nor-ant. ;)
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    I wouldn't introduce odd meanings or usages in a business document, in which clarity is a primary goal (and you probably don't want to appear ignorant of normal English usage). Stick with either his ignoring of or his willful disregard of, as Kate suggests.
     

    yme

    Member
    English - USA
    Not to mention that this change of emphasis is fairly common in English between the verb and noun forms:

    Prefer - preference
    Confer - conference
    Infer - inference
    Apply - application
    Pretend - pretense/pretence

    Inventing a new pronunciation for a word rarely succeeds in going viral. :) Rather than sounding ig-NOR-ant of norms you might just sound IG-nor-ant. ;)
    agreed. case closed.
     
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