Liturgy & Liturgical Law Forum: Amen

Amen QUESTION from Raymond Benedict June 14, 2001
Occasionally Father will stop Mass to correect the parishoners about the usage of the word Amen. Normally he will say It's AAmen, no Ahmen. Is there a rule of when you say AAmen or Ahmen. This sounds quite trivial, but it keeps coming up. Thank You.
ANSWER by Mr. Jacob Slavek on June 20, 2001
Dear Mr. Benedict,
No, there is no church rule on this. English is the only language (to my knowledge) that has this problem. In most languages, the long sound of A is as in father. In English, two single vowels separated by a single consonant make the first vowel long. This would be the A sound as in late, which is normally the way amen is pronounced when spoken by English speakers. When sung, however, it is almost always changed to ahhmen, because the long a sounding amen sounds absolutely horrible musically.
I myself pronounce it ahhmen, but that is a personal preference. I choose to do so because I prefer the way it sounds, and because that is the way it is pronounced in Latin as well as many other languages used by Christians.
It is custom to pronounce it with a long a among English speakers, but is not mandatory. I really don't think it is something a priest needs to bring up during Holy Mass. Normally it goes by so fast that noone would notice. More attention needs to be focused on what the word means, and that EVERY TIME we pray it we MEAN it.
Mr. Slavek
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