January is a month of correction work in our department: I calculated that I corrected some 200,000 words (!) of student work last month. (I only got likes when I announced this on facebook in the beginning of January.) I’m trying to get my students to avoid the word “research” when they can use “study” or “analysis” instead, and I tell them this is because I’m allergic to REsearch. I was partly successful this time I noticed. Good for me. But is it?
Going through Burchfield’s The Spoken Word: A BBC Guide (1981), in my search for the number of usage problems there are, I found that I’m right of course. The BBC too prescribes reSEARCH, or that is what they would appear to be doing if Burchfield’s Spoken Word may be taken as an indication of this (see Graham Pointon’s comments below). But the booklet also contains a lot of pronunciations that have changed since the early 1980s: HARRass, irREVocable, LAMentable, I don’t think anyone pronounces these words like that any more.
So what about REsearch? Am I perhaps becoming old-fashioned in my prescription of reSEARCH? What does the BBC recommend today?
Oh, and I forgot to add that Burchfield marks REsearch as giving particular offence among BBC listeners.