Alex Trebek, host of Jeopardy for nearly 30 years

Alex Trebek will be retiring soon after nearly 30 years as the emcee of the Jeopardy¬†game show. The show itself has been on the air for nearly 50 years. Instead of finding a replacement for Alex, it’s probably wise to retire the show with him.

The questions have begun to reflect the language deficiencies of a younger generation of writers.

Today one of the clues was “sounds like what you’d eat on a pita, but it’s part of the soil on a forest floor.”

The contestant’s response was accepted.

She said “hummus.”

The problem with both clue and question is that the vegetable mold found on a forest floor is humus. It does not sound like hummus (what you’d eat on a pita).

The words hummus and humus follow English pronunciation rules.

The u in humus has the long sound, as in human.

The u in hummus–followed by a double consonant–has the short sound, as in tummy.

Now that the linguistic rot long rampant in TV dramas and sit-coms has made it to Jeopardy, it’s time to retire what up to now has been an enjoyable, informative, and literate show.

 

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